A quick note on clues in the stories: some of the discussions in office hours yesterday were about tweaking good clues so that they held up better against counter interpretations. For example, a detective says, "we know you lied about going to the zoo because it was 15 degrees F that day and your friend Mike says you'd forgotten your winter coat at his house." The counter interpretation is "well I have more than one winter coat" or "I borrowed my brother Jim's coat that afternoon." You can deal with this by keeping the evidence circumstantial, so that it works but only with other clues ("the security camera at the zoo entrance didn't have you on it that day"), or you can make the clue more specific ("you said you wore your fur coat, but your friend Mike says you'd forgotten your fur coat when you'd passed out at his party the night before"). The more precise clue doesn't have to be foolproof, but it can help differentiate between the explanation you want and others that are possible.
Here are two slides on the basics that are emerging from current research about teaching and learning. I noted that reviewing notes straight through and repeating learning without variation or delays feels pretty good but is less effective that the strategies below.
I've talked a lot about the close relationship between learning and detecting and we've seen a lot of these principles there too--sudden insights based on dogged preparation, different kinds of knowledge mixed together, etc. etc!!
In lecture yesterday I claimed that international criminal justice could replace most cases of international Plan A -- invasion, war, occupation. My example was Afghanistan. My evidence? It combined historical precedent--successful prosecutions in major public trials in international courts of mass murderers in military contexts--with a counterfactual that I called the criminal justice "thought experiment" (global investigation rather than invasion). Another piece of evidence was, in effect, justice couldn't be worse than what we're doing right now, which is maintaining the warlord rotation that has plagued the country since the first modern coup in 1973. Those slide are below.
I framed all this with an outline of the typical noir view in contrast to two standard arguments. Here's that slide:
Permanent war is a feature not a bug for the warlord I discussed, Dostum, since war is what he does and it's the game he wins. Permanent war, especially if it's low-grade and not too destructive, is also a feature not a bug for most military establishments.
Another feature of permanent war is greater impunity for its actors: as long as the threat continues, actions that would be questioned or even indicted and tried in peacetime and at home have a greater chance of begin tolerated. An example is torture, and the Exeuctive Summary of the US Senate's Study of the Central Intelligence Agency's Detention and Interrogation Program was released the morning of yesterday's lecture on countering Noir Cause 1: Generalized War. The New York Times posted the (rather redacted) summary of the 6000 page report here. The NYT has a piece on the summary's 7 Key Points. They also have a nice timeline of the interrogation program, and a piece on whether torture "works." There are many defenses of torture: here's one. Here's a clip of Sen. John McCain, himself a torture victim in Vietnam, defending it. The NYT again has an article by one of their major national security journalists outlining the pro vs. con positions.
Meanwhile, in Afghanistan:
I had an Osama slide as well, in which the US actually does do criminal investigation and, nine years later, it works (though killing and disposal blocked the truth-telling functions of the trial).
This comes to us courtesy of lit and history since they allow us to grasp background or buried causalities.
Reflecting an instance of our Noir Cause 1, War Comes Home, the Senate is publishing a landmark report on CIA torture. Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is summarizing its findings in in a stream here; NBC news text is below. Sen. Feinstein's summary states that torture produced no reliable intelligence that could not have been obtained in other ways, that the CIA and the Bush Administration deceived elected officials about the nature and extent of interrogation and detention behaviors, among many other findings in the 500 + page document. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid calls the release another Abu Grahib moment. Discussion and analysis is all over the Internet, and today we'll discuss Noir International in lecture as part of our Noir Solutions segment this week.
UPDATE: Many of you are psych majors: Democracy Now had an interesting segment on the role of psychologists in developing torture practices after 9/11. There's also a history professor discussing the CIA's role in developing "enhanced interrogation" during the Cold War and spreading the practice internationally. It's kind of amazing stuff actually.