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The Military Technology

How Tech Almost Lost the War 679

An anonymous reader writes "Blame the geeks for the mess in Iraq? Wired says so. Networked troops were supposed to be so efficient, it'd take just a few of 'em to wipe out their enemies. But the Pentagon got their network theory all wrong, with too few nodes and a closed architecture. Besides, a more efficient killing machine is the last thing you want in an insurgency like Iraq."
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How Tech Almost Lost the War

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  • by cyberon22 ( 456844 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:06AM (#21514395)
    The Republicans are to blame for this one.
    • by OECD ( 639690 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:20AM (#21514523) Journal
      It's more banal than that. I see this every day. We have to design a newsletter? Use Excel, it works great in accounting!

      Only difference is that lives aren't at stake ( but how I wish they were...)

      • by sqrt(2) ( 786011 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @01:34AM (#21515023) Journal
        When the only tool you have is Excel, every problem starts looking like a spreadsheet.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          When the only tool you have is Windows, every problem starts looking like malware.
        • by iluvcapra ( 782887 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @04:38AM (#21515859)
        • Re:Actually.... (Score:5, Informative)

          by monopole ( 44023 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @08:23AM (#21516875)
          It's much worse than an over-reliance or mis-application of technology, or having the means justify the end, it's mistaking a means for an end.

          Jeff Huber just put up an excellent essay [] on this which can be summed up by the two quotes by Clausewitz:
          "Policy is the guiding intelligence and war only the instrument, not vice versa."
          "If we do not learn to regard a war, and the separate campaigns of which it is composed, as a chain of linked engagements each leading to the next, but instead succumb to the idea that the capture of certain geographical points or the seizure of undefended provinces are of value in themselves, we are liable to regard them as windfall profits."

          The most efficient "kill-chain" won't do squat unless there is a clear and achievable objective. The other problem is that the "kill-chain" that is being used is purpose built for set piece battles between great powers basically 2nd generation warfare (web 1.0) versus 4th generation asymmetric warfare [].

          You don't even need Clausewitz, Powell will suffice. To use a shortened version of the Powell doctrine:
          - Do we have a clear attainable objective?
          - Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
          - Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
          - Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
          - Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
        • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @08:35AM (#21517011) Homepage
          My dad uses excel for just about everything. Once you learn how to use it, it's quite powerful, and you can do a lot of stuff with it. He designed his deck by making square cells and using that to map out the floor plan. Which is even more impressive, because it's not just a square deck.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by chrish ( 4714 )
          I witnessed the horrors of a point-of-sale system "written" in Excel just last weekend. When the user clicked on products, it would scroll the spreadsheet around to the next step in the purchase process.

          I just knew there was an Access back-end, too, I could sense its evil lurking there. And probably no regular backups.
    • Re:Actually.... (Score:4, Informative)

      by eli pabst ( 948845 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:29AM (#21514591)
      Funny, they're busy blaming the democrats [] for the war this week.
    • by Travoltus ( 110240 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:55AM (#21514805) Journal
      Going by the same logic that says geeks are at fault for this...

      I say let's outsource these jobs to Iran.
    • by mrbluze ( 1034940 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @03:03AM (#21515491) Journal
      Since when has the US won the war? It's over? *slaps forehead* I better go check the newspaper.
    • Re:Actually.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Lerc ( 71477 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @05:47AM (#21516127)
      Tech may not have lost it but I bet it could win it.

      Here's a crazy idea of mine that the govt would never consider.

      How many people in Iraq (27 million and falling)?

      There's that OLPC XO thing. Buy one for evreryone, That's a ridiculous amount of money but not as ridiculous as the amount they've already spent.

      Set up some good international networking (actually I think they have that part already). The mesh will take care of the local.

      Run a campaign in the US that it is duty of every American to talk to an Iraqi, get to know them let them get to know you.

      "do you support the war? Talk to the Iraqis and help win it"
      "against the war? Talk to the Iraqis and help end it"

      There'd have to be support to cover the language barrier, but where there's a will, there's a way*.

      Yep it's a crazy idea, but there's this bit in the back of my mind that says it's hard to fight a war against people you know.

      * I guess that was the problem from the start, there was never really a will.

      now politely ignore my sig just this once.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tom ( 822 )

        There'd have to be support to cover the language barrier, but where there's a will, there's a way*.
        There is also a cultural barrier that is vastly underestimated. Do you really think a starving farmer from somewhere in Iraq has even a common ground for a conversation with a fat redneck senator? Or a wallstreet broker? Or even a WalMart cleaner? Their worlds are so different that finding even something where they can relate would be a challenge.

      • Re:Actually.... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 29, 2007 @09:18AM (#21517439)
        [though the following may appear to be directed at you, it isn't specifically aimed at just you]

        here's another crazy plan. i'm gonna come to your house with 7 crips. we're going to kill your wife and rape your daughter before shooting her too. then we'll burn down your house and drag you off to prison, where you will remain until we feel like releasing you, hell maybe we'll rape you too. afterwards we'll give you a laptop with msn so some idiot can tell you how wonderful the war is for you and how you should just stop being so angry and see that it was in your best interests. and here's the REALLY crazy part. we'll be fucking *astounded* when it doesn't work and will declare you a muslim fundamentalist for fighting an invading army waging an illegal war.

        at the risk of invoking godwin's law (in my defense this is a statement of fact) the very idea of trying to re-educate your victims even as you slaughter them is literally the same attitude nazi germany demonstrated in russia. again, they were SHOCKED that the russians didn't either give up or join them. after all, they didn't have a chance against the mightiest army the world had ever seen, right?

