Factors That Make Weight Loss Safe And Easy To Accomplish

Weight Loss Safe And EasyIf you want to overcome the challenges in weight loss, you need to know how to avoid starvation and providing your body the good nutrition. As you can see, you can actually lose significant amount of your excess body fats without the need of those weight loss supplements that are stuffed with lots of chemicals. Yes, you read it right; there are lots of ways on how you can stay fit and healthy without exposing yourself to major health complications. The secret that you want to know is actually taught to you when you are still young. Can you still recall how your teacher is encouraging your class to eat the right foods and follow the balance diet?

When it comes to a successful diet, it is important to pay attention to the health condition and functions of your internal vital organs. Moreover, it is a fact that getting this task done is not easy to do. This is true especially to those individuals who are used to eating too much food and giving in to his cravings. The need to control the appetite or wanting to eat is extremely difficult when a person is not educated on how to control his hunger level. Moreover, one can turn his attention by trying the best health supplements that are now available in different markets. One must also be taught that his appetite is controlled by a hormone called leptin, which tell him that his stomach is hungry. Moreover, there is the tendency that one might overeat everyWeight Loss Safe And Easy1 time he feels his stomach is empty. Because of this fact, it is important for one person to know how to control or condition his stomach to accept the right amount of foods to eat.

It is extremely important that you know how to balance the calories and the amount of energy that your body usually spend for each day. In this way, you will be able to achieve your desired weight without affecting the health of your internal organs. Besides following the balance diet, you should also pay attention to your current lifestyle and eating habits. The amount of the calories that your body needs to burn is another factor that deserves your attention. In order to get this job done, you have to be involved in physical activities like sports or exercise. The stored fats inside our bodies will be tapped as our energy whenever we need it. Moreover, you can only get this task completed if you know how to control your appetite. If you fail to control your hunger, then the chances to overeat and becomes big is extremely possible to happen.

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8 Easy Ways to Lose Weight for the Summer

8 Easy Ways to Lose Weight for the SummerSummer is the time of the year when you want to look your best. It’s the time to bask

in the sun and wear that swimming suit you wouldn’t be able to use the rest of the year.

We have prepared eight easy steps to keep you looking your best this summer so you can

slide into that old swimming suit possibly be able to buy a smaller size.

1) Throw Out The Temptation

Many of us get tempted by all the Big Mac’s and Pizza that is so abundant in our country.

These things always sound tantalizing to our taste buds. Many times that voice in the

back of our head screaming to restrain yourself gets silenced by our drive for fatty foods.

These foods are around every corner with friends and loved ones offering them to you

every step of the way. To overcome this temptation you must think out a response you

will use every time a situation arises. Keep with this response and have it distilled in

your mind to overcome any temptation that arises.

2) Common Sense is Key

It is all too common to see a person in a fast food restaurant order the fattiest thing on

the menu with a diet soda. Then you think, “Where is the common sense in that?” Its

true that we need to take larger steps. We need to take a look around our surroundings

and realize what is good for us and what isn’t. Realize what is edible for your lifestyle

and what isn’t. Use your common sense on what you choose to eat and keep your self

control.

3) Working Out

Most people wish they could simply wish their weight away. Unfortunately things don’t

work that way. Working out might be one of the most common and best ways to become

lean and fit. It is the best sure fire way to stay fit and healthy for the rest of your life.

So why not embrace this? Stressed for time to work out every day? Find a simple 30

minutes each morning or night to set aside for just this purpose. I promise you will see

your results and have an extra boost of energy every day.

4) Starting a Diet

Diet is probably the most obvious choice in losing those extra pounds. This is a great

idea considering you pick the right diet. Be aware of what works and what doesn’t.

What will hurt your body and what won’t and you will be happy you did the extra

research. Avoid the common mistake of gaining all the weight back immediately after

the diet. Take it slow when you complete the diet, transition from the diet stage to

normal life. This will keep you from wasting all that effort.

5) Stay Away from Fatty Foods

You peer down your street and spot 5 of your favorite fast food restaurants begging

you to enter. Each one with their own fatty sugary menu. Its time to realize what is

good for you and what isn’t. Fatty foods are fine on occasion but they are not for daily

consumption. Decide to find a new diet. Eat at healthier restaurants or go old school and

pack a lunch to work or school. When you look in the mirror later on you will be glad

you did.

6) Avoid Being A Couch Potato

American life has become increasingly static. We are probably some of the best sitters

in the world because that’s what we do with the majority of our days. Stop and think

about how much you are in one place every day. You wake up after laying down for

8 hours and decide to go to work where you sit for another seven or eight hours. You

go to school and sit then sit to watch TV and then eat and sit. The days have become

monotonous. Avoid the couch potato routine and pick up a hobby. Soak up the Vitamin

D outside on your free time and you will be glad you did.

7) Give Up On Soda

Soda is probably the quickest way to gain dead weight. Each soda can is chalked loaded

with unhealthy amounts of sugar and calories. If you want to lose weight fast and

easy then drop soda. Replace it with something that will do you well. Choose a better

alternative and you will see 8 Easy Ways to Lose Weight for the Summer1fast results.

8) Dispose Of Weight Faster Than You Gain It

Have you ever become bored of your doctors typical response on how to lose weight?

You may have decided to stop asking. The doctor will continually tell you that the

only way to lose weight is to simply dispose of more weight than you gain. He will

continually hammer on this decision because it’s the truth. Do the math on the calorie

count on your daily diet. Decide to do enough exercise daily to combat that amount.

This is the long term answer.

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Tools of engagement

Review of “U.S. Public Diplomacy: State Department Efforts to Engage Muslim Audiences Lack Certain Communication Elements and Face Significant Challenges,” U.S. Government Accountability Office, May 2006.

By R. S. Zaharna
September/October 2006  pp. 66-68 (vol. 62, no. 5) © 2006 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The most recent review of U.S. public diplomacy by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) was the fourth such report to find that the State Department “faces significant challenges” in its efforts to stem anti-American sentiment in the Islamic world. Yet, the report’s main recommendation–applying public relations’s best practices to U.S. public diplomacy–is unlikely to help America’s image abroad. The GAO’s information-centered approach for designing and delivering messages is based on a flawed premise that not only ignores the decline in U.S. credibility but also overlooks the difficulties of implementing a traditional public relations campaign in a global communication era.

The report opens with a postmortem of sorts, recounting the State Department’s previous failed initiatives in the Islamic world. Three projects that began with great fanfare–the “Shared Values” media campaign, the youth-oriented Hi Magazine, and the Partnerships for Learning youth exchange programs–have either been suspended or terminated. (One official in Egypt said that of the 2,500 copies of Hi Magazine the embassy distributed monthly to newsstands in Cairo, often as many as 2,000 copies were returned unsold. Readers, however, can still access the online version.) The GAO then describes current public diplomacy efforts in Nigeria, Pakistan, and Egypt and finds that–aside from a shortage of manpower resources and difficulties balancing public outreach with security concerns–the missions lack country-specific communication plans and direction from Washington.

What’s needed, according to the GAO, is for the State Department to base its public diplomacy strategy on private-sector best practices. The report presents a diagram of “Key Elements of a Typical Public Relations Strategy” and then details what’s lacking: U.S. missions don’t have core messages or themes; target audiences are not clearly defined; strategies and tactics lack operational details; and research and evaluation efforts are limited.

