Monday, February 22, 2010

China. Hackers. Cyberattack. Again.

Another variation on a theme, in the news:
"U.S. Pinpoints Coder Behind Google Attack"
Reuters, via Threat Level, Wired (February 22, 2010)

"U.S. government analysts believe a Chinese man with government links wrote the key part of a spyware program used in hacker attacks on Google last year, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

"The man, a security consultant in his 30s, posted sections of the program to a hacking forum where he described it as something he was 'working on,' the paper said, quoting an unidentified researcher working for the U.S. government.

"The spyware creator works as a freelancer and did not launch the attack, but Chinese officials had 'special access' to his programing, the report said.

" 'If he wants to do the research he's good at, he has to toe the line now and again,' the paper quoted the unnamed U.S. government researcher saying...."

"...The allegations over the spyware are the latest episode in a dispute that has pitted Google and the United States against China, with its wall of Internet controls and legions of hackers.

"In January, the giant internet search engine company, Google, threatened to pull back from China and shut its Chinese-language portal over complaints of censorship and sophisticated hacking from within China.

"Washington has backed those criticisms and urged Beijing to investigate hacking complaints thoroughly and transparently. Beijing has said it opposes hacking.

"The Financial Times report also quoted unnamed sources backing a New York Times report that analysts had traced the online attacks to two Chinese educational institutions, the prestigious Shanghai Jiaotong University and the Lanxiang vocational school...."
On the 'up' side, it seems to me that China's unwillingness to play well with others is getting into the news a little more often now, than a few years ago. ("White House Computers Hacked, Probably by China: News That's Not Fit to Print? (November 9, 2008))

Other related posts:And click "China" in this blog's label cloud.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saudi Arabia, Lawyers and Women: Edging Toward the 17th Century

It looks like Saudi Arabia is edging toward the 17th century in at least one sector of its culture.

America's first lawyer who was a woman was Margaret Brent, who came to the American colonies in 1638. (She asked for, but was denied, a vote in the Maryland Assembly: but that's another story.) (ABANow)

Saudi Arabia? Women may be allowed to be lawyers:
"Saudi Arabia's justice minister says his department is drafting a law that would allow female lawyers to argue legal cases in court for the first time.

"Sheik Mohammed al-Issa told reporters Saturday the bill will be issued in the coming days as part of the Saudi king's 'plan to develop the justice system.'..."

"...Women in Saudi Arabia are nearly totally segregated from men in public life."
In September of 2008, the Saudi king made some remarkable statements about who was besmirching Islam's reputation. (September 27, 2008) If this apparent change in policy in Saudi Arabia's justice department goes through, it'll be evidence that the Saudi king was serious. And, just as important, able to take a country that has earned a reputation for bizarre official pronouncements and behavior a little closer to the present day.

Not that I expect - or would want - Saudi Arabia to become a 'republic with strong democratic traditions,' like America. I like it here: but I also recognize that not all countries are alike. (November 15, 2009)

But that's another topic.

Related posts:In the news:

Friday, February 19, 2010

Police Abuse: America isn't Russia

This post is a trifle off-topic for this blog, but not by much.

In my opinion, one of the major threats facing America, and Western countries in general, is a serious misunderstanding by the dominant culture over what threatens their way of life, and what doesn't.

Hard as this may be for America's self-described best and brightest to believe or understand, the FBI, the CIA, and the police are not the greatest threat to their well-being. I acknowledge, however, that not all members of the police force are uniformly trustworthy.

For example, recently the chief of a metropolitan precinct was celebrating with friends and colleagues in a restaurant.
"...After a spat with his wife, he left the restaurant and went to the supermarket, where he wandered the store -- in uniform and carrying a handgun -- shooting random people."

"In all, he attempted the murder of 22 people, according to the court...."
I think the reporter meant that the police chief shot people at random, not people who were "random" in the colloquial sense, but let that pass.

Police Brutality!

The incident reminded me of my college days, and the view of law enforcement held by many of my fellow-students. And, to an extent, faculty.

It seems that this incident validates the view that police are brutal, violent, dangerous people, as a group. Maybe, but there's a twist. Major Denis Yevsyukov is the chief of police in a precinct in southern Moscow. More, from the CNN article:
"...According to investigators, after he was subdued by his fellow policemen Yevsyukov had no regrets about what he did, and said that if he'd had a Kalashnikov machine gun instead of a pistol, he would have used it...."

