Saturday, May 23, 2015

Being There

If you think that I don't know
about the little tricks you've played
And never see you when deliberately
you put things in my way 
--I Can See for Miles and Miles,
The Who 

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright, bright
Sun-Shiny day 
--I Can See Clearly Now, Johnny Nash 

Your lips are moving
I cannot hear
Your voice is soothing
But the words aren't clear 
--I'm Looking Through You,
The Beatles

A mirage is an optical illusion caused by atmospheric conditions. What you think you see is not there.

In long-distance marksmanship, shooting through a mirage requires sight adjustments as the target is not where the eye perceives it to be. The adjustment compensates for the optical illusion, allowing one to hit his mark. As with shooting, so with the never-ending Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©).

The politicians and the media place our focus in one grid square, while the facts are in fact skewed somewhere off-center. Some see what they wish out of denial or hope; some make the shift off-kilter for more purposeful and self-serving ends.

What did President George W. Bush see when looking at Iraq? It is a safe bet that he saw terrorism, latent democracy, weapons of mass destruction and a preponderance of other reasons enlisted to justify the invasion of that nation.

What did the Iraqis see when looking at us through the same mirage? Whatever their looking glass revealed to them, it was not democracy or any of the other evocative words we used to serve up this war.

The Iraqi saw a way to settle old scores and to establish a Shia hegemony, a dream which would have never materialized under the leadership of Saddam Hussein. The United States blustered in and let the genie out of the bottle, using hope and a cheesecake filter to make the mirage look like the fact.

The U.S. version never adjusted for the mirage in their sight picture. However, the Iraqis wisely did adjust their sights; the situation in May 2015 shows that they performed their sight adjustment, and it was realistic and achievable.

The U.S. was never able to correctly compensate for the mirage. The spotter could have used a 40 power scope to do the job. Apres and ante-war, the real picture could be given only by men on the ground. Teleconferences and news coverage failed to depict the subtlety of atmospheric events.

It is a simple rule of good cognition: make sure the eye is actually seeing the thing the brain registers as being there.

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