Wednesday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. Our (non-) reality based state department.
  2. Yes, even granting the premise, the conclusion is not warranted. “Reduce civilian casualties” is not the goal of combat, or at least in the short term. Most of the operations that drones are used are COIN operations … there may be a place for drones in a good COIN campaign … but it’s not as obvious as you would suspect I deem. What reduces casualties the most is the end of conflict … which may or not be helped by drones vs not-drones.
  3. On getting started
  4. On the other hand, some kids (one of mine for example) really do suffer from real mental illnesses, i.e., depression. When you have a fifth grade kid who won’t get out of bed or do anything because of malaise and no inducement of any sort will even pique here interest … something is wrong and it’s not merely spanking.
  5. The Olympics and other metrics for medal counting. Go Grenada!
  6. Pythagorean records? Huh? Never heard of it.
  7. Mr Rajan moving into the hot seat.
  8. An abortion doctor slips.
  9. Ms Althouse wonders how much you bench press, or something like that.
  10. Hand drawn!
  11. So, a Christian terrorist … but wouldn’t that need to involve Christianity in some actual manner for the adjective to apply?
  12. Remembrance of the Great War.
  13. So, “we have to do some soul searching” … what do you got for that? Does that make any sense to you?
  14. Nope. No voter fraud ever. At all. Nada. Got nothing.
  15. Bike tech on Mars.
  16. GM, our administration’s make-it-up-as-you-go-along bankruptcy plan and unintended consequences.

12 Responses to Wednesday Highlights

  1. On the other hand, some kids (one of mine for example) really do suffer from real mental illnesses, i.e., depression.

    You know, I was just thinking about for some reason what you said a while back about how the current state of health care is good enough because people can go to ERs. What about kids (or adults) with depression who don’t have coverage? Do you expect them to walk into an ER?

    It’s heartbreaking how often I see questions from people who are suffering from depression or anxiety online because therapy is so often just not an option for them because they don’t have coverage that will pay for it.

  2. Personally I think mental illness treatment is somewhere around where medical science was in 1880. Some places its really good, other areas it’s still half barbaric.

    What was that quote from Hannible Lector in Red Drago?

    We live in a primitive time, don’t we, Will? Neither savage nor wise. Half measures of the curse of it

  3. Most of the operations that drones are used are COIN operations … there may be a place for drones in a good COIN campaign

    Are you sure? Isn’t COIN about countering insurgency, i.e. keeping a nation’s gov’t from being overthrown by internal forces who may or may not be getting help from the outside. For example, Iraq.

    It seems to me most drone and surgerical strikes these days are about eliminating terrorist targets. For example, when a drone strike kills a propagandist leader of Al Qaeda in Yeman the goal does not seem so much to have anything to do with the Yemanise gov’t or population but the elimination of a terrorist.

    So, a Christian terrorist … but wouldn’t that need to involve Christianity in some actual manner for the adjective to apply?

    Nope, not at all. Doctrine wise it is impossible to reconcile suicide bombings and terrorist attacks with the Koran’s strict prohibition on suicide. From that reasoning you can say there’s no such thing as Islamic terrorism.

    Never under-estimate people’s ability to play lawyer. When someone wants to do something, they will either come up with their own convoluted ways to read formal doctrine to justify it or find people who to provide it to them.

    Therefore saying all types of Orthodox christian thinkers for thousands of years are on record against racism is besides the point. For centuries Christian racists have ‘discovered’ all they needed to square racism with Christian doctrine.

  4. Boonton,

    Nope, not at all.

    We shall have to see, the Islamic terrorists are definitely motivated by religious thought, the Sikh killer has, to my knowledge, not made a similar connection to Christianity.

    Are you sure?

    COIN has a number of avenues, if I recall correct. The military part of COIN is about providing security. So, do people feel safe or threatened by drones? That is the question, if it is the latter then drones vs patrols even though cheaper in $$ and human capital may be better spent. Additionally, patrols can perform other non-security related things that move the population to a point where they see the troops as on “their side” and the insurgents against it.

  5. JA,
    The treatments over the years were fairly random shotgun approaches as seen from my side to medicine … and at this point she still refuses therapy even though psychologists and psychiatrists both insist that therapy + anti-depressants work best by far. We have learned that you can take the horse to the well, but you can’t make her drink. If she’s “against” therapy, it’s just wasting everyone’s time and money to go. We’re in a pretty good place now, she’s on “slow release” lithium … and oddly enough the way we ended up there was by partaking in a real-time PET scan/lithium study … which would have been available to your “non-insurance” covered party just as well as us. The study actually paid us (her), not the other way around.

    Boonton,
    From my one-case only view of mental illness and its treatment is that while we have an array of slightly different psycho-active drugs, nobody has much of a clue of how to use them. We’re not in 1880, we’re cavemen a medicine man and a quiver of things to try. “Try A”. Didn’t work? Increase dosage? Side effects. Try B? Repeat until something that works somewhat is found.

  6. We shall have to see, the Islamic terrorists are definitely motivated by religious thought, the Sikh killer has, to my knowledge, not made a similar connection to Christianity.

    Might we also include the concept of Christianity as a tribe or grouping of people, in the way many secular Jews consider themselves Jewish regardless of their adherence to Jewish religious beliefs.

