Wednesday, March 05, 2003


Dilettantes study tactics.
Amateurs study strategy.
Professionals study logistics.

Kos shows he's a pro. Check it out for some seriously good info, both on what our troops will be facing as they head toward Baghdad from Kuwait and why going through Turkey would be a really good idea.

However, that little saying above has a fourth line:

Winners study finance.

Are we going to be winners here? At least $100 billion for the war, no telling how much for the occupation, the economy in the toilet, and an administration committed to massive tax cuts for the only people who still have money. Traditionally, we have issued bonds to cover our deficits, but how long are people going to keep loaning us money? And what happens when we need to pay for Korea? Iran? Syria Lybia? Venezuela? Cuba?

I'll worry when the Government starts issuing "War Bonds" -- low interest, long term bonds to be bought by "all patriotic Americans". It worked during WWII to soak up excess cash that might otherwise have gone to bidding up the price of scarce consumer goods. Now, it would be a sign of desperation.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003


The resaon that North Korea claims that their missiles can hit the US is that they've done it.

Anybody know more about this? This is scary in too many ways to list ...

Monday, March 03, 2003

Tell Me Again ...

... about the Laws (ha!) of Probability.

More like the Law of Survival of the Weirdist.

Guess who got tapped for jury duty? Hint -- he appointed the judge.

Dirty Harry

I have seen a number of suggestions that, after our capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, that we not be too gentle with him. Or, we turn him over to some of out less scrupulous allies for "interrogation" (wink wink, nudge nudge). Bad idea.

In the movie Dirty Harry, Harry Callahan (played by Clint Eastwood) is chasing a serial killer. The killer has kidnapped a 15 year old girl and buried her somewhere with only enough air for (IIRC) 15 hours. Harry catches the killer and "persuades" him to tell the girl's location (.44 magnum, meet kneecap. Kneecap, meet .44 magnum). Plot ensues.

This is obviously what folks have in mind. KSM may (ha!) have knowledge of al Qaeda plots in progress. We need that information, and there's no time to be squeamish about how we get it. The problem is very simple -- it doesn't work that way. Dirty Harry is a movie, and Harry's getting the information from the killer in about a minute via torture is as realistic as his .44 magnum I've known a number of people who bought "Dirty Harry" model .44 magnum revolvers after seeing the movie. Every one of them has regretted it. They're essentially useless.

Torture is very effective at producing confessions. It is, however, almost totally ineffective at getting correct information. Torture subjects will say anything to get it to stop -- but their information is almost certainly false. You still have to investigate everything, which takes time. You might as well use the resources for real police investigation, and if you're doing that, you don't need the torture. In the case of KSM, we have his notebooks, computer, cellphones, and address books. If he tells us what's going down, cool. If not, we have lots of other people to talk to ...

Basically, torture is useful only for letting some sickos get their rocks off.

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