Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Intelligence Assessment

I just read the newly declassified NIE. In several particulars it agrees with things I have been saying right along:

a) splintering terrorists is good for us.
We assess that the resulting splinter groups would, at least for a time, pose a less serious threat to US interests than does al-Qaíida.

b) Democratizing the Muslim world is good for us.
If democratic reform efforts in Muslim majority nations progress over the next five years, political participation probably would drive a wedge between intransigent extremists and groups willing to use the political process to achieve their local objectives.

c) We are hurting AQ badly.
United States-led counterterrorism efforts have seriously damaged the leadership of al-Qa’ida and disrupted its operations; however, we judge that al-Qa’ida will continue to pose the greatest threat to the Homeland and US interests abroad by a single terrorist organization.

d) Iraq is just one of many rallying points for terrorists.
Four underlying factors are fueling the spread of the jihadist movement:
(1)Entrenched grievances, such as corruption, injustice, and fear of Western domination, leading to anger, humiliation, and a sense of powerlessness;
(2) theIraq jihad;
(3) the slow pace of real and sustained economic, social, and political reforms in many Muslim majority nations; and
(4) pervasive anti-US sentiment among most Muslims -- all of which jihadists exploit.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Bay Area Real Estate

Yesterday we went up to do a little hike at Huckleberry preserve, off of Skyline drive. On the way we saw numerous "for sale" signs, and could not help ourselves from checking one out. It was a downslope house, just across from Huckleberry. Four stories, huge kitchen, bathrooms all over, etc. It even has an elevator! On the way out we were chatting with the Agent. He pointed to the giant I Beams that you could see under the garage (like many downslopes the top level is where you park). Mentioned that "this house is not going anywhere". I said "until the hillside goes".

He then said "the hill isn't going anywhere". Which I guess you would have to believe if you were living in that place, and to a lesser extent if you were selling it. In an area with mudslides, fires and earthquakes it seems a bit risky to live in a place vulnerable to all three. At least it is far enough up the hill not to be drowned in the event of a rise in sea levels from Global Warming ...

Friday, September 08, 2006

Gus at Bandelier

Gus at Bandelier, originally uploaded by efroymson.

Gus demonstrates the ancient Anasazi practice of entering a kiva head first.