Some stray thoughts I have been toying with for a couple of years kind of crystallized last night. Probably in response to reports that Taliban forces are burning the food drops from the U.S. military rather than risk an Afghanistan citizen trying them out on himself prior to feeding them to his starving kids.
Some of the knee jerk liberal responses found here at advogato that any or all military response at any level to any provocation whatsoever including mass murder is inappropriate is really eye opening. Obviously oversight of police functions and military support of the same are too important to be left to self serving liberals mindlessly spouting dogma while civilians are being subjected to murder, torture, genocide, etc. world wide and within the USA.
While I tend to the liberal end of the domestic U.S. spectrum on many issues I wish to disassociate myself from the mindless idiots that the conservative idiots like to point out to make us pragmatic liberals and conservatives alike in the middle look bad to non politically inclined voters. To help reinforce this I have provided some ideas below regarding how I think U.S. military forces pursuing a reduction in terrorism worldwide could cooperate with local citizens, police and military forces to begin reducing the opportunity for terrorists in remote global regions that currently do not have easy access to the educational and informational benefits of dense civilizations and which have trouble accessing the global economy for local benefit. Clearly such a program would require widespread and transparent oversight to avoid the abuses that crept into military training programs created to influence events in South and Central America as part of the U.S. "war on drugs". This is easily and cheaply accomplished via the internet.
Without further ado, the draft outline of the idea:
START draft proposal outline
Draft Outline of a Home Defense Operations Proposal
1.) To win the war on Terrorism it is necessary to pre-emptively eliminate the formation of new terrorists.
2.) The U.S.G. wishes to win ...... if we are not careful this "war" being conducted through the application of police powers and expansion of the ability of the military and police to work together both domestically and abroad could be used to consolidate power into the executive branch. As evidence of this consider President Bush's recent decision to threaten Congresses access to information gathered by the executive branch critical to policy making as well as military operations rather that instructing the Justice Department that "leakers" be proscecuted to the full extent possible for treasonous dereliction of duty and placed in jail as an example to other highly placed elected officials and administrators that they are not above the law.
3.) The Office of Home Defense will have broad coordination ability and access to highly placed adminstrators in various U.S.G. agencies sufficient to give innovative plans requiring excellent interagency cooperation and coordination to deliver benefits a fair hearing and evaluation by the experts necessary to modify it appropriately to work in the field. This is essential because if a sweeping plan such as this is to work in the field, it must be "owned" and operated by the field agents and agencies who are ultimately charged with putting it into effect.
Others .... To numerous to enumerate, be sure to note them in the blank space below as you read and review this draft outline ..... and thank you in advance for your time and effort in this activity. Hard data, Newly identified assumptions, different ideas, comments, questions, etc. can be emailed to email drop: firstname.lastname@example.org or physically mailed to Michael R. Irwin, 876 N. Knott, Coquille, Oregon, 97423.
Proposal: Approach a diverse set of American communities about getting the design and implementation Of a solar powered internet school station and the required starting open/free software suite completed and Start fielding these school stations to remote communities, houses, farmsteads, forrest service outposts, etc. within the U.S. and abroad to create the following benefits:
1.) More complete eyeball monitoring of critical areas at risk to terrorist activities such as sabotage or infiltration.
2.) Near instantaneous email or voicemail access to appropriate reporting points at various U.S.G. agencies and interested citizenry and press regarding suspicious activities.
3.) Local after school access to the internet for business purposes useful to expanding local economic activities and prosperity, local primary school access to software and other online materials useful in conducting classes or self study activities at all levels of the educational process, in remote work locations access for adults to the internet sufficient to allow ongoing adult education as well as continued participation in varied civic responsibilities such as electioneering, voting, tutoring, coaching, design work, team coordination, etc.
1.) Inexpensive powerful microprocessor configuration capable of running a diverse set of open/free software as well as commercial packages as the local economy becomes capable or willing to support the licensing fees.
2. Solar panel, power supply and battery or capacitor setup capable of supporting the continous operation of the system in a variety of climates. Engineering compromise may be required here if available battery/capacitor/power storage systems are deemed too expensive for cost effective implementation at the single station level.
3. Internet satellite access via dish. Unnecessary in areas where phone dialup can be established but may still be desirable considering the monitoring and reporting function on terrorist activities. Much harder to disable ten or twenty distributed communications points than a central phone switch if nefarious activities are planned in an area and it is desired to delay notification of the proper response authorities.
4.) Easy startup interface such that an uneducated but average intelligence adult or child can be taught in a few days how to powerup the system and get to the initial menu structures for the critical functions required to learn or self educate in how to run the system effectively to self educate and/or report suspicious activities.
