Thursday, October 13, 2011

Musings: Exaggerations

The moon — big, golden and encircled with a halo — was about an arm’s length from bright Jupiter, and both were sliding down, when the dogs and I went out walking today in the chill air of pre-dawn.

I was at the beach the other day, listening to a surfer friend tell me the latest story going around — a guy claims he was surfing Tunnels when a baby monk seal jumped on his board, and after he pushed it off, the seal got eaten by a shark — and expressing disbelief about every aspect of the tale when two seal pups suddenly appeared before us, swimming gracefully in unison in the shallow nearshore waters, as if to confirm that reports of their death had been greatly exaggerated.

You can’t believe everything you hear — and most certainly, not everything you read — in an age where information is abundant, but much of it is wrong. And once it gets stuck in people’s heads, it’s so hard to get it out, like some of the crazy ideas that formed once folks read The Garden Island’s reprint of the Civil Beat story on relocating nene away from the airport, which led with a greatly exaggerated cost of the project.

I attended a meeting yesterday on the plan to move nene away from the Lihue Airport, and you can read my report at

Moving to the international level, it seems NATO may be exaggerating its claims of knocking off Taliban leaders in order to make its campaign appear more effective, according to a a report by the Afghanistan Analysts Network.

The report also shows that although the night raids have been portrayed as surgical strikes, eight other people are killed for every “leader” taken.

As The Guardian reports:

The report notes that in briefings to the US media, aggregate claims made for the number of Taliban leaders killed or detained over a given period were sometimes much greater than the numbers recorded in the daily press releases.

"The use of the word 'leader' is intended to convey the impression that the masterminds of the Taliban are being taking off the battlefield. That's a misrepresentation," [researcher Alex] Strick van Linschoten said.

"It is meant to be taken as meaning that we are taking out the brains behind the Taliban off the battlefield, but that claim doesn't really measure up."

The report, entitled A Knock on the Door, echoes a study published last month by the Open Society Foundations. That study said that although Isaf had made strides in reducing the number of civilian casualties, the 12 to 20 raids a night over a sustained period, with thousands of arrests, many of them of non-combatants, were alienating the population and undermining the international coalition's aims in Afghanistan.


Anonymous said...

Please read, share, analyze.

Anonymous said...

And the war machine drones on. Perpetual war, perpetual fear, perpetual dependence on force, perpetual dominion of peoples, lands, resources. And Hawai'i is the crown jewel of this might.

Anonymous said...

Fueled by fear and ignorance, the average fast food fed American mind will except "the wars" as a given because they believe we are wearing the white hats.....while fat cats make money, innocent people are dying (including our own soldiers).

Dr Shibai

Anonymous said...

In Washington they're thinking we're going to need a big military for when China comes a collectin' on our debt.

Its now all but impossible for the US to sustain payments on mounting debt and compounding interest owed to China.

Anonymous said...

We allowed billionaire bankers to keep all they money they foolishly invested in real estate loans when our "representatives" voted for the bailout - which was financed with more sovereign US debt to China. The changing of private banker debt into sovereign US debt is important because the US has now guaranteed that its citizens will pay it. Now the U.S taxpayers get their income sapped to pay for that debt, leaving the Wall Street banks who made the bad investments in the first places as fat as ever. The "bailout" of the banks was thus financed our our back - forcing us citizens to pay for bad investments by rich bankers - or go to jail. And in the meantime, China gets more and more of our incomes.
And they wonder why they're protesting on Wall Street.

Anonymous said...

Yes.......teach your kids Mandarin, they will need it in the future.

Already, according to my high end real-estate friends on Oahu, the Chinese are buying big homes....sight unseen.
Not your little kanaka houses,but 3 million and up homes....

Whomever the Chinese are backing up financially for Prez will win, and be their "boy".

Dr. Shibai