        i'm not new here, i've been reading slashdot since 1999 (the first story i read was about the columbine massacre). yet i'm still amazed at how braindead some of the comments are. god help us, some of these people probably work for the department of defence. you just don't get it. you *cannot* win in iraq. maybe you could have, in a five minute window, but not now. you can kill every last iraqi and you'll still lose. i know there are plenty of people who read that last sentence and are thinking 'killing them all isn't losing!' which just reinforces my point that slashdotters just don't get it. war is not a deathmatch. after your inevitable defeat iraqis will have lost lives but gained a national soul, forged by a great victory against terrible odds. your country on the other hand will have lost good men and the last vestige of what made it great. i hope it's worth it.
        • Re:Actually.... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by KKlaus ( 1012919 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @04:37PM (#21524239)
          The Iraqis are hardly as monolithic as you imply. The majority of them are more interested in general quality of life issues than anything else, like whether they have a decent job, can go to the market safely, have clean water and electricity, and so on and so forth. It is true that the majority of them don't like Americans, even beyond the amount you might suspect given that we've killed a lot of them, but they don't hate us enough to stop being essentially utilitarian, which is what they are. That's what the Anbar Awakaning, the "Concerned Citizens" groups, and so on are all about. The Iraqis are just people. As much as they might not like a foreign occupying force, they aren't going to die to the last man (as you suggest) to get rid of it. Would you? Would the people you know? Not if life was the least bit livable under the regime, and not if the alternative was worse. For a while, your average just looking out for his family and friends Iraqi thought the Islamists were the better choice. The evidence (and polling) suggests that that is no longer the case. So while I agree that all in all the whole thing may not have been worth it, Iraqis will almost certainly become our "friends" over the long term. Their only alternative is essentially nutcase religious warlords, and they just don't hate us that much. And as a final point, the U.S. Military hardly behaves like the crips, and don't compare the two.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by anothy ( 83176 )
        the fundamentals of the idea are good, but i think the XO isn't the right vehicle (for this; i'm a big supporter generally and encourage everyone to check out the Give One Get One [] program).

        your idea is based on two points: first, do something constructive instead of destructive, and second, encourage communication. both are excellent.
        the military is actually doing some of the former, but not nearly enough. we did a lot of damage to infrastructure in Iraq during the invasion, and the standards there were ne
  • Blame the Geeks? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) <akaimbatman AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:11AM (#21514429) Homepage Journal

    Blame the geeks for the mess in Iraq?

    More like blame the generals who shot spreadsheet "simulations" back and forth instead of large scale wargames to shake-out the technology. The networked battlefield went out untested with an expectation that it would work as promised. Which is a really dumb assumption for military hardware.

    Besides, a more efficient killing machine is the last thing you want in an insurgency like Iraq.

    'Scuse me? If you've got insurgents setting up an ambush, blasting the frak out of them sounds like a good solution to me. Fire a DU round from a tank down the road, all the IEDs go "boom" and the insurgents waiting on the side go "slwooop" as the massive air pressure changes suck them inside out.

    Efficient killing machine == Good when there are bad guys trying to kill you.

    One might argue that the insurgents are not terrorists and are thus not our enemy. A reasonable argument, save for one missing piece of logic. If the insurgents would wait we'd already be out of Iraq and they could be dealing with the local, underpowered government. Instead, they decide to take on the most powerful military in the world. Even on our bad days, that's not such a good idea.
    • Re:Blame the Geeks? (Score:4, Informative)

      by greg_barton ( 5551 ) * < minus berry> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:32AM (#21514611) Homepage Journal

      Efficient killing machine == Good when there are bad guys trying to kill you.

      == Bad when you create 2x more insurgents because of all the civvies you just collaterally damaged.
      • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) <akaimbatman AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:37AM (#21514655) Homepage Journal
        #1 - There's a reason for a propaganda machine in any war. If the locals are blaming us for deaths, then the propaganda machine is not doing its job.

        #2 - "A more efficient killing machine" in modern military parlance is a machine that strikes more of the right targets and fewer of the wrong targets. We already have the military might to simply wipe Iraq off the map. That would solve the problem, real quick. But it's not the goal. Ergo, more efficient killing machine == good.
        • by amRadioHed ( 463061 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @01:05AM (#21514871)

          #1 - There's a reason for a propaganda machine in any war. If the locals are blaming us for deaths, then the propaganda machine is not doing its job.
          Rove, is that you? If the Iraqis are blaming us for the people we are killing due to the war, we could try and do a better job of convincing them that it isn't our fault.

          Or maybe we could stop killing them.
    • by Frogbert ( 589961 ) <`frogbert' `at' `'> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:34AM (#21514627)

      Instead, they decide to take on the most powerful military in the world. Even on our bad days, that's not such a good idea.
      Really? Because unfortunately it looks like they are doing pretty good so far.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by AKAImBatman ( 238306 )
        As usual, Wikipedia is way ahead of us: []

        Through September 22, 2007 approximately 19,429 insurgents/militia were reported to have been killed according to the U.S. military, including 1,309 bombers

        In addition as of November 21, 2007 approximately 1,357 suicide-bombers have also been reported killed

        Grand total: 14,393-20,697 insurgent dead

        Source: []

        U.S. armed forces. 3,800 dead.


        • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @01:06AM (#21514881)
          By your logic, we decisively won the war in Vietnam.

          The Iraqi insurgents don't look so dumb when the US will have had to spend upwards of $1 Trillion to kill those 20,000. That's $50 million per dead insurgent.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 29, 2007 @02:36AM (#21515355)
          > Grand total: 14,393-20,697 insurgent dead

          Total cost: $500,000,000,000 dollars and counting. Half a trillion dollars.

          > As I said, even on a bad day, attacking the most powerful military in the world is a dumb idea.

          If the most powerful military in the world is paying twenty-five million dollars a kill, and you have a million footsoldiers (assuming 99.9% the planet's billion-odd muslims are OK, and we're only after the 0.1% that are batshit crazy), it's not a dumb idea -- it's a tactic that's been proven successful on the battlefield, because it's the same way they beat the Soviets.

          The fucking dumb idea is that we didn't learn the Soviets' lesson, even though we helped them invent asymmetrical warfare.

          Netcentric warfare is a great way to break things and kill people on the cheap. It's a crappy way to win hearts and minds. When we started this little adventure, it was the right tactic, because we believed in good faith that their hearts and minds didn't need changing. We were wrong; they're not a bunch of repressed people looking for freedom, they're a bunch of fucking tribal shitheels. Half a trillion dollars later, it's time for us to either shit or get off the pot. Either abandon the place and let 'em go back to butchering each other (and we'll buy the oil from whichever side wins the civil war), or we just dust off an nuke the site from orbit, because it's the only way to be sure.

