I don’t want to have to google for these notes again…
Shloky is correct to point out that there is a danger in seeing patterns or conspiracies where there are none and drawing conclusions that some secret puppet master is pulling strings. That way can lead to madness or Analysis Paralysis.
‘5GW analysis paralysis’
In other words, what is the effect of the knowledge that you have an opponent merely capable of 5GW campaigns? Given the inherent secrecy of 5GW your opponent has only two real options, (regardless of if you choose the engage in a 5GW campaign or not) he can proceed as if no campaign is ongoing and accept your influence while trying to maintain his objectives, or he can search so obsessively for the 5GW manuevering against him that he ceases to able to function as a legitimate threat.
Folks, it does not get clearer than that. Arherring was spot-on when he suggested that al-Qaida in Iraq (and perhaps elsewhere?) is morphing into a 5GW entity. I have been considering whether the aftermath of our invasion of Afghanistan would force al-Qaida to morph, especially when 4GW tactics fail to defeat America and her allies; and, of course, hostilities in the region, latent or otherwise, provide a fertile playing ground for any 5GW entity that would seek pawns that could do its bidding — without those pawns’ knowing that is what they are doing.
Or, maybe Arherring was not entirely right. Either al-Qaida got sloppy and their 5GW plans were discovered because of their sloppiness — surely, a major no-no for any 5GW force — or perhaps the letter has never been seen by any member of al-Qaida?
Would the national Iraqi government have any reason to attempt to dissuade America from attacking Iran? Or, perhaps some Shia elements within the Iraqi government do not want to lose the leverage they will have with Iran’s support, in the future, if Iran fell to America?
Arherring did point me to that Newsvine discussion, which includes another conspiracy theory: The American forces planted the evidence, for political reasons back home — to show that America is “winning” against the insurgency.
Another commenter at Newsvine ponders the possibility that the letter is authentically from al-Qaida, and that this was their plan all along when they attacked America on 9/11 — reminiscent of my discussion with Alan Sullivan (excerpted above.)
Perhaps, however, some Americans planted the information to dissuade GWB from pursuing a military solution to the crisis with Iran — leftists from America?
Or, from Europe?
Or, perhaps Iran planted the information, for the same reasons?
Or did the Iraqi government want to find a way of assuring the electorate that the insurgency is failing, the government succeeding (with the help of America) against the disruptive forces?
Did China plant the note, or Russia, in an attempt to keep their oil supplies flowing from Iran?
Ah, PurpleSlog, maybe you got that right.
UPDATE 6-19-06: As this post from Abu Aardvark shows, conspiracy theories have a “way” of emerging in the broad spectrum, in multiple places — and anyone offering analysis is sure to get caught in the web of charge-&-counter-charge when analysis of incomplete or insufficient and unverifiable “evidence” is being offered. [Worse, perhaps: when analysts confuse another’s analysis with evidence, as if analysis can ever be evidence.] Any one or a multiplicity of points in such analysis could well be correct, but the sea of conspiracy theory and fisking of conspiracy theory would dissuade most people from taking any of those points very seriously. PurpleSlog has recently related this phenomenon to Analysis Paralysis.
Casual analysis paralysis can occur during the process of trying to make personal decisions if the decision-maker overanalyzes the circumstance with which he or she is faced. When this happens, the sheer volume of analysis overwhelms the decision-maker, weighing him or her down so much he or she feels overwhelmed with the task and is thus unable to come to a rational conclusion. Such a circumstance is more formally known as cognitive distortion.
Although analysis paralysis can actually occur at any time, regarding any issue in typical conversation, it is particularly likely to occur during elevated, intellectual discussions. During such intellectual discussion, analysis paralysis involves the over-analysis of a specific issue to the point where that issue can no longer be recognized, and the subject of the conversation is lost. Usually, this happens because complex issues (which are often the basis of elevated, intellectual conversation) are intricately connected with various other issues, and the pursuit of these various issues makes logical sense to the participants.
In board games, analysis paralysis denotes a state where a player is so overwhelmed by the decision tree that he or she faces that the player’s turn takes an inordinate amount of time.
Update 8/3/2009: CGW has a related/linked post.