Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Losing the War Data For Iraq and Afghanistan

timothy posted about a year ago | from the if-you-save-everything-you-save-nothing dept.

The Military 62

cervesaebraciator writes with an excerpt from an analysis of a kind we're likely to see more of as ubiquitous sensors and cheap storage continue to proliferate: "'The Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns are unique in that they were the first wars to be documented electronically. The use of computers to track stabilization efforts produced enormous datasets in which important indicators were tracked, including daily electricity-production rates, georeferenced insurgent attacks, factory employment numbers, military spending on locally sourced goods and services and public opinion. [...] Army Secretary John McHugh recently admitted to members of Congress that thousands of records from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts are missing. [...] The problem is that much of the existing data were collected in an ad hoc manner that reflects the lack of planning for stability operations following both invasions. While certain data types were methodically maintained, others were kept by single individuals in more arbitrary ways—in some cases, on a single computer's hard drive, in a personal computer or within an e-mail account. As flash drives are lost, computers reformatted, files erased, and human and magnetic memory degrades, various data types have been and will continue to be destroyed." With apologies to Santayana, those who do not backup data sets of the past are condemned to repeat them."

cancel ×

62 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

On the shoulders of giants (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551425)

The problem is that much of the existing data were collected in an ad hoc manner that reflects the lack of planning for stability operations following both invasions.

With each generation the prior generation of technology often looks ad hoc or patched together. Given that these operations happened over a decade ago it's no surprise that the data was handled poorly by today's standards.

Re:On the shoulders of giants (1)

Steve_Ussler (2941703) | about a year ago | (#44551649)

sad but true.

Re:On the shoulders of giants (1)

auric_dude (610172) | about a year ago | (#44551755)

George Santayana once may have said "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/George_Santayana [wikiquote.org] and that would be a terrible shame consider the loss of both life and data.

Wasn't a bug: it was a feature (3, Insightful)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year ago | (#44551787)

The units brought their own network gear and staff, and it all departed at each RIP/TOA.
Much harder to track down and prosecute anyone there for much of anything, for reasons of justice, or to slake our emerging lust for kangaroo courts.

Re:On the shoulders of giants (5, Insightful)

clodney (778910) | about a year ago | (#44551861)

The problem is that much of the existing data were collected in an ad hoc manner that reflects the lack of planning for stability operations following both invasions.

With each generation the prior generation of technology often looks ad hoc or patched together. Given that these operations happened over a decade ago it's no surprise that the data was handled poorly by today's standards.

I find it hard to believe that anybody is the least surprised by this. Look around your organization. Surely there is some guy down the hall who has taken it upon himself to keep track of something that is not required but that makes his job easier or piques his interest. After awhile people start to realize that he has a list of which customer has been sent which update, something which for some reason is not tracked in the CRM, but is sometimes very useful to have. He faithfully maintains the list for several years, until he moves to a different job. Turns out his successor does not find the information as useful, so stops collecting it. 2 years later it is hopelessly out of date and it gets deleted.

There were *millions* of people involved in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. That kind of semi-official record keeping had to have happened thousands of times. Suppose I work for a battalion of engineers doing electrical grid repairs. The CO has to make a report to Brigade every month on various metrics. Some staffer compiles the info every month for a Powerpoint. After the tour ends and the CO is no longer reporting to Brigade every month, why would I continue to maintain the data? Who is going to come asking for it? So I delete it. Now repeat that for thousands of records.

Re:On the shoulders of giants (1, Troll)

Jawnn (445279) | about a year ago | (#44552155)

The problem is that much of the existing data were collected in an ad hoc manner that reflects the lack of planning for stability operations following both invasions. With each generation the prior generation of technology often looks ad hoc or patched together. Given that these operations were handled by no-bid contractors, engaged by an administration rife with corruption and crony capitalism, it's no surprise that the data was handled poorly by today's standards.

TFTFY

Re:On the shoulders of giants (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#44552465)

Its not just that, according to a friend that spent 8 years in the military he said he was amazed when he started how much of the stuff was just thrown together by grunts because there was so much redtape and bullshit involved in going through channels that a lot of the grunts were just cooking up solutions on their own.

