Thanks for everyone who came out last night to my birthday and Red Veda's CD release party!
Also, I know it's bad form to completely steal writing from another blogger, but I know you're too lazy to click a link to read a couple of paragraphs. I'm guilty of it as well sometimes. But John Robb pays way more attention to details in Iraq than I can afford to do, and has noticed another disturbing trend:
A characteristic of open source warfare is that core strategies and tactics can be modified by any participating group. If the modification works in practice (under the rubric of release early and often), it is then usually adopted by many other participants. In effect, mainstreamed. One recent modification that we have seen move quickly from prototype to mainstream procedure are new methods of ambushing helicopters (used successfully for the eighth on February 21st). Another, and this one is as bad if not worse than innovations in anti-air methods, is do-it-yourself (DIY) chemical weapons. These weapons involve simply blowing up truckloads of deadly chemicals. Recent events that indicate that this is on its way to mainstream activity:
Beyond the tactical/strategic problems that this presents in Iraq, and they are plentiful, we can be assured that any innovation that shows up in Iraq will eventually be exported to other global locales.
- Baghdad (February 21). Chlorine gas canisters exploded near a diesel-fuel station. Killing 5 and wounding 75.
- North of Baghdad (February 20). A tanker truck of Chlorine gas exploded. Killing 9 and wounding 148.
- Ramadi (January 28). A dump truck with chlorine tank blew up. Killing 16.
EDIT: I guess there are other sources that are picking up on the fact that the insurgency is so adaptive, and it's also great news that we're actually taking responsive action! Calling a chlorine plant a "car bomb factory" is a little over the top, but I'm not complaining.
I guess the problem that *I* have with the reporting is more of a "crying wolf" issue - I read about a topic that really interests me (such as the insurgency in Iraq), and get opinions and facts from sources I trust. Sometimes it's blogs, sometimes it's journalists, sometimes the radio, etc. I can piece together the story myself from these multiple sources. But when I read a story about the same topic on CNN.com for example, much of the really important details are left out or glossed over. Not that I'm critiquing this chlorine car-bomb story in particular, as I'm glad it's good enough for "news" according to CNN (though not worthy of knocking Anna Nicole off the "top story"), but I've read too many CNN stories on topics that interest me, and the dumbing-down of news kinda makes me sad.
I can't decide if I'd rather have NO news, or news distorted through the "instant-gratification" lens that the mainstream media provides.
EDIT#2: OMG WTF LOLZ!!! So right after I edit my post once, I double-check CNN.com to see if they've written anything about me yet, and there's this "Developing Story" headline:
If that's too small for you to read, it's "Lawyer nearly faints at the hearing on the fate of Anna Nicole Smith's body. WITNESS OFFERS PROTEIN BAR"
Is this hilarious to anyone else? Or am I just nuts? You just can't make this stuff up.