"...'Victims testified that Yevsyukov not only wanted to kill, he wanted to demonstrate his power and humiliate people,' state prosecutor Amalia Kostoyeva said during the trial...."

It's in Russia? Well, That's Different

I know that some American police officers are not very nice people. There was one individual in my home town who earned a reputation among some of my acquaintances. But - and this is important - that was one individual. My experience with law enforcement - individually and as a group - here in American is that they are professional, competent, and dedicated to serving and protecting the rest of us.

That's America.

Russia is going through a very difficult transition now, about two decades after the worker's paradise went down the drain of history. A colorful collection of people and organizations, with a variety of goals, are making progress. In a variety of directions.

Back to the article.
"...The rampage, captured on the store's surveillance cameras, generated a public outcry in Russia and forced President Dmitry Medvedev to fire the head of Moscow police and to speak about the need for reforming the country's Interior Ministry.

"Along with the flood of press reports ripping police, last November a police officer from southern Russia, Major Alexei Dymovskiy, accused his superiors of corruption in a video posted on YouTube, making him a media star overnight. His posting triggered a series of similar revelations from acting and former police officers across the country.

"The Interior Ministry's official statistics say more than 2,700 criminal cases were opened against policemen in 2009, which independent analysts and human rights activists say is a strong underestimation...."

On the Whole, I'd Rather be in America

I'm proud to be an American.

There, I've said it. I realize that openly admitting a sentiment like that is considered as biased, narrow-minded, even hateful in some of the better circles here in America. But, on the whole, I'm rather glad to have been born in this country.

A great deal of that opinion comes from my contacts with people who weren't, and managed to get here. In one case, curled up in the front of a boat, looking as much like the anchor ropes as possible.

Let's remember that America is one of the countries that people are trying to break into.

Another excerpt. This one is the last, promise.
"...A fresh opinion poll conducted across the country by the Levada Center, an independent polling and sociological organization, suggests that -- in stark contrast with Western democracies -- only 30 percent of Russians trust their police force, while 67 percent fear it.

"And in the city of Moscow, a mere 1 per cent of respondents said they 'rather trusted than distrusted' the police.

" 'Our respondents said their fear of lawlessness from policemen is only slightly less than their fear of attacks from terrorists, hoodlums and criminals,' Polina Cherepova, a Levada Center sociologist, told CNN...."
The good news for Russians is that their problem with the police is in the open now. And this isn't the 'good old days' of the Soviet Union. Some of the same people are in authority, and there's a whole lot of backlog in terms of reforms: but as far as I know Major Alexei Dymovskiy is still alive, and not living in Siberia - so things are changing there.

Police and Perceptions

I could be wrong about this, but it's possible to imagine that the cream of America, those enlightened few who are so much brighter than the rest of us (just ask them), have assumed that police in America are just like their counterparts in Russia. After all, nothing in America could be better than it is in the worker's paradise, right?

As I said, I could be wrong.

On the other hand, America's leaders sometimes seem more concerned with protecting terrorists from law enforcement, than protecting us from the terrorists.

Maybe that'll change, too.

Related posts:In the news:

Cyber Attacks Came From China - Again

I'm not all that nostalgic about "the good old days." My memory's too good. The bad guys didn't always wear black hats in westerns, by the way: that's a campus legend. On the other hand, someone with an eastern European accent in a movie was very likely a spy and/or criminal. And a nasty one.

No, I don't miss "the good old days."

I'd like to embrace the fuzzy feelings of peace and love and brotherhood (oops - siblinghood?) for all: without borders, without animosities, without thinking. My memory's too good for that, too.

Not that I'm a "regular American," who grudgingly admits that some of those foreigners make good cars, but doesn't like any of 'those people over there.' I'm a Catholic, which gives me a particular point of view on tolerance and related topics. (A Catholic Citizen in America, August 3, 2009, , for starters)

"Don't be so open-minded that your brain falls out" is good advice, I think. Yellow journalism, headlines screaming "Remember the Maine!" and movies where anybody from eastern Europe was suspect were not good ideas.

Neither is a "tolerance" which involves studiously ignoring or misinterpreting facts.

Cyberattacks, China, and Getting a Grip

I think that The New York Times is a pretty good home-town newspaper for the upper crust of New York City. (October 21, 2008) I also think that the editors - some of them, anyway - try to be professional journalists. And, occasionally succeed.