    • 'Scuse me? If you've got insurgents setting up an ambush, blasting the frak out of them sounds like a good solution to me. Fire a DU round from a tank down the road, all the IEDs go "boom" and the insurgents waiting on the side go "slwooop" as the massive air pressure changes suck them inside out.

      True, but with the modern US Army soldier almost on the level of something from an old science fiction movie in terms of his ability to do massive amounts of killing, the "virtue" of striking terror in the hearts o

    • by einhverfr ( 238914 ) <.chris.travers. .at.> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @01:22AM (#21514951) Homepage Journal
      Actually, I thought the IEEE's take on this (the Open Source Warfare article) was more insightful. A different issue that you point out, however, is that of clueless generals.

      The basic problem is that the problem is not the insurgency-- it is the lack of law and order in Iraq. The insurgency is one manifestation of that, but the lack of law and order allowed them to grow and consolidate from a few hundred tiny groups to several larger networks (see the International Crisis Group's works on the insurgency). We are in a situation in Iraq where the US military is very good at killing people but not very good at fighting the insurgency because we can't do what we need to in terms of controlling the situation on the ground.

      You don't want a smaller number of more deadly soldiers. You need a larger number of policemen. We can't do it and we don't train our army to do it. So yes, one has to blame the generals.

      However, the issue from the IEEE article was that the insurgent groups are able to use methods that look an similar to those found in the open source community to adapt their tactics much faster than the US military can (the US military is at least an order of magnitude slower in this regard due to standardization, procurement practices, etc). By the time new tactics are underway, the insurgent groups quickly adapt and those tactics are less useful.

      The second issue is that for every expensive weapon, there is a cheap and easily available countermeasure. Note that HARM's aren't used much since Kosovo because it is now common knowledge that there are sub-$100 countermeasures using commercial off-the-shelf parts for them (cheap microwave ovens have the same RF as the anti-aircraft radar and HARMS cannot distinguish between them). The Serbians may have lost but I wonder how much damage they caused US military R&D with that one.... Smart bombs also could be conceivably confused using inexpensive jamming devices. In the end, unless you are willing to commit the people to the ground

      In short, I personally do not believe that the war in Iraq is winnable under the conditions that W has set out. We will lose that one unless we can make some very difficult choices before the patience of the American people wears out.

      In short one needs lots of police on the ground relying less on military weapons technology. We need to stop using American mercenaries (like Blackwater) because they have an inherent conflict of interest. And we need to be willing to withhold our support for the Iraqi government if certain basic measures are not met. These things are not going to happen so we are not going to win.
    • by Durandal64 ( 658649 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @01:41AM (#21515077)

      One might argue that the insurgents are not terrorists and are thus not our enemy. A reasonable argument, save for one missing piece of logic. If the insurgents would wait we'd already be out of Iraq and they could be dealing with the local, underpowered government. Instead, they decide to take on the most powerful military in the world. Even on our bad days, that's not such a good idea.
      Insurgents are hardly the only problem in Iraq. There are gaping ethnic and tribal divisions that have existed for centuries. "Sunni" and "Shiite" aren't just media buzzwords. They mean something. They're two groups that simply don't get along, and the only reason they were relatively passive during Hussein's rule was because he kept them inline through violence and fear of force. The idea that we could just walk in and wave our magic democracy wand was completely idiotic and obviously came about from people who haven't taken so much as a 100-level college course in Middle Eastern history. If the insurgents decided to wait it out, you can damn sure bet that the ethnic cleansing death squads wouldn't. These people have violent disagreements. Yes, they're disagreements about superstitious bullshit (much like how the Catholics and Protestants can't agree on whether the cardboard-flavored wafer is actually Zombie-Jesus or just a symbol of Zombie-Jesus), but they're disagreements these lunatics are willing to kill each other over.

      As for your ridiculous bravado about our military, wake up. It's being stretched so thin that we can't even take care of our own citizens in case of a natural disaster because all the National Guard units are gone. If the Iraqi insurgents were World War II Germany, then yeah, we'd be suited to fighting them. But our military is simply not geared toward urban warfare. Our troops simply don't have that kind of training. They went in without knowing dick about local customs, and we fired Arabic translators because they were gay and that's icky. We'd be better off dropping the NYPD or LAPD in there. Cops are trained to get to know neighborhoods, learn who to make friends with and whose arms to twist. Soldiers, in the classical sense, aren't.

      It's amazing to me how this maladministration constantly crows about how this is a "different kind of war", but they want to fight it like it's World War II, only not, but kind of. They declare "war" on the tactic of terror (without any Congressional votes), and then they refuse to provide a list of goals that we have to achieve. (And no, "eliminating terrorism" isn't a goal; it's a pipe dream.) So we declare war on terror, and then the president says, "We're at war! I need to expand the executive branch's power and make government waaaaaaaay the fuck bigger!" So what city do we have to capture for the war on terror to be over and for the executive branch to return to its proper size and scope in the government? Who has to surrender? Funny, there are no answers to either of those questions. It's a perpetual war, meant to expand the powers of the presidency beyond any sane interpretations of the Constitution.

      Meanwhile, while all this bullshit is going on, you sit there are cheerlead this insane, utterly incomprehensible state of affairs. Yeah yeah, you love the troops, whatever. Someone who supports the troops wouldn't send them to die for nothing in that fucked up sandpit. This administration is a disgrace to the military. They love to talk about how much they support them and what a great job they're doing, but at the end of the day, the army is an instrument which they use to further their own political ends. And the saddest part is that the military laps it up because they get lip-service. Servicemen and women will still vote for these assholes time and time again, and they die for nothing for their trouble. It's a god damn tragedy.

      Okay, rant over.
      • by localman ( 111171 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @03:16AM (#21515527) Homepage
        they're disagreements about superstitious bullshit

        Some of it is, sure, but a lot of it relates to centuries of real injustice. I don't even remember the details (there's too damn many), but the book "Battle For God" by Karen Armstrong details how these groups have, through many massacres and assassinations, gone far beyond the point where either would back down. That kind of retributive behavior is common human nature. In that regard the Iraqis are no more ridiculous than us.

