Monday Mash-Up August 6, 2007

From 1987 until 2002, the State Department published an annual report titled, Political Violence Against Americans, formerly Significant Incidents of Political Violence Against Americans. It was a report mandated by Congress and

produced by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security’s Office of Intelligence and Threat Analysis (DS/DSS/ITA) to provide readers with a comprehensive picture of the broad spectrum of political violence that American citizens and interests have encountered abroad on an annual basis. 

I’m still waiting for somebody to link social obesity with Sageman’s socialization schema. Phil Carter, with highlighting and a special image by Noah Shachtman, did see a link to national security.

Timendi causa est nescire” : ignorance is the cause of fear — Seneca. Found in the signature line of a public affairs officer.

Seth Weinberger wants to make politics personal.

On robots, Noah counts down the 50 best movie robots.

Jason Sigger again wrote about general military readiness, adaptability, and capability. This is one of my “favorite” topics I’ve let slide in the last few months, so I’m glad Jason is staying up on it. Manpower and equipment problems lingering below the surface may force certain decisions if not addressed ASAP.

In the same vein, Amy R. Gershkoff, writing in the Washington Post, writes about saving soldiers’ jobs:

For tens of thousands of members of the National Guard and reserves who are called up to serve in Iraq, returning home safely may be the beginning — not the end — of their worst nightmare. Reservists lucky enough to make it home often find their civilian jobs gone and face unsympathetic employers and a government that has restricted access to civilian job-loss reports rather than prosecuting offending employers.

The Army is finally getting that we’re in an information war and it’s rewriting a core operations manual to address the “important business of influencing and informing populations — both our own and in the area in which we operate.” I’m sure this rewrite will have a greater impact than the book chapter I just wrote arguing the same at the national level.

It’s a good thing because al-Qaeda’s information capabilities having gotten slicker. From Noah (again):

We all know Al-Qaeda’s propaganda videos are getting slicker and slicker.  Here’s the newest evidence: a computer-animated recreation of a March 2006 suicide attack that killed U.S. diplomat David Foy in Karachi, Pakistan.  Okay, no one is going to confuse the clip with Finding Nemo or some other digitally-generated Pixar classic.  But it does show just how sophisticated the terror group’s production techniques are becoming.