Posts by humint

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  • Nuclear Capacity Needed to Deter America

    12/10/2007 8:35:22 PM PST · 21 of 26
    humint to NCjim

    1. The greatest danger in the Middle East is American meddling. WRONG
    2. Bush's earlier remarks about assuming the Middle East was a chaotic place before American intervention were a grave distortion of truth. WRONG
    3. Without America and with its own commodity wealth, the Middle East can still be a prosperous and peaceful region. TRUE

    HISTORICAL CONTEXT in a minute and a half...

  • HUMINT: Unconditional Love

    12/08/2007 9:07:05 PM PST · 5 of 6
    humint to humint

    The point is, GWOT threats are ambiguous and often amorphous threats. They arise directly from the ambiguities of ME society. This is why Western categories are likely to cost more innocent lives than they save. One cannot resolve an ambiguous problem simply by organizing arbitrary categories. In any case, the answer to this problem is clear. The west needs an ideological army. The West needs to take the asymmetric war to the enemy’s doorstep. An ideological army can defeat asymmetric threats where superior technology alone cannot. After reading G. Washington, Admiral Lord Nelson, Machiavelli, Clausewitz, Mao, Peter the Great, Sun Tzu, Imam Ali, Che Guerra I believe Mao’s guerrilla tactics could work splendidly for the committed Jeffersonian – in the ME. The question is, can the West train and deploy Jeffersonians to the battle space? If the West started today, my pessimism would immediately change to optimism. The West could flip the ideological advantage overnight! Make no mistake, without the will to win our ideological fight – a cruel destiny awaits us all.

  • HUMINT: Unconditional Love

    12/08/2007 9:00:01 PM PST · 4 of 6
    humint to humint

    George Washington was gravely disturbed over the situation, and he wrote many letters in his efforts to induce the authorities to provide him with adequate means to protect the border settlers. One of these shows how deeply he was stirred by the conditions:

    "I see their situation, know their danger, and participate in their sufferings, without having it in my powere to give them further relief, than uncertain promises. In short, I see inevitable destruction in so clear a light, that, unless vigorous measures are taken by the Assembly, and speedy assistance sent from below, the poor inhabitants that are now in forts, must unavoidably fall while the remainder of the country are flying before the barbarous foe . . . The supplicating tears of women, and moving petitions from the men, melt me into such deadly sorrow, that I solemnly declare, if I know my own mind, I could offer myself a willing sacrifice to the butchering enemy, provided that would contribute to the people's ease."

  • HUMINT: Unconditional Love

    12/08/2007 8:49:12 PM PST · 3 of 6
    humint to humint

    Better no doctrine than bad doctrine. Better no history than bad history. The saving grace of our military — historically — has been pragmatism. Unlike European generals, we never sent our soldiers to die for a theory (at least, not until Operation Iraqi Freedom). If our own history has a lesson for those responsible for military doctrine, it’s that the only admissible criterion is that the doctrine has to work.

  • HUMINT: Unconditional Love

    12/08/2007 8:24:16 PM PST · 2 of 6
    humint to humint

    Love has many different meanings in English, from something that gives a little pleasure ("I loved that meal") to something one would die for (patriotism, pair bonding). It can describe an intense feeling of affection, an emotion or an emotional state. In ordinary use, it usually refers to interpersonal love. Probably due to its psychological relevance, love is one of the most common themes in art and music.

    Just as there are many types of lovers, there are many kinds of love. Love is inherent in all human cultures. It is precisely these cultural differences that make any universal definition of love difficult to establish. See the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. One definition attempting to be universally applicable is Thomas Jay Oord's: to love is to act intentionally, in sympathetic response to others (including God), to promote overall well-being. This definition applies to the positive connotations of love.

    Expressions of love may include the love for a "soul" or mind, the love of laws and organizations, love for a body, love for nature, love of food, love of money, love for learning, love of power, love of fame, love for the respect of others, etcetera. Different people place varying degrees of importance on the kinds of love they receive. According to philosophers, the only goal of life is to be happy. And there is only one happiness in life: to love and be loved. Love is essentially an abstract concept, much easier to experience than to explain.

  • HUMINT: Unconditional Love

    12/08/2007 7:56:19 PM PST · 1 of 6
  • Security, Economy in Iraq Improving From Local Level Up

    12/06/2007 8:15:58 PM PST · 4 of 4
    humint to SandRat

    And the security situation is improving. Attacks throughout the country are down, Multinational Force Iraq officials have said. Brinkley said the improvement was like someone flipped a switch. “I would never have forecast in September this suddenness of normal,” he said.

    "Suddenness of normal". This is a priceless expression.

  • State-Led Drive Aims to Close Technology Gap

    12/06/2007 8:07:57 PM PST · 6 of 7
    humint to do the dhue

    Chertok says the free-market changes instituted by President Boris Yeltsin after the Soviet Union fell apart were disastrous for Russian science. "We need to restore what we have lost over 15 years of destructive reforms," said Chertok, whose very name was once a state secret. "The market economy is incapable of fulfilling such large national programs as flight to the moon."