        Figuring out how to end a centuries old blood feud is left as an exercise to the reader.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Boronx ( 228853 )
      If the insurgents would wait we'd already be out of Iraq and they could be dealing with the local, underpowered government.

      What do you believe, a politicians words or the 100 billion dollar permanent bases they are building ? Bases in Iraq are about the only strategic reason for the war that makes any sense, even though it's an evil reason that in the long run probably cannot work.
  • by astrotek ( 132325 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:16AM (#21514489) Homepage
    Our military doesn't have efficient networked killing machines? Go to and look for some AH64 Apache videos from Iraq or Afghanistan. They are killing people from 1-2 miles away with very accurate 30mm cannon fire all while communicating with the guys on the ground.
  • Catch-22 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Asmor ( 775910 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:20AM (#21514511) Homepage

    So tech is bad because it didn't work and so the troops weren't efficient killing machines...

    But tech is bad because we don't want the troops to be efficient killing machines.

    Is that about the gist of it?
  • by SkinnyKid63 ( 1104787 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:20AM (#21514525)
    A president and Secretary of Defense who were concerned with creating popular support for a war are responsible. They ignored reports from military and civilian groups assigned to study the problems with a post-invasion Iraq, that the administration had themselves created, that a larger force would be needed to prevent the destruction of critical infrastructure. Even then, better deployment of available troops could have prevented much of the immediate post-war chaos. However, the current situation is more a creation of a corrupt system of bidding on construction contracts. Many of these contracts are wildly over budget and half-completed. I seriously doubt that you can blame a highly networked military for that.
  • Blaming the geeks is unacceptable, even if the technology was faulty. Generals get to those high positions by accepting responsibility for their decisions, and they decided to go into war with unproven technology, so it follows that it's their fault. If you're going to be a leader, you have to accept both the accolades on success and responsibility on failure.
    • by Leuf ( 918654 )
      Being a leader means never having to take responsibility for anything until someone further up than you tosses you to the lions to cover their own ass.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hire those geeks from South Korea, preferably their last WCG Starcraft champion, and you would see how network centric warfare should be...
  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:27AM (#21514577)

    Blame the geeks for the mess in Iraq

    How about we blame Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and the other "Hawks" for single-mindedly pushing a US foreign policy doctrine of preemption, which led to a war based on falsified "evidence" of a laughable "threat" to the US?

    Networked troops were supposed to be so efficient, it'd take just a few of 'em to wipe out their enemies.

    We did beat the "enemy"; only Saddam's core Republican Guard put up any sort of fight. The major fuck-up in the initial "war" was Rumsfeld repeatedly cutting supply lines and over-extending troops.

    Then we failed to fill the power vacuum in a country with a history of sectarian violence even under a brutal dictator. Worse, we failed to keep the power, lights, and water going which left the door open for opportunists. Iraq fell head-first into a sectarian civil war, with both sides, most of the world, and half of the United States population agreeing on one thing: we need to get the fuck out of their country.

    It's hard to "wipe out" your enemy when every day you create more just by your mere meddling presence. It's like standing in a bathtub holding a garden hose, wondering why the water's rising.

    • How about we blame Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and the other "Hawks" for single-mindedly pushing a US foreign policy doctrine of preemption, which led to a war based on falsified "evidence" of a laughable "threat" to the US?
      No, I blame Curveball for his dishonesty.
      lol j/k, I blame Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Cheney.
    • by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @01:01AM (#21514845) Homepage Journal
      The military were insanely successful in just wiping out the entire defense of Iraq almost overnight. They took full control of a country in less than a month.

      However, in the the void of a government of Iraq, and undefended borders, you get the rise of insurgents. Military solutions don't really work there. You need diplomatic solutions to convince the local political and religious leaders to stop insurgents, fundamentalists, and terrorists. You need to convince them via ideology to lay down weapons and rebuild their homes.

      It has taken 3 years to hunt down a couple thousand insurgents, and how many more are waiting in the wings, waiting to die in the name of their beliefs? We're not just talking about from the possible pool of 30 million Iraqis, but the entire Mid East. (Note, I'm not saying all Arabs are fundamentalist, but rather we're fighting insurgents from several nations right now. Fundamentalists are almost always a minority in any group, but often the most visible).

      We can't fight this war forever, and that isn't the fault of the military or technology, but rather the fault of diplomats and politicians to not finish what they started, and I'm not pointing my finger at any one party. Both parties voted to go in, both parties continue to fund this, and both parties blame the other party as a means to make their party look better, while neither party are presenting solutions to actually finish the conflict. That is a travesty that no one speaks of.
      • by einhverfr ( 238914 ) <.chris.travers. .at.> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @01:38AM (#21515051) Homepage Journal
        Actually you need both diplomatic solutions *and* police. We don't train our soldiers to be good police officers. That isn't there job. If we were smart, we would have an entire military division dedicated to civil security in cases like this.

        There was another *huge* problem with the Bush Administration's single-minded push for war in Iraq-- basically it left our interests vulnerable to interference from third parties. I don't know if you saw this but shortly before the invasion (in fact, right when the AUMF was being debated in the Senate), there was a water-rights crisis between Lebannon and Israel. Lebannon calculated (rightly) that the US could not afford for Israel to attack and opened up a new large pumping station. Israel was threatening war (Sharon was stating that it was a cause for war and that it was no different from the 1967 war which he categorized as about water rights). The US sent a mediation team in really fast.... In the end an agreement was reached (largely under US pressure) which allowed Lebannon far more water rights than they had previously exercised.

        Now we are in a position where we are tied up. Our troops are generally needed either at home for emergency management, in Iraq or Afghanistan, or in half a dozen places around the world defending US interests against military threats. We don't have the capacity for another war on this scale without abandoning vital allies somewhere in the world. If we were attacked by, say, Iran, would we respond even if it meant being unable to defend South Korea or Taiwan? Iran and Syria know this, which is why their interests at the moment are best served by keeping us tied up in Iraq and not attacking us in other ways (we can't do anything serious against them using conventional warfare unless we either are freed up in Afghanistan or Iraq, or we are willing to potentially abandon allies. Nuclear options are out unless we are attacked first with nuclear weapons).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Petrushka ( 815171 )

        The military [...] took full control of a country in less than a month.