5.) Open/Free software that is easy to install and maintain and which supports various self educational activities. Note that this software is required to optimize use of computers in domestic USA school systems so some funding may be available from the myriad of educational programs run by the U.S. federal government. A high return could be documented for software that successfully attracts children's interest and allows U.S. teachers to effectively teach more children while managing the educational environment effectively and safely and providing greater individual attention when it is desirable or necessary.
Consider the above list in light of current advertisements running on television: Dell ..... $899 P4, 256MB, 20GB, 17"or 15" modern multimedia PC system. IBM $1400 Very similar to above with some added or different features. Gateway ..... been a month or two since I have seen theirs, they must be preparing to respond to above.
Solar panels .... Expensive but doable. Further, a steady increasing market is required to encourage additional startup competitors essential to driving the prices downward faster than they have receded in the past. This is essential to the war on terrorism because over dependence on one energy source (oil) corrupts not only middle eastern countries and multi national oil companies, it also helps them corrupt the U.S. Government. The single largest force for good or evil on the planet as they control the U.S. economy indirectly and all federal U.S. tax revenue and policy directly. IMHO Until alternatives exist to large special interests that can threaten the entire U.S. economy it will be difficult to simplify the domestic U.S. political environment sufficiently that the U.S. voters feel they comprehend and can act on a complete set of available information that has been publicly debated when electing officials to set and implement public policy. Voters do not wish to waste their time on public debate when private agendas have already been bought and paid for via bribes and influence peddling with all likely candidates and parties.
Satellite Dish Internet access. This is a proven capability. It can be delivered by the NSA or military systems already in existence to support U.S. military worldwide or contracted to a variety of private contractors undoubtedly eager to make a profit and/or expand their global internet satellite networks. A Good GSA negotiator should be able to get some decent rates considering that the U.S.G. already has these Capabilities inhouse. I would recommend using at least 3 suppliers to avoid handing some multinational behometh a new monopoly. I realize that this is a departure from U.S.G. policy in the immediate past but if we are to get past economic terrorists wearing ties and enhancing their CEO power brokerage via various interlocking boards of directors and investors it is necessary that the U.S.G. start spreading the business around a little bit. Nine suppliers would be even better but might be a bit unwieldly to work with initially. Obviously if we go initially with NSA or inhouse milsats it will be necessary to reconfigure such that there is a copper disconnect between operational military assets and the new fledgling educational and terrorist monitoring and reporting net.
Software - Software can quickly become the most expensive component of a functional efficacious computer system or net. Fortunately a large community of dedicated developers has formed to provide alternatives to large software monopolies who have attempted to dictate the direction and environments of computing for their exclusive benefit. Much of the software required for the above projects/systems is already in existence in an open source form which can be modified or tailored to fit and published back to the public at no expense to the government or organization that undertakes the above. Further, shown a serious project backed by the U.S.G. intended to enhance local economies and educational opportunities worldwide in even the remotist areas it is possible that many open/free developers would choose to assist at least to the extent of helping tailor a version of their product appropriately for such an application. Certainly developers familiar with the source code of selected suites of software tools could be hired rather quickly over the internet .... Many of these developers are contract workers and are periodically available as their current tasks and projects are completed.
Pedagogical resources ..... Considering the number of teachers, professors, and educational institutions in the U.S. which are funded by all levels of U.S. governments and taxes and the responsibility they bear every day when acting as parental loco (sorry got that wrong ... a latin term meaning standing in for the actual parents locally ... babysitter in charge) there should be no trouble attracting educational resources to this project if the office of home defense points out that it can be used domestically to help secure borders, fill in critical gaps in monitoring critical vulnerable areas (remote adult schooling in a ranchhouse or bunkhouse with telescopic overview of a dam upstream from a traditional schoolhouse makes obvious improvements in the security of the dam and the kids in the schoolhouse ..... even if a dam is blown a warning 30 minutes prior to downstream sighting of excess water may allow timely evacuation of the schoolhouse and town ...... which can then be rebuilt at our leisure with no loss of life) and increase the efficacy with which our dollars spent on education are used to deliver actual education vs. babysitting.
I would propose that small military squads practice air dropping with the systems into various coordinated Locations in the U.S. with the mission of setting them up, providing initial training, doing a routine recon of the surrounding area and threat/risk assessment, and then hiking out to a helicopter pickup point. I would also recommend that local citizenry or militia be invited to participate in parts (not all, obviously fat civilians cannot keep up with crack military teams through their more rigorous tasks) of these missions to serve a variety of purposes simultneously:
1.) Acquaint the locals with the raw capabilities of the U.S.G. military.
2.) Emphasize to the locals the importances of these education/monitoring systems.