Now I've never been in the military so i don't know how much was true and how much bullshit but from what he was describing to me it sounded a hell of a lot like what I went through when working corporate, so many PHB middle managers and levels of just plain PITA bullshit that you tried to "make do" with what you had rather than get a raging skullthumper having to go through proper channels. Maybe some of the guys here that have worked military IT can chime in but it really did sound like all the same bullshit I saw working corporate, too many PHBs, too much redtape, so many layers of bureaucracy that you tried to avoid dealing with the higher ups if at all possible.

Re:On the shoulders of giants (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44552489)

I was there and I can tell you first hand that the data (much of it classified) I created and used in 2004 was inappropriately stored and archived even by 2004 standards, which were not that far off from standards of today.

Re:On the shoulders of giants (1)

greenbird (859670) | about a year ago | (#44555697)

With each generation the prior generation of technology often looks ad hoc or patched together.

Apparently you've experienced a multi-billion dollar company tracking a critical financially function in a 40 tab Excel spread sheet. Today. This generation.

Re:On the shoulders of giants (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44557961)

...yeah, except invasions aren't really a new business by any standard.

it sounds like the data was poorly kept by 1940's standards, for whatever reason.

How convenient (1)

Bolloney (2734387) | about a year ago | (#44551441)

" The problem is that much of the existing data were collected in an ad hoc manner that reflects the lack of planning for stability operations following both invasions. " bureau-speech for "We didn't plan well enough, so no one can be blamed."

Re:How convenient (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44551727)

" The problem is that much of the existing data were collected in an ad hoc manner that reflects the lack of planning for stability operations following both invasions. " bureau-speech for "We didn't plan well enough, so no one can be blamed."

Uh no. It's bureau-speech for "we planned well, so that no one can be blamed". They can lose any data they like as long as they claim that this is standard, and never get in trouble for burying any kind of evidence. Next to be lost: The NSA's records of who they've been spying upon.

Re:How convenient (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44552081)

Sounds like standard operating procedure. I, for one, hope nobody was surprised. The less said, the better.

Re:How convenient (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year ago | (#44552771)

So when a dataset was saved on one laptop, that was planned from the beginning from someone at the top? Is your tinfoil hat on tight enough? You seem to have a lot more confidence in the competency and long term planning of our government officials than most people.

Re:How convenient (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#44552783)

Remember the malice/incompetence rule Drinkypoo, the military is just like any large org with PHBs and BOFHs and grunts that jury rig shit up just so they don't have to deal with the PHBs and BOFHs, I used to work with a guy that was ex military IT and from his stories you could have just replaced rank with corporate titles and his military stories and my corporate stories would have been interchangeable.

Could some of it be because of malice or coverup? Sure but I bet a hell of a lot more of it was just band aids cooked up by grunts that ended up going to shit when they were rotated out. I mean how many of us have gone in and seen a "mission critical" application that turned out to be some VB plus Access mess cooked up by some guy named Bob who didn't comment shit in his code because it was ONLY supposed to last until the start of the next quarter but instead just grew and grew until it became a giant mess, and now that he has been gone for years nobody knows WTF to do about it? I know I've seen that more times than I care to count and I bet if you went to the front lines you'd find more duct taped crap used as band aids to fix problems than anybody would care to admit, this shit just happens a lot in large orgs.

Re:How convenient (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44553117)

Remember the malice/incompetence rule Drinkypoo

You know, the saying is that it's just as dangerous to overestimate your enemy as to underestimate him, not that it's only dangerous to overestimate him.

Re:How convenient (1)

Crosshair84 (2598247) | about a year ago | (#44553437)

I once heard the comment, "If the Soviet's had developed a laser that dissolved tape, NATO would have been f*cked."

Re:How convenient (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#44569411)

Well he was in Desert Storm and he said "The thing we had too much of was tape, both red and duct, what did we have too little of? Everything else". he said you'd be amazed how much shit was just improvised or jury rigged at the squad level because nobody had thought to provide it and you had a couple PHBs above you in the chain of command that were "trying to show their leadership skills" by basically cockblocking any and all requests.

