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Link Salad, Friday Edition

I had my first session with my personal trainer yesterday. (She looks and acts like Central Casting's idea of a personal trainer.) Today, though, muscles I forgot I had are reminding me that they exist. [insert witty and/or funny transition here] Have some links:

1) In an attempt to get one step ahead of Internet bank fraud, IBM is offering a PC-on-a-stick.

2) I am not a cat person, so I read with amusement how your cat is making you crazy. There's a wonderful SF story or two in there.

3) Apparently, the current clown-car-crop of Republicans found biofuel funny. Well, the US Air Force dares you to laugh at their biofuel. It really is sad how stupid the current political debate has gotten.

4) A quick reminder of the costs of war and why we shouldn't be in a hurry to get in one.

5) A reminder - I will be down in Westville tomorrow signing books at our lovely new library.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 9th, 2012 05:08 pm (UTC)
A quick reminder of the costs of war and why we shouldn't be in a hurry to get in one.

Regarding the war now obviously looming with Iran, I don't think that we have a choice any more between war and peace, but only between a smaller and less destructive war now, and a bigger and more destructive war later. What's more, the longer we wait, the bigger the "smaller and less destructive war" becomes.

That translates into more suffering civilians in the former enemy Power, if we choose the path of (short-term) Peace. What's more, the longer we wait, the greater the likelihood of signficant numbers of suffering civilians in Western Powers. As in, "you and me."

Yes, of the Western Powers, Israel is the most endangered, but there is no guarantee that the Iranians will confine their aggressions against civilians to Israelis. Heck, they don't so confine their aggressions now -- it's just that they haven't been strong enough to do more than dispatch a terrorist team here or a hit squad there.

As Iran gets stronger, this will no longer be the case.
Mar. 9th, 2012 05:16 pm (UTC)
There is nothing obvious about war with Iran. First, they are not actually making nuclear weapons at this point. Second, there's no reason to think they will attack Israel if and when they get weapons.

You see, people who are planning to use nukes don't have their President show up on state-run TV waving enriched uranium around like it's a golden egg! They build in secret, so it's harder to stop them.

People who are planning to wipe out a country with nukes don't worry about long-range missiles. It's easier to smuggle the bombs in and when they go off, there's less of a fingerprint.

No, Iran wants nukes (if they do at all) for two reasons - 1) domestic politics (Iran has an outsized opinion of itself) and 2) deterrence.

So, the issue isn't "war now or war later" it's "war or no war."
Mar. 9th, 2012 05:33 pm (UTC)
Iran's been carrying out low-intensity warfare against the West since 1979. This has included lethal attacks against civilians on Western soil. If you wish, I'll support this statement with references.

Since 2003, they've escalated, sending men and equipment into Iraq to directly fight against US troops in the region. This has resulted in numerous lethal attacks against US forces on allied soil. If you wish, I'll also support this statement with references.

Over the last year or two, we've begun fighting back with covert attacks on Iran, especially on the Iranian computer and nuclear capabilities. This has reached the point of the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists. This has happened recently enough that I trust you don't need references?

The official Iranian religious ideology tells them that the Hidden Imam will not rise until there is a global genocidal war against Muslims, followed by a global genocidal war of Muslims against everybody else. Hence, the Iranians have a unique purpose in obtaining nuclear weapons -- they are doing so not to deter an attack on Iran (which alone would be enough to stop them from getting it, given that Iran is currently engaged in low-level warfare against the West), but rather to induce such an attack -- because they believe that it will lead to Paradise on Earth.

In other words, they are trying to start exactly the sort of atomic war which will lead to the maximum suffering on the part of their own people -- because they believe that it will instead lead to the maximum JOY on the part of their own people.

You are trying to model them as the Soviets. They are not that sane.
Mar. 9th, 2012 05:51 pm (UTC)
If they had really wanted to start a genocidal war, they could have invaded Iraq and/or Afghanistan in support of the Muslims there.

They didn't.

Or they could actually try to close the Straits of Hormuz.

They don't.

They know that a high-level war will result in Iran getting wiped out. So, much like the Soviets, they engage in low-level warfare.

This policy of aggravating your much larger enemy via pinpricks goes back to at least the English "sea dogs" of the 1500s vs. Spain.

The official ideology of Christianity says that Christ will return after an apocalyptic war in Israel. Should we assume that every devout Christian political leader wants to see Israel destroyed?

Edited at 2012-03-09 05:55 pm (UTC)
Mar. 9th, 2012 09:21 pm (UTC)
It's not like Israel hasn't been waging a medium grade intelligence/black ops war on them too... unless we think that the nuclear plants accidentally caught viruses and all those nuclear scientists were accidentally shot during muggings gone wrong...
Mar. 10th, 2012 01:15 am (UTC)
It's not like Israel hasn't been waging a medium grade intelligence/black ops war on them too...

Recently, yes. The term you're looking for is not "intelligence/black ops," it's assassination. Iran has been waging such a war against the West since at least 1989.
Mar. 9th, 2012 09:22 pm (UTC)
Question: what smaller "less destructive" war are you angling for?

Air attacks on Homs? (Unlikely to actually stop them) - or something more than that? A ground invasion through... er...? Where exactly?

Mar. 10th, 2012 01:13 am (UTC)
Question: what smaller "less destructive" war are you angling for?

At a minimum, airstrikes against their nuclear and missile capabilities, to be repeated if they show signs of rebuilding. At a maximum, the conquest of Iran.
Mar. 10th, 2012 02:54 am (UTC)
So you want to have air strikes of limited effectiveness or an impossible invasion?

Mar. 10th, 2012 01:16 am (UTC)
A ground invasion through... er...? Where exactly?

I'm not sure what you mean by "where exactly?" Do you envision the geography of Iran as being in some way mysterious or unknowable, unlike the geographies of other countries.
Mar. 10th, 2012 02:43 am (UTC)
Perhaps the better question is whose army were you planning to use? Iran will be a much tougher nut to crack than Iraq.

Mar. 10th, 2012 02:50 am (UTC)
It is because the geography is well known and understood that I asked.

And like Chris I was wondering which army you were planning to use and which friendly power bordering Iran you were going to use as a staging/logistics post.
Mar. 9th, 2012 09:16 pm (UTC)
Re. Item 5 -- I am currently reading Priates of Mars. Great story, Chris. I hope the book signing goes well.

Jerry Critter
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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This is the personal blog of Chris Gerrib, and all opinions expressed here are solely his own. Commenters are welcome; however please be polite to me and my other readers. I reserve the right to delete comments that are rude, inappropriate or otherwise objectionable at my sole discretion. The opinions expressed in a comment are not necessarily mine, and if I do not delete a comment that should not be construed as my agreement with the commenter.

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