Always yours, at The Conjecturer.
Defense & The War
- Dan the Missing Conjecturer and I were emailing each other today (he’s fine, thanks, just very busy). He mentioned something fascinating—Secretary Gates seems to be rather assertively professionalizing the DoD’s analytical corps (for lack of a better term), breaking it somewhat of the politicization we’ve seen under Bush/Cheney. Case in point is the NIE just released, which states that Iran has canceled its nuclear weapons program sometime in 2003. Which is the date of the invasion, yes. But it is also years past the doom-and-gloom and war mongering we’ve seen in recent weeks and months. I wonder why it was released now, as it makes everyone look bad—from the Administration showing just how truly unreliable its statements on anything are, to the IC acquiring a disappointingly high profile of failure.
- Oh, and Iran apologists unite? I guess? Good grief I hope all those weirdos who mocked me and insulted my reasoning and research at least have the dignity to eat crow, if they can’t muster a mea culpa or an apology.
- The Right-o-sphere made a huge deal about The New Republic printing the reports of a fabulist as if they were truth. Perhaps they could do us the courtesy of doing the same now that it’s National Review. What? National Review didn’t slander the troops, it just tried to stoke another war with Hezbollah? Well, then they committed the lesser sin, so screw everyone else.
- Is Zenia Helbig really a whistleblower? Uhh, no. But she certainly had no right to be mocked like that by her peers. How shameful—for them. Zenia made a dumb comment and got nailed for it; these things happen, and they suck, but she isn’t a bad person. The AAA should be ashamed of itself for being so incredibly childish. And Shachtman is not helping things by being so sensationalist.
Around the World
- Wait, does Venezuela have a democracy now? I thought he was the next Pol Pot? Or will we start putting our dictators in perspective for once?
- Over at Registan.net, I take a look at the slow creep of Soviet nostalgia in Kyrgyzstan. There’s tons more there, from counterinsurgency in Afghanistan to the geopolitics of gas pipelines in Turkmenistan, to media rights in Uzbekistan. All are worth a read.
- Flashmobbing Alisher Saipov.
- Oh hey, shilling for Turkmenistan gets you bling! So, since I think they’re like, awesome and stuff, do I get one? Ebay would eat that sh!t.
- Oh hey look, knowing how Afghan society works can pay off huge dividends! Take that Ann Marlowe! Oh and Afghanistanica has posted a documentary about Rashid Dostum that is well worth watching.
- A Russian company’s purchase of LiveJournal is indeed troubling—but not for the reasons you think. There won’t be any mass censorship (even on the Russian-language LiveJournals); rather, I wonder what the underlying software is going to turn into, and what hooks it will put into users’ systems. Call me super old-school, but I just don’t trust Russian programmers.
- So speaking of Russia, how mega-awesome is it that the prime suspect in Alexander Litvinenko’s murder was elected to the Duma and is now totally immune from prosecution, in addition to the extradition immunity he already enjoyed? Mega-awesome.
- I keep wanting to LOL at Belgium, but it’s really a major problem.
Back at Home
- I hope everyone was as ecstatic at the return of the Hello Kitty Vibrator as I was.
- Why are we bringing back Prohibition? Is it because banning recreational drugs is like really successful at fixing a social ill andmaximizing liberty while minimizing government overreach and policy brutality? Surely it is.
Well. I am coming up on a year of doing these almost every single work day. They take a lot of work, though less than at first—I’ve become pretty adept at the process (though you can, of course, quibble with my ability to sarcastically summarize the stories themselves). But I’m not sure I can keep it going. I like it, it’s a fun way of clearing my head of all the random stories that I think are interesting but not worth a full-on post. But I face two challenges: they take a lot of time, and I’m really busy these days. Plus, I feel like I’m seeing all trees with no forrest… Losing perspective, in other words. I might pull the plug soon.
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