Although the goal, as the GAO’s title suggests, is to “engage targeted audiences,” the approach is, in fact, dedicated to delivering U.S. messages to the Islamic world. Offering an assessment that no doubt plays well to veteran political campaigners on Capitol Hill, the report declares, “Most importantly, the messages should be repeated over and over again to ensure that they are heard.”

The problem is that while this strategy is technically sound, the premise isn’t. The intense focus on designing and delivering U.S. messages to the Islamic world presupposes either a lack of information or an abundance of misinformation. Such a premise might be plausible if the United States were not a superpower. However, nations around the world are continuously monitoring and analyzing U.S. policies–especially those in the Arab and Muslim world, where U.S. political and military involvement is keenly felt.

U.S. public diplomacy undermines its effectiveness by presuming that people in the Islamic world cannot hear or understand U.S. messages. Saying something louder and repeatedly is precisely what many in the region find so condescending. None of the opinion polls from the Arab world hints that the U.S. image problem is due to a lack of information. In fact, as the GAO report acknowledges, “U.S. foreign policy is the major root cause behind anti-American sentiment among Muslim populations.” Sadly, the GAO mentions this crucial point only in the context of advocating more in-depth polling to identify and develop messages.

It’s important that the underlying cultural style and content of a nation’s pubic diplomacy messages resonate positively with a foreign public. If there is asymmetry in cultural styles, one can alienate the very audience one is trying to persuade. Many of the recent U.S. diplomatic initiatives reflect a uniquely U.S. cultural style. President George W. Bush’s penchant for “speaking straight” may resonate positively with an American public that values directness, but the Arab public prefers more indirect messages, especially in public. Similarly, Americans view facts and arguments as particularly persuasive. In other cultures, metaphors and analogies that suggest important relationships are much more persuasive than impersonal facts.

One can look at public diplomacy from two perspectives: relationship-building strategies versus image-building strategies. Currently, U.S. public diplomacy appears very much focused on its message and its image. Relationship-building strategies–as embodied by such programs as the Peace Corps and the Fulbright program–focus on developing mutually beneficial and reciprocal connections between people and nations. Such an approach may prove much more effective for U.S. public diplomacy efforts in the Muslim world. When officials began to address public policy in the aftermath of 9/11, much was made of how to “win the hearts and minds” of people. The very focus on “winning” in itself suggests a competition, a dividing line between “us” and “them.” One wins, the other loses. The information-centered approach that the GAO is advocating enables that mind-set even further, by ignoring the dynamics of what is arguably a new global communications era, defined by interactivity and connectivity, rather than information superiority. Getting information out is not as strategic as getting connected.

Moreover, the GAO’s relentless focus on messages misses the most immediate challenge facing public diplomacy: restoring U.S. credibility. The United States cannot pretend to be effective either in persuading potential allies or countering the misinformation of its adversaries so long as others question its motives. As a 2004 report by the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board candidly acknowledged, this crisis of credibility is especially acute in the Islamic world. The overwhelming majority of Muslims, the report noted, object to the long-standing, even increasing support for what they see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf states. “Thus when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy. Moreover, saying that ‘freedom is the future of the Middle East’ is seen as patronizing, suggesting that Arabs are like the enslaved peoples of the old communist world–but Muslims do not feel this way: They feel oppressed, but not enslaved.”

The GAO report acknowledges the U.S. credibility deficit but treats it as a tactical issue, suggesting that U.S. public diplomacy use third-party sources that have credibility to deliver U.S. messages. But this tactic only masks the problem. Instead of focusing on its messages, Washington needs a wide-angle lens that carefully reconsiders policies that expose the United States to charges of duplicity.

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Traffick jamming

No mission in the fight against global terrorism is more critical than preventing a nuclear, biological, or chemical attack. And it is not a mission the United States can undertake alone. To that end, the Bush administration led the U.N. Security Council in drafting and adopting Resolution 1540, which requires that all states do their part in preventing proliferation of these weapons and related materials, as well as their means of delivery. Nations are obliged to take “appropriate effective” actions to criminalize proliferation, to tighten security regulations and practices, to enhance law enforcement capabilities, and to adopt more stringent export controls.

Given the importance of this mission, one might think the U.S. government keeps a comprehensive list of which countries are doing all they can to comply with Resolution 1540. More to the point, one would think the government routinely evaluates which countries are doing a terrible job.

You might think this, but you would be wrong. Yes, there are plenty of laws that require or authorize sanctions against governments that knowingly provide direct support to proliferators. But these laws offer little protection against those governments that–through neglect, corruption, or incompetence–fail to keep the materials and technology needed to make nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons from slipping out of their control and across their borders.

This lack of evaluation is very unusual. Every year, Congress requires the executive branch to report on foreign governments’ performance in numerous other areas, such as their human rights policies, their commitment to protecting religious freedom, and their efforts to combat narcotics trafficking.

Among such judgments, the annual Trafficking in Persons Report offers a model for assessing foreign governments’ efforts to prevent proliferation. Since 2000, the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act has required the administration to assign countries to one of three categories: Tier 1, for countries meeting minimum standards for action against human trafficking; Tier 2, for countries failing to meet the standards but making significant efforts toward compliance; and Tier 3, for countries neither meeting the standards nor making serious efforts to do so. For these Tier 3 countries, the president is empowered to suspend certain types of non-humanitarian, non-trade-related foreign aid. And nations in the Tier 2 category that show signs of falling behind in their efforts are placed on a special “watch list” that effectively names and shames them, while putting them on notice that they might soon be subjected to sanctions.

The power of the Trafficking in Persons Report can be seen in countries’ reactions to a Tier 3 listing. Numerous states that have found themselves potentially subject to penalties–such as Bolivia, Cambodia, Ecuador, Israel, Greece, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates–won their way off the Tier 3 list in the next year by passing new legislation, launching investigations, stepping up prosecutions, and strengthening efforts to shelter victims of trafficking.

The Trafficking in Persons Report does not perfectly fit the case of proliferation. For instance, the complete details of countries’ failings in securing such weapons, materials, or related technology would need to be classified. Also, nonproliferation and antiterrorism assistance should be excluded from the aid threatened by a Tier 3 listing. But such an annual proliferation assessment, backed up by real consequences, would encourage better behavior: Few countries would want to risk losing important military or economic aid because of a Tier 3 rating, and no U.S. president would be comfortable publicly giving taxpayers’ money to a government judged to be putting Americans at risk of a nuclear, biological, or chemical terrorist attack.

Congress should require the executive branch both to assess annually how well countries are meeting their legal obligations to prevent the proliferation of the world’s most dangerous weapons and to withhold aid to those governments that refuse to meet those obligations. The consequences of governments around the world shirking their duty are simply too high.

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Hacker’s delight

Review of “Select Controls for the Information Security of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense Communications Network,” Defense Department, Office of Inspector General, February 24, 2006.

 

In testimony to the Senate on May 10, 2006, Lt. Gen. Henry “Trey” Obering, head of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), spoke glowingly about the communications network being established for the system tasked with protecting the U.S. mainland against an intercontinental ballistic missile attack. According to Obering, “The global command and control foundation that we’ve established is unmatched in the world.” But the Defense Department’s own Office of Inspector General (IG) would probably disagree. Just three months before Obering’s boasts, the IG took the defense system’s command and control network to task.

