Syria Civil War Spreads

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Diadem
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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby Diadem » Thu Nov 26, 2015 10:32 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Diadem wrote:The plane was in Turkish air space for 17 seconds, and had already left their air space by the time it was hit. They also claim that they warned the plane 10 times over 5 minutes. And again, this is using Turkish sources. The Russians claim that the plane never entered Turkish air space, and that they were never warned.

Missiles are not lasers. There's a pretty significant delay there. Just saying.

Yes, which is why I wrote "had already left their air space by the time it was hit". It's the very first sentence of the bit you quoted.

Tyndmyr wrote:
It's pretty obvious that Turkey was just looking for an excuse to escalate the situation. Their claim that the plane violated Turkish air space is entirely plausible, but their claim that they warned 10 times over 5 minutes is obvious bullshit. They Russian planes weren't in Turkey for that long, and weren't even approaching Turkey for that long.

Communications are common when you're near each other's airspace. Warning someone off before they've crossed is pretty normal.

Yes, which is why I wrote "and weren't even approaching Turkey for that long". Admittedly, this time it's the last sentence of the bit you quoted, so I can understand that you missed it. Reading more than 3 sentences is a steep mental challenge, after all.

Tyndmyr wrote:
And if we aren't willing to do that, if we aren't willing to turn out back on the region, either out of humanitarian or military strategic reasons, then the only alternative is to go all in. Pick one clear side (either Assad / Russia, Turkey or the Kurds), so 'fuck you' to everybody else in the region, and put 2 million boots on the ground.

Yes, yes, start a land war against Russia. That always works out well.

Yes, which is why I wrote "But before that comes the essential first step of diplomacy. The above approach is doomed from the start if actively opposed by Russia". Seriously, are we even speaking the same language here? Did I stumble into some kind of absurd comedy sketch?
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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby Vahir » Thu Nov 26, 2015 4:21 pm UTC

Awesome, I was only missing an "insult intelligence" box to win my Forum Bingo.

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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Nov 27, 2015 4:00 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
It's pretty obvious that Turkey was just looking for an excuse to escalate the situation. Their claim that the plane violated Turkish air space is entirely plausible, but their claim that they warned 10 times over 5 minutes is obvious bullshit. They Russian planes weren't in Turkey for that long, and weren't even approaching Turkey for that long.

Communications are common when you're near each other's airspace. Warning someone off before they've crossed is pretty normal.

Yes, which is why I wrote "and weren't even approaching Turkey for that long". Admittedly, this time it's the last sentence of the bit you quoted, so I can understand that you missed it. Reading more than 3 sentences is a steep mental challenge, after all.


"near each other's airspace" /= "on direct approach".

Some of those warnings may have been routine statements because hey, they're in the area, gotta act tough or whatever. Assuming that warnings only happen on a direct approach seems...odd.

morriswalters wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Well, thank goodness no other countries have those. Bored and aimless young people? Folks with difficulty finding work?

Yup, clearly this theory explains terrorism entirely.
Let unemployment hit 20 or more percent in the US and we'll see.


The great depression, an era known for it's coast to coast terrorism...er...no, maybe there's something more here.

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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Dec 08, 2015 6:37 pm UTC

Iraqi forces have taken back 60% of Ramadi. This following up on the Iraqi Peshmerga (erm... sorta Iraqi forces...) capture of Sinjar means that ISIS is being pushed back in Iraq quite well. Ramadi is one of the southern-most cities that fell under control of ISIS, only a few dozen miles away from Bagdad.

The last major city (ie: former regional capital) under control of ISIS is Mosul, which has been cut off and pincered on all sides. Sinjar's capture was instrumental here, as ISIS's reinforcements were streaming in through a highway that runs through Sinjar. Movement of ISIS forces between Mosul and Syria is now restricted to impromptu roads through the desert sands... or through smaller, local roads (possible of course, but harder without assistance of the highway).

Image

Image from the NY Times article above.

Mosul's direct line to Syria was through Sinjar. I'd expect the campaign to liberate Mosul will begin if Ramadi goes well. The question is if Iraqi forces and the Peshmerga will work well together. The horrors of ISIS are becoming clear in Sinjar as mass graves are being found throughout that city. It looks like the military counteroffensive against ISIS is finally showing some progress. Iraqis seem to be successfully executing a strategy to push ISIS out of Iraq at least, so good news overall.