    Suppose this guys motivation was a desire to see a country that had either practicing Christians or secular christians only but not those who adhere to what he considers ‘foreign’ religions.

    COIN has a number of avenues, if I recall correct. The military part of COIN is about providing security. So, do people feel safe or threatened by drones?

    Relative to what? I feel safer that a drone takes out some people in Yeman actively trying to attack the US. I understand, though, that people in Yeman feel less safe for obvious reasons. But even there the question remains ‘relative to what’? Without drones the response might be a full scale invasion of Yeman with thousands of troops. I would think the typical person in Yeman would consider that a very undesirable and much more unsafe option.

    The option that cannot be on the table, though, is assorted terrorist plotters launch long range attacks on the US from Yeman but don’t bother the Yemanese population. From the POV of someone in Yeman that might feel the safest option of all, but clearly that’s one we can’t tolerate.

  7. I suppose 1880 is a bit harsh, maybe 1950. There’s good science there, even some really great breakthrus (antibiotics, polio vaccine, the beginnings of real cancer treatments) but there’s a lot of stuff that doesn’t work and a lot of stuff that’s in the form of ‘it seems to work, why is an open question’.

    Out of curiousity, does she have a reason for rejecting therapy? Does she feel there’s no problem? Does she know something’s wrong and know something needs to be done but just can’t feel like she can do therapy? Is she against therapy for some thought out reason? Might it be that she just feels there’s a chemical imbalance in her brain and that’s all that needs to be corrected by the right medication and therapy is just an opening for unwanted intrusion into her mental life? Some people I know have docs who are basically ‘drug only’. They see them once every month or two for ten minutes just to assess how the medication is doing and adjust as needed.

  8. Mark,

    That doesn’t really address the issue in general… unless you’re claiming that most uninsured people with depression can get paid for treatment.

  9. Boonton,

    Out of curiousity, does she have a reason for rejecting therapy?

    She doesn’t like talking about herself and doesn’t think therapy would be helpful. Psychiatrists are MDs who can prescribe medicines … and typically do not do any therapy. Psychologists cannot prescribe and do therapy. It’s likely there are those who do both, but I haven’t encountered any. Psychiatrists talk with you enough to make a diagnoses … to decide what to prescribe and if its working. The brain is a weird thing, successful therapy alone can fix brain chemistry problems, so it’s not like one or the other a priori in any given case would be the only possibly solution, which is why both are typically recommended by both types of doctors.

    JA,
    I’m just pointing out that coverage isn’t always required for treatment.

  10. Boonton,

    Might we also include the concept of Christianity as a tribe or grouping of people, in the way many secular Jews consider themselves Jewish regardless of their adherence to Jewish religious beliefs.

    Where is this done?

    Relative to what?

    Insurgents and terrorists need local support or at least disinterest. Do drone attacks increase or decrease local opinion of the US? How does that measure compared to the tactical effect of the strike?

    Without drones the response might be a full scale invasion of Yeman with thousands of troops.

    Says the guy who has never heard of covert ops. Which of drone attack vs a SEAL strike is going to make Achmed-the-Yemeni-rug-merchant feel safer?

  11. Mark,

    I’m just pointing out that coverage isn’t always required for treatment.

    And also evading my question. The problem isn’t that coverage is ALWAYS required, it’s that it’s usually (or ever) required.

    She doesn’t like talking about herself and doesn’t think therapy would be helpful.

    Sigh, that’s one of the most frustrating things about depression. It’s of course a symptom of depression to think that therapy would not be helpful. I wonder if there’s any way she could be convinced — maybe you could convince her to just meet with one therapist who’s particularly good at getting children to like him/her?

    I once spent several months gently but persistently persuading a depressed friend to give therapy one more try. It’s really a fine line between not helping and being one more stressor in the person’s life, but I’m glad I did. He eventually gave in and actually got a lot better.

    You of course may be right to let it go for now, too. I’m not saying I know what’s best.

  12. Where is this done?

    The US and European countries. All are culturally Christian but also highly secular.

    Insurgents and terrorists need local support or at least disinterest. Do drone attacks increase or decrease local opinion of the US? How does that measure compared to the tactical effect of the strike?

    Insurgents need local support. Terrorists just need disinterest which isn’t all that hard to achieve if you’re not engaging in local power struggles.

    Says the guy who has never heard of covert ops. Which of drone attack vs a SEAL strike is going to make Achmed-the-Yemeni-rug-merchant feel safer?

    Not sure either. Human based operations have had their share of mistakes and collatoral casualities. At least with a drone you can hold off firing for any reason other than you think you have your target. With human ops you may sometimes have to start killing just to get your people safely extracted.

    In either case the rug merchant is probably not going to be happy with either type of operation happening in his country.

    The brain is a weird thing, successful therapy alone can fix brain chemistry problems, so it’s not like one or the other a priori in any given case would be the only possibly solution

    If she’s willing maybe she should try Zen Meditation. Doesn’t have to talk about herself, doesn’t have to subscribe to any dcotrines or metaphysical beliefs…sitting still for a bit each day may do the trick to ‘fix’ her brain chemistry….or at least make it feel a bit less off without any pharmacological interventions.

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