21 February 2005

Why isn't Bush looking for a way out of the greatest strategic blunder in American history?

Because, as Paul Craig Roberts writes, the neconservatives' goal is the same as Osama bin Laden's — to foment instability to justify more U.S. invasions.
President Bush's invasion has turned Iraq into a recruiting and training ground for anti-U.S. terrorists, according to CIA Director Porter Goss in testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Feb. 16. Goss' report was supported by Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby, director of the the Defense Intelligence Agency. Jacoby told the committee that "our policies in the Middle East fuel Islamic resentment." The Iraq insurgency, Jacoby reported, has grown "in size and complexity over the past year" with daily attacks increasing 240 percent.

The situation, in other words, is out of control. One hundred fifty thousand American troops are tied down by a few thousand lightly armed insurgents. The recent Iraq election was won by Shi'ites allied with Iran. U.S. casualties continue to mount, and our troops can seldom tell friend from foe.

And they'll twist the truth, employing the enourmous propaganda resources eager to perform their bidding, to create a climate for expanding into more wars.


"One hundred fifty thousand American troops are tied down by a few thousand lightly armed insurgents" from >>Why isn't Bush looking for a way out of the greatest strategic blunder in American history?<<

"I think the resistance is bigger than the US military in Iraq. I think the resistance is more than 200,000 people," from >>Iraq's insurgency counts more than 200,000 active fighters and sympathisers<<

which is it? if the later is true we are outnumbered wouldnt you say. I dare to say that if Porter Goss had something posative to say about iraq it would be conservative propoganda???
democratic talking points from another blog:

"Tactics and Strategy in Iraq
Submitted by JoshGreen on Mon, 06/28/2004 - 07:57.
Tactical stroke of genius to transfer sovereignty early. Gotta give Bremer credit for that.

But has this whole Iraq thing been one of the great strategic blunders of all time? An "Anonymous CIA Guy" seems to think so. According to cnn.com, Anonymous CIA Guy -- in his soon-to-be-released book -- labeled "the invasion of Iraq a 'Christmas gift' to Osama bin Laden and said the country has become a 'Mujahadeen magnet' attracting Muslims from around the world to fight the occupying U.S. forces."

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real blunders vs. iraq:

"About this time 60 years ago, six weeks after the Normandy beach landings, Americans were dying in droves in France. We think of the 76-day Normandy campaign of summer and autumn 1944 as an astounding American success — and indeed it was, as Anglo-American forces cleared much of France of its Nazi occupiers in less than three months. But the outcome was not at all preordained, and more often was the stuff of great tragedy. Blunders were daily occurrences — resulting in 2,500 Allied casualties a day. In any average three-day period, more were killed, wounded, or missing than there have been in over a year in Iraq."

"Pre-invasion intelligence — despite ULTRA and a variety of brilliant analysts who had done so well to facilitate our amphibious landings — had no idea of what war in the hedgerows would be like. How can you spend months spying out everything from beach sand to tidal currents and not invest a second into investigating the nature of the tank terrain a few miles from the beach? The horrific result was that the Allies were utterly unprepared for the disaster to come — and died by the thousands in the bocage of June and July."


"Everything went wrong in the days after June 6, and 60 years later the carnage should still make us weep. The army soon learned that their light Sherman tanks were no match for Nazi Panthers and Tigers. Hundreds of their "Ronson-lighters" — crews and all — went up in smoke. Indeed, 60 percent of all lost Shermans were torched by single shots from enemy Panzers. In contrast, only one in three of the Americans' salvos even penetrated German armor."
more real blunders:

"Prewar America had the know-how to build big, well-armored tanks, with diesel engines, wide tracks, and low silhouettes. Yet General George Marshall had deliberately chosen lighter, cheaper designs — the idea being that thousands of mass-produced, easily maintained 32-ton Shermans could run over enemy infantry before encountering a rarer, superior 43-ton Panther or 56-ton Tiger. Should he have been removed for such naiveté, which led to thousands of American dead? Whom to blame?
Similar blunders ensured that Americans had inferior anti-tank weapons, machine guns, and mortars when they met the seasoned Wehrmacht. On the Normandy battlefield itself, on at least three occasions, faulty communications, tactical breakdowns, bad intelligence, and simple operational laxity resulted in Americans blown apart by their own heavy bombers as they were trying to facilitate breakouts. Almost as many Allied soldiers were casualties in a collective few hours of misplaced bombing than all those killed so far in Afghanistan and Iraq."