Syria however remains fucked up completely. I don't know what the US strategy for Syria could (or should) be.
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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Dec 08, 2015 8:59 pm UTC

Arm the Kurds to the teeth, pretend they aren't ethnically cleansing Sunni and Shia Arabs?

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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby sardia » Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:59 pm UTC

http://www.npr.org/2015/12/10/459249994 ... akes-money
Boring Isis municipal budget reveals very interesting facts.
Isis loves western products. They pay huge markups for fancy western crap like twix, hummers, burgers etc etc. Aka things a teenager would buy.

Isis is very bureaucratic, they have a column marked confiscations, things they steal from the people that are separate from taxes. They have a minister of looting historical artifacts. You need a permit.

Their HR process is hilariously terrifying. They abduct you in the middle in the night and throw you in jail. And then after they sweat you over night, they offer you a job, would you want to be our PR specialist?http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510289/planet-money
It's listed under auditing Isis

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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Dec 11, 2015 12:45 am UTC

Report your crimes! It's the law!

But yea, a state needs a large bureaucracy to function.

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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby elasto » Fri Dec 11, 2015 6:35 pm UTC

The so-called Islamic State (IS) has made more than $500m (£330m) trading oil, a US treasury official has said.

Its "primary customer" has been the government of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, despite its ongoing battle to overthrow the regime, Adam Szubin told the BBC.

IS had also looted up to $1bn from banks in territory it held, he said.

"The two are trying to slaughter each other and they are still engaged in millions and millions of dollars of trade," Mr Szubin said of Syria and IS, in comments reported by Reuters news agency. The group was estimated to be making as much as $40m a month from the oil trade, including from buyers in Turkey, he added.

How weird.

For me, the West moving entirely to self-sufficiency in renewables is sound purely in environmental terms, but the national security argument is hardly weak either.

link

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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby KnightExemplar » Mon Dec 28, 2015 6:11 pm UTC

http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/28/middleeas ... es-ramadi/

After a weeks-long battle, Ramadi is finally recaptured by the Iraqi Military. Or so they claim anyway. In the coming weeks, we'll see if they can hold onto the city, but I'm still cautiously optimistic about the fight inside of Iraq. Mosul is the major bastion of ISIS, and it is utterly surrounded by the Kurds and Iraqis. If the Iraqi Military can hold onto Ramadi, they can focus their efforts on Mosul next. If the groups can manage to work together a little bit longer, they can push ISIS out of Iraq. Although, Iraqis may continue their march westward, towards Fallujah (another major city under ISIS's control). In any case, Iraqis finally can claim a victory of their own. Recapturing Tikrit was led by Shiite militia with Iranian support. The recapture of Sinjar was Kurds. But Ramadi is finally ISF proper.

The Taliban are moving in Afghanistan however. That's a totally different story (I don't believe there's any substantial connection between the Taliban and ISIS, aside from the two groups sharing a similar philosophy and worldview).
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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby elasto » Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:27 pm UTC

From a recent report:

- Fatalities caused by war, directly and indirectly, amount to 470,000
- The number of wounded is put at 1.9 million
- In all, 11.5% of the country’s population have been killed or injured since the crisis erupted
- Economic losses are estimated at $255bn
- 13.8 million Syrians have lost their source of livelihood
- 45% of the population have been displaced

I think it's safe to say this situation has been handled spectacularly badly. You can't half-ass military intervention. Either Assad should have been swiftly toppled or left alone.

And thanks to Russia's intervention the country is probably going to end up divided into an ISIS controlled region and a government controlled one, which is virtually a worst-case scenario.

/golf-clap

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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby sardia » Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:11 pm UTC

It's the price of libertarianism/isolationist. Bad things happen that could have been prevented or mitigated because it looked cheaper to consider it not our problem. Then the libertarians fade from the scene and aren't around to stop our next foolhardy adventure because they were chastened by their previous mistakes. Then neither side learns anything.

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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Feb 11, 2016 4:05 pm UTC

My isolationist phase was, fortunately, around the time of the second Iraq war. Protested that and what not. But...got over that. There's a balanced path that works out.

It was probably mostly luck that I happened to protest a war that was less practical than many.

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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby Zamfir » Thu Feb 11, 2016 4:26 pm UTC

Perhaps I am misunderstanding you, but how would a balanced path between the US actions in Syria and in Iraq look like? Some sort of limited invasion?