If this article had been on the front page, or in with international news, I'd have a higher opinion of the Times:
"A series of online attacks on Google and dozens of other American corporations have been traced to computers at two educational institutions in China, including one with close ties to the Chinese military, say people involved in the investigation.

"They also said the attacks, aimed at stealing trade secrets and computer codes and capturing e-mail of Chinese human rights activists, may have begun as early as April, months earlier than previously believed. Google announced on Jan. 12 that it and other companies had been subjected to sophisticated attacks that probably came from China.

"Computer security experts, including investigators from the National Security Agency, have been working since then to pinpoint the source of the attacks. Until recently, the trail had led only to servers in Taiwan.

"If supported by further investigation, the findings raise as many questions as they answer, including the possibility that some of the attacks came from China but not necessarily from the Chinese government, or even from Chinese sources.

"Tracing the attacks further back, to an elite Chinese university and a vocational school, is a breakthrough in a difficult task. Evidence acquired by a United States military contractor that faced the same attacks as Google has even led investigators to suspect a link to a specific computer science class, taught by a Ukrainian professor at the vocational school...."
(The New York Times)
Kudos to the Times, for pointing out that evidence points to specific schools in China. And that this does not necessarily mean that the Chinese government is responsible for the attacks.

But: a security threat like this, in the Technology section? I'm all for suspended judgment and waiting until facts support a conclusion: but I'd also appreciate a bit less of what can be seen as bending-over-backwards polite reticence about acknowledging that China doesn't always play nice.

I don't think that the Chinese government is behind the many cyberattacks that came from computers in China. I certainly don't think that the Chinese government isn't behind the attacks. I don't know.

Sure, it looks like The People's Republic of China has been repeatedly trying to hack into private sector and government computer networks around the world - and in America. But that's suspicion, not knowledge.

Well-founded suspicion, in my opinion: but suspicion nonetheless.

I think I could be less suspicious, though, if traditional American news services didn't seem to be tiptoeing around the idea that the last large worker's paradise on the planet might not be behaving well.

Related posts:And click "China" in this blog's label cloud. In the news:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

'Everybody Knows' That Americans are Arrogant

Is this help-wanted ad really so surprising?

"EXCLUSIVE: Help Wanted -- 'Arrogant Americans' Need Not Apply,2933,586342,00.html"
FOXNews (February 17, 2010)

" Looking for a job? Well, if you're an "arrogant American,' you had better search elsewhere.

"An information technology staffing firm based in Rolling Meadows, Ill., posted an advertisement for a technical writer that warned that an 'arrogant American' would not flourish in the position.

" 'Exelon is looking to provide these proposals to Chinese businesses, so someone who is respectful and understands Chinese culture is preferred. An arrogant American will not work well in this role,' the listing read.

"The ad, posted by Viva USA, an information technology consulting firm, has since been removed. Varuna Singh, the company's development manager, told it received the language from its client, Exelon Nuclear Partners, and the wording somehow got past a 'junior recruiter' who posted the advertisement on"
Now that they've been caught, the recruiting outfit is taking down the ad. Commendable.

You don't have to believe this, by the way. The story ran on the FOX News website: and 'everybody knows' that FOX News lies. They're arrogant Americans, remember.

America isn't Perfect: But The Anti-American Fad is Seriously Dated

Back in the sixties, being anti-American was kind of now, kind of wow. You know, like, groovy.

Forty years later? The idea that Americans - all Americans - are arrogant, insensitive capitalist imperialist warmonger running dogs has gotten rather old.

Oh, well: I'm an American, myself. And 'everybody knows' what we're like.

How Divisive of an Upstart News Service

I've written about information gatekeepers before. ("What is an Information Gatekeeper?" (August 14, 2009))

And, I'm rather glad that we live in a time when "divisive" news items like this can get published. Even if old-school editors at The New York Times and broadcast networks' news departments don't feel like letting 'the masses' know about items like this.

Related posts:Related posts, on tolerance, bigotry, racism, and hatred.

Monday, February 15, 2010

War is Not Nice

The headline says it all:
"Civilians die in second day of Afghan offensive"
CNN (February 14, 2010)

"Twelve Afghan civilians were killed Sunday when two rockets fired by coalition forces in southern Afghanistan missed their intended target, as the Taliban showed stiff resistance to the NATO assault against the militant group.

