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Current Topic: History

School for spies
Topic: History 1:52 pm EST, Jan  1, 2004

Countless books and movies have displayed the seedier elements of the spy trade ... yet the analytical, brainy side of the profession has always been of equal importance.

Attempting to distinguish "signal" from "noise", officials at the CIA and Defense Department debate competing methods of data-sifting.

"The past is a forest of signs. The problem was that you could only read them when you turned around and looked back, unfortunately."

School for spies

Ghosts of Occupations Past
Topic: History 9:28 am EST, Dec 29, 2003

A few choice quotes from the articles at The CounterRevolutionary.

Persons familiar with occupation problems and policies are concerned because the American people do not feel a sense of personal responsibility toward seeing to it that the fruits of war victories are not lost by inept and inadequate control of the defeated countries in the post-war period.

[Officials] believe that our performance suffers by comparison ... [and] feel that there are a number of reasons for this, including ... Americans' natural disinclination to do such work.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

The CounterRevolutionary
Topic: History 5:50 pm EST, Dec 28, 2003

"Dark Outlook Encourages Resistance: Underground War Is Believed Likely If We Fail in Our Major Purposes

Elonka wrote:
I love this site ... news articles from post World War II, during the occupation of Germany.

Those who do not study history, are doomed to repeat it ...

The CounterRevolutionary

Unearthing Gotham
Topic: History 10:35 pm EST, Dec 23, 2003

Under the teeming metropolis that is present-day New York City lie the buried remains of long-lost worlds.

The remnants of nineteenth-century New York reveal much about its inhabitants and neighborhoods, from fashionable Washington Square to the notorious Five Points. Underneath there are traces of the Dutch and English colonists who arrived in the area in the seventeenth century, as well as of the Africans they enslaved. And beneath all these layers is the land that Native Americans occupied for hundreds of generations from their first arrival eleven thousand years ago.

Now two distinguished archaeologists draw on the results of more than a century of excavations to relate the interconnected stories of these different peoples who shared and shaped the land that makes up the modern city.

Science News said: "An absorbing, panoramic narrative. ... Cantwell and Wall raise provocative questions about the nature of cities, urbanization, colonial experience, Indian life, family, and use of space. Engagingly written and abundantly illustrated, Unearthing Gotham offers a fresh perspective on the richness of the American legacy."

Unearthing Gotham

Charlie Wilson's War
Topic: History 4:59 pm EST, Dec 20, 2003

From an award-winning 60 Minutes reporter comes the extraordinary story of the largest and most successful CIA operation in history -- the arming of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan.

Charlie Wilson's War is the untold story of how the Central Intelligence Agency armed the Afghan Mujahideen in what became the CIA's largest and most successful campaign in history. It profiles the men who conceived it and the journey they took to see it through.

Charlie Wilson's War

The Lesson of Iraq
Topic: History 10:01 am EST, Dec  8, 2003

The problems of the Middle East will be with us for the foreseeable future. They are primarily the responsibility of the peoples of the area, but they also affect us closely.

What is it that we have really lost in Iraq? This question does not admit of easy answers, partly because we never decided what was our essential aim there.

William Polk discussed America's response to a recent coup d'état in Iraq in the December 1958 issue of The Atlantic Monthly.

The Lesson of Iraq

History Has No End
Topic: History 12:27 am EST, Dec  5, 2003

Writing as the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Francis Fukuyama famously announced the "End of History." The world, he argued, was fast approaching the final stage of its political evolution. Western democratic capitalism had proved itself superior to its historical rivals and would find acceptance.

How naive all this sounds today.

History Has No End

The Dirty War in Argentina
Topic: History 11:52 pm EST, Dec  4, 2003

Newly declassified documents show that in October 1976, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and high ranking US officials gave their full support to the Argentine military junta and urged them to hurry up and finish the "dirty war" before the US Congress cut military aid.

Connect the dots. Learn to care.

The Dirty War in Argentina

CIA Machinations in Chile in 1970
Topic: History 12:44 am EST, Nov 27, 2003

From 1970 to 1973, the US government was involved in overt and covert actions against the elected government of Chile led by Marxist Salvador Allende. The initial history of this period told of a US government that abused its power and betrayed its principles. Public reaction was universally negative. This interpretation of events has affected the conduct and perception of American intelligence activities ever since.

A generation has now passed and it is time to reexamine this “accepted” version of events. Recently, the US government released thousands of declassified documents. These newly available resources allow a more candid -- and realistic -- look into the actions and thoughts of the CIA agents and officers involved in those controversial operations. This study focuses on CIA covert action during the six weeks following Allende's victory at the polls in mid-September 1970.

While the activities of the CIA may not always be excused, they can at least be better understood.

This one is for Frank DeFord.

This article earned its author a national award for the best student paper on an intelligence-related subject in 2002.

CIA Machinations in Chile in 1970

Remembering John F. Kennedy
Topic: History 12:25 pm EST, Nov 22, 2003

"The torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans," Kennedy said at his inaugural.

He brought some of that new generation to Washington, and instilled in millions of people the idea that public service was service at its noblest -- rewarding, necessary and even, on rare occasions, fun.

Remembering John F. Kennedy

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