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[SIC!] May 1, 2008
 
Your Letters
 
Page 2 of 3
 

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/04/world/middleeast/04youth.html?ex=1362546000&en=acab5b5867bb89bf&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

JS

Dear Mr. JS, Leif the Liberal replies, "Why is it that you right-wing nut cases always want people to read articles that support YOUR view of things, but never want to read opposing views? For example, JS, you should try reading Deena Fernandes’s excellent article, "Toxic Trailers Redux: When Did FEMA Know?" in Mother Jones. Sure, it lacks the blood and guts and foul language that you people seem to like, but it has substance. Don’t you see? I mean, how can you sit there and argue about Al Sadr when there are so many toxins in the air?"

TACO KISSES

Dear Gary

I seem to recall your statement, in a previous article of the War Nerd, that what makes insurgencies so difficult, is the fact that the population lies to the occupying army like a cheap (Persian) rug. My question to you is how badly an insurgency can be damaged when the occupying army has technology that can accurately tell a lie from the truth? The current Gulf War might be lost either way or perhaps not, and wild like to answer that question too, the larger issue is how the invention of a reliable portable lie detector would change counterinsurgency warfare in favor of the occupying army?

I only ask this because reports have filtered through the media that seem to indicate United States is equipping its soldiers with portable lie detectors. As a both know the early polygraphs were extraordinarily unreliable and they were eventually discarded but most police departments. However I have seen and read about technology that is able to analyze the stress level many human beings voice and come to a decent conclusion regarding that person sincerity when they make a statement. Unfortunately I am having a hard time, finding many details about this new technology, in particular how reliable it is. As far as I know these little portable lie detectors given the troops are no better than the old polygraphs in terms of accuracy or they may be the great new thing in technology, that will put all but the most pathological liars out of business. It seems likely that reality is somewhere between these two extremes.

I know you don't really like the role of technology are you seem to minimize it, as it applies to modern war. Indeed I think your thinking on this matter is sound at least for the present time. To reiterate the old question, just how bad is it for the insurgents, to have their lives and the lives of the population that's trying to shield them, accurately unmasked even as little as..... say 70% of the time? Much of this technology's impact would depend upon just how reliable it was in its ability to be used with languages that share few structural commonalities with English.

Hopefully following up on this possible lead, will provide you the good article right for your regular readers like myself.

Gordon Angelino

Dear Senor Angelino,

Leif the Liberal replies, "I am so pleased to be answering a letter sent by a person of color. And I should add, Senorrrr Ankhhelino, that I speak espanol, thanks to the summer I spent with the campesinos in Benezuela, to participate in the Bolivarrr rrrrevolution. You know how to tell a vulgar gringo from a multicultural progressive American such as myself? Because we use ‘B’ for ‘V’ in ‘Benezuela,’ and we roll our ‘rrr’s for a minimum of three seconds. That’s how we bonded with the campesinos and the people living in the barrrrrrios in Carrrrrracas. Anyway, hope that answers your question! Viva la revolucion! Arrriba arrriba! Oops, that’s Speedy Gonzalez. Sorry, I apologize for the racial insensitivity. I was brainwashed as a child, and I promise, Senor Angelino, that I will spend another summer in Carrrracas, Benezuela, in order to rid myself of this poisonous Speedy Gonzalez reference in my head. Andale andale! Hija hija! Oops, there it is again. Stop me, please!"


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