Unofficial Six-Degrees-Of-Separation E-mail Campaign

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johnkarls
Posts: 1668
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2007 8:43 pm

Unofficial Six-Degrees-Of-Separation E-mail Campaign

Post by johnkarls »

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To: Our Approximately 150 Recipients Of Our Weekly E-mail
From: ReadingLiberally-SaltLake@johnkarls.com
Sent: Saturday, November 13, 2010
Subject: The U.S. Gov's "Kill List" To Assassinate U.S. Citizens In Yemen - Dec 8th

Dear Friends,

[Information about the December 8th meeting omitted.]

******************************
REPORT ON OUR NOV. 10TH MEETING

Last Wednesday evening, we focused on the new book by Bob Woodward, Associate Editor of the Washington Post, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, and author of 12 books that have topped the NY Times non-fiction bestseller list.

His new book entitled Obama's Wars, refers to (1) Obama's decision at the beginning of his Administration to surge American troop strength in Afghanistan by 21,000 and then, after an extended period of re-evaluation, to surge American troop strength in Afghanistan by another 33,000, bringing it from 47,000 at the beginning of his Administration to a total of 101,000, and (2) his decisions to increase the number of drone attacks inside Pakistan by a factor of more than 10 and pressure the Pakistani Army to provide the "boots on the ground" to support his new war in Pakistan.

Woodward's new book is timed to influence President Obama's Afghanistan review which is scheduled to commence Dec 2010 and which, as announced a year ago as part of the announcement of the second surge, will determine whether he withdraws more than one US military person from Afghanistan in July 2011 and how many additional US military personnel, if any, will be withdrawn in each of the following months.

Our meeting came very close to approving a new Six-Degrees-Of-Separation E-mail Campaign to request each of us to send a recommended e-mail to President Obama and to request each of us to ask all of our friends and acquaintances to do the same in an unending chain.

It should be noted that of the dozen or more such campaigns that we have mounted in the past, one 19 months ago also addressed Afghanistan. It occurred right after President Obama's first surge in Afghanistan (21,000 additional U.S. troops ordered to Afghanistan during his first month in office, provoking Newsweek's 2/9/2009 cover story entitled "Obama's Vietnam"!!!).

Our e-mail campaign 19 months ago essentially took the position that we should bring the War in Afghanistan to a close as quickly as possible and rely on human intelligence for protection against terrorist attacks. More details concerning that e-mail campaign are located on our bulletin board = http://www.ReadingLiberally-SaltLake.org.

After considerable discussion Wednesday evening during which there was virtually universal agreement, Yours Truly tabled a draft for a new Six-Degrees-Of-Separation e-mail campaign which was essentially identical to the final e-mail that appears below and which was sent by Yours Truly to the President yesterday.

However, our tradition has always been that we will not recommend an e-mail for you to send unless we are unanimous or unless there is at most one dissent (in which case we describe our proposal as reached by consensus rather than by unanimity).

Although quite a few participants at our meeting were in favor of recommending the e-mail -- (1) one participant thought that all U.S. military forces should be withdrawn from Afghanistan ASAP and that they should do nothing in the meantime, and (2) at least one additional participant thought that U.S. military forces are not qualified to do what the e-mail recommends and, therefore, should not attempt it.

The following e-mail sent by Yours Truly to President Obama yesterday speaks for itself. And although Yours Truly is not authorized to recommend to you to follow suit, he is sending it to all of his friends and acquaintances who are not among the 150 recipients of this weekly e-mail to recommend that they do so in a non-RL six-degrees-of-separation e-mail campaign.

It is not copyrighted, so any of you can do whatever you want with it. However, if you do decide to send it but with modifications, a note of caution = http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact has a current limit on e-mails to President Obama of 2,500 characters and the following e-mail has 2,499 characters including spaces.


******************************
Dear Mr. President:

Re: Your Afghanistan Review Commencing Dec. 2010

Thank you for the efforts of you and your team described in Bob Woodward's new book.

However, he never describes you and your team as engaging in old-fashioned role playing to get a sense of how Afghans must feel.

In contrast, both Three Cups of Tea and Stones Into Schools describe how Greg Mortenson always took pains before building each school to consult local Afghan leaders regarding their feelings and to secure their approval.