        However, in the the void of a government of Iraq, and undefended borders, [...]

        Something weird happened between those two sentences. What was it?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      The major fuckup was going, but if the US was going to go, the second major fuckup was firing all members of the Bath party from their positions, even the ones who only became a member to get the job, and barring them from serving in the government. These were people with lots of experience in keeping things running in shitty conditions. It also let the Sunnis know we were there for petty, petty revenge and the Sunni insurgents interpreted that accordingly.

      Whats even funnier is how Bush kee
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Dachannien ( 617929 )

      How about we blame Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and the other "Hawks" for single-mindedly pushing a US foreign policy doctrine of preemption, which led to a war based on falsified "evidence" of a laughable "threat" to the US?

      Keep in mind two things: the intelligence coming out of the end of the Clinton administration indicated that Saddam had WMDs - Clinton himself has said so - and furthermore, Saddam was trying to make it seem like he still had WMDs because he feared the threat of war from Iran.

      In terms of mismanagement of the first half of the war, though, I agree with you that Rumsfeld should catch a lot of the blame. He was touting the leaner meaner military at the time, and it became clear later that substantially high

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Weedlekin ( 836313 )
        "Keep in mind two things: the intelligence coming out of the end of the Clinton administration indicated that Saddam had WMDs - Clinton himself has said so - and furthermore, Saddam was trying to make it seem like he still had WMDs because he feared the threat of war from Iran."

        This does not refute the parent's assertion about the evidence of a threat to the US not being there. Saddam used WMDs in the Iran / Iraq war, and domestically on Kurds, and in both cases, the WMD technology and its delivery systems
  • by greg_barton ( 5551 ) * < minus berry> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:28AM (#21514585) Homepage Journal
    ...that way you don't have to admit the galacticly stupid decision to invade in the first place.
  • Honest question (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Frogbert ( 589961 ) <`frogbert' `at' `'> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:31AM (#21514601)
    I have a honest question, and I haven't been able to find a decent answer anywhere. Why, exactly, are our countries armies over there fighting in Iraq? Why did American even start this war?

    I have yet to hear a politician actually say why, and I really can't seem to get a straight answer out of anyone.
    • Because the Saudi royalty wanted Saddam taken out, and they are friends of the Bush family.
    • Re:Honest question (Score:5, Informative)

      by WK2 ( 1072560 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @01:42AM (#21515081) Homepage
      It upset our oil supply, thereby raising the price of oil. The oil cos, and subsequently the Bush family, liked that. Halliburton got paid way too much for a government contract that was handed to them on a silver platter. Every stock holder in Halliburton, including most of the Bush administration liked that.

      I'm sure there were many reasons we went to war. They all point to money and power.
  • by xant ( 99438 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:31AM (#21514607) Homepage
    everything gets screwed. Even when it's a high-tech efficient screwdriver.

    Diplomacy FTW. Literally.
  • Oh dear, all that "it wasn't my fault" crap just to avoid saying "you were right, we screwed up. It was another Vietnam, after all".
  • by michaelmalak ( 91262 ) <> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:34AM (#21514631) Homepage
    Can we moderate this story "Troll"?
    • by 4D6963 ( 933028 )

      Can we moderate this story "Troll"?

      Definitely, this summary screams "Say it's all George Bush's fault please!". And you guys just go for it, arguing and stuff. It's sickening.

  • Bad summary (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Thornae ( 53316 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:35AM (#21514639)
    If you actually RTFA, it says that geeks came up with a solution to a particular problem, i.e. traditional warfare, which was then applied to a different problem (non-traditional warfare / insurgency, etc) and it didn't work so well.

    But now a different set of geeks are coming up with new solutions that do work, whilst building on the previous solution.

    IOW, Don't Blame The Geeks. Or the tech, for that matter.

  • Insurgency? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dunbal ( 464142 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:43AM (#21514711)

    1. the state or condition of being insurgent.
    2. insurrection against an existing government, usually one's own, by a group not recognized as having the status of a belligerent.
    3. rebellion within a group, as by members against leaders.

    Funny, the partisans in Iraq are rebelling against a foreign occupier, not their own government. However in the US the word "insurgent" has become the same as "terrorist"...

    Oh mod me offtopic, but Iraq has had me sick for the past 4 years. How long did WW2 last again?
  • What to Blame (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sqrt(2) ( 786011 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:46AM (#21514717) Journal
    We're being slowly bleed dry in Iraq right now because this administration can't see the difference between actual terrorists who have a grudge against America and insurgents who just want us out of their country. Blaming equipment or protocol would be laughable if it wasn't so shameful and arrogant. The blame for this on going catastrophe rests squarely on the shoulders of one very stubborn man who believes completely and sincerely that he is on the side of justice and that his every action is not only righteous, but indeed endorsed and guided by God himself.

    You can't call these people we are fighting terrorists when WE are the foreign troops on their home soil occupying their country. The only justification Bush hasn't abandoned for this war (WMD was a criminal fraud, ousting Saddam already happened), the ludicrous idea that fighting the enemy "over there" makes us safer at home is so mind numbingly flawed at the most basic level that even a C student should be able to see there can be no victory the way the war is being prosecuted. The terrorists who would "follow us home" are doing so anyway, Iraq is diverting precious man power and resources away from stopping them. They are probably already here in fact. The 9/11 hijackers lived in the country for an extended amount of time before they carried out their attacks. Every dollar we spend on Bush's crusade is a dollar that could have went to pay more police officers, increase border security, inspect more cargo. The current plan we're on to get out of this hole is to keep digging until we get to the other side when the first thing you should do when you find yourself in a hole is STOP making it deeper! Violence, even when justified, against religious extremists only begets more violence. It's such an un-American concept to accept, there's no pride in it, no feeling of success but the only way to win is not to continue fighting. Every insurgent you kill insures his sons will be your next generation of enemies. There is a point, and we have long passed it, when someone strong has to stand up and say "Enough." accept the consequences to their reputation, and walk away.