The ground-based midcourse defense (GMD) system is an ambitious long-term project that consists of interceptors in Alaska and California; sensors in California and the Pacific Ocean (and soon in Fylingdales, Britain, and Thule, Greenland); and several command centers across the continental United States, as well as Alaska and Hawaii. Eventually, it will have a dedicated satellite network. The system crosses over 11 time zones, through three combat commands, and includes three branches of the military. The GMD Communications Network (GCN) must link all these elements together–an incredibly complex, and essential, task.

Given that the GCN controls the Bush administration’s missile defense system, the flagship of its national security plan, one might think that the network itself would be secure. But indeed just the opposite appears to be true. In its audit, the inspector general revealed that MDA officials “had not fully implemented information assurance controls required to protect the integrity, availability, and confidentiality of the information in the GCN.” As a result, “Missile Defense Agency officials may not be able to reduce the risk and extent of harm resulting from misuse or unauthorized access to or modification of information of the GCN and ensure the continuity of the network in case of an interruption.” In other words, the system could be hacked–outsiders could enter into the network, change or delete data, and/or share classified information–and MDA would not know about it, be able to respond effectively, or apparently prevent it from happening again.

The report attributes these failings to a cascade of human errors. The GCN was officially intended to be built to meet information security standards dating from 1985. As if aiming for standards created years before the information revolution took place wasn’t bad enough, MDA implemented a set of standards from an entirely different directive. Contractors for the GCN told auditors that it would have been too costly to go back and modify the system. To this, the report rather acidly noted, “Security requirements cannot simply be waived based on cost.”

Further degrading the stability and security of the network, the GCN’s two types of equipment–encrypted and unencrypted–were built by two different contractors who apparently worked at cross-purposes and did not follow a common set of security procedures. “Information assurance” (IA) officers were often unaware of their responsibilities or even that they had special duties. IA officers are charged with making sure that users of the system have the correct level of clearance, that those accessing the system actually have a need to do so, and that the users are aware of network security standards. Curiously, many of the officers were unaware of their IA responsibilities until MDA started developing IA policies in June 2005, after the National Security Agency had completed its own audit of the system, but well after the GCN’s creation in January 2001.

The GCN is supposed to have an automated audit of its network–a security feature that most basic office networks have. However, MDA officials told the investigation team that their equipment was incapable of supporting an automated audit. Instead, they claimed that their contractors did weekly manual exams. But the contractors complained that manual audits were so “cumbersome and time-consuming” that they rarely did them–and even then, the contractors acknowledged that such audits were not guaranteed to detect all security violations.

An undated draft version of the IG’s audit was far more scathing than the final report, noting that the system had category I deficiencies (defined as problems which “must be corrected before the system can become operational or continue to operate”) and category II deficiencies (those which “must be corrected within a specified time period in order to continue system operations”). “MDA officials should immediately cease operations until all category I and category II issues are mitigated,” the draft report advised, and prepare a plan of action “to identify the solution, schedule, security actions, and milestones necessary to correct the security weaknesses.”

Overall, the two reports came to the same conclusions, but the draft version was more specific in its criticisms and more drastic in its suggested plan of action to deal with the network security vulnerabilities. By contrast, the final version of the report simply warns that hackers could defeat the GCN and that the MDA cannot ensure the sanctity of the GMD information and systems. This is not unexpected, as the draft version may have been deemed a little too sensitive for public consumption. Or perhaps there are those in the Pentagon who would prefer softer criticism of a program already plagued by technical delays and cost overruns. Even so, the final watered-down assessment raised some eyebrows. Federal Computer Weekly ran a story on the report on Thursday, March 16, 2006. By the following Monday, the IG issued a statement: “The Missile Defense Agency requested that we remove this report from our website pending a security review.” The report is now back on the IG’s website, but its temporary absence speaks to the gravity of the network’s security vulnerabilities.

The IG’s report, while perhaps embarrassing to the MDA, could not have been much of a surprise. As early as April 2003, the MDA recognized that there were weaknesses in its software network. In a report to the MDA Southeastern Software Engineering Conference, then-Brigadier General Obering briefed the audience about the MDA’s experience with excessive schedule pressure, changing requirements, inadequate test specifications, and insufficient engineering. Obering spoke specifically about a limited understanding of the software and the absence of a software architect. He even presented ways in which he said the MDA was fixing the problems. If the MDA had followed through with those fixes, the IG’s office might very well have come to a different set of conclusions.

But in the problem-plagued quest for national missile defense, securing the GCN from external meddling is not even the sole issue–or even the most troublesome–facing the MDA. The final IG report underlines the importance of password control in noting that MDA officials believed “the greatest risk to the GCN system was the insider threat.” Unfortunately, if the MDA’s track record in network security is anything to judge by, it’s far from certain that GCN will be secure either from the inside or the outside.

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Garbage in, garbage out

THREAT: Canadian trash
Every day, Canadian garbage trucks brimming with refuse cross the border between the United States and Canada unencumbered on their way to Michigan landfills. This practice poses a legitimate national security hazard, according to a recent report compiled by the bipartisan Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. The report calls for a moratorium on such trash imports, claiming that terrorists could smuggle “weapons or nuclear material” in the densely compacted trash, which X-rays and other security measures cannot penetrate.

EXPERT: Stephen Flynn
A terrorism and border security expert at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of America the Vulnerable (2004).

ASSESSMENT: “In terms of general risk, radiation portal technology, which has been completely oversold, cannot effectively scan anything that’s shielded. Obviously, it’s an order of magnitude more difficult to see inside a thick garbage truck. So by definition, a garbage truck represents a guaranteed unknown; the technology can’t resolve the issue.

“But as a conduit for smuggling, it doesn’t rank high. If the overall goal is to create economic disruption, a terrorist won’t freeze the way we do business by blowing up a garbage truck with a dirty bomb. It would be a bad day for Canadian trash collectors. If a terrorist hopes to smuggle a dirty bomb from Canada into the United States by hiding it in garbage, the issue then becomes wading through mountains of trash unnoticed to dig it out.

“This particular story line features a healthy mix of local politics and serves as a perfect example of hitching your wagon to the threat of the moment. The bottom line: Detroiters don’t like Canadians dumping trash in their landfills.”

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Games get serious

If you think video games are child’s play, meet the growing community of scientists, policy makers, and game developers who beg to differ.

“When the Federation of American Scientists [FAS] assembled a road map for developing educational technology in 2001, we brought in the top learning scientists and asked, ‘How do people learn best?’ In a nutshell, the answer was individualized instruction, encouraging questions, and immediate feedback. We then queried the deans of the leading computer science departments across the country about what types of emerging information technology could implement these recommendations. One of the responses–video and computer games–surprised us. But games are getting remarkably sophisticated. The simulations and graphics are incredible; they feature a lot of artificial intelligence; and you can attack them from many different angles. In short, they do all of the things that the learning scientists told us worked well.”

–Kay Howell, FAS vice president for information technologies projects

Few dare call them games. Not yet, at least. And certainly not in front of those who fund games-related projects. A euphemism like “decision-based simulation” maybe, but rarely a “game.” To many, video and computer games represent an adolescent diversion, a parental annoyance that thwarts homework, chores, and all things productive. So when FAS and others stump for games as an educational or training tool, they begin by stating the problem: “You oversee a very complex system,” or “You want to reach a new audience.” The notion of a game providing the solution comes later. Such is the way when establishing a new medium.