I have role played to try to get a sense of how local Afghans must feel about our efforts in Afghanistan. Since Bob Woodward's book reports that most, if not all, of your top advisers view Afghan President Karzai's government as hopelessly corrupt and Karzai himself, a Pashtun, as nothing more than the Mayor of Kabul - it seems to me that our campaign to make Karzai the ruler of Afghanistan is similar to a foreign power invading the U.S. and attempting to compel all Americans to pledge allegiance to Rod Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois who has been convicted on federal corruption charges.

Accordingly, for as long as any American military forces remain in Afghanistan, it is respectfully suggested that they begin ignoring Karzai and, instead, begin reinforcing individual Provincial and local leaders with whatever resources the American military units have under whatever decisions you make in the coming months, especially in terms of training local security forces but also in terms of humanitarian aid such as building schools and hospitals (p. 318 of Stones Into Schools implies that the U.S. military has built schools for 7.1 million Afghan students, 89% of all Afghan students).

This would (1) protect Tajiks (27%) and other minorities (31%) from the Taliban which is Pashtun (42%), (2) provide a framework for local Pashtun communities to reintegrate their Taliban brethren who have a sufficient change of heart and (3) put us in a less unfavorable light with the Afghan population generally, with the 22 members of the Arab League, and with non-Arab Muslim nations.

In taking this new approach, it would seem that the $80 billion/year we are spending on the Afghan War could be better spent by using half of it to double the Afghan standard of living as described above and the other half to beef up human intelligence - which would, if the human intelligence we are beefing up are Afghans, quadruple the all-in Afghan standard of living.

Thank you for your consideration.


******************************
We hope to see and hear all of you on December 8th!!!

Your friend,

John K.

PS - To un-subscribe, please press "reply" and type "deletion requested."

PPS - Our sister organization, Drinking Liberally, usually meets twice a month on Friday evenings for socializing with like-minded individuals from 6:30 pm > 9:30 pm at Piper Down (1492 South State Street).

solutions
Site Admin
Posts: 168
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 8:38 pm

Reducing E-mail To President From 2,515 Characters to 2,497

Post by solutions »

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John Karls' foregoing posting says that the e-mail to President Obama contains 2,499 characters with spaces.

That was true of the e-mail when it was transmitted to the approximately 150 recipients of the weekly Reading Liberally newsletter.

However, if you highlight the e-mail as posted above and press edit and copy, when you paste it (for example, into a Microsoft Word file) it will have 2,515 characters with spaces.

Amazingly, if you go to the end of each line of the new Microsoft Word file (including the salutation line and the Re line and the final Thank You line) and press delete until the succeeding paragraph appears immediately after your cursor, and then you press enter twice to restore what appears to be the original formatting, the document magically shrinks to 2,497 characters with spaces.

Unfortunately, copying the 2,497 character e-mail back onto the bulletin board once again produces a 2,515-character document when the 2,497-character document is copied as described in the third paragraph above.

Accordingly, unless someone understands the mischievous magic that is taking place, it is probably best before pasting the e-mail into http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact to copy-paste the e-mail into a Microsoft Word document and then to delete everything after each paragraph as described in the fourth paragraph above.

Otherwise, President Obama's e-mail software might delete your entire message rather than merely the last 15 characters = Thank you for your (blank).

OF COURSE, YOU CAN SHORT CUT THE ENTIRE EXERCISE BY SIMPLY EXCLUDING THE THANK-YOU LINE.

TheChancellors
Site Admin
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:27 pm

P. 318 of Stones Into Schools

Post by TheChancellors »

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---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Knocking Off The Scab
From: John Karls
Date: Tue, November 16, 2010 3:29 am
To: Tom Chancellor
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Tom,

As discussed in yesterday's exchange of e-mails, the comment about p. 318
of Stones Into Schools was the only significant change between the draft
tabled Wednesday evening and my personal e-mail to President Obama which I
have requested my non-RL friends and acquaintances to send both to
President Obama and their own friends/acquaintances in an unending
six-degrees-of-separation chain.

However, while tending European e-mail during the last hour or so, I felt
compelled to report to you that the more I think about your elaboration of
what pp. 318-319 of Stones Into Schools said, the more I like the
change!!!