    This is a very trying time for the USA, and I fear that we will not long survive the ruinous path we are currently following. Our leader, and calling him that brings me an almost physical pain, will not change our path. He is too stubborn to admit defeat, even if that means dragging an entire country down with him. History will count him among the worst of our Presidents.
  • by ( 1195047 ) <philip DOT paradis AT palegray DOT net> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:48AM (#21514737) Homepage Journal
    DISCLAIMER: This post is not intended to serve as any sort of official statement on the part of the U.S. Navy; it is solely a personal appraisal of how technology affects certain aspects of warfare. Take my thoughts for what you think they're worth, since nothing here is endorsed by anyone working for the D.O.D.

    After reading the article, I had to go have a smoke and really collect my thoughts before replying here. I hope my perspective offers a bit of insight into "one man's view" of technology's role in modern combat. First a little bit of background information is in order...

    I'm a 26 year old male, active duty enlisted in the Navy. I joined about 14 months ago, leaving a career in computing to serve in the submarine force. Prior to the Navy, I did several years of programming, database development, web application dev/support, and networking on Win32 and Linux/UNIX systems. Needing a change of pace, and generally feeling burned out after working full-time in I.T. since age 18, I woke up one day and enlisted in the service. My family and friends were a bit surprised, to say the least :).

    Having been in long enough to form my own (albeit limited) opinion of computing/information technology's role in military systems, I have these thoughts:

    (1) The military is mostly comprised of enlisted personnel. Enlisted men and women are, fundamentally, operators. This means they are trained to do a specific set of jobs according to a very specific set of guidelines. We don't make tactical decisions; our job is to inform officers in command of the status of whatever evolution is in progress, and obey orders handed back in response. This means we are trained on specific pieces of equipment, which is increasingly networked to allow for more efficient operations.

    (2) It's no secret that the military (and government organizations in general) is a big fan of basing systems on "tried and true" technologies. We use what works, not what the industry is pumping out as the latest, greatest info-tech marvel.

    (3) Our reliance on these systems means that we always have to be trained on multiple contingencies, i.e. "if doohickey X is broken, switch over to doohickey Y and proceed." Single points of failure are as much the enemy of fighting units as they are of networks in the civilian world. The human element is therefore still critical in avoiding situational breakdowns, hence the need for constant drilling to ensure proper performance under hostile or stressful conditions.

    (4) Monday morning quarterbacking is an inevitable consequence of any large-scale conflict. It's always easy to look back and say "Wow, if only they'd done things this way, it's so obvious that things would have gone better." The military does make a concerted effort to learn from its mistakes; we have a saying that every rule we follow is written in blood, and we take that idea very seriously.

    (5) In the final analysis, no amount of technology can prevent loss of human life in war. It's ugly, nasty, sad, but inevitable. Human beings will always defend whatever interests they consider crucial to the survival of their way of life. It's just our nature, the product of an evolutionary process that made us what we are today as a species. Since the dawn of time, we've been constantly incorporating new technologies into both civilian and military operations, with mixed results at every stage of innovation. Again, we learn from our mistakes and move forward.

    I hope these thoughts can spark some dialog, and that my views might bring some new perspective to conversations on this topic. Thanks.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 29, 2007 @02:04AM (#21515193)
      From an Army Officer that just got back from Iraq I think the article is hilarious. Technology made my life there incredibly easy and difficult at the same time. Our ability to mass combat power in a short period of time was amazing. That same technology that allowed us to communicate also crippled us when it stopped working. Thank God for the enlisted Soldiers that knew how to use "doohickey Y" when everything went to shit. Blaming the problems of Iraq on technology is ridiculous.

      The problem with Iraq is that we think that we can enforce democracy on a country that simply isn't interested in it. My apologies to any civilized Muslims that read this blog, but Southeast Asia Shiite and Sunni sects that dominate Iraq are not interested in allowing people to have an influence in the government. They desire and will ensure that they have full domination over the population. The truth is the population is just fine with that. They are very dedicated to their tribes and will do whatever their respective Sheik tells them to do. I personally think that if you want to solve the problem in Iraq you should allow whatever form of government that works best develop from the ground up. Stop trying to impose democracy. I don't know of any government that has successfully imposed democracy on another country. Democracy will either develop over time from the inside out or it will not develop at all.
    • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @04:02AM (#21515697) Homepage

      That's very much a Navy view: "Enlisted men and women are, fundamentally, operators." In the Navy, the basic combat unit is the ship. Tactical decisions are made at the ship level, not below. A hundred to several thousand people serve the ship; a few officers make the tactical decisions.

      Ground troops need a completely different mindset. The basic combat unit is far smaller, a squad or platoon. Individual soldiers make tactical decisions. Marines are especially big on this. It's Marine doctrine to equip the Marine, not man the equipment. The US Army likes to fight with bigger units, but can break them down into small, independent units when necessary.

      • Rifleman Dodd (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Hellburner ( 127182 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:21PM (#21520137)
        "Individual soldiers make tactical decisions. Marines are especially big on this. It's Marine doctrine to equip the Marine, not man the equipment."

        Bullseye. I got my print copy of Wired yesterday (guilty shrug). I skimmed the article. Batshit loony garbage.

        I left the Marines 10 years ago. We were just getting digital radios, just getting the first GPS units, and just getting laptops. No intrasquad comms (unless SEALs had them, maybe...) and the laptops were basically just for tracking inventory and leave request admin crap. The GPS units were brand new to everyone...and very cool.

        The rest is all crap. Extra weight. To the infantryman: weight is evil unless it is in flavors of 5.56 or 7.62. Everything else is garbage. The radios will break, NVG batteries will die, and you may get stuck without things as basic as fuel or MRE re-supply. Our indoctrinated response to such calamity? MISSION ACCOMPLISHMENT. My GPS broke! Tough shit, break out the lensatic and find the target. My radio is busted! Tough better stretch those quads, Private.