3.) Provide a joint planning and design session with the U.S.G. military experts and the local citizenry regarding the local vulnerabilities to terrorism in general and specifically the vulnerability of the new internet communications site/economic center/educational center with a view towards how to best protect it and/or leverage off of its prescence. For example: I would recommend that Standard Operating Procedure be get a message out if it appears to be under threat of attack with a scheduled callback every few minutes. Then when a real attack materializes the staff can bug out. If the terrorists are dumb enough to pause to destroy the internet access site then the U.S. attack helicopters and/or paratroopers should be able to track and interdict them. Scratch one terrorist or squad in exchange for replacing a cheap internet access point. VERY COST EFFECTIVE! And profitable for U.S. companies as well .... Easy to sell to a corrupt Congress seeking to maximize war profits.
Obviously the U.S. military response must be planned effectively to achieve the above with minimal or no casualties or the cost/benefit tradeoff analysis is more complicated. I shall leave detailed analysis of this feasiblity to expert military planners unless they come seeking wacky or offbeat input as grist for their mills. 4.) Involves the local population in the fight against terrorism locally and provides a quick military response capability to reduce terrorist ability to terrorise in previously unexposed territory. This will limit the ability of terrorists to relocate as they come under attack in specific geographical areas.
5.) Provides a return on expensive realistic military training for U.S. troops soon to go into harm's way.
6.) Builds networks of trust and local economies access to the global economy and world class military and police protection and reduces the tendency of local strong men to become terrorists as they get used to having their own way in the local pond. Notice this will also start to reduce the tendency towards economic terrorism within localized regions of the U.S. Also reduce the tendency of local governmental structures and police forces to get too big for their britches since they will know that feedback information loops are tied into other U.S. regions and the U.S. federal agencies charged with defense of civil liberties and reduction of terrorism and criminal behavior.
I hope the above is sufficient to get the initial outline of the idea across for initial evaluation or mutation into something useful. Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.
Sincerely Michael R. Irwin Valedictorian, Coquille High School, Class of 79 B.S. Engineering Physics, 1984, Oregon State University SemiRegular (when usenet server is available via internet provider) sci.space.policy Journeyer as of: Oct 2001, www.advogato.com Apprentice as of: Oct 2001, www.robots.com
cc. Office of Home Defense via whitehouse email cc. Hardcopy mailed via U.S. Postal Service Office of Home Defense, attn: Appropriate staff of Tom Ridge c/o of President George Bush. cc. filed
Copy published online at www.advogato.com to create a public record of the initial proposal.
P.S. Please excuse the erratic formatting of the bullet lists. The version of Word that I am using is convinced that it is smarter than I am regarding where I wish numbered lists placed. Good enough for a draft idea in my not so humble opinion but we may wish to use some less buggy open source software for our final publishing of final operations plans. Be embarressing to have a C-17 airdrop in the wrong spot at the wrong time because the designers of the word processor used to cut the orders were being overly helpful or thought they could preprogram the document better than we could write it ourselves.
P.S.2 I have checked with our local hospital several times regarding emulating the prototype project in Maryland of coordinating local daily health stats to establish a baseline and to look for potential biological or chemical attacks early enough to respond effectively. So far they have no idea what I am talking about and our conversations have been cut short prior to me being able to clarify it sufficiently that they see an opportunity to proactively help protect our community while enhancing delivery of their primary care services. I will attempt effective communications again but it may be helpful if some national news nets Could be convinced to walk through some of the benefits that accrue from such a program to research efforts and national health planning as well as the local improvements in health care delivery that become available when the local medical staff is somewhat familiar with local trends and problem sets.
Congratulations on convincing the Maryland hospitals to begin manual prototyping so that early information regarding what a working system will look like can be provided to systems analysts and/or software engineers charged with the responsibility of eventually automating such a system for rapid Dissemination of information nationally to diverse interests that can benefit such as FDA, CDC, pharmaceutical companies involved with initial regional drug releases, research institutes, etc. etc. Having attempted something similar locally I have a solid understanding of what an achievement that is, paticularly being accomplished prior to even being sworn in. Be sure to pat that medical staff on the back they are making you look good, an essential support function for any political office .... So I perceive it anyway.
END draft proposal outline
P.S. I had some further thoughts that perhaps solar is not the best way to go or at least not with batteries and capicitors. I will expand them at www.robots.com under my account rex diary since energy sources are probably of little interest to us software types that hang out here at advogato as long as they are available and continuous.
P.S.2 I failed to include some thoughts on automated video monitoring and alerting when the systems are not in use manually for education or economic purposes ... say after midnight when local businessman, farmers and parents are in bed preparing for the next day. Perhaps someone with some actual experience with video processing could elucidate some of the types of things that could be done with currently available algorythms and open/free software and forward it to Tom Ridge and/or myself so that if this idea is pickup up by a team of professionals or volunteers they start with as complete an outline of the feasible as possible.