    Communism breeds corruption. Corruption is a tax on capitalism. When communism crashed in Russia, corruption had progressed to such a dangerous level, the Russians needed to be bailed out. What's funny about Chertok's opinion is that some of the most ardent dissidents in the old Soviet Empire were scientists and engineers. The reason is obvious. They were disconnected from the most basic of motivating factors - the relationship between risk and reward.

  • Gates: Intelligence Estimate Shows Need to Keep Up Pressure on Iran

    12/05/2007 5:24:30 AM PST · 11 of 12
    humint to SandRat

    “If anything, the new national estimate validates the administration’s strategy of bringing diplomatic and economic pressures to bear on the Iranian government to change its policies,” Gates told reporters.

    The NIE is a tiny island of good news surrounded by an ocean of bad. Iran's ambitions are crystal clear. They've always been focussed on terror ops more so than WMD. In that context, the NIE is a major distraction from the threat Iran poses to the stability of the Middle East. Either way you look at it though, Gates is right. For the minority of us who read the fine print, it looks like the pressure was working. Unfortunately, the disingenuous headlines generated by the NIE have done far more harm to American interests in the Middle East than the important information contained in the NIE's fine print. Now, it will be far more difficult to generate the kind of pressure that was working before the NIE was released...

  • What Makes a Terrorist

    12/02/2007 11:05:31 PM PST · 10 of 16
    humint to humint

    ORIGINAL: Its empirical accuracy belies its civil-imprecision. The study implies all movements are morally equivalent. They are not... and never will be.

    CORRECTION: Its empirical precision belies its civil-accuracy. The study implies all movements are morally equivalent. They are not... and never will be.

    WIKIPEDIA: Accuracy is the degree of veracity while precision is the degree of reproducibility. The analogy used here to explain the difference between accuracy and precision is the target comparison. In this analogy, repeated measurements are compared to arrows that are fired at a target. Accuracy describes the closeness of arrows to the bullseye at the target center. Arrows that strike closer to the bullseye are considered more accurate. The closer a system's measurements to the accepted value, the more accurate the system is considered to be.

  • What Makes a Terrorist

    12/02/2007 10:55:33 PM PST · 8 of 16
    humint to america4vr
    they are people who care so fervently about a cause that they are willing to die for it.

    There is a huge difference between a person who is willing to die for what they believe and a person who is willing to kill for what they believe. Rule makers who have never tasted their own bloody lip after a taking a punch in the face would probably have difficulty understanding the difference. Fist fights are a microcosm of international relations. If you believe in rational discourse as I do, then you know your opponent establishes the amount of violence required to determine victory. It's a binary equation determined by the actions of the oppressor. In other words, preparedness to respond to an aggressive enemy does not constitute terrorism. Approaching an aggressive enemy in their domain does not constitute terrorism. Defending society against terrorism with deadly force does not constitute terrorism. Unwillingness to retreat in the face of deadly force does not constitute terrorism. This study focuses on the cause of terrorism without considering the causes worth dieing for. Its empirical accuracy belies its civil-imprecision. The study implies all movements are morally equivalent. They are not... and never will be.

  • Chavez loses vote on new powers in Venezuela

    12/02/2007 10:33:24 PM PST · 74 of 142
    humint to james500

    The national electoral authority said early on Monday the "No" camp won 51 percent of the vote compared to the pro-Chavez "Yes" camp's 49 percent.


  • NASA Map Reveals Clear View of Frozen Continent

    12/02/2007 10:07:23 PM PST · 21 of 21
    humint to maine-iac7

    Animation of Larsen B breakup, 31 January to 7 March 2002

    Doesn't seem to have shrunk much in 35 years???

    That's an empirical question/assertion... This is a true color animation of the events of January, February, and March 2002 as recorded by NASA's MODIS satellite sensor. (MODIS stands for Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer, a sensor flying on NASA's Terra satellite.) The images show the Larsen B ice shelf and parts of the Antarctic Peninsula (on left). The first scene from 31 January 2002 shows the shelf in late austral summer with dark bluish melt ponds dotting its surface. In the next two scenes minor retreat takes place, amounting to about 800 km2, during which time several of the melt ponds well away from the ice front drain through new cracks within the shelf. The main collapse is seen in the last two scenes, on 5 March and 7 March, with thousands of sliver icebergs and a large area of very finely divided 'bergy bits' where the shelf formerly lay. Brownish streaks within the floating chunks mark areas where rocks and morainal debris are exposed from the former underside and interior of the shelf. The last phases of the retreat totalled ~2600 km2.Resolution of the original images is 500 m.

  • NASA Map Reveals Clear View of Frozen Continent

    12/02/2007 8:44:30 PM PST · 16 of 21
    humint to BGHater
    More photos:

    Beautiful! Thanks for the link. The bigness of space reminds me of how little everything else really is. Seriously --- I think we'll never really understand us unless we include images of ourselves from space in our philosophy [1].


