Open Thread, 10 May, 2009

A000120a I don't find anything in today's news to be a focus.  Let's have an open thread with some emphasis on South Asia, Alan Farrell's movie reviews,(should we ask him to start writing them again?) or anything else.  pl

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22 Responses to Open Thread, 10 May, 2009

  1. Patrick Lang says:

    Some of the reviews are on SST and others on TA.
    You can write to Farrell at VMI in the Language department. pl

  2. Ahhh, my bud Rothko, Transmitter of The Truth. Now those were some fun discussions over on TA when you posted that Wiki excerpt. Reminded me of the more passionate days of throwing shoes at the Tellie and arguing all night with my AF buddy who has a double major, one of which is in Philosophy. My scatter-brained passion was no match to his methodical logic. Even the Demon Rum wouldn’t dull his abilities.
    Somehow, artists keep that youthful passion alive. And I’m damned envious of them!
    Yes, it would be great to have Allen Farrel’s reviews back. I was wondering what happened to them.
    And if we really want to shake things up for the artsy-fartsy among us, a discussion on creativity and aesthetics will typically do the trick!
    The foreign policy problems in SWA are so deep they can make us mere mortals (like me) simply give up trying to understand them. That’s one of the reasons I wish our empire would just come to an end – I’m tired of trying to understand the policies that are carried out supposedly for my “good.” It’s easy to see the benefits of my taxes at work when they are applied to our needs here at home. Not so much when we’re playing Empire. Nobody in their right mind would ever try to invade us, so I really don’t see any reason to remain a hyper power. It is just too costly and, ultimately, we’ll just overextend ourselves like everyone else has and contract anyway. Why not admit the truth and perform an “orderly exit” while we’re still cooking along pretty well?
    Would the neighbors mind if I poured concrete over my entire yard and glued down AstroTurf instead? The punishing season has begun. Ugh.

  3. Arun says:

    Someone asked on another forum: “Where is the international public outrage that attends every Israeli operation in Gaza and Lebanon? The Pakistanis arent making a fraction of the IDF effort that goes in to target discrimination.
    When Israel does use collective punishment, its aims at populations that are very supportive of extremists in order to generate popular pressure towards compromise. In Swat the local population isnt even particularly sympathetic to the Pakiban, and yet the PA seems to have little to no regard for the lives and property of loyal citizens, or even their own state. Its almost as if they’re *trying* to turn the population against them.”

  4. frank durkee says:

    A friend, who knew Rothko, described him as a mystic. Some of his art sets off those resonnances within me. I deeply admire him.

  5. Okay open thread! What did the meeting of the three President’s accomplish last week, if anything?
    PL! Do you personally believe as some do that the Intel budget as to indicate its total as opposed to specifics should be released publically?
    Finally, how would you improve if that is possible the oversight of the Intel community by the Congress, and is it important that this be done?
    What do you think of the fact that NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) has NO capabilitly for storage of SAP documents and therefore relies on the agency with control over the SAP to maintain those records? My real question is the secret history of the US Government an important factor in our democracy (republic) as far as the public “need to know”?afbnato/ n Ecoc

  6. Patrick Lang says:

    I consider him to be a mystic, a sort of New York Jewish Sufi. pl
    I would be opposed to publishing the over all intelligence budget to the public. the details would tell the opposition what the relative weights are in your collection and analytic efforts.
    The archives should have a properly secured SCIF section with an SSO capable of handling access and clearances. pl

  7. frank durkee says:

    Col. Wonderful description. Matches his effect.

  8. Summers says:

    I recently discovered this site and recognized you from your many appearances on The NewsHour, which I enjoyed very much. I’ve wondered why they don’t ask you back for more appearances.

  9. In an earlier thread I someone listed a bunch of Israeli motivations for squawking about Iran. I posted that I would put a poker chip on the one marked “to hold onto Palestinian land.”
    It seems that Uri Avnery (Israeli journalist and peacenik) thinks the same.
    Guess it’s an obvious conclusion but I’m glad that my poker-chip tossing coincides with Avnery’s more considered analysis.

  10. Also wondering, Colonel, if you have anything to add to the Pope’s visit to Jordan, status of Christians in the area, etc.

  11. curious says:

    oh, and there is this old 2005 chuckle stuff. Total budget $60B. (about the size of entire Russian military budget at that time.)
    The briefing was made public on DIA’s Web site, and on June 3, a writer named R.J. Hillhouse revealed on her blog, the Spy Who Billed Me, that a simple right click on one of the slides discloses enough information to calculate “that the total budget of the 16 US intelligence agencies … [is] $60 billion, almost 25% higher than previously believed.” Hillhouse discovered this classified information by opening the PowerPoint slide titled “Award Actions Trend Data” (page 12), right clicking her mouse over the chart titled “Award Dollars,” choosing “chart object,” and then left clicking “open” to see the hard figures Everett used to create the bar graph (reproduced on page nine).

