Saturday, August 3, 2013



Actually, I tend to sleep as much as possible on Saturday —the more hours the merrier. Often I get up around six am and do a couple of hours of work first, but then I sleep or read or both until midday (a truly relaxing period)—and quite wonderful.

Sleep—like spinach, blueberries, walking, and intellectual curiosity—is a good thing. Mothers-in-law are normally bad things. Babies are marvelously cuddly things. Life is really quite simple when you get right down to it.

I realize that many people of my age don’t sleep very well—I’ll be 70 next May—but, generally speaking, I sleep marvelously (for which I give daily thanks). In fact, overall I have the suspicion that if we all slept more, this world would be a better place. Just for starters, you make better decisions when well rested. And it is absolutely certain that you write better.

The military seem to think it is a sign of weakness to need sleep, which may explain why so many bad decisions are made in war. Personally, I think all hostilities should cease no later than ten every evening—not to be resumed until after a late breakfast (and not at all if it rains).

I like the idea of thinking great thoughts on Saturday—after I have slept—but more often than not compromise by dozing.

Ah, but I haven’t abandoned my work ethic. My subconscious—where I suspect the real talent lies—works on while I dream.

And we should all dream.

AFTER 9/11, WAS THERE ANOTHER WAY? I have long maintained that the U.S. over-reacted after 9/11 and that the consequences have been disastrous—and a stronger word might be in order. The cost to this country has been trillions of dollars, a vast increase in our indebtedness, fundamental damage to our economy, the death of thousands of our troops, hundreds of thousands of wounded and otherwise affected—and nothing resembling victory. In fact, terrorist attacks in Iraq vastly exceed those prior to 2003, and are climbing. 

Now, I have data to support that opinion.

A Rand report examined 268 groups using terror tactics in the period 1968-2006. It found that other approaches were more effective than military responses.

  • 40 percent of the 268 group were eliminated through intelligence and policing methods.
  • 43 percent ended their violence as a result of peaceful political accommodation.
  • 10 percent ceased violence because they had achieved their objectives.
  • 7 percent were defeated militarily.

Despite possessing the most expensive and technically advanced intelligence apparatus the world has ever seen, we tend not to know this stuff until too late—and to be indifferent to the motives of our enemies. The consequences of such ignorance defy description.




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