Like I said if you changed rank to corporate titles you really couldn't have been able to tell the difference in our stories, it was all typical large org corporate bullshit like too many looking at "the big picture" with nobody looking at what it'll take to get there, too many that didn't want to spend a cent, and too often having to make due with tools that frankly didn't cut the mustard,it was just like any large org.

Don't forget Santana... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551469)

"They've got to change their evil ways..."

Nevermind, they're doomed.

Hiding something? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551495)

How much was lost, and how much purposely erased?

Don't panic (5, Funny)

ebonum (830686) | about a year ago | (#44551509)

We can start another war and re-build the data set.

Re:Don't panic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551701)

You people will still destroy evidence of torture so the data set will always be incomplete.

You will also add false motivations for war so the data is corrupt anyway.

No doubt your people will manipulate the data to reflect on them positively and reflect badly on the nearest convenient scapegoat.

Re:Don't panic (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#44551767)

History is written by the victors, and rewritten, and erased when is not convenient. Data too.

Re:Don't panic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551903)

That's one point of view but there is nothing new here - history is written by the victor.

Ask the NSA (4, Funny)

bengoerz (581218) | about a year ago | (#44551525)

I hear those guys have a copy of everything.

Easy solution (2)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about a year ago | (#44551539)

Just build some foam LARP missiles and play it again, preferably in some remote desert.

Anyhoo (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44551547)

> cervesaebraciator writes
> cervesaebraciator

That is all.

Re:Anyhoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551609)

seriously. WTF does this even mean?:

With apologies to Santayana, those who do not backup data sets of the past are condemned to repeat them."

Those who do not back up are condemned to not back up?

the real quote is

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it

I think the original quote better applies than that tortured adaptation

The Germans (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551557)

During WW2 the Germans did the same with their archives when the world started to understand what they were really up to.

What they want to keep secret must be very ugly.

So what (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551595)

It'll be cheaper to recreate the data than to recover it

Government Jobs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551599)

I've had the displeasure to apply for Federal IT jobs. Their hiring system is so messed up, that anyone that makes it through is either a masochist or is a form filling savant. It's no wonder creative talented people stay away. Even if a creative type were to be hired, government "standards" would drive them insane.

If the government can't get good people, it's no wonder they can't handle all that data.

Re:Government Jobs (2)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44551763)

yeah, because if someone were to take a paperclip home from the office and the media found out and ran some story about employees stealing from the government people would be outraged.

every time people get outraged, more rules are added. then people get outraged about the rules

Invasions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551669)

the lack of planning for stability operations following both invasions

you got that right

Found them! (2, Funny)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year ago | (#44551771)

Did you check Snowden's laptop?

Re:Found them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551913)

I think you mean Manning's thumb drives and "music" collection.

Manning has the war data; Snowden has the domestic surveillance data.

The records were supposed to be lost (2, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#44552037)

In wartime, militaries do some really nasty stuff. Ever since Vietnam, the US military has made it a policy to keep hidden from the public the facts about what they do, because they firmly believe that the US would have won the war had they not gotten into trouble with the US public for walking into villages and killing everybody [wikipedia.org] .

And no, more modern wars have been no different in that regard: For example, the US has used drones to launch missiles at weddings and funerals in Afghanistan. There's the infamous "Collateral Murder" video which shows US soldiers gunning down unarmed civilians trying to rescue wounded unarmed civilians. The US has acknowledged torture (by the definitions the US used before they got caught doing it) of often innocent prisoners in Gitmo and Abu Ghraib. There have been some very suspicious "suicides" of prisoners of war.

I'm not saying war is never worth it, but you have to remember that in war all conventional morality is thrown out the window pretty quickly.

Re:The records were supposed to be lost (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44552663)

There's the infamous "Collateral Murder" video which shows US soldiers gunning down unarmed civilians trying to rescue wounded unarmed civilians.

No, there's the infamous propaganda piece "Collateral Murder" which purports to show US soldiers gunning down unarmed civilians, but that actually shows US pilots shooting at a group of insurgents (at least one was carrying a rifle, and another was carrying an RPG - conveniently, this wasn't shown in the CM video) who happened to have some journalists with them. And unfortunately, those reporters were killed too. In a war zone. Walking around with people with weapons. (Tragic - but hardly surprising. This is one of the dangers of combat journalism.)