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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Feb 11, 2016 5:00 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Perhaps I am misunderstanding you, but how would a balanced path between the US actions in Syria and in Iraq look like? Some sort of limited invasion?


Eh, I mean mostly that neither a wholly interventionist policy nor an entirely isolationist policy is best.

Iraq was, perhaps, worse on the cost/payoff ratio than many, but I can't necessarily claim any special wisdom for discerning that. The whole "isolationism is a good idea" seems to be an overreaction that a lot of people at least consider.

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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Feb 11, 2016 5:07 pm UTC

The current policy is in it for the very long game. The middle eastern countries have demonstrated themselves incompetent to defend themselves (ie: Iraq / Afghanistan), let alone use their military to provide long-lasting stability for the region. But the benefit is that Iraq's military is actually getting built up now. Afghanistan's military is actually getting built up, when before neither country had militaries worth talking about. (and by "before", I mean in 2008, not before that).

The current policy in Syria shifts more blame and responsibility onto Russia, which seems to be mutually beneficial between our countries. Considering the quagmire that is Syria (Turkish allies bombing our Kurdish allies), Russia might be in the best position to actually do something about Syria. I mean, outside of how the Syrian civil war has spilled over into Iraq and might create terrorists that attack the US homeland, I don't think the typical US citizen really cares about sending our sons and brothers to die on Syria's behalf.

The reality is that every region, even far away like Africa, might "create extreme terrorists that might plan to attack the US homeland", because today's world is as connected as ever. It took what? 20 bozos to plan an attack on Paris?
Last edited by KnightExemplar on Thu Feb 11, 2016 5:08 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby sardia » Thu Feb 11, 2016 5:07 pm UTC

The bigger problem is we are blind and slow to react to world events. It calls for more investment in eyes and ears, sources etc etc. Unfortunately, is not sexy to promote it nor is it likely to attract a fairy God senator.

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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Feb 11, 2016 5:11 pm UTC

sardia wrote:The bigger problem is we are blind and slow to react to world events. It calls for more investment in eyes and ears, sources etc etc. Unfortunately, is not sexy to promote it nor is it likely to attract a fairy God senator.


The main issue is that Terrorists are using Facebook, Twitter, and Gmail just like everyone else. Building even minor capabilities against online services (even if the government promises that those capabilities are only used against non-citizens: layered behind the FISA Judicial system and regularly checked by the Senate Intelligence Committee. IE: Red tape that exists across three fucking branches of the government) is seen as domestic spying and was rejected at large. Censorship is solidly anti-American (even censoring our enemies). So we don't have a weapon to use against the online Facebook / Youtube propaganda machines that extremists use to spread their message.
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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby morriswalters » Thu Feb 11, 2016 5:43 pm UTC

sardia wrote:The bigger problem is we are blind and slow to react to world events. It calls for more investment in eyes and ears, sources etc etc. Unfortunately, is not sexy to promote it nor is it likely to attract a fairy God senator.
Yeah, we should finance an imperial army and just get on with becoming the worlds policeman and king. We've tried to intervene in three countries in the Middle East in the last few years. Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. And we are still entangled and may be for your lifetime. We spend a significant amount of money on intelligence and security and we spend more on the Military than anyone else in the world. We've used so many smart bombs that we are running short. When do we get the benefits of this largess? And at various times in that span we have had to institute involuntary retention of some members of the Military(Stop Loss), as well as paying retention bonuses. I'm seeing estimates of long term costs of our involvement of the order of 4 trillion dollars when counting the long term costs.

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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Feb 11, 2016 5:48 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
sardia wrote:The bigger problem is we are blind and slow to react to world events. It calls for more investment in eyes and ears, sources etc etc. Unfortunately, is not sexy to promote it nor is it likely to attract a fairy God senator.
Yeah, we should finance an imperial army and just get on with becoming the worlds policeman and king. We've tried to intervene in three countries in the Middle East in the last few years. Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. And we are still entangled and may be for your lifetime. We spend a significant amount of money on intelligence and security and we spend more on the Military than anyone else in the world. We've used so many smart bombs that we are running short. When do we get the benefits of this largess? And at various times in that span we have had to institute involuntary retention of some members of the Military(Stop Loss), as well as paying retention bonuses. I'm seeing estimates of long term costs of our involvement of the order of 4 trillion dollars when counting the long term costs.


To a degree, we are. Or at least, we're living off the benefits of previous military largess.