Digressing for a moment, if Mortenson was correct that 8.0 million Afghans
are currently attending school, of whom 3.4 million are girls, the picture
is very interesting in several respects. First, 4.6 million boys implies
that 1.2 million girls are not permitted to attend school. Second, 4.6
million boys, or 9.2 million total boys and girls if the missing girls are
added in -- compared to the total Afghan population of 29 million --
implies a life expectancy of 3.15 (29 million divided by 9.2 million)
multiplied by the time span that Afghan boys and girls spend in school
(for example, if Afghan schooling is K-12 or 13 years, multiplying 13
by 3.15 = a 41-year average life expectancy). Third, off hand that seems
about right without doing a fair amount of research, so Mortenson must
be implying that Afghan education (sans the discriminated-against 1.2
million girls) is virtually universal. [NB that with regard to the third
point, if 9.2 million students is NOT universal, then the average Afghan
life expectancy must be significantly fewer than 41 years – for example,
(1) if half of the Afghan population is school age so that 5.3 million
additional Afghan children (50% of 29 million = 14.5 million less the
9.2 million children already accounted for = 5.3 million) are not in
school, then the average Afghan life expectancy is 13 years (the time
span for schooling) multiplied by 29/14.5 = only 26 years and (2) NB that
if the time span for schooling is less than 13 years, say 10 years, then
the average Afghan life expectancy is 10 years multiplied by 29/14.5 =
only 20 years.]

Also digressing for a moment on one of your comments about how pp. 318-319
involved Mortenson informing Joint Chiefs Chair Mike Mullen of these
statistics, you stated in your e-mail of yesterday that these facts
appeared to be news to Mullen. However, you may recall that at our
meeting Wednesday evening, Tom Chancellor high lighted Bob Woodward's
oft-made point that the Chiefs are off-line advisers to the
Commander-in-Chief and his Defense Secretary and not in the chain of
command between the C-I-C and his battlefield commanders. Accordingly,
Tom Chancellor's inference from Mike Mullen's apparent ignorance of
Mortenson's statistics that the military could not have been responsible
for the dramatic increase in school construction is not well founded since
McChrystal's reporting on the issue would have gone directly through the
chain of command to the C-I-C and by-passed Mullen even though Mortenson,
as I reminded our Wednesday meeting, describes Mullen as cutting
Mortenson's ribbons opening new schools. [Regarding the origin of
Mortenson's statistics -- if you think about them, they had to come from
McChrystal because the Obama Administration views Karzai as the Mayor of
Kabul so, presumably, his Education Secretary is merely the Education Czar
of Kabul and because Mortenson himself is unlikely to have had the time
and resources to compile such statistics.]

Now for the main entree!!! I was really tickled pink by your elaboration
of pp. 318-319 to the effect that much of the now-universal schooling is
taking place in make-shift quarters!!!

The greater the proportion of the now-universal schooling that is taking
place in make-shift quarters, the better I like the change that was made
in going from Wednesday's draft to my personal e-mail!!!

Because what if the change were to prod the Commander-in-Chief to order
the pentagon to order that all American forces rotating into Afghanistan
in the future have to be Navy Seabee battalions???!!! [From my days as a
Naval Officer during the Vietnam War era, the Navy Seabee's were capable
of defending themselves while building virtually anything in the world, so
we wouldn't even need any members of the Navy's Marine Corps to accompany
them while they erect new buildings to serve as schools!!!]

And if Tom Chancellor is correct that much, if not most, of the now
nearly-universal schooling is occurring in makeshift quarters, just think
how welcome the Navy Seabees would be!!! Especially because they would
wear different uniforms than the army and the marines, so their special
role as constructors of all things useful would be fairly easy for the
Afghan public to grasp!!! And once they have finished replacing all the
makeshift education facilities with decent buildings, they could start
erecting more buildings to serves as hospitals!!!

I'm sorry to sound off again!!! Especially since your lack of an
immediate response might have meant that a scab had formed over what
appeared from your e-mail to have been a wound, and my new comments might
have the effect of knocking off the scab!!! But if you have any reaction
to my new comments, I would be delighted to continue the discussion!!!

Your friend,

John K.


---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Re: Re: A Gentleman Honoring His Promises
From: John Karls
Date: Mon, November 15, 2010 8:04 pm
To: Tom Chancellor
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Tom,

Thank you very much for your e-mail of this morning.

I’m a bit surprised because I asked Denise Friday evening whether the two of you had received the e-mail since I had been a bit concerned that it might ruffle both your feathers (that is, the feathers of both of you, rather than your personal feathers which number two) which was the reason for the title of the e-mail. Denise had smiled that all was well and, Dumb Old Me, I thought she was speaking for both of you rather than only for herself.