" 'We deeply regret this tragic loss of life,' U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, said in a statement. 'The current operation in Central Helmand is aimed at restoring security and stability to this vital area of Afghanistan. It's regrettable that in the course of our joint efforts, innocent lives were lost.'..."

War is Not Nice: Things Get Broken, People Get Killed

I think it would be nice to live in a world without war.

I think it would be nice if nobody ever got sick, or stubbed their toes, or had a toothache.

And I think it would be really nice if airliners hadn't been piloted into New York City's World Trade Center and the Pentagon a few years ago: with another crashing into a field as the passengers were regaining control.

That would be nice.

I think war is not nice. Things get broken. People get killed. Sometimes people who don't think God is telling them to kill other people get killed.

That is not nice.

The Taliban is Not Nice, Either

Afghanistan was run by the Taliban for quite a few years. I've gotten the impression that not everybody in Afghanistan was entirely pleased with how that particular bunch of self-proclaimed defenders of Islam acted when they were in charge. Banning soccer wasn't the best idea, from a public relations point of view.

Then there was what was done to the Bamiyan Buddhas. ("February 17, 2009)

If the Taliban had stopped with destroying irreplaceable ancient works of art, I might not be so unwilling to regard them as nice people. But killing their fellow-Muslims for being Islamic the 'wrong' way?

That's not nice.

Civilians Got Killed in Afghanistan: That's Not Nice

The BBC's article on this incident had the same headline for a few hours yesterday. They've changed it: which I think is nice. And, just as accurate as CNN's more old-school "Civilians die..." line. Here's how the BBC article started, with the new headline:
"McChrystal regrets Afghan deaths"
BBC (February 14, 2010)

"Nato has confirmed that two rockets fired at militants during its offensive in Helmand, south Afghanistan, missed their target and killed 12 civilians.

"The rockets struck a house in Marjah as thousands of Nato troops continued their operations to oust the Taliban.

"Nato's commander Gen Stanley McChrystal said that 'we deeply regret this tragic loss of life'.

"Coalition forces are aiming to build on gains in Operation Moshtarak, tackling snipers and booby-traps on day two...."
Credit where credit is due: Both CNN and the BBC acknowledge that NATO tried to warn people in the area that not-nice things would be happening there. That act stood out in my eyes, because one of the advantages a military force can have is that of surprise.

Distributing leaflets and warning civilians that a military operation was going to happen soon reduces that element of surprise, a lot.

I suppose it helps that this is a NATO operation, not one involving those awful, nasty, rough Americans.

American Imperialist Warmongers?

Oops. Actually, over 4,000 Marines are involved.

I think there's a strong tendency to identify military operations where American troops are involved as "NATO" or some other not-American name.

When it's fairly obvious that an effort is being made to keep innocent civilians from being killed, or when things are going well.

When something's amiss, though: It's often "America" and "American." It's really hard to shake the impression that a 'blame America first' attitude is behind quite a bit of news coverage.

I've written before, that I don't think America is perfect. (More: "United States of America: 232 Years in the Freedom Business" (July 3, 2008))

I don't think this country is the source of all the world's ills, either. And I do think that America is one of the few countries around with the ability and the willingness to take on - and occasionally take the lead - with unpleasant tasks like dealing with outfits like Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Related posts:In the news:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Afghanistan: Diplomacy, Dialog, Cultural Sensitivity, and 4,000 Marines

BBC reports have been stressing the NATO aspects of an offensive against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Understandably, since it's a British institution, and much closer geographically to Europe's NATO than to the country that grew out of those 13 colonies.

Nato, Diplomacy: and Marines

One of today's BBC articles on the developing situation in Afghanistan makes the military operation sound - well, military.
"Nato begins major Afghanistan offensive"
BBC (February 13, 2010)

"Thousands of US, British and Afghan troops have launched the biggest offensive in Afghanistan since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001.

"Helicopter-borne forces are attacking the Taliban-held districts of Marjah and Nad Ali in Helmand province in a bid to re-establish government control.

"Nato says Marjah is home to the biggest community under insurgent control in the south and 400 to 1,000 militants.

"Many residents fled ahead of Operation Moshtarak - meaning 'together' in Dari.

"Nato had distributed leaflets in the Marjah area warning of the planned offensive in a bid to limit civilian casualties. Villagers said they warned Taliban fighters to leave the area or be killed...."