The US has a pretty good standard of living compared to much of the world, and things like the Post-WW2 boom play a huge part in that. Wars fought on not-your turf can be economically advantageous, depending on circumstance.

Now, granted, Afghanistan is far less important of an economic power than say, Europe was, so comparing this against WW2 ain't quite right, and we can't really expect the same effects, exactly, but sometimes, it does work out.

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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Feb 11, 2016 5:50 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
sardia wrote:The bigger problem is we are blind and slow to react to world events. It calls for more investment in eyes and ears, sources etc etc. Unfortunately, is not sexy to promote it nor is it likely to attract a fairy God senator.
Yeah, we should finance an imperial army and just get on with becoming the worlds policeman and king.


Hardly the only solution to the problem of "being blind". A strong network of spies and human intelligence would be cheaper to maintain.

The US is perfectly strong, but we shouldn't send in soldiers when spies will do. And we shouldn't send in spies when public reporters are fine. US Intelligence was wrong in Iraq (there were no WMDs), and US Intelligence was wrong in Syria ("JV Team" was not the proper description of ISIS). US Intelligence was wrong in Libya / Benghazi.

US Intelligence was quite good at various things though (ie: finding Bin Laden, finding the Paris attackers, finding the Benghazi attackers and capturing them...). But better intelligence would have prevented a lot of problems.
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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby sardia » Thu Feb 11, 2016 6:29 pm UTC

Like I said, libertarians/isolationists never learn, they just fade into the background until the hawks mess up. Then they come back in full force saying how right they always were. Nobody believes a boy who cried wolf at everything.

Morris how short sighted are you that you can't see how investments in intelligence can also be used to NOT start a war? All you seem to hear is "everything feeds the war machine, even charity and knowledge". It's incredibly frustrating to hear you complain about solutions to prevent endless war, derided as enabling more war.

I can accuse you of the same thing. You're just as bad as a war monger, who spread conflict by letting them develop into international conflagrations under the guise of preventing war.

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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby morriswalters » Thu Feb 11, 2016 7:09 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Hardly the only solution to the problem of "being blind".
It isn't my solution, it appears to be the solution of the war hawks. I support a strong intelligence apparatus. You will, however, please understand that I am tired of them being both wrong and blind. I believe they can and do thwart attacks, but I don't have enough fingers to list the times they have cried wolf, only to miss what they should have been able to see, according to them. I listened to the hawks talk about the Domino effect in SE Asia. I heard about WMD's in Iraq. I could go on and on. Looking at the situation in Syria it is easy to postulate an outcome other than what we have. But what crystal ball do you use to support that conclusion? Looking at the various interventions already underway in other areas leads me to the conclusion that we either can't or don't understand how to intervene without making things worse. ISIS was born in Iraq.
sardia wrote:I can accuse you of the same thing. You're just as bad as a war monger, who spread conflict by letting them develop into international conflagrations under the guise of preventing war.
And I may be guilty as charged. Or maybe not. As I pointed out above, the question of what we should have done will be answered by the passage of time. But there is no reason to believe that putting American boots on the ground would have changed the death toll one iota. And what about the next flash point? Libya? Yemen?

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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby sardia » Thu Feb 11, 2016 9:26 pm UTC

And how does better intelligence and more knowledge lead to more war? I'm not only talking about a kid watching another kid from a flying deathbot. Other kinds of intelligence exist.

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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Feb 11, 2016 9:41 pm UTC

sardia wrote:And how does better intelligence and more knowledge lead to more war? I'm not only talking about a kid watching another kid from a flying deathbot. Other kinds of intelligence exist.


Intelligence is just data. It does not necessarily lead to more war or less war. It depends how that data is used and interpreted.

My understanding is that the intelligence community is not lacking in data... indeed, if anything, they have too much data, but the overwhelming majority of it is worthless noise, and the problem is try to tease out the tiny bits of signal.

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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby Zamfir » Thu Feb 11, 2016 10:07 pm UTC

sardia wrote:The bigger problem is we are blind and slow to react to world events. It calls for more investment in eyes and ears, sources etc etc. Unfortunately, is not sexy to promote it nor is it likely to attract a fairy God senator.

The US intelligence budget is about 80 billion a year. According to wiki it doubled in real terms in the years after 9/11, so quite some of that budget must be aimed at the middle east and its surroundings. That's a lot of intelligence effort already, with less than stellar results. And the next billions would be chasing ever diminishing returns.