********************
THE SHOCK-DOCTRINE MEETING

We both made errors concerning the meeting about The Shock Doctrine from which you and Denise departed early and for which the second response posted on the bulletin board to the Discussion Outline prompted the discussion toward the end of the meeting about a six-degrees-of-separation e-mail campaign to radically raise the tax on gasoline to fund, a la many European countries, social security and health care.

I correctly described the meeting in every respect but one – when I looked back up the column on the attendance chart, I mis-read the date of the meeting as 3/10/2010 rather than 4/14/2010. However, that should have been obvious from the RL bulletin board
which clearly shows that the date of the meeting on The Shock Doctrine was 4/14/2010.

Your error is that your e-mail implies that you thought The Shock Doctrine was discussed on 8/20/2010 at the Gurneys’ home. No, the 8/20/2010 meeting does not meet the description in my e-mail of being the date on which we discussed The Shock Doctrine or a date on which we had only 7 attendees which, following the departure of you and Denise, was reduced to only 5. The 8/20/2010 meeting had 12 attendees and we were not discussing The Shock Doctrine on that occasion. [Incidentally, Nancy Kemp did not attend the meeting on The Shock Doctrine and, indeed, the first RL meeting she attended was not until 7/14/2010.]

********************
PAGE 318 OF STONES INTO SCHOOLS

I am unable to respond to your statements about what p. 318 actually says because I have long since loaned my copy of Stones Into Schools to a friend and it has not yet been returned.

My e-mail of Friday called your attention to Topic E of the Discussion Outline for Stones into Schools. Topic E said in its entirety:

“The elephant in the room.

“And I don’t want to “rain on Greg’s parade” since he has done such incredible work over so long a period!!!

“But after all his hard work over the last 16 years, he has established only 130 schools which, insofar as he reports on size, typically have a hundred to several hundred students (if memory serves, the largest was just under 1,000).

“Yet, Greg happens to mention in contrasting life under the Taliban (p. 318) that during the height of Taliban power (2000), there were only 800 thousand students in all of Afghanistan, all of whom were boys – and that by 2009, there were 8.0 million including 3.4 million girls.

“So if you were awake when you read p. 318 and had a calculator handy, you realized that Greg’s efforts (approx. 0.1 million students) are only about 3% of the total for girls and 1% of the grand total.”

*****
During our meeting on Stones Into Schools, there was considerable discussion of Topic E. Although none of us cracked open our books during the discussion, June Taylor opened the discussion of Topic E by expressing her incredulity that Greg Mortenson was not responsible for a much larger portion of the total increase in school capacity because who else could have done it. I replied that the reason why Three Cups of Tea had become The Bible for COIN-istas was that Mrs. Mullen and Mrs. Patraeus had both read it and forced their husbands to read it – and so (I continued in my response to June at the Stones Into Schools meeting) I would be willing to bet that the U.S. military was responsible for the 7.2 million increase in capacity not accounted for by Greg Mortenson’s 0.1 million capacity while shrugging my shoulders and asking, who else would have built it, and then observing that it certainly would not have been the Taliban. [In all fairness, I do not recall you or Denise participating in the discussion of Topic E.]

When drafting last Wednesday the proposed six-degrees-of-separation e-mail, I had only Topic E of the Stones Into Schools discussion outline and the vivid memory of the discussion with June at the Stones Into Schools meeting. Nevertheless, last Wednesday’s draft did not say anything about the 7.2 million increase in school attendance/construction. Instead, its recommendation was confined to saying “it is respectfully suggested that American military units begin ignoring Karzai and, instead, begin reinforcing individual Provincial and local leaders – in terms of building schools and hospitals and providing other humanitarian aid, and in terms of training their local security forces.”

My recollection is that, as described in my weekly RL newsletter on an anonymous basis, June Taylor opposed the proposal on the grounds that the American military is not qualified to build hospitals and schools and, therefore, should not attempt to do so.

I responded by recalling to her attention the discussion we had had at our Stones Into Schools meeting about Topic E on the Discussion Outline for that meeting and how the discussion of Topic E had ended. June then mused last Wednesday that the increase had probably been caused by NGO’s, but I reminded her that Stones Into Schools had never mentioned any NGO’s as involved in building schools and, in any event, that Greg Mortenson had made the point that very few NGO’s had ventured outside the 3-4 large cities and, therefore, would not have been involved in building any of the schools outside the cities.