And then it shows US pilots shooting at another presumed insurgent who pulls up shortly afterwards and starts trying to load the injured into his van.

I'm not saying that you're full of shit, but you seem to have forgotten that just about everything about "Collateral Murder" was highly edited to present a specific (and skewed) picture of those events.

Re:The records were supposed to be lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44552939)

I'm encouraged to see that the truth has managed to make a dent in the public eye regarding Collateral Murder. CM was a farce from the word go. "Who will watch the watchers?" Other watchers, who just happen to be on the internet in their underpants in mom's basement.

Re:The records were supposed to be lost (3, Insightful)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year ago | (#44553455)

The CM video is a perfect example of playing Armchair General. The objects being carried by the "civilians" had the same profile as RPGs. Only from post-engagement analysis can you tell what they are. The video is a grainy night-vision camera from miles away. Nor can you identify the "children" in the video, they are literally small white blobs on the screen. If you watch the video, without preconceived notions, you can easily identify that it was legitimate engagement.

According to the Rules of Engagement from the 2006-2007 time frame, if any person from a crowd of group of people commit a hostile act or show hostile intent, the entire group is displaying hostile acts or hostile intent. In that crowd which was shot by the Apache, one person in the group was displaying hostile intent (carrying an RPG, which has so legitimate self-defense purpose) so therefore, can be engaged. If it was an AK-47, they would not have been able to engage. I know this because a farmer across from my guard tower would carry his AK everywhere and we were specifically told that carrying an AK was not hostile intent. If it was a PKM (machine gun), the group would also have been displaying hostile intent. Another group of people showed up and were in the field of fire. Therefore, they become part of that group and are showing hostile intent.

When you stop sipping on your latte's and get a dose of reality, the video is a legit engagement. Sorry for the innocent lives lost, but that is part of war. If you do not want to run that risk, then you should run away when you hear 30mm machine gun rounds land in your area, not drive towards the weapon fire.

Re:The records were supposed to be lost (2)

m00sh (2538182) | about a year ago | (#44554207)

the video is a legit engagement.

Sure, sounds really convincing. Profile of an RPG (however you want to define what an RPG profile is) equals license to kill children.

he CM video is a perfect example of playing Armchair General.

And your explanation is the perfect example of spin. Yeah, there was an RPG profile in there somewhere and so everything is legit.

Re:The records were supposed to be lost (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year ago | (#44554585)

Oh, I didn't realize Hawkeye was a member of Slashdot. I am sure with your superhuman abilities you were able to identify a white blob on an infrared night-vision camera as a child. It could have also been the following: paper plate, basketball, laser disc, bowl of hummus, block of C4, 155mm artillery shell, or a Mac G4.

It's not spin. It's called the Rules of Engagement. You have a problem with them, you should have voted. Otherwise, it is better to be judged by 12 (or a nation) than be carried by six in a casket.

Re:The records were supposed to be lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44557563)

Oh, I didn't realize Hawkeye was a member of Slashdot.

No, but he was a member of M*A*S*H and very much opposed to military engagement.

Re:The records were supposed to be lost (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year ago | (#44565093)

+1

Re:The records were supposed to be lost (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#44554837)

The objects being carried by the "civilians" had the same profile as RPGs. Only from post-engagement analysis can you tell what they are. The video is a grainy night-vision camera from miles away. Nor can you identify the "children" in the video, they are literally small white blobs on the screen. If you watch the video, without preconceived notions, you can easily identify that it was legitimate engagement.

Even if I concede those points, you still are in trouble, because of what happened next:

Another group of people showed up and were in the field of fire.