"Generals Eisenhower and Bradley probably miscalculated German intentions at Argentan, and thus allowed thousands of veteran Germans to escape the Falaise Gap in August. Tens of thousands of these reprieved Panzers would regroup to kill thousands more Americans later that year. Whom to blame?"

"The subsequent Battle of the Bulge was a result of a colossal American intelligence failure. Somehow 250,000 Nazis, right under the noses of the Americans, were able to mount a counteroffensive with absolute surprise. For all of our own failure to account for the missing WMD, so far an enemy army of 250,000 has not, as it once did in December 1945, assembled unnoticed a few miles from our theater base camps. Whom to blame?"
more WWII blunders vs. IRAQ

"We know about the horrific German massacres of American prisoners, but little about instances of Americans' shooting German captives well before the Battle of the Bulge. Such murdering was neither sanctioned by American generals nor routine — but nevertheless it was not uncommon in the heat of battle and the stress of war. No inquiry cited Generals Hodges, Patton, or Bradley as responsible for rogue soldiers shooting unarmed prisoners. Whom to blame?"
"The catastrophes did not end after the Normandy campaign. More Americans were killed between December 1944 and January 1945 — when we wrongly pushed back the bulge by confronting it head-on rather than slicing it off far to its rear — than all those lost previously in the months since the D-Day landings. Germans had heavy overcoats and white camouflage; GIs froze and were easy targets in the snow with their dark uniforms. Whom to blame?"

I could go on, but the point is clear. War is a horrendous experience in which the side that wins commits the fewest mistakes, rather than no errors at all.

In the short period between June and August 1944, military historians can adduce hundreds of examples of American amateurism, failed intelligence, incompetent logistics, and strategic blundering — but not enough of such errors to nullify the central truth of the Normandy invasion. A free people and its amazing citizen army liberated France and went on in less than a year to destroy veteran Nazi forces in the West, and to occupy Germany to end the war. Good historians, then, keep such larger issues in mind, even as they second-guess and quibble with the tactical and strategic pulse of the battlefield.

We should do the same. Errors were committed in the Iraqi campaign as they always are in war and its aftermath. Saddam didn't use WMDs as we had expected — neither did Hitler, and as a result thousands of GIs carried bothersome and superfluous gas masks across France and Germany for nearly a year.

We should probably have shot the looters who wrecked Iraq and smashed thugs like those in Fallujah last spring, when they were still in their vulnerable chrysalis stages. Iraqis should have been far more prominent in governance and on television almost immediately. Aid was tied up and delayed — as postwar goodwill ebbed away in the heat. All this and more we now know from hindsight, even as we suspect that had we sent 400,000 troops, shot looters, blasted the killers in Fallujah, properly patrolled the borders, and kept the Baathist army intact, the New York Times would now be railing even more vehemently against U.S. overkill, brutality, puppet governments, and security at the expense of social justice.
We look back at WWII and consider it a success, I think 60 years from now, America and the world will look back at IRAQ and praise the sacrifice and accomplishments of Both the coalition forces and the new Iraqi government in helping to make the world a better place.

We look back at Vietnam as a failure, and yet as a whole if you take the reason Vietnam was faught into account, i.e. to halt the spread of Communsim in the Pacific arena, Then one could conclude that it was a success, can you name ONE country in that region that became communist after vietnam?

We then look at IRAQ, what was main reasons the stated goals of the current conflict there?

