« | Home | Categories | »

How Technology Almost Lost the War: In Iraq, the Critical Networks Are Social — Not Electronic

Posted on December 8th, 2007 at 22:25 by John Sinteur in category: Mess O'Potamia


Their model was Wal-Mart. Here was a sprawling, bureaucratic monster of an organization — sound familiar? — that still managed to automatically order a new lightbulb every time it sold one. Warehouses were networked, but so were individual cash registers. So were the guys who sold Wal-Mart the bulbs. If that company could wire everyone together and become more efficient, then US forces could, too. “Nations make war the same way they make wealth,” Cebrowski and Garstka wrote. Computer networks and the efficient flow of information would turn America’s chain saw of a war machine into a scalpel.

The US military could use battlefield sensors to swiftly identify targets and bomb them. Tens of thousands of warfighters would act as a single, self-aware, coordinated organism. Better communications would let troops act swiftly and with accurate intelligence, skirting creaky hierarchies. It’d be “a revolution in military affairs unlike any seen since the Napoleonic Age,” they wrote. And it wouldn’t take hundreds of thousands of troops to get a job done — that kind of “massing of forces” would be replaced by information management. “For nearly 200 years, the tools and tactics of how we fight have evolved,” the pair wrote. “Now, fundamental changes are affecting the very character of war.”

Network-centric wars would be more moral, too. Cebrowski later argued that network-enabled armies kill more of the right people quicker. With fewer civilian casualties, warfare would be more ethical. And as a result, the US could use military might to create free societies without being accused of imperialist arrogance.


And yet, here we are. The American military is still mired in Iraq. It’s still stuck in Afghanistan, battling a resurgent Taliban. Rumsfeld has been forced out of the Pentagon. Dan Halutz, the Israeli Defense Forces chief of general staff and net-centric advocate who led the largely unsuccessful war in Lebanon in 2006, has been fired, too. In the past six years, the world’s most technologically sophisticated militaries have gone up against three seemingly primitive foes — and haven’t won once.

How could this be? The network-centric approach had worked pretty much as advertised. Even the theory’s many critics admit net-centric combat helped make an already imposing American military even more effective at locating and killing its foes. The regimes of Saddam Hussein and Mullah Omar were broken almost instantly. But network-centric warfare, with its emphasis on fewer, faster-moving troops, turned out to be just about the last thing the US military needed when it came time to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan. A small, wired force leaves generals with too few nodes on the military network to secure the peace. There aren’t enough troops to go out and find informants, build barricades, rebuild a sewage treatment plant, and patrol a marketplace.

For the first three years of the Iraq insurgency, American troops largely retreated to their fortified bases, pushed out woefully undertrained local units to do the fighting, and watched the results on feeds from spy drones flying overhead. Retired major general Robert Scales summed up the problem to Congress by way of a complaint from one division commander: “If I know where the enemy is, I can kill it. My problem is I can’t connect with the local population.” How could he? For far too many units, the war had been turned into a telecommute.

Write a comment

New Security Risk: Blankets

Posted on December 8th, 2007 at 22:23 by John Sinteur in category: Security


Well, here is the truth. Now it can be told: Another secret plan to stop the distribution of music over the Internet has been foiled.

“They” were using Binary Blanket Chemistry. Alone, the “A” and “B” solutions are only mildly dangerous. But, both are fragrant and they make blankets feel soft. But, rub them together with a little elbow grease and you got a powerful reaction that amplifies the usual static charge that happens in such circumstances and produces a giant Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) that frys any electronics within range. Binary Blanket Chemistry does not produce an explosion.

This secret terrorist plot was uncovered by undercover operatives who were working in a blanket mill. They noticed an unusual number of shipments of even-numbered quantities of blankets to the target city.

While the exact formulation of the binary components has been classified, a similar, but much less powerful, binary gives you an idea of how this Binary Blanket Chemistry works:


Only, with Binary Blanket Chemistry, all you have to do to trigger the EMP is to rub the binary blankets together. You don’t have to shoot ’em like you have to do with the tannerite targets at the above Website.

Now, imagine a concentration of binary blanket-rubbers!

So, “they” soaked many red blankets in the “A” solution and many yellow blankets in the “B” solution.

Once the blankets were dry, they distributed them to cooperating pairs of blanket-rubbers. Once safely through the security check point, the blanket-rubbers would have been free to find their other half and merely rub their blankets together on queue – on that fifth note, you know – and Zap!! – Electronics are destroyed.

So, quit disparaging the vicious and opportunistic capitalism of the vendors who were selling blankets and water, and thank your lucky stars that we know about Binary Blanket Chemestry!

Also, there has been a recent development. It seems that there is now confusion about who “they” are. You see, the band has been systematically distributing their music on the Internet, outside of the usual distribution channels. Sources say that “they” are actually music industry operatives who wanted to eliminate the band – they were a bad influence on other bands who use traditional distribution channels for their music.