I'm going by my memory of it here, but IIRC the shooting had stopped, and there were a bunch of wounded and dead people on the ground. Some people, without anything remotely shaped like an RPG, drove up in a van and attempted to move the wounded people from the ground to their van. They did nothing that suggested a hostile act towards the helicopter, and were carrying no weapon that would be any kind of threat to a helicopter. The motivation the soldiers in the helicopter were talking about was trying to prevent the van from being used to cart off the weapons that the first set of targets were presumed to have. The way most folks understand the rules of war, the van was acting as an ambulance and thus not a legitimate target, and the people who were trying to retrieve the wounded were doing roughly the same role as a medic and thus also not a legitimate target. Also quite relevant is that absolutely none of the people shot at by the helicopter fired any sort of weapon at the helicopter or the ground units that showed up.

It may be that the people in the helicopter were violating the rules of engagement. It may also be that the soldiers were following the rules of engagement, and the rules of engagement were not following what are generally understood to be the laws of war. But something was clearly out of whack.

Re:The records were supposed to be lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44555895)

Some people, without anything remotely shaped like an RPG, drove up in a van and attempted to move the wounded people from the ground to their van.

That van had the same outward appearance (shape and color) as the most common enemy troop transports and it arrived too quickly to have been a random civilian or first responder vehicle. This was not some guy's van and it was not an ambulance. It was the troop transport attached to the enemy unit.

The way most folks understand the rules of war, the van was acting as an ambulance and thus not a legitimate target

Then most folks need to re-read the rules of war. The van looked like a standard troop transport and can be assumed to be one at first sight. Destroying troop transports is a valid military objective. The order to fire on it was lawful. If the van did not look like a troop transport but had been retrieving weapons or moving unharmed soldiers, that establishes a military objective for destroying the van regardless of whether it had also been carrying wounded.

On the other hand, the failure to mark the vehicle with a flag or emblem of the belligerent party was a war crime.

Re:The records were supposed to be lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44556319)

Did you listen to the audio? These soldiers did not feel threatened at all. They were shooting fish in a barrel and laughing about it.

Re:The records were supposed to be lost (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year ago | (#44557077)

As the AC pointed out, for a vehicle or person to be qualified as a non-combatant (limited to medics and chaplains), their vehicles must be marked with a Red Cross/Red Crescent. Chaplains wear their religious insignia on their uniform to denote their non-combatant status. As AC mentioned, the vehicle did not have the required markings to be an ambulance. Therefore, valid target. And, it also makes the parties driving the van, assuming they were acting as an "ambulance" guilty of war crimes.

Following the Geneva Conventions, ANY enemy combatant is still a combatant until friendly troops have moved their forward line past that person. So if this was a ground-based engagement and the casualties were behind the line of forward progress by friendlies, those casualties are now categorized as POWs and are entitled to protection, first aid, and food/water.

Re:The records were supposed to be lost (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#44560171)

By your logic, if an army invades a city, everybody in that city not wearing a Red Cross / Crescent / Crystal is a valid target. That is plainly incorrect: The Fourth Geneva Convention Article 4 defines civilians of an occupied country (which Iraq was at this point) as protected persons, which makes them not a legal target. In addition, Articles 16 and 17 make it clear that you're not supposed to shoot at wounded people who are not attacking you.

What it seems like you're steadfastly ignoring is that everyone getting shot at was in fact a civilian who took no offensive action during the "engagement". Nobody there was a combatant. There may have been other combatants somewhere in the same vicinity, but these folks weren't them.

Re:The records were supposed to be lost (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year ago | (#44564863)

"By universal agreement and practice, the law of war draws a distinction between the armed forces and the peaceful populations of belligerent nations and also between those who are lawful and unlawful combatants. Lawful combatants are subject to capture and detention as prisoners of war by opposing military forces. Unlawful combatants are likewise subject to capture and detention, but in addition they are subject to trial and punishment by military tribunals for acts which render their belligerency unlawful. The spy who secretly and without uniform passes the military lines of a belligerent in time of war, seeking to gather military information and communicate it to the enemy, or an enemy combatant who without uniform comes secretly through the lines for the purpose of waging war by destruction of life or property, are familiar examples of belligerents who are generally deemed not to be entitled to the status of prisoners of war, but to be offenders against the law of war subject to trial and punishment by military tribunals."