June’s position at the end of this discussion was that she did not want decide on the spot to deny official status for the proposed e-mail which her opposition would have accomplished in view of the opposition of another anonymous participant on the grounds, as reported in the weekly RL newsletter, that American military forces should be withdrawn ASAP and should do nothing in the meantime. [I believe that was you, Tom.]

That was why I then made clear that if June and everyone else except the participant who was opposed to American military forces doing anything until withdrawn, contacted me before the weekly RL newsletter was scheduled to be sent Saturday morning to give a green light, I would be happy to make the proposed draft official on a consensus basis – but that I would not go to the trouble of sending out any e-mails if someone wanted changes after the end of our meeting in order to seek approval of the others for the changes. [I also said that I would be surprised if the draft did receive approval from June and Denise who might have made 1-2 negative comments (Ted Gurney, Janus Daniels and I were all in favor of the proposal and I don’t recall Bill Vogel as having said anything either way so I would have contacted him specially if June and Denise had e-mailed their approval, but neither did).]

********************
So what is left to be said, particularly after the foregoing 3.5 pages???

With respect to the meeting on The Shock Doctrine, I apologize for mis-reading the 4/14/2010 date at the top of the attendance chart as 3/10/2010, even though my error was obvious from the bulletin board.

And I also apologize for not having opened my copy of Mortenson’s book at our meeting on Stones Into Schools when June Taylor raised the question in connection with Topic E of the Discussion Outline of who was responsible for the additional 7.1 million student capacity if it hadn’t been Mortenson. However, nobody else opened their copies at the Stones Into Schools meeting either, and nothing was said about the school-capacity increase in the draft proposal.

So there we have it since I am loathe to promise that, if my copy of Stones Into Schools is ever returned, I will look at pages 318-319 and comment further.

Have fun in The Big D.

Your friend,

John K.


---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Re: A Gentleman Honoring His Promises
From: Thomas Chancellor
Date: Mon, November 15, 2010 10:03 am
To: John Karls
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear John,

1. We are sorry to have put you to so much trouble regarding the meeting
at Ted's house. Your email reads like a Sherlock Holmes story. We
remember leaving with Nancy but do not recall that we left early. If we
broke the quorum we are very sorry.

2. I am mystified by your claim that the material on p. 318 of Stones
into Schools implies either that the US military has built 8,000 Afghan
schools (as stated at our meeting on 11-10-10) or schools for 7.1 million
Afghan students (in your email).
On pages 318-9, Admiral Mullen asked Greg to tell the Admiral some "good
news" about Afghanistan and Greg responds with some remarks about the
cooperation he has received from the mujahadeen in school construction and
then tells the Admiral that there are now 8 million children in school in
Afghanistan, 2.4 million of whom are girls. Obviously, this was news to
Mullen: He responded: "Those are amazing numbers."

Greg then goes on to describe how classrooms were set up by the Afghans in
animal sheds, basements, garages, and even abandoned public toilets etc.
Greg says his own organization has run schools in refugee tents, shipping
containers, and the shells of bombed-out Soviet armored personnel carriers.
It is obvious that many of the 8 million kids were not going to newly
constructed schools. There is no indication how many schools have been
built, although Greg does admiringly say that Afghanistan has been willing
to put scarce assets into education even in a time of war. Of course, much
of that could have been for books and teacher salaries rather than school
construction.

More relevant to the point under discussion, there is nothing to indicate
that the US military has built any schools in Afghanistan. I would be
interested in how you read these pages to imply that the US military has
built a lot of schools there.


Thomas


----- Original Message -----
From: John Karls
To: Tom Chancellor; Denise Chancellor
Sent: Friday, November 12, 2010 3:18 PM
Subject: A Gentleman Honoring His Promises


Dear Tom and Denise,

At our meeting Wednesday evening, neither of you could believe (1) that in
connection with Stones Into Schools, we had discussed the implication of
p. 318 that the U.S. military had built schools for 7.1 million Afghan
students (89% of the current total of Afghan students), and (2) that from
one of our meetings, you had departed together a few minutes early
(thereby destroying a quorum) just as we were in the middle of a
discussion whether to recommend to President Obama imposing a
European-style gasoline tax to finance social security and health care (or
whether the tax should be a broader-based tax on all forms of energy
including coal).

I promised to send you an e-mail documenting both points -- though you may
recall that with respect to the second, I queried Ted Gurney whether he
remembered (since Ted had appeared very excited about reaching a
conclusion when both of you left, but June Taylor had been arguing
strongly for a broad-based tax while I was in the middle of a statement
defending my proposal on the grounds that a green tax would radically
change the public perception of the proposal and take the spotlight away
from the goals of foreign-balance-of-payments improvement, national
security, and social-program financing).

Ted affirmed Wednesday evening that he did recall that situation.

For the first item (the implication on p. 318 that the U.S. military had
built schools for 7.1 million Afghan students), please see Topic E of the
Discussion Outline for our 8/11/2010 meeting. The Discussion Outline
is/was posted on our bulletin board = http://www.ReadingLiberally-SaltLake.org.

The date of the second item was easy to identify. You began attending
Reading Liberally for the first time last November since which you have
missed only the January, February (you, Denise, attended alone), and May
meetings.

However, the only meeting that all four of you attended prior to Aug 2010
at the Gurneys home was the 3/10/2010 meeting. Incidentally, that meeting
had only 7 attendees.

That meeting happened to focus on your proposal = The Shock Doctrine.

The Discussion Outline was short, but its fourth item provoked the second
reply posted on the bulletin board. The reply said in its entirety -

***************
It should be noted that the scope of the Suggested Discussion Outline
would, of course, violate various treaties of the U.S., most notably the
muti-lateral General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade ("GATT"). GATT, among
other things, prohibits governmental subsidies and other protection for
local industries.

On another front, NY Times Op Ed Thomas Friedman has often written
articles about future technology (particularly environmental technological
improvements to wind, solar, etc.) -- often relating how he has discussed
such matters with governmental officials of other countries by way of
challenging them to compete in this arena. His articles on these topics
have always struck me as naïve for two reasons.

First, although we may not like to admit it, greenhouse-gas technology is
not popular politically in the sense that politicians love to give
wonderful speeches portraying themselves as environmentally friendly, but
few of them have the courage to compel their constituents to incur
significant economic costs on the altar of reducing greenhouse gas
emissions. Especially when the governmental leaders of other countries are
loathe, despite their rhetoric, to impose significant economic costs on
their citizenry.

Accordingly, this problem is unlikely to be solved until alternative
energy (solar, wind, whatever) is cheaper than fossil fuels. And this does
not mean cheaper than current prices for fossil fuels, because large-scale
availability of low-priced alternative energy will only have the effect
driving down the market price of fossil fuels UNTIL THEIR PRICE IS LESS
THAN THEIR PRODUCTION COSTS, THEREBY SHUTTING THEM DOWN.

Second, Thomas Friedman has always seemed naïve with regard to his
unstated premise = the inventor/discoverer of greenhouse-gas technology
that will be cheaper than the production costs of fossil fuels will become
rich. Such a leap of faith supposes that foreign countries will not simply
steal the technology, as many of them routinely do in other areas of
technology.
***************

I don't know what was running through your minds as you left because your
manners have always been impeccable!!! (In this case, leaving
unobtrusively!!!)

However, the reason why the situation made such an impression on of all of
the rest of us (June had not yet arrived Wednesday evening when I asked
Ted if he remembered), is that I was forced to inform everyone immediately
after your departure that we no longer had a quorum and, accordingly, we
were no longer in a position to agree on a Six-Degrees-of-Separation Email
campaign.

In all fairness to you (1) you probably had an important engagement that
couldn't wait, and/or (2) you might have thought the conversation had
wandered from your book which we were discussing, and/or (3) you might not
have realized we were discussing a Six-Degrees-of-Separation Email
campaign.

With regard to the third point, even though we have approved a dozen or so
such campaigns in the past, Wednesday evening was the first time that I
ever tabled a draft. In the past, we have always approved a concept which
the group trusted me to transform into an appropriate Email. My reason
for providing a draft on Wednesday and my reason for not distributing it
at the beginning of the meeting are that I thought our discussion might be
quite contentious. Which wasn't true since we all agreed on virtually
everything - just not the proposed Email once it was distributed.

I hope you aren't offended by my fulfilling my promise to provide the
foregoing information. However, a gentleman always honors his word.

And please permit me to wish you well for your trip to THE BID D (though,
as mentioned on the spot, Denise, for someone who was born and raised in
Michigan (yours truly) or someone who attended U/Mich law school (Bill
Vogel), The Big D means Detroit).

Your friend,

John K.

TheChancellors
Site Admin
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:27 pm

Additional Chancellor-Karls E-mail Correspondence

Post by TheChancellors »

.
---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Re: Re: Knocking Off The Scab
From: John Karls
Date: Wed, November 17, 2010 7:54 am
To: Tom Chancellor
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Tom,

Reur 1st para, I’m glad you’re not upset.

Reur 2nd para, I am not in a position to comment on anything on p. 318 of Stones Into Schools because, as reported in my e-mail of Monday evening, I have long since loaned my copy of Stones Into Schools to a friend and it has not been returned yet.

It’s a shame that the 2.4 vs. 3.4 typo in Item E of the Discussion Outline for our Stones Into Schools meeting was not noticed by anyone at the time of the meeting or subsequently until you prepared your e-mail of Monday morning. You might be amused to know that when I read your e-mail, I was aware of the 3.4 million statistic reported in the Discussion Outline and assumed, Dumb Old Me, that your e-mail had contained a typo.

Fortunately, the typo had no bearing on my personal e-mail to President Obama.

However, it does have a bearing on information contained in the third paragraph of my e-mail of yesterday morning to which your most recent e-mail was responding. A suitably-revised third paragraph would say --

“Digressing for a moment, if Mortenson was correct that 8.0 million Afghans are currently attending school, of whom 2.4 million are girls, the picture is very interesting in several respects. First, 5.6 million boys but only 2.4 million girls imply that 3.2 million girls are not permitted to attend school. Second, 5.6 million boys, or 11.2 million total boys and girls if the missing girls are added in -- compared to the total Afghan population of 29 million -- implies a life expectancy of 2.59 (29 million divided by 11.2 million) multiplied by the time span that Afghan boys and girls spend in school (for example, if Afghan schooling is K-12 or 13 years, multiplying 13 by 2.59 = a 34-year average life expectancy). Third, off hand that seems about right without doing a fair amount of research, so Mortenson must be implying that Afghan education (sans the discriminated-against 3.2 million girls) is virtually universal. [NB that with regard to the third point, if 11.2 million students is NOT universal, then the average Afghan life expectancy must be significantly fewer than 34 years – for example, (1) if half of the Afghan population is school age so that 3.3 million additional Afghan children (50% of 29 million = 14.5 million less the 11.2 million children already accounted for = 3.3 million) are not in school, then the average Afghan life expectancy is 13 years (the time span for schooling) multiplied by 29/14.5 = only 26 years and (2) NB that if the time span for schooling is less than 13 years, say 10 years, then the average Afghan life expectancy is 10 years multiplied by 29/14.5 = only 20 years.]”

*****
Reur 3rd para, we are in fundamental disagreement over the implications, if any, of the statistics on p. 318 = only 0.8 million Afghans attending school under the old Taliban regime contrasted with 8.0 million Afghans currently attending school, of whom 2.4 million are girls.

My inference was that 7.1 million of the 7.2 million increase in attendance not accounted for by the estimated 0.1 million attending Greg Mortenson’s 130 schools must have been due to the U.S. military building the necessary school buildings because (1) no other organization had the resources to accomplish that feat, (2) Greg Mortenson never mentions any NGO’s as engaged in building schools (indeed, he even comments that the other NGO’s typically never venture outside the 2-3 large cities), and (3) Mortenson’s Three Cups of Tea about building schools has been the Bible of the American military’s COIN-istas.

Your contrary inference is based solely on Mortenson’s report of Joint Chiefs Chair Mullen’s surprise over Mortenson’s statistics. However, you have admitted (indeed, you have even trumpeted in other contexts) that Joint Chiefs Mullen was not in the military chain of command between General Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, and the Commander-In-Chief, President Barack Obama. And you have failed to address who, but the American military, could have compiled the statistics on p. 318, since the “Mayor of Kabul” (as Afghan President Karzai is called by the top officials of the Obama Administration) and his Education Chief would not be in a position to compile them and since Greg Mortenson himself would not have had the time or resources to do so.