1. To remove Sadaam and his regeme from power.


2. To ensure no weapons of mass destruction were being manufactured in iraq.


3. To allow the people of IRAQ to choose their own path to freedom.

I think this is well on the way to being a success.
off subject but wanted to share this site

Mondo, the Bush administration lied about the justification for the war - citing WMD when they KNEW no such thing existed. And pray tell, who are the "people of Iraq"? Sounds like somebody needs to dust off the library card and do some reading…
BULL!!!You are so full of it, they never lied, you just need to find justification for your hatred, its pathetic naum, you cant get over the fact that your guy lost, you cant get over the fact that the majority of Americans don't buy into the same liberal mindmeld that you succumb to, and you have to repeat the same dark, hate-filled propaganda that you forget that for nearly ten years CLINTON and ALL the DEMOCRATS touted that sadaam had WMDs....where was your concern when we were lobbing missiles into Iraq and Afghanistan during Clintons term??? and now they are gone because while we were waiting on approval from CONGRESS and the U.N. to put the smack down on the REAL EVIL TYRANT, they were loading the stuff up and shipping it out right under the nose of the UN inspection team who admittedly spent most of their time at hotels getting drunk on vodka and partying.

BTW the people of IRAQ are the 70% that voted in their first free election an election you hoped would be a failure an election people died to make happen real heroes not just people spreading hatred and lies. The only difference between LIBERALS and the TERRORIST is the terrorist are more honest about what they want and why they want it!!!

sounds like someone needs to open their eyes and quit believing everything they read on liberal blogs and the liberal media!!!!

Mondo, judging from the content of your post activity here, I'd say you are a proud member of the "faith based" block and devoid of any basing in a "reality based" world…

I posted for you to READ BOOKS, not the regurgitated propaganda of shills on the neocon payroll (which comprises the bulk of your postings). A good bit of the empirical documentation of Republican FAILURE is based upon the writings of REPUBLICAN writers, including whistleblowers, CIA insiders, insiders within the administration, and ex-officials like John Dean who has written extensively about Republican corruption (and he should know, but read WORSE THAN WATERGATE).

Instead you spew out some GOP talking points here like they're gospel. You cite bloggers that are on the payroll, but unlike liberal sources, DO NOT PUBLICLY DISCLOSE THEIR ALLEGIANCE AND FINANCIAL BACKING. You write without any knowledge of the middle east and discount the informed sources I post here. You've written off the words of America's most decorated military veteran, a man who may not be on the frontline these days, but still receives feedback from an exhaustive network of those still serving and those who've recently completed their tour of duty.

AFA Clinton goes, I opposed the whole Balkans excursion and the continuous bombing of Iraq that went on during his terms. And the WMD claims were spurious, given the (a) Duefler report, (b) testimony from Tenet, Goss and others at CIA that have spoken out publicly on this matter and (c) NSA advisor who has publicly stated Bush & staff wanted to invade Iraq immediately after 9/11 even after being reminded that Al-Qaeda was in Afghanistan, not Iraq, (e) weapons inspectors, including Scott Ritter, a loyal marine & REPUBLICAN who has since been smeared and defamed due to his whistleblower activity.

And Mondo, ask yourself, why, it was due to an EVIL TYRANT that we invaded, that we're so chummy with EVIL TYRANTS around the globe. In fact, Bush's father, before Saddam proved to be uncooperative, and Reagan both showered him with gifts of weapons and aid. Today, brutal governments are lauded by the state department for being partners in the "war on terror", yet they have inflicted abuse and torture on their nation's inhabitants and have been denounced by organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Turkmenistan and some of the other Asian locales come to mind, but it's not limited to there. Indonesia is another example.

Again, please dust off the library card and do some studying. Otherwise your words are just the echoes of a propaganda organ.