Quirin Case in 1942 [wikipedia.org]

Based on the intelligence received, and the visual images of this gathering, the men were enemy combatants without uniform who had the purpose of waging war. Whether or not this is true is irrelevant, it was based on the information present at the time. For example, if soldiers came under fire from a house and returned fire, they would not be committing a war crime. If the house had 20 civilians taped to the walls to provide human shields, the soldiers would still NOT be guilty of war crimes because there was no reasonable method of evading those casualties and no way of knowing about the civilian casualties to begin with.

Perhaps you should go pick up a rifle (like the .45% of our country, myself included) and go over to Afghanistan and experience this first hand. Instead of playing Armchair General. Your Call of Duty rank does not count, nor does your StarCraft rank.

Re:The records were supposed to be lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44556587)

Apologist.

Re:The records were supposed to be lost (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year ago | (#44557553)

Been there, done that

FTFY

Re:The records were supposed to be lost (1)

stymy (1223496) | about a year ago | (#44561179)

Rules of Engagement don't give soldiers license to commit war crimes. I thought things like that were established in Nuremberg.

Re:The records were supposed to be lost (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year ago | (#44564809)

Your premise is based on the idea that it was a war crime. It was not.

Does it really matter? (1)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44552443)

War is necessarily an imperfect business. I'd rather devote resources to the MIA soldiers from Vietnam and locating our lost submarines from WWII than worrying about what happened to documents about Iraq and Afghanistan. People have to come first. Leave no document behind ranks way below leaving no man behind.

Documents help the living. (1)

couchslug (175151) | about a year ago | (#44553133)

Documents can do things such as verify toxic exposure to Afghan and Iraqi burn pits.

Their loss in past wars has caused vets many problems.For example, my friend worked VC-123Ks while TDY at Da Nang, but only has a single order amendment and no original order to verify boots-on-ground and exposure to Agent Orange.

The MIAs are dead (any VC in his right mind wouldn't bother saving useless prisoners) and the submarines are already war graves. The dead are dead, rituals over the dead are nice, but hundreds of thousands of LIVING veterans will be with us for nearly a century and perhaps longer.

Re:Documents help the living. (1)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44553617)

the VA is a whole can of worms of its own. The C-123 fleet, as you have said, has been a problem, but even so, the military has vehemently fought claims related to this despite even obvious documented evidence.

Re:Documents help the living. (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year ago | (#44553959)

Anecdotal evidence only:

Many people I was deployed with have been developing hypothyroidism and severe weight gain. Not a few pounds, but 50+ pounds which started after returning from Iraq. Even once they are on thyroid replacement medication, the weight gain still stays. Not trying to claim that my observations are statistically significant or are the de facto truth, but merely want to point out that breathing trash fumes 2-3 times a day for a year cannot be good for your health. And anyone who claims that is safe should buy their next house down-wind from an incinerator and see how they like it.

back in Soviet Russia (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44553287)

we had a tradition where there would be a major accidental fire in a shop right on the verge of audit.

Loosing some data on a war campaign, eh? Right after Manning and Snowden scandals? Must be an unfortunate accident, I am sure.

"weekly rant" (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | about a year ago | (#44554121)

I found this essay some time ago on a forum, it was interesting so I saved it. This is not my writing (I 'cleaned up' some f words) but somewhat related as it deals with computers and the military:

Weekly Rant
I Love Computers

This week I'm discussing the great efficiency attained with the use of computers in the military, since they've been in use. I for starters don't like computers (I do like this site so I can openly bitch to a relatively large audience and remain anonymous, since I'm still in. haha, f--- you SGMs). If I am correct, the armies of the world had pretty much functioned without the aid of computers since the dawn of man till about 20 years ago. Yes, to be a superior armed force you need the technological edge but do I really need a f------ computer to request ammo or to give a class on patrolling with power point presentation? I believe the divisions of our army still made it out to the range to shoot in the 70's and 80's with either handwritten or typed requests. Classes were instructed with a chalkboard, sandtable or in a walk through. Another observation, if computers make things so efficient why the f--- do we need ammo requests 6 months out? I've been in situations where we changed a little bit of the training schedule 2-3 months out from the training event and requested more or different types of ammo and was denied because it was too late. Too late? How f------- far back do these people want these damn request?...6 months...gee, that's the same amount of time, if not more, than back in the 70's and 80's. Or better yet the 'you have to go to the proper channels' f------ deal, where a memorandum or request has to go from one hand to the next going up the channels.