In addition to these arguments against your inference (which I summed up at our meeting Wednesday evening with what was intended to be a rhetorical question = “Who else could have built these additional schools but the U.S. military??? It wasn’t the tooth fairy!!!”), an additional explanation for Mortenson’s claimed surprise on the part of Joint Chiefs Mullen has occurred to me this morning. In revising the third paragraph of yesterday morning’s e-mail as described above, it strikes me that I was looking at Mortenson’s statistics and performing a few simple math exercises based on our previous knowledge that www.cia.com reports the 2010 Afghan population as 29 million, in order to confirm that Mortenson’s statistics appear reasonable. However, it strikes me that Mortenson’s statistics might have been created by assuming that Afghan education is now universal except for the 2.4 million girls in the Pashtun (i.e., Taliban) areas of Afghanistan and except for an additional number of non-Pashtun girls for which 0.8 million (a nice round percentage = 25% of the remaining 3.2 million Afghan girls, which is 5.6 million total girls less 2.4 Pashtun girls) might be a reasonable estimate -- and doing the math in reverse from what I did. Mortenson probably already knew the average Afghan life expectancy, so it would have been child’s play for him to estimate the total school-age Afghan population as 11.2 million children. Mortenson probably wouldn’t even have had to consult www.cia.com to ascertain that 42% of the Afghan population is Pashtun. Simple math = 11.2 million school-age children multiplied by 42% Pashtun = 4.7 million Pashtun school-age children which, multiplied by 50%, would mean that there would be 2.4 million school-age Pashtun girls who, since the Taliban is Pashtun, would presumably be denied schooling.

So the surprise on the part of Joint Chiefs Mullen that Mortenson was claiming could easily be explained by the ability of Joint Chiefs Mullen to do the math in his head instantaneously. Accordingly, Joint Chiefs Mullen was probably merely registering surprise that Mortenson was pulling out of thin air (since Mullen would know that Mortenson had no time or resources to compile census-like statistics) the assumptions that Afghan education is now universal, except for the 2.4 million girls in the Pashtun/Taliban area and 25% of the non-Pashtun girls.

Nevertheless, I take your point in your e-mail of yesterday morning that p. 318 of Stones Into Schools (to which I do not have access currently) states that many of the Afghan students are taught in makeshift quarters. But, as my most recent e-mail pointed out, that simply means that there is still more to do for the U.S. military with regard to building schools. And presumably the scope for their building hospitals is still largely untapped.

*****
Reur 4th para, I’m sorry you are so pessimistic about the capabilities of the U.S. Navy’s Seabee Battalions!!!

I could start commenting on your various subsidiary points – such as noting, for example, that (1) importing U.S. military supplies into Afghanistan either by the military itself or by contractors, does not require Taliban acquiescence since, if that were true, there wouldn’t be any American military supplies in Afghanistan (that is to say, the Taliban can only impose tariffs (or bribes) of no more than the cost differential for air dropping the supplies), (2) it strains credulity that the Taliban would object to building supplies for schools and hospitals but not munitions, and (3) in any event, building supplies could be flown into Afghanistan and air-dropped to the Seabee Battalions even if that might be somewhat more costly.

However, I will not do so because I sense that your pessimism is incurable.

So let’s just leave our discussion at that.

I hope you and Denise have a nice Thanksgiving.

Your friend,

John K.


---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Re: Knocking Off The Scab
From: Thomas Chancellor
Date: Tue, November 16, 2010 11:20 am
To: John Karls
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear John,

1. I am not upset about any of the things we have been discussing: no wound
or scab.

2. The number of girls in school according to p. 318 is 2.4 million not 3.4
million.

3. My main point in my last email was that there is nothing on p. 318 that
supports any inference that the US military has built schools in
Afghanistan. That, of course, does not prove they haven't built schools in
Afghanistan. Still it would be surprising that any significant number of
schools would be built by the military and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
would not know about it.

4. Changing the Afghanistan mission from counter-insurgency or counter
terrorism into school builders using military engineers might improve our
relationship with the Afghans, although one of Mortenson's main principles
is that it is essential that the Afghans do it for themselves with support.
At present the military is having difficulty getting military materials into
Afghanistan and contractors transporting materials to Afghanistan have to
pay large amounts to the Taliban to get the supplies in. Getting building
supplies into Afghanistan could be a major challenge unless the Taliban is
on board. After 9 years, this all seems like Vietnam to me. I don't have a
solution to offer because I don't see any viable strategy other than
declaring victory and withdrawing over a reasonable time and even that could
well have serious negative consequences for us.

Thomas

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