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars christened them “serious games” four years ago, mobilizing a loose-knit collection of game developers, educational foundations, grassroots organizations, human rights advocates, medical professionals, first responders, homeland security consultants, and assorted others around a common cause. Together–the experts provide the facts, the game developers the technological know-how–they’ve created a nascent industry. Their goal: To convince nonbelievers that games teach just as well as books, film, or any other medium.

“Games let us create representations of how things work in a medium that’s built to do exactly that,” says Ian Bogost, an assistant professor of digital media at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the author of Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism. “If you want to explain how a nuclear power plant works in a textbook, you have to demonstrate it with a logical written argument. But with games, the player can literally interact with the model of how a system works.”

The serious games moniker provides a catchall for simulations that transcend traditional video and computer game fodder (gunplay, slick cars, and sports) and delve into heftier issues (responding to genocide, promoting democracy, and training first responders). Already neatly segmented, serious games exist for science, defense, health, conflict resolution, and social change. Their sophistication, target audience, and message vary. FAS developed Immune Attack to allow high school students to experience the challenge of defending the human body against invading antigens; PeaceMaker, a game created by students at Carnegie Mellon University, lets Palestinians and Israelis switch roles to better understand each other’s plight; and the U.N. World Food Programme’s Food Force teaches kids about the difficulties of delivering aid to the developing world.

An industry once solely for twentysomething males by twentysomething males is morphing into something much more relevant. “The serious games field has made a lot of progress,” says James Gee, a professor of learning sciences at the University of Wisconsin and author of What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. “The ideas are beginning to gel, and funding is starting to come in. It’s quite on schedule by any historical antecedent. And yet, it has a lot of challenges.”

 

“In the mid-1990s, I worked at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on a number of topics, including climate change. At one point, I was given a fairly simple simulation created by the Dutch government that ran on PCs–the Dutch actually played the simulation in their parliament. I would play this model while eating lunch. Because of its interactivity, I discovered more about climate change in a few hours than I ever learned from any briefing or supercomputer output.”

–David Rejeski, director of the Wilson Center’s Serious Games Initiative

They gather for Serious Games Summits twice a year. In the spring, during the first two days of the week-long Game Developers Conference–GDC to all but the unhip–and again in the fall for a stand-alone event, just outside of Washington, D.C. The GDC attracts thousands of gamers who make the pilgrimage each year from Europe, Asia, and all points in between to ensure that not one gaming development leaves them behind.

This year, 12,500 predominantly T-shirt clad gamers converged in March upon sleepy San Jose for GDC:06. For a few hundred of these convention visitors, the Serious Games Summit in the adjoining Marriott’s second-floor ballroom salons proves curious. Opportunity lurks in these three rooms. Exactly what kind of opportunity, not even those well steeped in serious games quite know. “Like all new things,” Gee says, “what we don’t know is much bigger than what we do know.”

Every now and again, Ben Sawyer, codirector of the Serious Games Initiative, pokes his head into a first-day, early morning “Birds-of-a-Feather Meet-Up,” gauging the room’s tenor. In many ways, it’s Sawyer’s passion and nurturing that fuels the summit’s prevailing sense of opportunity. His zeal for serious games has gone viral. About 45 people attended the first serious games gathering in February 2003 at the Wilson Center. In San Jose, by Sawyer’s count, as many as 500 people will stroll through the Marriott ballrooms. “Ben is the social networking hub,” Gee says. “Sooner or later, he’s the person that everyone will go through.”

Says FAS’s Howell, “Ben taught me to look in the mirror every morning and say, ‘I’m not a gamer. If I’m going to build a game, I need to find a person who knows how to build games and not pretend that I know how to do it.’”

Sawyer certainly didn’t invent serious games. In the early nineteenth century, the Prussian military pioneered the use of scaled miniatures for war-gaming. Chris Crawford’s Balance of Power–a computer game simulating Cold War brinkmanship that challenged players to avoid initiating a nuclear war–achieved some commercial success in the 1980s. And in the 1990s, the U.S. military developed tactical training simulations that it later marketed as highly successful video games with titles such as America’s Army and Close Combat: First to Fight. But it was Sawyer, along with Rejeski, who formulated serious gaming into a viable, recognizable niche. “What we did was brand something that was happening, get everybody talking about it in the same way, and draw some attention to it,” Sawyer says.

First, they crafted a manifesto of sorts, a 2002 white paper entitled “Serious Games: Improving Public Policy Through Game-Based Learning and Simulation,” which Rejeski commissioned and Sawyer wrote. Drawing upon his experiences working on Virtual U, a game the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation released in 2000 to train higher education administrators, Sawyer outlined why stodgy simulations and models could use a makeover. “Any casual observer who has seen someone interact with a computer or video game can easily understand how games can quickly captivate their audience,” he wrote.

Sawyer wanted those in the policy community to understand that games harness people’s inherent competitive instincts, presenting players with multiple outcomes and compelling them to discover and develop strategies to succeed. “Gaming is by no means a replacement to existing model and simulation building processes and practices, but it has tangible advantages that ultimately could result in wider, more flexible, and more versatile products. To ignore these contributions wholesale will directly affect the ability for any simulation or model to reach its full potential.”

Next, Sawyer and Rejeski went about building a community. With money from the Sloan Foundation, they held a small gathering–comprised of a multifarious mix of archetypal bureaucrats and gamers–in Washington. From there, they assembled a website and listserv. They quickly found that a disconnected community already existed, which included Gee and some colleagues at the University of Wisconsin and Howell and FAS President Henry Kelly. “People came out of the woodwork,” Rejeski says. “The idea that you could do something else with this medium had occurred to them, but they figured they were the only ones thinking like this.”

Far from it. Hence, as the serious games gospel spread, the discipline rapidly multiplied. All of which helps explain the presence of the couple hundred onlookers from the commercial gaming industry during the two-day slate of roundtables, lectures, and meet-ups in San Jose. After almost four years, they’d heard enough; now they wanted to determine for themselves how they might fit into the burgeoning industry taking form in these hotel ballroom salons. “They sense they shouldn’t take their eyes off of it,” Sawyer says. “They don’t want to wake up in five years and go, ‘We just let $20 million slip through the cracks!’”

 

“On my last trip to Ukraine, I showed the game version of A Force More Powerful to some activists who’d been very active in the Orange Revolution. One of the guys couldn’t believe it. He said, ‘We really need this!’

“Since the Orange Revolution, Kiev has become a collecting point for Georgians, Belarusians, Azerbaijanis, Kyrgyz, and Uzbeks trying to learn about nonviolent strategy for their own purposes. To help train the leadership circles of these various movements, my Ukrainian friend has been using the game, which is tremendously gratifying.”

–Steve York, documentary filmmaker and newly minted game producer

Welcome to Grbac, Slovopaknia, a fictional city in a fictional nation in a fictional world that exists only in A Force More Powerful: The Game of Nonviolent Strategy. In this (not so) mythical place, a classic strongman, the menacingly named Mayor Gavrilovic, rules with typical strongman aplomb, cultivating corruption and squelching dissent. Such is the backdrop for “Corruption is Stealing,” one of ten historically inspired game scenarios in A Force More Powerful, as Gavrilovic imprisons a local university student for ridiculing him in the school newspaper.

The mission, per the game’s instructions: Lead a “stunned and disorganized student movement” to spring the incarcerated student from jail, build an anticorruption coalition to force Gavrilovic’s resignation, and triumph in the citywide mayoral race held thereafter; all the while, achieving these objectives without the use of force–employing nonviolent tactics such as fundraising, hunger strikes, and fraternizing with neutral/sympathetic parties.

The game derives from a three-hour PBS documentary series by the same name–directed and produced by York–that chronicled how nonviolence works as a fulcrum for democratic change. After it aired in 2000, York and the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), a nonprofit organization founded by an executive producer and adviser of the series, began receiving correspondence from people all over the world describing how they incorporated the series into their own nonviolence training. Wanting to provide them with a proper training tool, ICNC decided to transform the film’s themes into a computer game.

Last February, after four years of development, York’s production company, ICNC, and BreakAway Games, a top serious game developer based in Maryland, jointly released the game-version of A Force More Powerful, complete with a 116-page instruction manual. The game was produced with the close consultation of Ivan Marovic, a leader–and serendipitously, a longtime gamer–in the student resistance movement that helped topple Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. “If we were going to do something that would be useful to movements, activists, and strategists, it had to be done responsibly,” York says. “It wasn’t going to be simplistic or dumbed-down; it was going to have a steep learning curve.”

The best serious games always do. Even if the gameplay is simple and intuitive, the strategies require thoughtful choices that often yield difficult consequences. In A Force More Powerful, pursuing too brazen tactics too quickly, no matter how peaceful, can lead to the death or imprisonment of opposition members. The game then ends, with the push for democratic change suppressed. Extra lives don’t exist in serious games.

Likewise, in Pax Warrior, a blend of documentary film and game that places high school and college students in the role of the head U.N. peacekeeper during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, “winning” is relative. No player stops the genocide. Hamstrung by the same historical constraints that faced Lt. Gen. Roméo Dallaire, the actual commander of the U.N. peacekeeping mission to Rwanda at the time, the students try to save as many lives as possible given the circumstances. “Pax teaches you how good intentions are not enough,” says Andreas Ua’Siaghail, the game’s co-creator. “It tests an individual’s valor in a historical context.”

That’s partly the value of serious games–to allow users to fail again and again without real-world repercussions–what Rejeski calls “failing softly.” It’s why the U.S. military understands the utility of games so intuitively. The military reasons that if soldiers lose fake lives in simulations, it better hones their ability to survive on the real battlefield. Similar thinking is now taking hold in firehouses, police stations, and hospitals–the frontlines in the event of a natural disaster or terrorist attack.

Firefighters are particularly well-suited for game-based training, according to Jesse Schell, an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC). Their age generally skews young; they train aggressively, meaning they’re open-minded to new training techniques that could save their lives; and they possess the time to train. “Nurses make rounds and cops walk the beat, but firefighters hang around the firehouse waiting for something to happen,” says Schell, the former creative director of the Disney Virtual Reality Studio and the CEO of his own independent game studio in Pittsburgh.

For nearly four years, Schell, along with other ETC faculty and students, has worked closely with both the Pittsburgh and New York City fire departments to craft a multiplayer game called Hazmat: Hotzone. “Firefighters train for fires,” Schell says. “They don’t necessarily prepare for colorless, odorless toxins. And when they were training for it, it was in the classroom and the data wasn’t sticking.”

Hazmat: Hotzone puts them on the scene, forcing quick decisions and testing their assumptions in a safe, virtual environment. One firefighter plays the role of incident commander, while the others “responding” to the scene individually log into clustered computer stations, communicating with each other via radio. Then an instructor, who sets the particular hazmat scenario, alters the variables at will. An initial gaming test the ETC crew tried out on actual firefighters featured a sarin attack in a shopping mall. Almost immediately, a cyber firefighter collapsed.

“I thought if I could see, it was safe to go in,” the firefighter controlling the character told his instructor.

“Not when you have suspicion of a hazmat,” the instructor responded. “In that case, you should be looking for other tips–like all the unconscious people on the scene.”

“It became clear to us that the real value we could give firefighters was an opportunity to try lots of different scenarios with lots of different parameters over and over again,” Schell says. “That trains them to go through the right thought process.”

 

“The government is spending money like water and has this problem of training first responders. So we thought, ‘For a couple million dollars, we can develop Hazmat: Hotzone for every firehouse in the country free of charge. I bet we can make that happen.’ No such luck. After going to Homeland Security for the fourth time, someone at Homeland finally said, ‘You’re going about this all wrong. The government does not fund universities for the production and distribution of software; the government funds research and experiments. We will give grants to people who want to buy your product. But that means you have to secure your own funding to get the thing built.’”

–Jesse Schell

Unlike Hazmat: Hotzone, not every serious game costs millions of dollars to produce. But their niche-specific nature considerably limits the consumer pool, as the audience for some games might number only in the hundreds. Although Sawyer believes a larger commercial market for serious games will develop, the early returns suggest that their crossover appeal remains limited. To wit, A Force More Powerful will ship 4,000 copies in its first six months of release. A point of comparison: Halo 2, one of the most popular commercial games, sold 2.4 million copies within the first 24 hours it hit retail shelves in 2004. “We’re still a rounding error,” Sawyer admitted in San Jose.

So Schell and others trudge to Washington, only to find Capitol Hill hesitant. Congress has heard pledges of revolutionary educational and training software before: “Every student will have an electronic tutor!” went the refrain not so long ago. But often, the proselytizers of such revamped learning never delivered on their promises. “Why should we believe you now?” governmental staffers quizzed FAS President Kelly when he originally approached them, circa 2000, about investing more federal funding into educational games. His answer: “The problem turned out to be harder than expected, but the technology has matured to the point where there’s a lot of opportunity for progress.”

The shift to more adult subject matter in some high-profile commercial game titles hasn’t helped either. The Grand Theft Auto series, which sparked outcry among elected officials owing to the games’ heavy dose of sex and violence, has emerged as the public face of the gaming industry. Such political rhetoric reminded Rejeski of comparable debates that occurred during television’s adolescence. So he furthered the parallel himself. Using the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as the paradigm, in April he posted an article on Gamasutra.com, a website for video game developers, calling for the establishment of a Corporation for Public Gaming. “Noncommercial television floundered, despite millions of dollars of investment by the Ford Foundation, until the government stepped in and created a viable and long-lasting alternative,” he wrote. “With similar vision and foresight, and a relatively small amount of funding, this could happen with video and computer games.”

Rejeski’s proposal: A $15 million annual investment for three years that’s dispersed to games that “inform, enlighten, and enrich the public.” After the third year, the program would be reviewed and “continued, modified, or terminated” as seen fit. Most importantly, it would specifically allocate funding to study whether serious games are living up to their expectations–quantifiable proof that should help loosen congressional purse strings. “We just haven’t done those kinds of studies,” says Howell, who helped FAS push for legislation, introduced in both the House and Senate, that would also spur more federal dollars for serious games.

The idea hit. “I’d say 95 percent of the response was somewhere between positive and euphoric,” Rejeski says. It burned through the blogosphere and received coverage from National Public Radio and BBC Radio. Better still, the notion of a Corporation for Public Gaming soothed the psyche of a serious games community that Rejeski sensed was growing disenchanted. “It was a reminder of the promise and the possibilities that are still unrealized,” he says. “The serious games community has become too tactical and introspective. The spark and vision from two or three years ago is missing. But the opportunity is still there, and now is the time to do it.”

At the Serious Games Summit, Sawyer saves the introspection for the second day of the conference. On the first day, the spark still seems apparent. The game developers and various experts in attendance quibble a bit–the experts don’t understand games, the developers don’t respect the facts. But it’s a creative rivalry that makes for better, livelier games. Most of the day’s sessions brim with attentive audiences, forcing many in the overflow crowd to sit on the floor.

But like Rejeski, Sawyer is attuned to the throng he helped assemble. He too knows the money question lingers and hears the criticism from those in and out of the serious games community that hype dominates the proceedings. Most of all, however, the breakthrough hit doesn’t exist yet. And until it does, “you won’t have a lot of consensus,” says Gee, who classifies early standard-bearers such as A Force More Powerful as better than most serious games, but still not of commercial quality.

Shortly before lunch on the second day, Sawyer confronts all such concerns, conducting an hour-long panel with Gee and Kelly–entitled “What’s Wrong with Serious Games?”–that deconstructs the ills of the serious games space.

“We’ve been given a Maserati before we’ve been given a driver’s license,” Kelly opens.

“We have to evaluate the learning systems that games generate,” Gee continues.

“Are we just apologists for Grand Theft Auto?” reads one Sawyer slide.

With the purging complete, Sawyer returns to the stump, convinced as ever that such squabbles merely indicate the discipline’s growth and maturity and that games represent the future. “People are getting a growing sense that gaming is a very powerful medium,” he says passionately, a few weeks after San Jose. “As they start to think about that, they’re willing to invest more time to get down that road. Once they’ve traveled a few miles, you can get them to jump at it.”

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U.S. nuclear threats: Then and now

During an impromptu April 18 press conference, President George W. Bush was asked if his assertion that “all options are on the table” regarding Iran included the possibility of a nuclear strike. Bush reiterated, “All options are on the table. We want to solve this issue diplomatically, and we’re working hard to do so.” In no uncertain words, the president of the United States directly threatened Iran with a preemptive nuclear strike. It is hard to read his reply in any other way.

It was not the first time that a U.S. president has threatened to use nuclear weapons. In previous instances, U.S. officials have generally made such threats during periods of crisis. Some were direct threats, others were ambiguous, and some implied that nuclear plans were merely being considered. The threats had mixed effects. In some cases they clearly deterred an adversary; in others they seem to have had little or no effect. In at least one situation, a nuclear threat appears to have persuaded a nation to build its own nuclear arsenal.

Bush’s statements regarding Iran are particularly reminiscent of a diplomatic strategy employed by President Richard Nixon known as the “madman theory.” [1]  On the eve of a massive mining and bombing campaign against North Vietnam in October 1969, Nixon ordered that nuclear forces be placed on a higher state of alert in order to pressure the Soviets and the North Vietnamese into making diplomatic concessions that might eventually bring an end to the war. [2]  The madman theory, or, as Nixon and his chief of staff Bob Haldeman described it, “the principle of the threat of excessive force,” was at the center of this strategy. “Nixon was convinced that his power would be enhanced if his opponents thought he might use excessive force, even nuclear force. That, coupled with his reputation for ruthlessness, he believed, would suggest that he was dangerously unpredictable,” according to analysts William Burr and Jeffrey Kimball. [3]  As part of the strategy, underlings would transmit information to foreign officials saying that Nixon might be unstable or unpredictable and that unless concessions were made he might order the use of military force or even nuclear weapons. The entire effort was conducted in extreme secrecy with only a few U.S. officials even aware of it.

Beginning on October 13, 1969, the U.S. Strategic Air Command (SAC) placed 144 B-52 bombers, 32 B-58 nuclear bombers, and 189 KC-135 tankers on ground alert. This number, it was assumed, would be “discernible to the Soviets but not threatening in themselves” in the words of Gen. Earle G. Wheeler, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Several SAC bombers, loaded with four or more nuclear bombs, flew continuously “over the frozen terrain of the Arctic” in late October, according to Burr and Kimball. [4]  The readiness level would continue until there was an indication that the Soviets had taken notice.

In the end, all of this muscle flexing had little effect. There is no documentary evidence that Moscow ever expressed concern. The failure of the show of force did not lessen the validity of the madman theory in Nixon’s mind, Burr and Kimball believe. He “continued to believe that threats of force, military signaling, and alerts intimating nuclear threats were valid and necessary tools of diplomacy.” [5]

From various comments that Bush has made about Iran, it could be argued that he has chosen at times to practice a version of the madman theory. [6]  One difference between the two presidents is that Bush is sending the signals via public statements and selective leaks, though back channels also may be in use. There is no indication that any special military measures were taken to back up Bush’s rhetoric, though there are no doubt contingency plans. Regardless, Bush joins a long list of U.S. officials, including his father, who have drawn the nuclear sword in an effort to influence international relations.

On the Korean Peninsula. One of the first instances of a U.S. threat of nuclear use came just five years after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. With the United States mired in the Korean War, in November 1950 a reporter asked President Harry S. Truman whether U.N. forces might cross the Yalu River into Manchuria. Truman responded, “We will take whatever steps are necessary to meet the military situation, just as we always have.” Asked whether that included using atomic bombs, Truman responded: “That includes every weapon we have.” A few minutes after the press conference ended, the lead of the United Press wire story read, “President Truman said today that the United States has under consideration use of the atomic bomb in connection with the war in Korea.” [7]

Nearly three years later, Truman’s successor, President Dwight Eisenhower, also wielded the threat of U.S. nuclear use. In May 1953, Eisenhower authorized an expanded Korean bombing campaign, prompting the North Koreans and Chinese to respond by increased ground action. As part of the heightened military activity, the Joint Chiefs presented six different scenarios for ending the war, “most envisioning the possible use of atomic weapons,” according to an official Pentagon history. “After the NSC reached a seeming consensus on May 20 to employ atomic weapons both strategically and tactically–that is within and outside the Korean Peninsula–the administration communicated its resolve to the Chinese and North Koreans. . . . Both Eisenhower and [Secretary of State John Foster] Dulles believed the message had the desired effect” of ending the war, the history reads. [8]

In what later became known as the “Tree-Trimming Incident,” U.S. forces in Korea again threatened the use of nuclear weapons when they were placed on DEFCON 3 on August 19, 1976. The alert, which was ordered in response to a fatal skirmish between U.S. and North Korean border guards over U.S. attempts to trim a tree in the demilitarized zone, involved deployment of nuclear and other forces in operations that signaled preparations for an attack on North Korea. [9]  The U.S. display of force included nuclear-capable B-52 bombers flying “from Guam ominously north up the Yellow Sea on a vector directly to . . . Pyongyang,” noted Maj. Gen. John K. Singlaub in his book, Hazardous Duty. [10]  North Korea did not interfere with the tree trimming again, so the flexible U.S. options appeared to work.

Most recently, during the 1994 North Korean nuclear crisis, the United States nearly launched a conventional strike against the North’s nuclear production facilities. Although nuclear threats were not reported to have been part of the effort, U.S. Strategic Command (Stratcom) did apparently study the nuclear option in 1995. And during 1997 congressional hearings, Gen. Eugene Habiger, commander of Stratcom, confirmed that indeed the United States had threatened the North with nuclear weapons during the crisis. Asked what “sort of deterrence” he thought U.S. nuclear weapons played in preventing WMD from being used by rogue states, Habiger responded, “In my view, sir, it plays a very large role. . . .[The threat of U.S. nuclear use] was passed to the North Koreans back in 1995, when the North Koreans were not coming off their reactor approach they were taking.” [11]  Habiger subsequently explained that the message passed on to North Korea had been explicit. [12]

Regarding Taiwan. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949, Chinese Nationalists in Taiwan retained control of the offshore islands of Jinmen (Quemoy) and Mazu (Matsu) to harass the Chinese Communists. [13]  On September 3, 1954, Chinese coastal batteries began shelling Jinmen, where more than 50,000 Nationalist soldiers were stationed. The crisis intensified significantly in January 1955, forcing Eisenhower to consider whether the United States would allow the loss of the islands, thus possibly undermining its commitment to Taiwan.

In the midst of the crisis, during a March 8 nationally televised speech, Secretary Dulles said that the administration considered atomic weapons “interchangeable with the conventional weapons” in the arsenal. Over the next week, U.S. officials, including Eisenhower and Vice President Richard Nixon, made numerous public statements about employing tactical nuclear weapons if war broke out. The statements were meant to prepare Americans for nuclear warfare and in the hope of deterring the Chinese from attacking. Along with the verbal threats, Gen. Curtis E. LeMay, commander of SAC, made extensive military preparations, deploying B-36s bombers to Guam and selecting their targets in China.

The crisis broke when Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai announced on April 23 that China was willing to negotiate with the United States to reduce tensions over Taiwan. But the confrontation had serious repercussions for the global nuclear balance; Eisenhower’s nuclear saber rattling convinced Chairman Mao Zedong that China needed its own nuclear weapons. In January 1955, less than a year after the U.S. nuclear threat, China formally made a decision to develop the Bomb.

U.S. officials threatened nuclear use during a similar crisis in 1958. When China moved forces into the Fukien (Fujian) province opposite Taiwan that summer, U.S. officials prepared contingency plans and cautioned the Chinese not to threaten the peace in the area. On August 23, Chinese-artillery batteries unleashed a ferocious barrage against Quemoy. While the strikes continued intermittently for weeks, the U.S. prepared a military response, including making a squadron of Guam-based B-47 bombers available for nuclear strikes against the mainland. [14]  Other plans involving nuclear weapons were discussed and made ready. The crisis dragged on for two months until China inexplicably stopped the barrages. The official Defense Department historian labeled the threat of nuclear use as “important” in resolving the standoff, adding, “Indeed on no other occasion during Eisenhower’s second term was [nuclear weapons] use so seriously considered.” [15]

Desert threat. The United States has considered or threatened the use of nuclear weapons on several other occasions: In response to the 1948 blockade of Berlin; in support of French forces in the northern Vietnamese town of Dien Bien Phu in 1954; in response to rioting that threatened the Lebanese government in 1958; during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962; in order to counter Soviet saber rattling after the breakdown of a U.N. sanctioned truce in Israel in 1973; and as an option to penetrate Libya’s Tarhuna underground chemical weapons facility in 1996. [16]  But perhaps the most well-communicated U.S. nuclear threat was made prior to the U.S. intervention during the 1991 Gulf War.

During Operation Desert Storm in January 1991, the George H. W. Bush administration issued a formal threat of retaliation in response to chemical or biological weapons use and also against Iraqi support of any kind of terrorist actions. During a meeting with Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz on January 9, 1991, Secretary of State James Baker handed Aziz a letter from Bush and warned that, if “God forbid . . . chemical or biological weapons are used against our forces–the American people would demand revenge.”

“This is not a threat,” Baker continued, “but a pledge that if there is any use of such weapons, our objective would not be only the liberation of Kuwait, but also the toppling of the present regime.” [17]  Baker later explained that he “purposely left the impression that the use of chemical or biological agents by Iraq would invite tactical nuclear retaliation.” [18]  The letter listed three “sorts” of “unconscionable actions” by Iraq that would demand the “strongest possible response”: use of chemical or biological weapons; support of any kind of terrorist action; and the destruction of Kuwait’s oilfields and installations. [19]

Bush had secretly decided that U.S. forces would not use nuclear weapons, but Baker and other former officials from the George H. W. Bush administration have since revealed that they used Arab intermediaries and even Japanese diplomats to convey an explicit nuclear threat to Saddam Hussein. [20]  Although the third “unconscionable action”–destruction of the Kuwaiti oilfields–was not deterred, Baker concluded, “We do not really know whether [the nuclear threat] was the reason” that Iraq did not use chemical or biological weapons. “My own view is that the calculated ambiguity regarding how we might respond has to be part of the reason.” [21]

If so, that lesson was not lost elsewhere in the world. After the 1991 Gulf War, the former deputy defense minister of India concluded, “Never negotiate with the United States unless you have a nuclear weapon.”

 

1. The theory was first made public by Nixon’s chief of staff, H. R. “Bob” Haldeman. “I call it the Madman Theory, Bob. I want the North Vietnamese to believe I’ve reached the point where I might do anything to stop the war. We’ll just slip the word to them that, ‘for God’s sake, you know Nixon is obsessed about communism. We can’t restrain him when he’s angry–and he has his hand on the nuclear button’–and Ho Chi Minh himself will be in Paris in two days begging for peace.” H. R. Haldeman, The Ends of Power (New York: Times Books, 1978).

2. William Burr and Jeffrey Kimball, “Nixon’s Nuclear Ploy,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, January/February 2003, pp. 28-37, 72-73.

3. Ibid., p. 31.

4. Ibid., p. 72.

5. Ibid., p. 73.

6. Jeffrey Kimball, “Is Bush Trying Out the Madman Theory?” History News Network, February 28, 2005.

7. David McCullough, Truman (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992), pp. 821-822.

8. Richard M. Leighton, Strategy, Money, and the New Look 1953-1956, vol. III of the History of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Washington, D.C.: Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense, 2001), p. 2. The same message was conveyed to Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov on June 3. The armistice was signed on June 27, 1953.

9. Richard A. Mobley, “Revisiting the Korean Tree-Trimming Incident,” Joint Forces Quarterly, Summer 2003, p. 110, 111. Mobley states that the August 1976 DEFCON 3 was “the first time it was changed in response to activity in North Korea.”

10. John K. Singlaub, Hazardous Duty: An American Soldier in the Twentieth Century (New York: Summit Books, 1991), as cited in Richard A. Mobley, “Revisiting the Korean Tree-Trimming Incident,” pp. 111, 113-114.

11. U.S. Air Force Gen. Eugene E. Habiger, Stratcom commander, statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Authorization for Appropriations Hearing for Fiscal 1998 and Future Years Defense Programs, Senate Hearing 105-37, 105th Congress, March 13, 1997, p. 654.

12. Habiger, conversation with Hans M. Kristensen, August 12, 2004.

13. Gordon H. Chang, “To the Nuclear Brink: Eisenhower, Dulles, and the Quemoy-Matsu Crisis,” International Security, Spring 1988, pp. 96-122; H. W. Brands Jr., “Testing Massive Retaliation: Credibility and Crisis Management in the Taiwan Strait,” International Security, Spring 1988, pp. 124-151.

14. Robert J. Watson, Into the Missile Age 1956-1960, vol. IV of the History of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Washington, D.C.: Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1997), p. 229.