        I understand the quoted Naval "operators" point of view. Its accurate. I know this from experience working with squi---er--sailors aboard ship and my brother's experience as a naval officer. The officers don't learn the tasks, they learn how to manage the enlisted ranks to accomplish tasks to complete the mission.

        On the ground it is different. Marines have it pounded into them that it basically takes one Marine to overcome an enemy division. "Rifleman Dodd" was on the required reading list. It tells how a Brit sharpshooter gets isolated in Portugal during the Napoleonic Wars. The concept to be conveyed to the enlisted ranks is basically you are the Corps. One Marine. One Rifle. Accomplish The Mission. Lacking the rifle you accomplish it with a knife, an e-tool, a sharp rock, your fists, or harsh language. End of story.

        If every technological gizmo had failed at the outset of the war we still would have kicked their collective asses. The difference was not just technological advantage but human will. Iraqi units would get crushed or fade into the dust because: A: our troops hit what they aim at & B: our troops have individual initiative to complete mission objectives. Its the lesson of Thermopylae writ over and over again: enslaved souls make poor soldiers.

        The same point is true of the insurgency. Human will. They want us the hell out. Just like the Viet Cong (remember that one?!?!), just like the Mujahedeen, and just like every other insurgency of the 20th and 21st centuries. The Vietnamese were essentially able to muster the social will to absorb any number of casualties. American society did not have that will. We withdrew, and the conflict resolved itself. The Iraqi insurgency remains in question, since, according to some, it appears that people are growing tired of dying for religious fanatics and Baathist stooges. But the question has nothing to do with technology.

        It has to do with will. And the most egregiously ill-conceived and poorly planned military occupation in American history.
  • by Hackie_Chan ( 678203 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:58AM (#21514819)
    It's not the fault of the network-centric warfare, it is the fault of trying to fight an unconventional war with conventional tactics and strategies. In fact, the big irony of General Petraeus Iraqi assessment [] was that military counter-terrorism operations requires the opposite of network-centric warfare: the United States should be willing to have a lot of servicemen who are up to the notion of trading their own lives in turn for regional stability. Reemphasis on "a lot", because that is what will be needed. Tactics such as bombing targets are out of the question due to the collateral damage. And collateral damage is something that must be minimized as much as possible in order to build a trustworthy relationship with the local populace.
    Properly curbing terrorism activity in a war zone scenario such as Iraq has an excruciatingly high servicemen casualty in return for stability rate.
  • by mqduck ( 232646 ) <mqduck AT mqduck DOT net> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @01:39AM (#21515063)
    What lost the war for the US/Coalition is the existence of a population that wants us out. How much more clear does it have to be before people come to realize that no army has the capability of controlling such a place?
  • by S3D ( 745318 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @01:44AM (#21515095)
    He is calling Hizbollah [] opeartives (Israel opponent in the 2006 Lebanon War []) "primitive foe". That is as far from the trough as it could be. In fact Hizbollah won this war because it was more technically and organizationally sophisticated than IDF [] in ground war.
    According to prisoners each Hizbollah anti-tank missile [] operator launched more than dozen missiles during the training. The Israel Army representative told that IDF "could only dream" about such level of training. BTW cheapest ATGM cost around 5k $. But Hizbollah also used some 9M133 Kornet (60k $ a pop). And Hizbollah had a lot of ATGM operators, so many that ATGM were used often against Israel infantry. Hizbollah operatives were well coordinated, using mobile phones and radio, well supplied and had had a network of concealed concrete bunkers, with communication lines, optic and stores.
    It's plain stupid to call combatant capable of successful launch of modern anti-ship missile [] "primitive foe".
  • Framing the issue (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Politicus ( 704035 ) <salubrious @ y m a i l . c om> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @02:27AM (#21515315) Homepage
    Wired's front cover asks, "What went wrong in Iraq?" and then adds, "Hint: blame the geeks".

    Even before you read the article, there is the problem of the question being framed to project the existance of some plan, the assumption that we know what that plan was and that America's campaign in Iraq is failing to achieve the plan's objectives.

    Reading the article, you stumble upon another problem with the phrase and that is that by, "What went wrong" Wired means, "Why aren't we winning" and not, "What the fuck happened to the WMD's?"

    "Wrong" can mean so many things. Is something going "wrong" in Iraq for KBR? Nope. Is something going "wrong" in Iraq for General Dynamics? Nope. Is something going "wrong" in Iraq for Joe Middle-class American? You bet. Is something going "wrong" in Iraq for America's underprivilaged? Hell, yes. America is not a monolith of interest.

    The general public doesn't know "the plan" for Iraq but it is not in the interest of the parties who do to start letting on that the general public doesn't know. Any fairy tale is better than a void. Informed people don't know the plan for Iraq either, but at least they can make educated guesses and validate or invalidate those guesses based on short term outcomes. One thing can be said with certainty and that is that the plan benefits those in the know. I would speculate that the plan didn't account for what is happening right now not because of oversight but because those aspects of what is going on are irrelevant to the plan. Case in point is what happened immediately after Saddam's regime was deposed. Rumsfeld described the massive looting as, "Stuff happens". But, apparently stuff DIDN'T happen at the Iraqi Ministry of Oil because it was magically secured.

    I take issue with the article for using the prevailing mainstream media propaganda about Iraq to lash lower level functionary geeks for not winning enough. I take issue with the article for suggesting that a war of choice could be made "more ethical" by the application of lessons learned. As if the pure morality of the American ubermensch is not satisfied with a mere ethical war for freedom and democracy. All questions of immorality need to have ironclad answers that invoke incontinent convulsions of antipatriotism in any individual who even implied to ask them so that ten others may fear to ask in the future.

    I would expect as much from the country's paper of record or any local bird cage liner so this raises questions about Wired's stake in this. Are they just another media outlet paroting the MSM for the sake of justifying extra real estate for revenue generating ads? Or, is there some super patriotic editor currying favor with his or her overlords?
  • by uvajed_ekil ( 914487 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @04:28AM (#21515803)
    While tech failings may have hindered our boys' progress, and perhaps put them, in danger moreso than was necessary, that doesn't matter. The mission was accomplished years ago!!! Don't worry if you had anything to do with what went wrong, WE WON!!!!!! if we could only convince the "terrist" insurgents, the Iraqi people, and the rest of the world (aside from the governments of the UK and Australia), we'd be in business.

