Slouching toward Big Brother: Excellent summary of the current situation from Bruce Schneier, a well regarded security analyst. Again, we are reminded that in December, "a provision slipped into an appropriations bill allowing the FBI to obtain personal financial information from banks, insurance companies, travel agencies, real estate agents, stockbrokers, the U.S. Postal Service, jewelry stores, casinos and car dealerships without a warrant--because they're all construed as financial institutions." When will the mainstream media pick up on this? 11:43:08 PM
Political Patterns on the WWW
: Valdis Krebs updates last year's map of political books on Amazon, showing how nearly all "preach to the converted". "So, if you are working a 2004 political campaign what do you do with this information? Obviously you will not be successful in removing a reader from deep in one cluster and transplanting them into the other cluster. All you can do is focus on the edge nodes and the bridges." 10:51:26 PM
Dowd: The Mirror Has Two Faces: "Ms. Rice argued that the U.S. was right to conclude that Saddam had W.M.D. and attack him because the dictator was not behaving rationally. But why did she think someone President Bush deemed "a madman" would behave rationally?..
Even Paul Wolfowitz observed last May that it was important not to assume that foes like Saddam "will be rational according to our definition of what is rational." Interviewed by Sam Tanenhaus for Vanity Fair, Mr. Wolfowitz said bad intelligence came from mirror imaging — assuming people would behave like us: "The kind of mistake that, in a sense, I think we made implicitly in assuming that anyone who was intelligent enough to fly an airplane wouldn't commit suicide with it."
Saddam's old lieutenants have said that the dictator did not admit his paucity of weapons because he wanted his Arab neighbors to see him as a great leader and he hoped to deter America from war.
Jerrold Post, a former C.I.A. psychological profiler who calls Saddam messianic but not irrational, speculates that he may have built a Potemkin arsenal after his conventional arsenal was decimated in the first Persian Gulf war. "If he came across as an impotent leader capitulating to the West," Dr. Post said, "he might have been pushed out of power or killed."
Besides, according to Dr. Kay, Saddam was both finagling and finagled. "Did he really think he had the stuff because scientists were scared to tell him he didn't?" wondered a G.O.P. foreign policy expert. ..
The moral of Vietnam was supposed to be that we would never again go to war without understanding the culture of our antagonists, or exaggerate their threat to us. ..
The White House will have a lot of explaining to do if Iraq exchanges one form of dictatorship for another, or if it takes on a fundamentalist Islamic cast that sets Iraqi women's rights back 40 years.
"These guys created the exact can of worms we tried to avoid," said a Bush 41 official. "Guess what? Baghdad is ours." 10:23:23 PM