15. Ibid, p. 241.

16. See: Richard K. Betts, Nuclear Blackmail and Nuclear Balance (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1987), pp. 23-31; Leighton, Strategy, Money and the New Look 1953-1956, pp. 536-537; Watson, Into the Missile Age 1956-1960, p. 208; Norman Polmar and John D. Gresham, DEFCON 2: Standing on the Brink of Nuclear War During the Cuban Missile Crisis (Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2006); William Burr, “The October War and U.S. Policy,” Electronic Briefing Book 98, National Security Archive, October 7, 2003; Robert Burns, Associated Press, “U.S. Libya,” April 23, 1996; “Nuclear Weapons Only Option for USA to Hit Buried Targets,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, May 1, 1996, p. 3.

17. William M. Arkin, “Gulf War +10: The Secret Story,” Stars and Stripes, Special Report, n.d. [2000].

18. James A. Baker, III, with Thomas M. DeFrank, The Politics of Diplomacy (New York: Putnam, 1995), p. 359. At the beginning of Operation Desert Storm, according to one unclassified estimate, the United States had some 1,000 nuclear warheads with its military forces in the region. This included 700 bombs and cruise missiles on aircraft carriers, surface ships, and attack submarines, and 300 bombs in Turkey. William M. Arkin et al., “U.S. Nuclear Weapons in the Persian Gulf Crisis,” Greenpeace, January 1991, p. 1.

19. The actual wording of the relevant section in George H. W. Bush’s letter was: “Let me state, too, that the United States will not tolerate the use of chemical or biological weapons, support of any kind for terrorist actions, or the destruction of Kuwait’s oilfields and installations. The American people would demand the strongest possible response. You and your country will pay a terrible price if you order unconscionable actions of this sort.” See also: “Text of Letter from Bush to Hussein,” New York Times, January 13, 1991, as reprinted in Mark Grossman, Encyclopedia of the Persian Gulf War (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 1995), p. 396.

20. William M. Arkin, “The Nuclear Option and Iran,” WashingtonPost.com (Early Warning Blog), April 19, 2006, blog.washingtonpost.com/earlywarning/2006/04/the_nuclear_option_and_iran.html.

21. Baker with DeFrank, The Politics of Diplomacy, p. 359.

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Q and A: Gil Loescher

A survivor of the August 2003 suicide bombing of the U.N. Baghdad headquarters, refugee expert, and the subject of the documentary film Pulled from the Rubble talks about his recovery and present-day humanitarian challenges.

 

You’ve called the bombing and your recovery a beginning–how so?
I started from scratch. I taught my damaged right hand how to write again, and I learned how to walk again using prosthetic legs. The bombing also renewed my commitment to finding solutions to protracted refugee situations around the world. I’ve worked hard the last 18 months to strengthen the commitment of international organizations and governments to deal with these problems more effectively.

Between a harrowing online journal that updated your condition in near real time and Pulled from the Rubble, your recovery has been very public. Did you ever regret that the healing process remained so open?
Not really, partly because both were originally intended to be private. In the beginning, the website was meant to keep my family and friends informed. But it took on a life of its own, and readership expanded dramatically. Within a couple of months, it had more than 60,000 hits. People found it a very compelling read. The film was also meant to remain a private family record; everyone in my family has always used photography in our work and personal lives. It wasn’t until late in the filming process that the decision was made to make it public. And that decision was only taken after heated discussion. But in the end, we felt that people should really see how families deal with this kind of a crisis.

Your wife writes about this in the journal, as she recounts how similar bombings resonate with her much more now when she reads about them.
Whenever there’s an attack or bombing like this, the media tends to focus on how many people died. They don’t see the other victims–the people who are badly injured or psychologically damaged. And they certainly don’t describe the effect on the victims’ families and loved ones. That’s something we felt strongly about. For that reason, we thought it was important to get the story out.

Is it hard for you to watch the film?
It is now. Obviously, in the very beginning it was hard. I haven’t watched it in a long time; my wife hasn’t watched it in a long time. It seems like a long time ago.

Why was learning about your rescue essential to the healing process?
The bombing was a vitally important event in my life. I was in the rubble–apparently fully conscious–for almost five hours. During this time, both my legs were amputated, and good friends and colleagues died next to me. When I regained consciousness about a month afterward, however, I only retained a few vivid memories. I wanted to know how I acted, what I was thinking, why I survived and others didn’t, and who rescued me. Understanding these things helped me move on.

In your work, you’ve visited many refugees and displaced people over the years. Talk about the role their resiliency played in your recovery.
It’s not only refugees; it’s also when I visit my local prosthetic center, and I see people of all ages and backgrounds dealing with losing their limbs and picking up their lives. It’s very inspirational. You only need to look around to see the resiliency of ordinary people.

What’s changed about the rules of engagement to make nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and U.N. officials targets?
Particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military now plays an increasingly important role in delivering humanitarian assistance. In Afghanistan, U.S. soldiers wear civilian clothing while distributing food and other aid in an effort to win hearts and minds. This mix compromises the role and perception of NGOs and the United Nations.

How can this mix be untangled?
For one, the military should focus on logistics–getting aid from point A to point B. The United Nations has learned about the temporary administration of war-torn countries in Cambodia, Kosovo, and Timor. So it’s better equipped than the military at humanitarian assistance and development programs.

Can the United Nations maintain neutrality in places like Iraq, which it harshly sanctioned throughout the 1990s?
It’s difficult. The sanctions made them an early target. Can United Nations enforcement actions be separated from the United Nations humanitarian actions? The mantra now is to integrate missions and link up the two arms of United Nations activity. That needs to be reexamined in light of changing conditions on the ground.

What’s the most important lesson the United Nations can learn from the Baghdad bombing?
That above all, it cannot take for granted that local populations will perceive it as an independent and impartial actor.

Three years later, has the United Nations adjusted accordingly?
In a way, the United Nations is still recovering from what happened in Baghdad. There have been a lot of meetings about reinforcing the staff’s security, but that doesn’t hit at the issues I’m talking about. Part of the problem is that in recent years the United Nations hasn’t had the full support of all its member states–particularly the most powerful ones. It’s very hard to bring about change and reassert yourself if you’re constantly beleaguered and under attack.

 

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Would you have dropped the bomb?

“All our final decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last,” wrote the French novelist Marcel Proust. In 1945, our collective state of mind was despair. World War II touched every inhabitable continent, leaving more than 50 million dead and millions of others as refugees. The conflict had spanned more than half a decade. It would effectively end during an interval of 43 seconds–the time it took for the atomic bomb to explode over Hiroshima after it was released by the Enola Gay on August 6. Three days later, a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, followed by Japan’s surrender.

Sixty years later, we live in a world where the capacity for mass destruction is no longer limited to superpowers–or, for that matter, to nations. Our collective state of mind is one of vulnerability. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are not just historical events but portents of a possible future for any city, anywhere. And it is through that lens that we find ourselves looking back at the decision of President Harry S. Truman and its legacy.

With each passing decade, the anniversary of the atomic bombings provokes a debate over whether the United States made the right choice. But this crucial question is almost always considered in the abstract. A far more difficult task is to assume personal responsibility. With that in mind, the Bulletin sought out noteworthy thinkers with backgrounds in history, theology, physics, and diplomacy and posed a single, provocative question: “If the decision had been yours alone to make, would you have dropped the bomb?”

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