Friday, December 18, 2009

Friedman, Iran, Copenhagen

AFA members, Congressional staffers, Civic leaders, and DOCA members, three pieces caught my attention this week. The first, by Thomas Friedman, appeared in the NY Times. In the piece, Mr. Friedman makes the very cogent argument that the “virtual” Afghanistan is actually more of a threat than the actual Afghanistan. That is because Al Qaeda uses the web to support its global jihad … recruiting members, sharing ideas on how to make more lethal weapons, and building stories of success. I believe Mr. Friedman is right … we have not found a way to fight the so-called “battle of ideas” … whereby we are capturing and killing more terrorists than are being created. Last September, at our Air and Space conference, we heard from a speaker – Chuck deCaro – who put forth ideas on how to win this battle. We know how to do it – what is needed is the organization, funding, and will to put the right tools to work. [Lest you think we don’t know how to do this – just review what each political party did to each other during the last election.] You can find a link to Mr. Friedman’s piece on our website at:

Secondly, several thoughtful essays were published on Iran – one in the LA Times and another in the Wall Street Journal. You can find links to them on our website at:,0,427799.story and

Finally, as you all know, Copenhagen has been in the news. President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, SECSTATE Clinton and lots of others traveled to the Danish city to try to hammer out a deal addressing global warming [to call it global climate change is really a misnomer – in that the global climate does change]. The press is reporting very large dollar amounts being considered to be transferred to 3rd world nations to help reduce their carbon footprint. This has national security implications – in that, more borrowing will, in the future, put pressure on defense spending and according to the CBO will decrease the rate of growth of our economy. Also – not addressing global warming also has national security implications … as historically, nations have gone to war over resources … and many are forecasting there will be fights over water, oil, and other natural resources in the future. There are lots of articles, studies, and other information on the subject – most define well the “threat” and the science behind the threat. However, I worry when there is near universal agreement on any subject. For the anti-global warming argument, the one book I would recommend is – a novel by Michael Crichton entitled: State of Fear. In the book, which was published in 2004, Dr. Crichton weaves a plot around what he calls eco-terrorists. What makes the book unique is that he has heavily foot-noted every ecological citation – literally hundreds of them. If you are a supporter of global warming, you should read it to get a view of the other side. If you are against it, you will enjoy the book. If you haven’t made up your mind, this book should be part of your research to help you decide.

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association


Gerry Hounchell said...

Back in 2004, I read Dr. Crichton's book, "State of Fear", and will reread it. As I recall, the book was impressive in the number of charts and statistical data it contained. Many debunked or questioned Global Warming.

The author places a device into the hands of terrorists that can cause sympathetic vibrations in the earth that leads to undersea earthquakes and tidalwaves; the effects are blamed on Global Warming.

The data in the book is impressive, the idea that a machine exists that can cause earthquakes, not so much so.

Thirty five years in different areas of engineering and different levels of responsibility taught me, sometimes the hard way, that it is extremely important to know when to say you don't know the answer to a problem. Different courses of action that might lead to a solution must be examined for cost and undesirable side effects.

One phrase we used in Statistical Analysis: "If it looks like a dog, barks like a dog, answers to the name of Fido, and loves you no matter what, you are looking at a dog."

I am watching the weather channel at this moment, Washington, D.C. is expecting 18 inches of wind blown snow as is most of the east coast, it is snowing in Cincinnati where I live. We had the coldest July on record this year. WE ARE NOT LOOKING AT A DOG!

We could just as easily be looking at the start of a new Ice Age. We must admit that we do not understand the causes of one hundred thousand year cycles of Global Warming or Global Cooling.

One Root cause of the leadership problem we are experiencing lies with political opportunists, mostly uneducated in the Sciences, men and women who only know how to solve problems politically, too many line their pockets while doing so, all the while leading brainwashed school and college children to think they are "looking at a dog".

My recent lack of success in getting grade schools science teachers to apply for Air Force Grants that would help them, hopefully, teach science and reasoning in the classroom, suggests to me that administration and teachers in our schools pose a major obstacle that must be overcome.

Gerry Hounchell
Cincinnati, Ohio

Snake said...

Hard to believe you are recommending Crichton's book as an educational resource. He is a conservative Republican AUTHOR. Why not also recommend Al Gore's book to give balance. Or, get this, at the Climate Conference last week, Rear Admiral Dr. David Tidley (PhD in meteorology) characterized the science behind concerns about climate change as "irrefutable." Strong words. We are, as a country, NOT going to get a handle on human-caused climate change because folks like you, educated, thoughtful individuals whose words carry great weight, turn a blind eye towards science and recommend shock novels like State of Fear.

Merry Christmas,

Kent Lowell Chaplin said...

Mike, regarding your last point, please let go of the "maybe it isn't global warming." Global Warming is a fact! What are the main causes, how quickly things will occur in response to the increase in temperature, and how far it will warm up are debatable; but not the fact that the planet is warming up. So please let that one go. How to react to global warming is important and I think we are in agreement that there is no comprehensive plan on how to deal with all of the ramifications – financial, political, security, resources, humanitarian and geopolitical. We need to look at how it will affect even our domestic transportation, food supplies, and demographics. The planning for this should be a major priority and it needs to begin immediately.
Kent Chaplin