Put in another way: that 80 billion budget implies, order of magnitude, half a million people at work. Including support staff. How much of that effort would be aimed at the greater middle east? 20%, perhaps more? That's already a spook for every few thousand people, presumably more for focus areas like Syria. For comparison: the KGB's domestic intelligence divisions had something like 2 to 3 hundred thousand people, including support staff, to watch 250 million people. If you don't think that the current effort is enough, then that's basically the next step up in surveillance intensity.

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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby morriswalters » Thu Feb 11, 2016 10:15 pm UTC

sardia wrote:And how does better intelligence and more knowledge lead to more war? I'm not only talking about a kid watching another kid from a flying deathbot. Other kinds of intelligence exist.
Intelligence has little to do with reality, except in a very narrow sense. Do you think that Trump given the same data as Bush2 would have done the same thing? Whatever the analysts bring the President is colored by the expectations of the people who have to base decisions off of them. And that makes the decision to go to war about ideology, not fact, except in very narrow cases. Can you show me in any fashion the one less Syrian would die because of our intervention? Even if we had intervened before Russia?

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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Feb 12, 2016 12:48 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:
sardia wrote:The bigger problem is we are blind and slow to react to world events. It calls for more investment in eyes and ears, sources etc etc. Unfortunately, is not sexy to promote it nor is it likely to attract a fairy God senator.

The US intelligence budget is about 80 billion a year. According to wiki it doubled in real terms in the years after 9/11, so quite some of that budget must be aimed at the middle east and its surroundings. That's a lot of intelligence effort already, with less than stellar results. And the next billions would be chasing ever diminishing returns.

Put in another way: that 80 billion budget implies, order of magnitude, half a million people at work. Including support staff. How much of that effort would be aimed at the greater middle east? 20%, perhaps more? That's already a spook for every few thousand people, presumably more for focus areas like Syria. For comparison: the KGB's domestic intelligence divisions had something like 2 to 3 hundred thousand people, including support staff, to watch 250 million people. If you don't think that the current effort is enough, then that's basically the next step up in surveillance intensity.


Not entirely a fair comparison, because US Intelligence includes a whole slew of other things.

NSA for instance has the whole defense thing going on, as they're responsible for encryption of military stuff. FBI is an intelligence agency, but a lot of what they do is anti-corruption (like the recent Ferguson case), or misc. policing like the Bundy Militia thing that was going on. A huge amount of FBI stuff is just lawyers and prosecutors who are there to create plans for arguments in courts, which the KGB probably didn't care about.

I mean, yeah, the FBI is an "intelligence agency" and is commonly included in the intelligence budgets. But it does a heck of a lot more than that. Its basically the federal police force.
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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby Coyne » Fri Feb 12, 2016 2:37 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Not entirely a fair comparison, because US Intelligence includes a whole slew of other things.


It surely does, and the number one "other thing" is listening in on US citizens. We don't have to guess at that; it's obvious from several things including:

  1. The exemptions sought from law and the laws that are passed. One thing that should be obvious to anyone: foreign citizens do not have Fourth Amendment rights; not here, not overseas. The agencies didn't need the Patriot Act to spy on them; nor does it need to reinterpret the laws against spying on citizens, nor the exemptions they've sought from FISC, in order to spy on people overseas. Those things are needed only for spying on citizens.
  2. Statements that it captures 3 billion calls per day...did you really think the 127 million people in the Middle East each made 23 calls per day?
  3. 29.21 petabytes captured per day, per Clapper in 2013...did you really think those people in the Middle East generate 260 MB in email, each, every day?

That $40 billion increase went into concerns much closer to home. Our government isn't afraid of those people over there: they are over there. They're concerned about the increasingly frustrated people here. Even the discussion the last couple of days is using the "internet of things" to spy on...who? Those people in the Middle East going to have a bunch of "internet of things" devices we can spy on? No, once again spying here.

Before increasing budgets would help our intelligence from overseas, someone needs to figure out how to get the agencies interested in intelligence overseas.
In all fairness...

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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Feb 12, 2016 2:59 pm UTC

You do realize that the FBI budget is only $8.5 billion today, right?