Only to find out it got lost by some pogue or sat too long on his desk. Then when you get wise to the puke and his oxygen thievin' ways, you skip him to go to the next level in hopes to get what you need done. Later you get a call from the NCOIC of the Bn S-3 . He says ' Sgt. why didn't you go through my shop for the range and ammo request.' In which, you bite your tongue and say 'Because your shop is overworked, I figured you can use an extra hand.' What you really want to say is:' Because your shop is full of sorry ass MF that would f--- up coordinating their own f------ sleep or a f----- pot of coffee.' But no you maintain composure and he says, 'Well, make sure you go through my shop and you say, 'Roger that Sgt'. Then you hang up and say' f--- you' and you go about doing it the same way; skipping as many pukes as it takes to make sure you buddies get what they need to conduct some good training.

Men, this was me as an ops Sgt in LRSD. There are other instances where my SFteam was told to use this new closed email system of requesting everything from equipment to G-2 to beans and bullets. This 'great new system' took 2 days to get running, then when we did start using it our request took forever to get filled. Why? Because the Bn pukes would let the requests sit in their email box because they were too busy stealing air. All of these shops were within walking distance!!! As opposed to the old way in which an LNO went and made a face to face with the pogue so at least there was some sort of accountability. God, computers are awesome in the army. And God forbid you f--- up the spacing in a memorandum, there are SGMs out there who have nothing better to do than check to make sure you typed that bitch right, because to them it is a direct reflection in their warped brainwashed mind of the type of warrior you are. But hey, what do I know I'm just a 'Joe'.

Not a problem (1)

minstrelmike (1602771) | about a year ago | (#44554713)

I don't believe it's a problem.
Why do you want all that data? So we can fight the last battle better?
I know it seems 'obvious' that keeping all that data--and then analyzing it repeatedly--seems useful. But it probably isn't.

First off, it probably isn't 'data' so much as anecdote--a bunch of personal ideas from a limited perspective on what to do next. Do you really think there is 'data' on those click drives or is it more like ones and zeroes mostly attached to personal e-mails and off-color jokes?

That means you have to first sort the data, then correlate it to real events and real decisions. Mostly what you'll find is that people making decisions didn't have the 'information' they needed.

How that will be interpreted is to send more data up the chain and hope that somehow, somewhere, it gets transformed into useful information next time. Thus the end result of any study will be more data and less information. You don't have time to analyze it all.

We'd be better off, if we really want to spend the time and effort searching the 'data' to first outline ways to identify useless data from the field and ignore it. That cuts down on the rest of the processing but I don't think that _could_ happen given normal human incentives and the way orders are read and interpreted.

order: "Analyze the old data from the last war in order to use data more effectively."
Good idea, in theory.

Happened to me too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44554787)

I lost around a couple hundred bookmarks of more about the war , totally sick stuff about what happened on terrain and the assholes conspiring for it a decade or more before the fact, the bad botched execution and so on, and also some terrorists/resistance videos that are unavailable now (it was still the times when watching videos on the internet consisted in downloading .wmv files, which I somewhat miss. they did edit their video instead of throwing a high res shaky rush of people running around)

I thought I was going to go touring showing the stuff.
Geez, the Iraq occupation was horrible with e.g. incompetents schmuks manning checkpoints that gunned down far too many people and not much caring about running over people with their big toys. Or what about the botched building where piss rained down through the walls and floors. The US is even accused of carrying out ethnic cleansing - the massive population transfers in the capital where neighborhoods were redefined/created to segregate the population between shia/sunni/etc., at least the US was putting the concrete blast walls everywhere but dunno what you really have to do when the situation has collapsed since you got there.. Possibly there was a conspiration to break up the country in three states but dunno about that. Anyway that war was decided in the mid nineties or earlier by armchair generals and Kissinger wannabes.

Easy Fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44557043)

Perhaps for a generous one-time donation WikiLeaks would be willing to restore the missing data sets ;).

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>