"...Operation Moshtarak is being led by the US Marine Corps, but a total of 4,000 British troops are involved on the ground and in support, supported by Danes and Estonians.

"The initial offensive in Marjah, in Nad Ali district, began early on Saturday.

"More than 4,000 US marines, 1,500 Afghan soldiers and 300 US soldiers moved in by helicopter under cover of night...."
What's a bit less obvious in leading news from Afghanistan is the sort of diplomacy that's going on before - and, quite possibly, during - the strictly military aspects of the operation.

I'd like to live in a world where outfits like the Taliban - particularly their leaders - would have a change of heart, decide that it's okay for women to drive cars, apologize for killing people they didn't approve of, and start being nice.

I think it's likely enough that some people who supported the Taliban out of fear or inadequate knowledge will be willing to abandon terrorism. But dedicated islamic terrorists? No, I think the odds are strongly against their deciding to be nice.
"Nato forces in Afghanistan to launch Helmand operation"
BBC (January 25, 2010)

"...But if there was a conversation before the operation between the Afghans and village leaders, he said, 'we often find the Afghans don't fight - but they will welcome you'.

"He pointed to an operation run in a similar way by Canadian forces to the west of Kandahar 'where not a shot was fired'.

"And in an operation by the Grenadier Guards in central Helmand province 'the same effect was created', he said....'
I'm reminded strongly of what the American-led coalition did in Iraq. (And, no, Bush wasn't "going it alone" - although admittedly a little under one in eight of Earth's 265 nations and other administrative units were in the coalition. (August 9, 2007))

Many Iraqis simply didn't know about foreigners, western or otherwise. As they discovered that these foreigners, when they weren't fighting Al Qaeda or Hussein holdouts, repaired and restocked hospitals, fixed sewer systems, and made themselves helpful in other ways - Al Qaeda propaganda started to be questioned.

Al Qaeda's efforts to win support by cutting off people's heads probably didn't help their popularity, either.

I doubt we'll hear much about the Anbar Awakening and related grass-roots movements in Iraq: That was, after all, Al Qaeda in Iraq, not the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Besides, America has a new administration now - but perhaps I'm being unfair.

Related posts:

Monday, February 8, 2010

Wouldn't It be Nice, if Nobody Ever Questioned Election Results?

Remember the American election with the hanging chads and other weirdly improbable stories coming out of Florida? When one comic opined that the state of Florida was going for the 'stupidest state in the union' title?

Or the Minnesota election when lawsuits over the results nearly delayed the decision over who won - until the next election?

Well, it could be worse:
"Sri Lanka election loser Sarath Fonseka arrested"
BBC (February 8, 2010)

"The defeated candidate in Sri Lanka's presidential election, Gen Sarath Fonseka, has been arrested at his office in Colombo.

"Gen Fonseka was defeated by incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa last month by six million votes to four million.

"Gen Fonseka rejected the results and vowed to challenge them in court.

"The initial allegations brought by the government against Gen Fonseka, 59, were put simply as "committing military offences"...."
I'll concede that arresting candidates who threatened to contest the official results is one way to eliminate those pesky legal challenges. On the other hand, I'm not entirely convinced that what seems to be the Sri Lanka model is much better than systems which award the presidency to whoever has the most soldiers in the presidential palace at the moment.

But He's a General! - And Everybody Knows What They're Like!

America is a republic with strong democratic traditions: and I think that form of government works moderately well for us. But I'm not convinced - at all - that this is the only sort of government that can adequately coordinate a nation-state. Or even the sort of entity that America is. I'm not at all convinced that the United States of America is a nation state in the traditional sense of the term. (which is another topic)

I've discussed whether there's a 'best' sort of government before. (Most recently in "Commie Plots, Cholesterol, Frank Burns, Hugo Chavez, and 2012" (November 15, 2009))

I hope that Sarath Fonseka is high-profile enough so that he won't simply disappear: and that he doesn't "commit suicide" while in custody. Perhaps I'm misjudging the bunch that won the election - officially.

Or, perhaps not.

The point is, not all nations are alike. And I think it's reasonable to think that America, where we fuss on talk shows and hire lawyers if we don't like the results of an election, isn't exactly the same as the nations where losers get arrested if they don't gracefully accept the inevitable.

