Archive for February 5th, 2007

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28 Counter-insurgency Strategies

February 5, 2007

While all the debate regarding what to do in  Iraq  plays out everywhere in the media and in Washington, I thought it’d be relevant to post something that David Kilcullen wrote last year (Hat Tip: LewisMumford):

Twenty-eight Articles: Fundamentals of Company-Level Counterinsurgency (pdf)

Very interesting read.   There’s definitely a disconnect between what wanna-be right wing pundits like Debbie Schlussel think our troops are trying to do in Iraq and what they are actually trying to do.

Kilcullen looks at the ‘war on terror” from a anthropological point of view (from the New Yorker):

“After 9/11, when a lot of people were saying, ‘The problem is Islam,’ I was thinking, It’s something deeper than that. It’s about human social networks and the way that they operate.”

Somehow, I don’t think that opinion is too popular over at LGF.  Nevertheless, Kilcullen is one of the counterinsurgency gurus that Bush (and the rest of us ) are relying on to turn this Iraq effort around.  He’s got some ideas that make sense to me:

Last year, in an influential article in the Journal of Strategic Studies, Kilcullen redefined the war on terror as a “global counterinsurgency.” The change in terminology has large implications. A terrorist is “a kook in a room,” Kilcullen told me, and beyond persuasion; an insurgent has a mass base whose support can be won or lost through politics. The notion of a “war on terror” has led the U.S. government to focus overwhelmingly on military responses.

Where the hell has this guy been for the last 6 years? 

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Blogging For President 2008

February 5, 2007

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a good post on Think Progress that detailed all the presidential hopefuls’ web campaigns to date.  As you can see, some of those who’ve thrown their hat in the ring are embracing the power of blogs more than others (current as of Jan 20):

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Dutch Spammer Busted

February 5, 2007

I was scanning the LGF ‘tech news’ this morning and I saw a story that’s sure to upset absolutely no one: Dutch Man Fined $97,000 for Billions of Spam Messages.

A spammer whom authorities say e-mailed more than 9 billion unwanted advertisements for products like erection pills faces a hefty fine: If he needs headache medication or debt relief there’s probably an unsolicited ad in his own inbox.

Dutch authorities have levied a $97,000 fine on an unidentified man for sending “unsolicited electronic messages to consumers to promote erection enhancement pills, pornographic web sites, sex products and such,” the country’s telecommunications watchdog said Friday in a statement. It was the largest such fine levied by the watchdog, known by its Dutch acronym OPTA.

OPTA said it considered several factors, including the sheer volume of the messages, saying the 9 billion was a “minimum” estimate.

The article goes on to say that the Dutchman made an estimated $52,000 sending spam to the world in one year.  Unreal.  No wonder the spam has gone beyond email.  It’s hard to find any message board or blog out there that isn’t working night and day to control the flow of crap coming from these modern day street vendors.  I think this is very good news.  If we’re going to try to rid the world of spam, however,  I’m guessing we’re going to have to do a bit better than a $97,000 fine to send the message.

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Iraq: Money Pit

February 5, 2007

Of all the problems that the Iraq war brought us, perhaps the most ignored is the element of rampant fraud and war profiteering.   One would hope that the recent changes in Washington would lead to some investigation into whether or not the American taxpayer is getting completely shafted by Bush’s little Mid East experiment. 

I just read a post by digby that gave me some hope.  It looks like Henry Waxman is looking into it a bit:

Chairman Waxman Invites Witnesses for Waste, Fraud, and Abuse Hearing

Rep. Waxman has requested the testimony of three key witnesses regarding Iraq reconstruction efforts at an Oversight Committee hearing on waste, fraud, and abuse, to be held the week of February 6th.

L. Paul Bremer, former head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, has been requested to testify regarding reconstruction activities during his tenure at the CPA, as well as an audit report from January 2005 that concluded that more than $8.8 billion in cash under CPA’s control was disbursed without adequate financial controls or accountability.

Stuart Bowen, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, has been requested to testify regarding the audits and field inspections conducted by his office related to reconstruction activities in Iraq.

Timothy Carney, Coordinator for Iraqi Transitional Assistance, has been requested to testify regarding the newly created position of Coordinator, his role in assisting the Iraqi government with reconstruction efforts, and his prior service in Iraq.

February 6th is, of course, Tuesday.  Should be interesting. I think we’ll see why Bush apparently wanted the cronies to be in charge of the reconstruction

For a documentary about the war profiteering going on in Iraq, check out Iraq For Sale: