- Lincoln and the Jews – from the Federation of American Scientists
- The Solitude of Alexander Selkirk – the inspiration for Robinson Crusoe
- Two from Charlie Rose, specifically this interview with Petraus’ main counter insurgency adviser David Kilcullenm and also with Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater.
- Robert Kaplan on private military contractors
- John Robb on private military contractors – one thing he doesn’t mention (and I don’t think he has mentioned it before) is that there could be many, many problems with highly trained combat forces under no particular command, they would make quiet a crime crew. It’s unlikely with the current stock of PMCs, but it might be with the next generation.
- Solar Power is becoming a vested interest
- For some reason validator callout extenders won’t work with a custom validator with the standard Visual Studio code, but it works with this code.
- Nazi War Criminal was found in Metro Atlanta. Why must events like these be the only time Atlanta makes national news?
- Building a tree fort as an exercise in project management
- DNI on leaving Iraq
- A client of mine was in the AJC today, I did the Atlanta Arrangements site late last year.
- Secret Geek has a nice post on the Principles of Scale
- Tyler Cowen on income inequality. I wonder if anyone is actually worried about this. No one seems to be, but everyone thinks everyone else is scared stiff. One thing to bear in mind is that the bottom is fixed at zero
- A BBC documentary about Private Military Companies
- Amazon.com buys DPReview.com – I’ve bought my last two camera based on DP Review’s recommendations
- High Dynamic Range photography – I’m surprised I haven’t heard of this before. A flickr group is here, and the photoshop tutorial is here. I’ll probably have some examples soon.
- Photoshop madness – unmentioned is American free time
On the rise of privateers. We’ve let this option go as our country has become wealthier, but it’s worth looking at.
I came across this article on Iraq’s Mercenary King recently. It’s an interesting read. One thing that’s always said about Private Military Companies is that the contractors make several times what normal American troops make. Usually in another sentence it’s said that PMCs can be deployed at a much lower cost than deploying the regular military. No one ever draws any conclusions about this disparity.
I spend all day today debugging, which is also how I spend the early morning hours after I got home last night. It’s been a strange day. There has been very little email and phone contact today. Combine that with the weather and listening to quiet singer-songwriter music and the day has a rare seamless quality.
Your link for the day is It’s time for a new International Brigade, which is about private armies and the crisis in Darfur.
It escapes me how anyone expects the “Rock for Darfur” campaign to do any good. The conflict in Darfur is an ethnic and territorial war that isn’t based on any sort of historical misunderstanding or trivial difference. It’s also true that anything the US or any major power would do would wind up looking like Iraq. The duke of Wellington’s adage “For a great power there are no small wars” is being proven true everywhere.
So then what? Another adage “If a problem seems insolvable, enlarge it”. In this case, don’t act as a great power, or more specifically, use small powers, like private military companies, like Blackwater et. al. The money could be raised privately, they’re relatively cheap by military standards, and it wouldn’t require a massive US commitment.
There are massive legal and oversight problems involved with using PMCs, but using private means for what are essentially humanitarian efforts seems far better in every way than making a national commitment.
In the last 50 years, $2.3 trillion has been spent to help poor countries. Yet Africans’ income and life expectancy have gone down, not up, during that period, while South Korea, Singapore and other Asian nations that received little if any assistance have moved from African-level poverty to European-level prosperity thanks to their superior economic policies.
Any real solution to Africa’s problems must focus on the root causes of poverty Ã— mainly misgovernment. Instead of pouring billions more down the same old rat holes, maybe the Live 8 crew should promote a more innovative approach: Use the G-8’s jillions 2 hire mercenaries 4 the overthrow of the 6 most thuggish regimes in Africa. That would do more to help ordinary Africans than any number of musical extravaganzas.
Oddly enough, Adam expressed the same idea, in nearly the same words last Sunday. Strange.
And as I do a spell check of this post, It tags “misgovernment” as a misspelling, and wants to replace it with “McGovern”.