"But don't be fooled. It wasn't antiwar sentiments that drove the antiBush fervor. It was the other way around; Democrats are mostly against the war because they are against Bush, who is leading it. They had no objections to Clinton's interventions in Bosnia, Kosovo or, yes, Iraq.
"They've been obsessively against Bush since November 2000, when Al Gore's Machiavellian operatives succeeded in deceiving Democrats into believing that Bush, rather than Gore, was trying to steal the election. This was essentially the same group of adept spinmeisters who convinced Democrats that the exceedingly honorable Kenneth Starr was the villain, rather than the true rogue, Bill Clinton. And no, I'm not quite over that injustice yet." — David Limbaugh, March 5, 2004
"proud member of the "faith based" block and devoid of any basing in a "reality based" world"

do you even know what reality is??? you place your faith in books as you keep telling me to read, yet because I place one books word above the other words you say i have no footing in reality. anybody can write abook, anybody can spin a tale that enthrales the mind and captures the heart, but that does not mean the words are any more valid than anyone elses. I place my faith, yes faith, in the belief that all reality was created, it didnt just pop into existence from nothingness, it has design and shows care in how our world was created. I believe the words of the BIBLE.

you are so eager to give sadaam, europe, democrats,the terrorist, and the iraqi insurgents the benefit of the doubt, yet not once have you even attempted anything but accusing PRESIDENT BUSH of being the equivelint to DARTH VADER!!! your vile hatred and loathing of Conservatives, Bush,and Corperate America stands out like a oak tree in the desert you stories are self serving and rarely tell the WHOLE truth, rather you give little bites here and there about things that slant your way,and when someone offers overwhelming logical or even just plain old personal opinion you are quick to denounce it as Conservative talking points or propoganda. Sure you are free to do so, you are free to wright about anything you desire within the law, but you must remember when you commit yourself to words, that presciouse gift from GOD who spoke the world into existence, you are accountable for every sylable that comes from your mind, be it oral or written or even thought long after you and I are gone your words and mine will be here, or somewhere, and in the benefit of looking back perhaps we may all seem just a bit jouvenile and one sided.

For someone who tries to seem so inteligent, you are truly lacking in wisdom.

>>>And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s
eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?<<<

The way of a fool is
right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel
is wise.

Hear counsel, and receive
instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.
There are many devices in a man’s heart;
nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

Question, How dangerous is a man who is held accountable to no-one?
"And Mondo, ask yourself, why, it was due to an EVIL TYRANT that we invaded, that we're so chummy with EVIL TYRANTS around the globe"

would you prefer that we had no diplomacy at all? would you prefer that we unilateraly started taking out punks and thugs who enslave nations and peoples around the globe, your reason for not stopping one crime is that we cannot stop them all? we can only act where the necesity arises, we cannot be the police of the world, but we can act to defend ouselves, and if at the same time as doing so, our securityis increased by allowing others a kick-start to democracy, so be it.
a library is a great place, you can look up porn, hang dildos from a wire for all to see and call it art, you can read all kinds of books, and even take home music or movies, I have nothing against libraries, but i would say that there is not one book at any library that can tell you more about life and living that the knowledge GOD imprented in our minds, and primed with the BIBLE. All those books were written by people, flawed, ignorant, selfish, and sometimes simply evil people. in the end they are just words of man. I love reading, I loved school and thank GOD for my education, but I also thank him for giving me his own words, that I may know true knowledge and true wisdom true compasion and true sacrifice true grace and a most of all true love and salvation.
I feel sorry for Liberals. they are always so mad.

I feel sorry for lost people. They are always so sad.
good night.
OK, Mondo, now I've learned...

a) you think libraries are bunk but you ingest the spoon fed propaganda you regurgitate here without question, trust "faith" over the empirical evidence and testimony of truth...

b) keep calling me a "liberal" though i am not, not that i'm offended, just it's not accurate

c) you continue to resort to ad-hominem attacks and non-sequiturs (i.e., because I am opposed to invading a sovereign nation that threatened the U.S. not, you cast me as a "Saddam supporter"). What a cheap, detestable tactic...

d) still haven't refuted any of the points made that I brought up originally other than some smears about how "liberals hate America"...

To you sir:

#1 When are you going to stop beating your wife?

#2 Why do you embrace shamanism?

#3 How come you hate freedom?

#4 Why do you use the bible to justify your hate?

Now you get what you've been dishing out...
" you think libraries are bunk but you ingest the spoon fed propaganda you regurgitate here without question"

oooh there's that word propaganda again, it's such a convenient word isn't it, anything that don't fit your world view call it propaganda, you cant disprove it so let's discredit it.