  12. Intrepid Unpaid says:

    Any comment on Force Strategic Engagement Cell?

  13. Pat Lang,
    I vote in the affirmative for asking Alan Farrell to resume his film reviews. I just discovered them and want more.
    As a general matter, I would observe that we Americans seem to have a problem with appreciating irony. Do we?
    And, if so, why?

  14. Patrick Lang says:

    I attribute our lack of irony to the general triumph of yankee puritanism. pl

  15. Cold War Zoomie says:

    I still don’t get it.
    Maybe I need to see Rothko in person. All I see right now are various combinations of color and rectangles. Reminds me of Jackson Pollock in a way: he came up with a different “style” and just cycled through different combinations on a theme.
    Now, this fellow has really captured The Human Condition!

  16. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Yes, Americans have humor but not wit.
    French have wit but not hunor.
    The Dutch claim to have humnor – only the Dutch get it, however.

  17. rjj says:

    What makes people laugh in ____ would be a very good introduction to the manifold othernesses.
    There are probably too many hidden rules about who is permitted to make jokes/witticisms about what, tho.

  18. curious says:

    Maybe I need to see Rothko in person. All I see right now are various combinations of color and rectangles.
    Posted by: Cold War Zoomie | 11 May 2009 at 03:29 PM
    Well, first off there is size. The painting is huge, instead of postage or computer screen size. Depending how close one see it, it’s an ambient of color or at least a very big color field. Then there is the color depth and gradation that simply doesn’t show up on screen. It has subtle detail, instead of solid block of paint. It’s the kind of thing one has to see it in person.
    Yes, Americans have humor but not wit.
    French have wit but not hunor.
    Posted by: Babak Makkinejad | 11 May 2009 at 03:35 PM
    Wit and Humor–if any difference it is in duration–lightning and electric light. Same material, apparently; but one is vivid, brief, and can do damage–the other fools along and enjoys the elaboration.
    – Mark Twain’s Notebook

  19. Mad Dogs says:

    With an emphasis on South Asia, and therefore in keeping with the point of this thread, I pass this wee bit of recent Pakistan polling noted in the NYT.
    The gist of the poll according to the NYT is:

    “As the Pakistani military pressed its campaign to root out Taliban militants from three districts northwest of the capital, a recent poll showed that an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis did not consider terrorism to be the most important issue facing the country, but instead ranked the economy at the top…
    …Most saw economic issues as the nation’s most pressing problems, with only 10 percent saying terrorism, but 69 percent agreed that having the Taliban and Al Qaeda operate in Pakistan was a serious problem.
    Forty-five percent said they supported fighting the extremists in the tribal areas and the North-West Frontier Province, a high for the poll…”

    The latest poll does not appear to show much change at all in what Pakistanis think regarding Terrorism and Al Qaeda from the IRI’s poll last year.

  20. We could take the easy way out and blame it on the Damnyankee puritans, however, never forget the importance of our being so very earnest, inherited from those Victorians. A feeble bit of humnor, but I’ll send it anyway.

  21. curious says:

    IT’s all coming down to oil price, troops in afghanistan Iraq.
    and war with israel of course.
    but freezing enrichment? I doubt it. That’s not even on NPT.
    with oil price set to skyrocket. I bet Iran is thinking the other way after checking their shopping list.
    They might as well initiate real trade war.
    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration and its European allies are setting a target of early October to determine whether engagement with Iran is making progress or should lead to sanctions, said senior officials briefed on the policy.
    They also are developing specific benchmarks to gauge Iranian behavior. Those include whether Tehran is willing to let United Nations monitors make snap inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities that are now off-limits, and whether it will agree to a “freeze for freeze” — halting uranium enrichment in return for holding off on new economic sanctions — as a precursor to formal negotiations.
    The moves are partly driven by concerns in Israel and among Washington’s Arab allies that Tehran could drag out negotiations indefinitely while advancing its nuclear program, the officials said.
    President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have stressed that U.S. overtures toward Tehran won’t be open-ended. The administration is committed to testing Tehran’s willingness to cooperate on the nuclear issue and on related efforts to stabilize Afghanistan and Iraq.
    Should diplomacy fail, the Obama administration has pledged to increase economic pressure. Mrs. Clinton recently testified that the U.S. will impose “crippling sanctions” on Iran if it doesn’t negotiate.

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