    [1] Sometimes, when I say "we", I'm referring to earth and every living thing on it.

  • NASA Map Reveals Clear View of Frozen Continent

    12/02/2007 7:45:18 PM PST · 1 of 21

  • Rejecting the Political Picture [A brilliant catalog of Geo-Political Fantasy]

    12/01/2007 3:26:37 AM PST · 6 of 8
    humint to Uncle Ike

    Interesting article — especially the way the author brings it all home by indulging in his own ‘fantasy’ in the final couple of paragraphs....

    Not all fantasies are bad. We're all approaching the future from our own mental models. I assert the closer a mental model is to reality, the better it serves its subscribers. This author is exposing the inaccuracies of many dangerous mental models in the ME and making room for more accurate ones, without forcing his own mental model on the ME as a replacement. That's why this piece is extremely important, in my opinion.

  • Rejecting the Political Picture [A brilliant catalog of Geo-Political Fantasy]

    12/01/2007 3:12:00 AM PST · 5 of 8
    humint to SatinDoll

    Some things I immediately notice in this editorial piece, if I may call it that: that there is no mention of what the people who are there want in the way of government.

    From my reading of it, that's the point of the piece. It highlights the fantasies of many diverse groups in the ME and exposes the inherent incompatibility and implausibility of each in the context of the others. The author then asks the question... "what should replace these fantasies?".

    The Jews are never mentioned. BIG MISTAKE but not surprising since the author is Saudi Arabian, and they think of the Jews as only a subservient people, undeserving of self rule, much less their own nation.

    This happens to be the best catalog of fantasies I've found. That doesn't imply it is complete. By all means, add Israeli ambitions to the list. For the sake of creating an accurate catalog, it makes sense to stick to the scope of this article and the information contained herein. What difference does the author's nationality make in the context of a catalog? In terms of the introspective questions posed at the end of the piece, I think Israelis have already answered them.

    There is no consideration whatsoever of what [existing] populations there, in the Middle East, want in the way of government.

    Again, that's the point of the piece as I understood it.

    Postulations are complex. Solutions should always be simple and elegant in the end.

    Every solution begins with an acceptance of the variables as they are now, and a commitment to make changes to some or all of those variables to manifest the desired solution, whatever that may be. This catalog of fantasies is a beginning... Here's a thought --- If published annually, and read widely, the catalog would probably morph into a catalog of plausible and desirable realities. That's an exciting prospect. On the other hand; Assuming you can go from the mess that exists today to an elegant solution tomorrow is itself a fantasy. Add that one to the catalog too.

  • Rejecting the Political Picture [A brilliant catalog of Geo-Political Fantasy]

    12/01/2007 1:06:34 AM PST · 1 of 8

    Mshari Al-Zaydi: A Saudi journalist and expert on Islamic movements and Islamic fundamentalism as well as Saudi affairs. Mshari is Asharq Al-Awsat’s opinion page Editor, where he also contributes a weekly column. Has worked for the local Saudi press occupying several posts at Al -Madina newspaper amongst others. He has been a guest on numerous news and current affairs programs as an expert on Islamic extremism.

  • HUMINT: Satire as Philosophy

    11/28/2007 2:59:44 PM PST · 3 of 3
    humint to Congressman Billybob
    "A World Full of Pinocchio"

    Excellent piece. No doubt, honesty wins!

    In places without freedom of expression and zero respect for women, jokes about someone else's obese mother aren't going to change much. However, a version of Plato's satire about feminism; a woman as the Supreme Leader of Iran (STORYLINE: a prostitute from Tehran sleeps her way through the Assembly of Experts and is selected by them to replace Ayatohla Khamenei...), for example... might shake some high fruit out of the trees, if you know what i mean. Too many of us are satisfied with blaming ourselves or simply picking the low hanging fruit when it comes to tyrannical dictatorships. You however have seen the light. Hugo Chavez may or may not have played Monopoly but either way, he missed the major premise of the game, in the same way that he has missed the major premise of how the world works.

  • HUMINT: Satire as Philosophy

    11/28/2007 2:19:11 PM PST · 1 of 3

    [1] Plato as a Proto-Feminist --- EXCERPT: Of course, we cannot be absolutely certain of Plato’s views… such knowledge would be impossible without interviewing the philosopher himself. But, through careful analyses of his writings, we can certainly glean out ideas which paint him as a proto-feminist.

    [2] The image is of blind justice with its pixel color inverted, Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert in the upper right corner and the Parthenon sits in the lower right corner. Inverting the image of justice is my satire. The meaning remains but the overall seriousness of the statue is limited by manipulating the image’s color. Stewart and Colbert are brilliant satirists. While they are funny, the direction they are going with their satire deserves to be challenged. The Parthenon in the lower right corner represents the Athenian Empire, Athenian Democracy and Plato’s world. That era deeply influences Americans today even if most of us don’t realize it.