"trust "faith" over the empirical evidence and testimony of truth"

and yet you trust someone's words as "fact" when evidence shows other wise. I can find as much evidence of the existence of GOD as you can show about evolution, the big band etc. as for testimony, I believe the written testimony of those who were there when the early church was born. I believe the acts of JESUS and the apostles. why do you "own" so many bibles, if you do not believe them?

"keep calling me a "liberal" though i am not, not that i'm offended, just it's not accurate"

if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it's a duck.

"you continue to resort to ad-hominem attacks and non-sequiturs (i.e., because I am opposed to invading a sovereign nation that threatened the U.S. not, you cast me as a "Saddam supporter"). What a cheap, detestable tactic... "

again, your hatred for bush is apparent. do you have any problems with france's invasion of the ivory coast? or our invasion of bosnia, Somalia, Haiti, panama, vietnam, korea, cambodia, columbia, honduras, germany, and japan?

"still haven't refuted any of the points made that I brought up originally other than some smears about how "liberals hate America"..."

I'll let other be the judge of that as anything posted contrary to your beliefs is considered propaganda by you. you cannot see the forest for the trees.

"#1 When are you going to stop beating your wife?"

before i even start.

"#2 Why do you embrace shamanism?"
because what you term shamanism, i term salvation.

"#3 How come you hate freedom?"
It is only through giving yourself to the will of the creator that you can truly be freed from the bonds of sin.

"#4 Why do you use the bible to justify your hate?"

only GOD can take that which is evil, and use it for good.

When Joseph's brothers attempted to kill him, that was an evil act, yet GOD used it to send Joseph to egypt, so that his people would be saved.

When Jesus was handed over to the Authorities, and MURDERED, though he had done no wrong, that was an evil act, yet GOD used it to bring salvation to a lost and wicked world.

I can only pray that if there is hatred in my heart, it is a hatred for evil, and that GOD in all his wisdom and power can use my hatred, for good.
It is hopeless.

Mondo has God on his side (just like the Arab extremists do) and he is ALWAYS right too—

Of the hundred of pages of links, rants about evil Liberals, etc, you will never once find Mondo ever admitting he is wrong. Nope, never. Everyone else is wrong, but not Mondo.

Mondo is not here to learn, he is here to lecture and call you (and anyone who doesn't believe just like he does) to repentance.

Mondo, you will always have the last word because most people figure out it is pointless to talk to someone who never listens, and they eventually leave, leaving the Defender of Truth talking to himself.

The pathetic and ironic thing is, that you mistakenly think that when people give up talking to you, that you have WON, that this shows you are right and they are wrong.

When in fact the reason people give up is they simply get tired of your constant lectures, your circular and shallow reasoning, and tired of talking past you. They realize quickly that you will never consider anything that does not fit into your set world view.

Have you ever met a religious or political zealot with glazed over eyes, who talks insistently and only hears enough of someone else’s views to launch into another tirade about how they are right and you are wrong?

I have these zealots are boring because they are only an echo chamber of someone else’s ideas, with no depth of thought, no contemplation.

Mondo, remember that long tirade last time I said something similar?

I am going to cut and paste it into my web blog, and use you as a case-in-point for years to come.

So go ahead Mondo, spend 15 pages telling me what a lost liberal I am with your characteristic self-righteous zeal.
I find it amusing how you seek to use the fact that I believe in GOD as a shortcoming, and even dare to compare me with arab extremists, I believe in freedom for all, that is if i believe in god i should be able to say so and why, if you do not, you should be able to say so and why, if you are muslim Buddhist hindu atheist whatever, you are free to do so, the arab extremist believe everyone should be muslim, and those who aren't should die, even if I wished all people were saved, it is not my choice but theirs to decide. My comparison with the terrorist and liberals however was on the basis that both want us to fail in Iraq.