Of the intelligence agencies, the FBI is the one in charge of domestic surveillance (and other police stuff of course). Several billions go to military (Air Force Intelligence, Navy Intelligence, etc. etc.) And the "spooks" Zamfir was talking about are probably more CIA / NSA types, who have programs that go beyond just intelligence (ex: Cyberdefense). CIA "counter-intelligence" is mostly a defensive action: trying to figure out what China and Russia knows about us but I guess that counts as intelligence. The drone program is nominally run by the CIA, although its application is far closer to a military strike.

But all of these things are technically part of our "intelligence" budget. I'm just noting that the KGB comparison doesn't really work apples-to-apples when the US Intelligence includes lawyers (FBI Prosecutors), Drone strikes, and cyber-defense.
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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby sardia » Fri Feb 12, 2016 3:53 pm UTC

The US also sorely lacks direct sourcing, like whistle blowers or old fashion spying. We often spend billions on satellites for data that could have been found with a few locals on the ground. Satellites and aerial spying are great tools, but they have limits that cannot be solved with more sats or more drones.

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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby morriswalters » Fri Feb 12, 2016 4:20 pm UTC

Coyne wrote:That $40 billion increase went into concerns much closer to home. Our government isn't afraid of those people over there: they are over there. They're concerned about the increasingly frustrated people here. Even the discussion the last couple of days is using the "internet of things" to spy on...who? Those people in the Middle East going to have a bunch of "internet of things" devices we can spy on? No, once again spying here.

Before increasing budgets would help our intelligence from overseas, someone needs to figure out how to get the agencies interested in intelligence overseas.
You seem to think that the intelligence services are supermen. And I don't think they much care how many videos of cute puppies are uploaded to Facebook. Most people live mundane lives and clutter up space with stupid shit.

One of the top ten terror attacks in the US was internal, the Oklahoma City attack. So if you are going to look for things like that you are going to look inward.

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Re: Syria Civil War Spreads

Postby sardia » Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:48 am UTC

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/06/world ... ?ref=world
Jihadists killed 41 people at Istanbul’s bustling, shiny airport; 22 at a cafe in Bangladesh; and at least 250 celebrating the final days of Ramadan in Baghdad. Then the Islamic State attacked, again, with bombings in three cities in Saudi Arabia. By Tuesday, Michel Kilo, a Syrian dissident, was leaning wearily over his coffee at a Left Bank cafe, wondering: Where was the global outrage? Where was the outpouring that came after the same terrorist groups unleashed horror in Brussels and here in Paris? In a supposedly globalized world, do nonwhites, non-Christians and non-Westerners count as fully human? “All this crazy violence has a goal,” Mr. Kilo, who is Christian, said: to create a backlash against Muslims, divide societies and “make Sunnis feel that no matter what happens, they don’t have any other option.” This is not the first time that the West seems to have shrugged off massacres in predominantly Muslim countries. But the relative indifference after so many deaths caused by the very groups that have plagued the West is more than a matter of hurt feelings.

One of the primary goals of the Islamic State and other radical Islamist groups is to drive a wedge between Sunni Muslims and the wider world, to fuel alienation as a recruiting tool. And when that world appears to show less empathy for the victims of attacks in Muslim nations, who have borne the brunt of the Islamic State’s massacres and predatory rule, it seems to prove their point. “Why isn’t #PrayForIraq trending?” Razan Hasan of Baghdad posted on Twitter. “Oh yeah no one cares about us.” Hira Saeed of Ottawa asked on Twitter why Facebook had not activated its Safety Check feature after recent attacks as it did for Brussels, Paris and Orlando, Fla., and why social media had not been similarly filled with the flags of Turkey, Bangladesh and Iraq. “The hypocrisy is the western world is strong,” she wrote. The global mood increasingly feels like one of atavism, of retreat into narrower identities of nation, politics or sect, with Britain voting to leave the European Union and many Americans supporting the nativist presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump. The violence feeds a growing impulse among many in the West to fear Muslims and Arabs, which has already prompted a political crisis over immigration that, in turn, has buttressed extremists’ goals. Europe is convulsing over a movement to reject refugees from Syria and Iraq, who are themselves fleeing violence by jihadists and their own governments.

Just a reminder of the dangers of isolationism, or 'xxx country first' slogans as they call it now. Some of it can be explained by war fatigue, or the numbness of large numbers, but not all of it. It's due to the West considering violence in the Mid East as normal. "In the West, though, there is a tendency in certain quarters, legitimized by some politicians, to conflate extremist Islamist militants with the Muslim societies that are often their primary victims, or to dismiss Muslim countries as inherently violent."


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