Related posts:In the news:

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Someone Should Tell Congress There's a War on: President Obama, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab

I'm not on the same page with President Obama on many issues. Including the matter of putting terror suspects in the civilian court system: like the young man who almost certainly tried to bring down an airliner on Christmas weekend last year.

But, like 'zero tolerance,' it looks like one size does not fit all in this case.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has been read his rights, and he's cooperating. Big time.

That's the good news.

The bad news? Congress can't keep its collective mouth shut.

Hello? Congress? There's a War On

I suppose the American congress can't be blamed for being a bit confused. The current administration has been sending some - interesting - signals about whether or not the war on terror is still on. (March 30, 2009)

Still, you'd think that members of Congress would have their aides read a newspaper to them once in a while. It's fairly obvious that the Taliban, Al Qaeda and like-minded outfits haven't changed their minds about taking down the West. And any Muslims that aren't sufficiently 'Islamic' by the terrorists' standards.

Somebody Talked

One thing about gathering intelligence during a war: It's important to not let the enemy know what - and how much - you know.

Again, someone really should tell Congress.

The current administration had been keeping how much they were learning from the would-be Christmas terrorist under wraps. Then, Congress did it's usual work: asked questions, got answers, and leaked the results.

I understand that there needs to be something like Congress, to keep an eye on other parts of the federal government. It's that checks and balances thing. (November 20, 2008)

I just wish that we had a bunch that's more reliable than what we have.

I also hope that what was learned from Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab could be used fast, because now that Congress tipped off the world that he's been talking: terrorists will be moving people and equipment, and making any other changes they need to, to protect themselves.

Like I said, there's a war on.

Here's an excerpt from what got me started on this little rant:
"Airline Terror Suspect Provides Key Intelligence"
The Associated Press, via FOXNews (February 02, 2010)

"The Nigerian man accused of trying to use a bomb hidden in his underwear to bring down a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas has been cooperating with investigators since last week and has provided fresh intelligence in multiple terrorism investigations, officials said Tuesday.

"Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's cooperation could prove to be a national security victory and a political vindication for President Obama, who has been under fire from lawmakers who contend the administration botched the case by giving Abdulmutallab the right to remain silent, rather than interrogating him as a military prisoner...."

"...In the days following the failed bombing, a pair of FBI agents flew to Nigeria and persuaded Abdulmutallab's family to help them. When the agents returned to the U.S., Abdulmutallab's family came, too, according to a senior administration official briefed on the case. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case...."

"...Authorities had hoped to keep Abdulmutallab's cooperation secret while they continued to investigate his leads, but details began to trickle out during testimony on Capitol Hill, where FBI Director Robert Mueller and Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair confirmed authorities continued to get intelligence in Abdulmutallab's case...."

"...Also unsettled is which system is better for gathering intelligence. The Bush administration, which authorized secret CIA prisons for interrogations, also repeatedly used the U.S. court system to prosecute terrorists. Some detainees at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have provided valuable intelligence, while others have refused to cooperate.

"Some suspects in the criminal system refuse to talk once they have a lawyer. Others, like Abdulmutallab, can be persuaded to keep talking...."
In this case, it looks like the current administration made the right call in putting the Christmas suspect into the civilian court system.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. And sometimes Congress gets in the way.

Related posts:In the news:

Monday, February 1, 2010

Space Patrol? Defending Cyberspace? Looks Like

"US military responsibilities to expand"
Financial Times (January 31 2010)
NOTE! This link is to the Financial Times. If you are registered, no problem. If you're not: you'll be asked to do so. It's free.
"The US will take on a broader range of military responsibilities, including defending space and cyberspace, in spite of growing pressure on budgets, a long-awaited administration report is set to conclude on Monday.

"Robert Gates, US defence secretary, is due to unveil the Obama administration's Quadrennial Defense Rev­iew, which shifts emphasis from the post-cold war doctrine that the US is able to fight two 'major regional conflicts' at one time.

"According to a December draft, the US military will restructure its forces to 'prevail in today's wars' and buy more of the helicopters and unmanned drones that have proved their worth in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the draft also highlights 'a multiplicity of threats', including cyber­attacks and anti-satellite weapons, as well as terrorist groups and the prospect of more nuclear weapon states...."
This is hardly 'business as usual.' On the other hand, the American armed forces have been dealing with the real world for well over two centuries now: and I'm confident that they'll continue to do so.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.