When GOD told ADAM and EVE they could eat off any tree in eden except the tree of knowledge, the devil was able to seduce eve by making her see what she couldn't do rather than the fact that ALL the other trees were free to eat from. this is symbolic of life, we are given everything we need to live freely, and even given salvation, yet the devil would want you to concentrate on the earthly things that you lose (which you really don't lose because through GOD all things are given) rather than the great SPIRITUAL blessings GOD has given.

Your words and judgments of me are all to telling on your true loving caring giving natures you stand naked before your very own shortcomings and try to cover your nakedness up from GOD, yet you forget that GOD knows all and sees all every hair own your head he has counted.

I have never been righteous, I know I am very flawed, human, however it is sad that even one so flawed as me can see your weakness, sadness and shrill vile hatred.

If i am guilty of unerring faith in CHRIST, so be it, I would rather die believing in a GOD that doesn't exist, than die not believing in a GOD that does.

"you mistakenly think that when people give up talking to you, that you have WON"

It's obvious that though we have spoken often and even though you say you know what i'm about, you know very little about me, it's not about winning or losing. These pages have little effect on my life as a whole. To me it is about truth and accountability. I win nothing in arguing with people over ethics, morality, honesty, government, religeon, but maybe just maybe something I have said may mean the difference between someone with an open mind, looking for answers being content in believeing that the ONLY answers are those given by Liberals. If, through my testimony, I may sway one lost person in the direction of LIGHT and RIGHT, then there is where I win, it's the attempt at sharing the truth that has meaning to me not the selfishness of winning or losing an argument.
Updated: 10:49 a.m. ET Dec. 10, 2004Dec. 5 -
Seventy-nine percent of Americans believe that, as the Bible says, Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, without a human father, according to a new NEWSWEEK poll on beliefs about Jesus.
Sixty-seven percent say they believe that the entire story of Christmas—the Virgin Birth, the angelic proclamation to the shepherds, the Star of Bethlehem and the Wise Men from the East—is historically accurate. Twenty-four percent of Americans believe the story of Christmas is a theological invention written to affirm faith in Jesus Christ, the poll shows. In general, say 55 percent of those polled, every word of the Bible is literally accurate. Thirty-eight percent do not believe that about the Bible.

In the NEWSWEEK poll, 93 percent of Americans say they believe Jesus Christ actually lived and 82 percent believe Jesus Christ was God or the Son of God. Fifty-two percent of all those polled believe, as the Bible proclaims, that Jesus will return to earth someday; 21 percent do not believe it. Fifteen percent believe Jesus will return in their lifetime; 47 percent do not, the poll shows.

When asked if there would be more or less kindness in the world today if there had never been a Jesus, 61 percent of all those polled say there would be less kindness. Forty-seven percent say there would be more war if there had never been a Jesus (16 percent say less, 26 percent say the same); 63 percent say there would be less charity; 58 percent say there would be less tolerance; 59 percent say there would be less personal happiness and 38 percent say there would be less religious divisions (21 percent say more and 26 percent say the same).

Just 11 percent of those surveyed say American society as a whole very closely reflects true Christian values and the spirit of Jesus; 53 percent say it somewhat reflects those
values. But 86 percent say they believe organized religion has a “a lot” or “some” influence over life in the United States today. Nine percent say it has “only a little” influence.

Sixty-two percent say they favor teaching creation science in addition to evolution in public schools; 26 percent oppose such teaching, the poll shows. Forty-three percent favor teaching creation science instead of evolution in public schools; 40 percent oppose the idea.

For this NEWSWEEK Poll, Princeton Survey Research Associates interviewed by telephone 1,009 adults, aged 18 and older on Dec. 2 and Dec. 3. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Editor's note: In one part of the this story, preliminary results were used, instead of final numbers. The paragraph on creation science should have said: "Sixty percent say they favor teaching creation science in addition to evolution in public schools; 28 percent oppose such teaching, the poll shows. Forty percent favor teaching creation science instead of evolution in public schools; 44 percent oppose the idea."


