Saturday, April 02, 2011

Blowback Analysis

Hype & marketing permeate modern daily life.

In public affairs & government, assorted interests argue for their views: best-case examples buttress their position, potential costs are minimized.

Use of military force (whether called "war" or "keeping the peace") is serious & potentially deadly. Decisionmaking processes should be methodical, not driven by hype & spin. Deployment decisions should include blowback analysis.

What potential worst-case scenarios can be linked to assorted options? What are the costs to doing nothing? Can we protect against counteroffensive, and at what cost?

Paths of action & inaction can each be costly - are we prepared to pay the expected price? Blowback analysis is essential. We should not be caught flatfooted, claiming surprise in the midst of failure.

"I don't think anybody could have predicted..."

  -- US National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice (on enemies using hijacked airplanes as missiles);   16 May 2002

Bestselling novel "Debt of Honor" by Tom Clancy depicts a revenge-seeking pilot using a commercial Boeing 747 airliner to destroy the U.S. Capitol Building, killing the U.S. President and most of the nation's leadership.

1999 (two years before Sept. 11 2001 attacks):
"Sociology & Psychology of Terrorism" (link) -- U.S. Government 1999 report which discussed expected "spectacular" al-Qaida airplane strikes against U.S. targets.

March 2001
Nationally broadcast fictional Fox TV show "The Lone Gunmen" portrays the attempted crashing of a hijacked airliner into New York's World Trade Center.