On the eve of war – page 30 – pprune forums electricity in india voltage


There’s a general principle often called the "half life of facts", and that applies to things we are pretty sure are factual, not the 90% BS that results from the propaganda of war. The "half life of facts" principle is that half of the things we are pretty sure are factual will turn out to be untrue at some later date. When applied to information being reported about a conflict, by those who are less than impartial, then that principle probably only applies to the 10% or so of facts out of all the other crap that’s being reported.

Referring to rumours, propaganda and stories being peddled around by those with a personal or political motive to try and persuade people to agree with their view as facts is just daft, and helps those who want to spread false stories do their job. Facts from somewhere like Syria are going to be rarer than rocking horse poo, as there are virtually no reliable sources of information at all. The best we’ve probably got will come from the very few non-partisan people who are allowed into the conflict zones to collect data, analyse it, cross check it’s validity and then report on what they believe to be true. Even then we can expect half of what they report to be disproved at some later date.

The one fact we do know is that there are no non-partisan reporters, or citizen reporters, passing "news" out of the conflict zones at all. The closest we have got is the OPCW team who have an extremely limited and restricted remit. They are there solely to investigate whether or not CWs have been used, and if so, what type. They are not there to state which side, out of several, may have deployed them, or how they were deployed, but their evidence may suggest who that was.

Finally, it’s a fact of war that it’s rare for anything to be clear cut, something that’s often termed "the fog of war". I doubt all of the members of any group anyone chooses to name are as cohesive as anyone might believe. For example, it’s very easy to sit here, thousands of miles away and make accusations that a particular group works exclusively for a particular body or nation state. Apart from the evidence being very thin, it’s extremely unlikely that any group thinks along the same lines or acts cohesively as a single entity, with the possible exception of religious extremists.

When Netanyahu initially popped up with his circus act, I actually laughed. I had assumed a politician like him would have had a bit more guile about him, yet this was a clearly amateurish attempt at sowing misinformation on a grand scale, with only one blindingly obvious reason for it.

I realise there are those who believe that everything we do in the West, in terms of military abilities, intelligence gathering etc. is the best. All others, such as Iran et al, are mere amateurs. I used to believe it, decades ago. Iran is not a collection of dummies and the idea that people stole documents, confidential records, etc from a secure warehouse, over a period of some time, is just laughable.And then they took these home to Israel is even more laughable. Especially when you consider the quantity being measured in tons!

And, within a day or two, their best friends, the US, burst that bubble by mentioning that Netanyahu had "mistakenly used the wrong tense", saying Iran "has" nuclear ambitions, rather than "had". Then the US confirmed they had been through all this when confirming Iran’s suspension of military nuclear activity and the data relates to 2003.

In my humble view the matter is one which raises the issues of hegemony. Are we faced with an otbreak of another Hegemonic War, similar to the Great War and the Second World War, as postulated by some historians. The inspiration for the title was provided to me by words of Professor Robert Gilpin, in his War & Changes in Politics, Cambridge University Press, 25 November 1983. I reproduce these below:

“ The great turning points in world history have been provided by these hegemonic struggles among political rivals; these periodic conflicts have reordered the international system and propelled history in new and unchartered directions. They resolve the question of which state will govern the system, as well as what ideas and values will predominate, thereby determining the ethos of successive ages .”

“ The fundamental problem of international relations in the contemporary world is the problem of peaceful adjustment to the consequences of the uneven growth of power among states, just as it was in the past. International society cannot and does not stand still. War and violence remain serious possibilities as the world moves from the decay of one international system toward the creation of another.”