{3:13}Who [is] a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. {3:14} But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. {3:15} This wisdom descendeth not from above, but [is] earthly, sensual, devilish. {3:16} For where envying and strife [is,] there [is] confusion and every evil work. {3:17} But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. {3:18} And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
{4:1} From whence [come] wars and fightings among
you? [come they] not hence, [even] of your lusts that war in your members? {4:2} Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. {4:3} Ye ask, and receive not,because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume [it] upon your lusts. {4:4} Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."
"Knowledge is proud that he has learn'd so much; Wisdom is humble that he knows no more."
William Cowper

"There is probably no segment of activity in the world attracting as much attention at present as that of knowledge management. Yet as I entered this arena of activity I quickly found there didn't seem to be a wealth of sources that seemed to make sense in terms of defining what knowledge actually was, and how was it differentiated from data, information, and wisdom. What follows is the current level of understanding I have been able to piece together regarding data, information, knowledge, and wisdom. I figured to understand one of them I had to understand all of them.

According to Russell Ackoff, a systems theorist and professor of organizational change, the content of the human mind can be classified into five categories:

Data: symbols
Information: data that are processed to be useful; provides answers to "who", "what", "where", and "when" questions
Knowledge: application of data and information; answers "how" questions
Understanding: appreciation of "why"
Wisdom: evaluated understanding.

Ackoff indicates that the first four categories relate to the past; they deal with what has been or what is known. Only the fifth category, wisdom, deals with the future because it incorporates vision and design. With wisdom, people can create the future rather than just grasp the present and past. But achieving wisdom isn't easy; people must move successively through the other categories."
A further elaboration of Ackoff's definitions follows:

Data... data is raw. It simply exists and has no significance beyond its existence (in and of itself). It can exist in any form, usable or not. It does not have meaning of itself. In computer parlance, a spreadsheet generally starts out by holding data.

Information... information is data that has been given meaning by way of relational connection. This "meaning" can be useful, but does not have to be. In computer parlance, a relational database makes for information from the data stored within it.

Knowledge... knowledge is the appropriate collection of information, such that it's intent is to be useful. Knowledge is a deterministic process. When someone "memorizes" information (as less-aspiring test-bound students often do), then they have amassed knowledge. This knowledge has useful meaning to them, but it does not provide for, in and of itself, an integration such as would infer further knowledge. For example, elementary school children memorize, or amass knowledge of, the "times table". They can tell you that "2 x 2 = 4" because they have amassed that knowledge (it being included in the times table). But when asked what is "1267 x 300", they can not respond correctly because that entry is not in their times table. To correctly answer such a question requires a true cognitive and analytical ability that is only encompassed in the next level... understanding. In computer parlance, most of the applications we use (modeling, simulation, etc.) exercise some type of stored knowledge.

Understanding... understanding is an interpolative and probabilistic process. It is cognitive and analytical. It is the process by which I can take knowledge and synthesize new knowledge from the previously held knowledge. The difference between understanding and knowledge is the difference between "learning" and "memorizing". People who have understanding can undertake useful actions because they can synthesize new knowledge, or in some cases, at least new information, from what is previously known (and understood). That is, understanding can build upon currently held information, knowledge and understanding itself. In computer parlance, AI systems possess understanding in the sense that they are able to synthesize new knowledge from previously stored information and knowledge.

Wisdom... wisdom is an extrapolative and non-deterministic, non-probabilistic process. It calls upon all the previous levels of consciousness, and specifically upon special types of human programming (moral, ethical codes, etc.). It beckons to give us understanding about which there has previously been no understanding, and in doing so, goes far beyond understanding itself. It is the essence of philosophical probing. Unlike the previous four levels, it asks questions to which there is no (easily-achievable) answer, and in some cases, to which there can be no humanly-known answer period. Wisdom is therefore, the process by which we also discern, or judge, between right and wrong, good and bad. I personally believe that computers do not have, and will never have the ability to posses wisdom. Wisdom is a uniquely human state, or as I see it, wisdom requires one to have a soul, for it resides as much in the heart as in the mind. And a soul is something machines will never possess (or perhaps I should reword that to say, a soul is something that, in general, will never possess a machine).

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