Proof of this seems to lie in the fact that the first 5 rows of seats were to be filled with alternating red and yellow blanket carriers. On the queue of that fifth note, these blanket-rubbers were to turn toward one another and rub vigorously. And, Zap!! – no more Internet-distributed band music to annoy “them”.

And that’s why blankets are banned during concerts.

Write a comment

What credit crunch? Club launches £35,000 cocktail

Posted on December 8th, 2007 at 17:32 by John Sinteur in category: What were they thinking?


Economists may be warning of tough times ahead and homeowners fretting about the state of the property market, but one London nightclub remains undeterred. Today, it will launch the world’s most expensive Christmas cocktail, costing £35,000 a glass.

The Movida nightclub, a hangout of celebrities, footballers and the super-rich, has already taken a small number of orders for the drink, named the Flawless.


The drink will appeal to “the stupid segment of the super-rich”, said the social commentator Peter York. “It is so gauche, so crashingly crass, that everyone else will see the buyers as barely literate, as one step up from a potato.

Write a comment

Stonehenge: The Incredibly Simple Secret of How It Was Built

Posted on December 8th, 2007 at 16:47 by John Sinteur in category: News


Wallington has discovered what he believes is the incredibly simple secret of how the ancients managed to build Stonehenge. He demonstrates in this video. Got a couple pebbles?

Write a comment


Posted on December 8th, 2007 at 16:39 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture


How many circles can you see in this picture? Keep looking because I assure you there are several!


Write a comment


  1. I see 16 of them.

  2. You’re still missing some of them. Look at the area’s between the rectangles both horizontally and vertically, in the same way you found the first 16.

  3. Hum…I see the 16 plus the others, thought I wouldn’t really count the others as circles…

  4. The mind can fill in the missing parts to make circles between the rectangles horisontally, but I didn’t count these as circles either, since they’re not complete in the image itself. But I do and did see them as suggestions…

Review of Iran Intelligence to Be Sought

Posted on December 8th, 2007 at 16:15 by John Sinteur in category: Mess O'Potamia


Senate Republicans are planning to call for a congressional commission to investigate the conclusions of the new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran as well as the specific intelligence that went into it, according to congressional sources.

The move is the first official challenge, but it comes amid growing backlash from conservatives and neoconservatives unhappy about the assessment that Iran halted a clandestine nuclear weapons program four years ago. It reflects how quickly the NIE has become politicized, with critics even going after the analysts who wrote it, and shows a split among Republicans.


The “jungle telegraph” in Washington is booming with news of the Iran NIE. I am told that the reason the conclusions of the NIE were released is that it was communicated to the White House that “intelligence career seniors were lined up to go to jail if necessary” if the document’s gist were not given to the public. Translation? Someone in that group would have gone to the media “on the record” to disclose its contents.

So hearings? Sure, bring ‘m on!

Write a comment


Posted on December 8th, 2007 at 15:54 by John Sinteur in category: Quote

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.

Soren Kierkegaard (1813 – 1855)

Write a comment


Posted on December 8th, 2007 at 15:48 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ

Your dog will need to be a pitbull shaped dog around 65 lbs or I’ll need your dog here in person to get the fit right.

Write a comment


Posted on December 8th, 2007 at 11:46 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon






Write a comment

Campaign to name US street after Douglas Adams

Posted on December 8th, 2007 at 11:33 by John Sinteur in category: News


A group of American Douglas Adams fans are seeking to have a street named after him in Portland, Oregon. The chosen street – naturally – is currently called 42nd Avenue.

Write a comment


Posted on December 8th, 2007 at 10:31 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!, If you're in marketing, kill yourself


After six years big business still has no idea what to do with this blog thing.

The Blog Council, a professional community of top global brands dedicated to promoting best practices in corporate blogging, officially launched today. Founding members include the leading companies from a diverse range of business sectors: AccuQuote, Cisco Systems, The Coca-Cola Company, Dell, Gemstar-TV Guide, General Motors, Kaiser Permanente, Microsoft, Nokia, SAP, and Wells Fargo.

Oh, that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Of course, these are the companies that should know right? I mean they’ve been using Trapper Keepers and Daytimers all their lives, so blogs are just like that right? A neat folder system for your mind-thoughts?

The Blog Council exists as a forum for executives to meet one another in a private, vendor-free environment and share tactics, offer advice based on past experience, and develop standards-based best practices as a model for other corporate blogs.

Read: We’re going share notes on how we pretend to be fifteen year olds who can’t stop blogging about how great our products are and how to avoid being sniffed out as a fraudlog two hours after the first post. Oh, and we’re going to have a lovely salad with Pacific Northwest farmed salmon for lunch.

(read the rest as well – it’s funny!)

Write a comment