Post-9-11 events and analyses
Sunday, February 15, 2004
US software labor market info: "After two years of slight declines, the number of professional software developers rose in the United States last year to 2.35 million, according to IDC, a research company. Today, America has more than four times as many software developers as India, and nearly seven times as many as China. "
From a review in NYT, "such jobs are not about to disappear from the United States. Statistics on the current job flight are estimates. Forrester Research in a frequently cited study, predicted in late 2002 that 3.3 million services jobs in America would move offshore by 2015, about 500,000 of them in computer software and services. For all the alarm that report generated, a shift of that size over the next 11 years would be small, given that the American labor force has more than 130 million workers and normally creates and destroys millions of jobs every few months. " 11:12:15 PM
The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime
: "We offer evidence that legalized abortion has contributed significantly to recent crime reductions. Crime began to fall roughly 18 years after abortion legalization. The 5 states that allowed abortion in 1970 experienced declines earlier than the rest of the nation, which legalized in 1973 with Roe v. Wade. States with high abortion rates in the 1970s and 1980s experienced greater crime reductions in the 1990s. In high abortion states, only arrests of those born after abortion legalization fall relative to low abortion states. Legalized abortion appears to account for as much as 50 percent of the recent drop in crime." 10:10:10 PM
The Zarqawi Rules: "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi .. apparently wrote a 17-page planning memo from Iraq to his Al Qaeda colleagues that was obtained by U.S. forces and revealed this week in The Times. If you read the memo properly, you can extract what might be called "Zarqawi's Rules" — maxims for winning the war on terror.
Massive retaliation works. We now know that Saddam Hussein felt free to defy the international community because he thought that casualty-averse Americans would never actually invade his country. At worst, we'd drop a few bombs, which he could survive. Now our enemies know us better, and respect us more. "America, however, has no intention of leaving, no matter how many wounded nor how bloody it becomes," Zarqawi warns his colleagues. This shift in perceptions should deter some attacks all by itself.
Hard power isn't enough. The extensive coalition effort to hunt down terrorists is clearly making progress. "Our enemy is growing stronger day after day, and its intelligence information increases. By God, this is suffocation!" Zarqawi laments.
But he also says only an indigenous Iraqi security force, backed by a legitimate democratic government, can truly put him out of business. Americans are easy targets. But when Iraqis take control, "you end up having an army and police connected by lineage, blood and appearance to people of the region. How can we kill their cousins and sons and under what pretext? This is the democracy; we will have no pretext."
Going into the war, many American planners assumed that first we would establish stability in Iraq, then introduce democracy. But it's now clear that democracy is the stability. You can't establish order unless locals are invested in their own self-rule and thus are eager to chase bad guys. The lesson is that the so-called soft-power programs — the democracy-building seminars, the civil society efforts, the town hall meetings — are not the gooey icing on the cake of law and order. They are the substance of law and order itself.
Soft power isn't enough. Though Zarqawi senses that his time in Iraq is running out, he is already preparing for the next battle: "If, God forbid, the government is successful and takes control of the country, we just have to pack up and go somewhere else again, where we can raise the flag or die, if God chooses us."" 9:26:08 PM
Regional Terrorist Groups Pose Growing Threat:
"The shifting picture of the terrorist threat flashed before the authorities in Australia last fall when Willie Brigitte, a 35-year-old French citizen, was arrested on terrorism charges. Mr. Brigitte hardly fit the terrorist profile. He was recruited after Sept. 11 and had never trained in the Afghanistan camps, officials said. His name was not on any country's watch list. He entered Australia without being detected, lived for five months in a Sydney suburb and was believed to be selecting targets for attacks, officials said.
But the most unusual part of the case is that the authorities believe that Mr. Brigitte was a low-ranking member of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant Pakistani group that was formed a decade ago with help from Pakistan's intelligence service to fight against India in Kashmir. The group was not known to have operations outside that region. Before the Taliban were driven from power, Lashkar-e-Taiba trained its men at camps in Afghanistan alongside Qaeda camps. Banned by Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, it continues to exist with training camps in Kashmir, officials said. Mr. Brigitte had contacts with Lashkar-e-Taiba members in the United States, Canada and Europe, a senior law enforcement official with knowledge of his interrogation said..
The blurring of boundaries is also the case in Algeria, where the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, better known by its initials as the G.S.P.C., is growing more powerful and expanding its geographical operations, officials said. A year ago, G.S.P.C. kidnapped a group of European tourists, including nine Germans. The hostages were released after the German government paid a ransom of more than $1 million, a European official said. The money, the official said, has allowed the group to buy weapons, including antiaircraft missiles. The group has increased its activities in Mali and Niger in recent months, officials from several countries said. They say the group's leaders are suspected of setting up training camps in West Africa and of plotting attacks there. But a senior Western official said finding the camps would be nearly impossible. "That's no man's land," he said." Ansar al-Islam's expansion into Europe is another regional expansion cited by experts. 11:01:35 AM