The Fog of Warnings

Earlier today there was a report that people in Hawaii received a warning that a missile was incoming. This turned out to be a false alarm, but for approximately twenty minutes many people believed a missile attack, possibly a nuclear one from North Korea, was imminent. 


As with everything these days, the discussion online seemed to revolve around who was to blame. It appears that someone pushed the wrong button, causing anxiety and fear for many people. It could have been worse, had the wrong people panicked.

I immediately thought of Robert McNamara’s recollection of the Cuban Missile Crisis from the documentary “The Fog of War,” and the lessons he learned from that episode. 

Continue reading

The Logic of War: Iraq, Afghanistan, & Pakistan

A team of researchers, co-directed by Brown University anthropologist Catherine Lutz, released a report this summer which sought to estimate the full scale of the direct and indirect costs of ten years of war in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The report concluded that the financial and human costs of the war have been vastly underestimated (the Executive Summary of the report can be found here).

Among the study’s findings:

Continue reading