Here’s the LB primer on how I try to analyze the news and intelligence information too. A while back, I wrote a blog post on agendas within the American media and it’s to the point where political partisanship has so infected our society that most people pick their niche and then read only news and blogs that cater to their political views. The problem comes in when partisans twist the news and the facts to fit their agenda. This is where we are at in America. With the situation in Syria, the partisan “experts”, both civilian and military, are coming out of the woodwork to promote their pet policy ideas, because frankly, their professional reputations are riding on this and/or they are so enmeshed in the domestic political partisanship, that they are blinded to the truth.
Prepare yourself to be stunned at the battle they put up to fight strawmen, imaginary enemies and create narratives to prop up their delusions. Americans also might wake up to the fact that many of their trusted, so-called “military analysts” and “foreign policy experts”, upon whom they rely, repeat mindless power point drivel, nicely wrapped in bad historical analogies or hollow catchphrases.
You can believe whatever you want, but cold, hard facts are cold, hard facts no matter how you spin it and in this situation, let me be clear, I am an American first, before any partisanship and my loyalties are to the United States of America, not a political party. We have American military members at risk every day, who put their lives on the line to protect America and to defend The Constitution. I swore that oath in 1979 and I intend to keep it. In this Syrian debacle, it’s not just about President Obama’s foreign policy; American lives are at risk in the region and our leaders, both civilian and military, owe it to these brave warriors to do due diligence, can the egos and come up with the best strategy to achieve the mission.
I recommended this little booklet before, but it’s imperative for Americans to wake up and recognize lies, deceptions, distortions and to learn, as this booklet’s title states it: “ How To Analyze Information: A Step-by-Step Guide to Life’s Most Vital Skill”, written by Herbert E. Meyer. This short booklet identified the problem we have in America to finding an effective American foreign policy – it’s called “IDEOLOGY”.
When I read information, I like to find out the source. Next I like to know some background on the source, like what political affiliation and educational background. It also helps to look at past places the person worked and their previous writings. It gives me a frame of reference.
I’ve been mentioning these maps from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), which get accepted as the “facts on the ground” in Syria, by the media, the US State Department and even many in the Department of Defense without question. Many prominent neoconservative mouthpieces have bought into a particular strategic paradigm on the situation in Syria and they’re stuck on arming the Syrian moderates, Assad must go, and the safe zone track. They have staked their professional reputations on this policy, so don’t expect them to change. The Obama administration likewise wants to create a narrative to cover-up the colossal failure of its strategy to defeat the Islamic State.
So, here’s the deal, ideology distorts your vision and it can even blind you to the truth, especially political and religious ideology. Meyer’s booklet costs a couple bucks, but it can teach you how to become more savvy at analyzing information. Learn to doubt experts! Strategy, especially military strategy, should be able to be explained in clear, simple language that ordinary people can understand. Using fancy terminology or creating catchy terminology often masks terrible strategy or magical thinking. Learn to be a skeptic. Learn to take the pieces of a strategy apart and think about whether that piece will really achieve the ends it’s supposed to. If you have doubts, good, start doing some independent research.
Aquamarine vs. turquoise explains the dangers of factions and extreme ideology.