  • by Archtech ( 159117 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @04:48AM (#21515911)
    Actually the US armed forces are the most efficient bunch of people in history when it comes to killing other people quickly and en masse.

    Their only shortcoming is that they aren't very discriminating about exactly whom they kill. Just as long as US casualties stay low - grotesquely low in terms of the history of armed conflict, although of course any casualties on your own side seem too many. That's a political necessity, when the commander in chief is also the elected president of a democratic state.

    Traditionally, war has been "the continuation of diplomacy by other means" (as Carl von Clausewitz neatly observed). That meant exerting pressure on specific people whom you wanted to influence, and - if necessary - killing them and their supporters.

    The USA has always been adept at the form of diplomacy that involves choosing partners iin foreign nations who are likely to further US interests, and supporting them by all manner of means. Unfortunately the subtlety of this approach breaks down when "continued" by the modern American way of war, which is basically to break into a territory and kill everyone in sight very quickly. That tends to be counterproductive, because it eventually pisses everyone off. As soon as "Shock and Awe" was mentioned, it was immediately obvious that it was essentially just 21st century Blitzkrieg. And despite all the rubbish about "precision targetting", it is about as selective as Blitzkrieg - in other words, not at all. Everyone within the blast radius dies. And the blast is not necessarily centred on the chosen target, and the chosen target is not necessarily what it is thought to be. Remember the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, or the 30-40 publicly announced bombings of "safe houses" where Saddam Hussein was allegedly hiding in 2003? All those bombs hit and destroyed their targets - although we later learned that Saddam was not in any of them. Want to guess who was?

    Minimizing your own casualties, desirable as it is in terms of domestic politics, turns out to be disastrous in terms of foreign politics. War cannot be a continuation of diplomacy if it lacks subtlety and discrimination. Moreover, in the long run it will be disastrous domestically too - when even the US media can no longer suppress the truth about the real damage done to Iraq and its people.
  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @07:31AM (#21516513) Journal
    Armies kill things. Technology has made our military, man for man, the most effective and efficient killing machine anywhere. The invasion of Iraq and the annihilation of its military took 3 weeks and a handful of casualties, hardly more than we'd have had in almost any live-fire exercise on the same scale.

    After that, however, and despite the fact that the military is a conveniently well-organized and broadly capable group of trained men and women that can be ordered to do just about anything, we didn't need a massively efficient and effective killing machine. We haven't for years now. IF we insist on the paradigm that it is our responsibility to rebuild any country we knock over, we NEEDED a wise, foresightful, thoughtful, and empathetic administrative POST-confilct authority. We didn't have it. What we got - charitably speaking - was a collection of hastily thrown-together policies based on really nothing but optimism, a lack of any strategic direction cognizant of the political, religious, and tribal realities, as well as ex-pat Iraqi opportunists who saw their chance to nab some power and wealth.

    Think of the Army as a supremely well-balanced and perfectly crafted chainsaw - perfect for treecutting. Once you've cut down the forest, and want to try to build a city, is it any wonder if the chainsaw - no matter how wonderful - turns out to be nearly useless for digging wells, building homes, paving streets?

    What they have accomplished is more a testament to the versatility, dedication, and skill of the individuals in our armed services who are willing to try to accomplish whatever they are ordered to do.
  • by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @09:40AM (#21517673)
    Military policy, and things like battlefield simulations and stuff, is along the lines of my graduate research work in political science. In the past two years I've interviewed a number of retired military officers, NCO's, and grunts. (By far the NCO's have been the most helpful, and interesting) At any rate, during the first Gulf war, the folks I talked to who were in SIGINT have all remarked that they were surprised at the Iraqi's level of sophistication.

    Just about anytime they fired up a laptop in the field, incoming enemy fire (i.e. artillery shells) would start raining down on their location within 15 - 20 minutes. Others who served in the Kosovo Campaign relayed similar stories only about US forces zeroing in on an enemy's position using similar SIGINT techniques. I remember interviewing one former translator who just remarked, "It's eeiry to be listening to a radio conversation between two parties and then hear the bomb go off in the background followed by static a second later."

    I had lunch with an Army Major and a Captain two weeks ago about working with the local Gaurd depot on a project. We got off on the topic of wargames, simulations, and the like when they started discussing a series of wargames they participated in a few years ago where their were Opfor and abandoned their technology for 18th century methods of communications (i.e. couriers, flags, etc.) They were both laughing that how they didn't win, they proved to be far more effective than what any of the "Spreadsheet" simulations projected. (I've heard this story before from another NCO's or at least a similar story.)

  • by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @11:13AM (#21518983) Homepage
    Flawed premise. We are opposed effectively because our wars are unjust and the local populations know it and will not surrender. We aren't up against "jihadists" or "terrorists" or "insurgents". We are up against people who want us out of their countries and will not submit to empire.

    Afghanistan is a failure because, contrary to America's deeply held belief, it did not attack us on 9-11-01. The Taliban did not blow up the towers. Al Qaida did, and they booked from Afghanistan in the 30+ days it took for Bush to set up the annihilation of that country. We bombed brown people who kinda looked like Al Qaida and who were living in the same country that the outfit formerly camped in. We killed tens of thousands of people, occupied the place, and not coincidentally made our new puppet government sign the gas pipeline deal the Taliban government refused.

    Iraq, well, well. A pack of lies to invade a helpless, non-hostile nation. We killed 100,000 outright and another 900,000 died from the effects of the occupation. Two million are homeless and at least a million of those have fled their own country. Girls are selling themselves in Syria to feed their families bak home. We are being opposed because we are bastards, not because we haven't "social networked" properly. We murdered their country. What would YOU do if someone wiped out three percent of all living Americans and then stole everything not nailed down, then dictated a constitution and installed a puppet government? Would social networking make you feel better after your wife and kids were incinerated?

A debugged program is one for which you have not yet found the conditions that make it fail. -- Jerry Ogdin