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Bernie Ziebart

The Engineering Perspective

The blog is a view of life, science, politics and education from an engineering perspective. As engineers, we are taught to view the world objectively. We can hope, believe and calculate a particular outcome, but natural laws are inflexible and pay no heed to who we are or what we believe. We must approach the objective dispassionately, while compensating for our own distorted perceptions. Balance is also a key element; balancing between the ideal and the pragmatic, balancing cost and functionality, balancing analysis with action, etc.

Scheduling routine critical self-analysis is the foundation to objectivity. If we do not fully understand and compensate for our own failures, tendencies, habits and skewed thought processes, we will not see the world as it is. Without a regular critical self-analysis we will see the world as we are and then fall prey to self-delusion.

Failure is a great teacher. When failure is coupled with perseverance, it produces the fruit of patience and humility. An engineer, fresh out of engineering school is typically set up for failure early and often. The failure breaks the new engineer of any ideas of self-importance, arrogance and book smarts. Only then can the new engineer be formed and molded into a productive element in the industry.



ISIS appears to be a shock troop that is ever inventing new ways to raise the level of disgust, horror and brutality. Shortly after burying 500 people alive in a shallow grave and then running over it with bulldozers, they force the people of an entire city up a mountain. ISIS surrounded the mountain leaving the people to decide whether to come down from the mountain and be hacked to death or stay on the mountain and die of starvation. 

This week ISIS had attacked the village of Qaraqosh. They sawed a 5 year old boy in half, while yet alive and posted the video on-line. On the video on of the terrorists can be heard saying that this is how they are going to divide America.   They then beheaded hundreds of children and put the heads on poles around the village.  They also took many of the women as sex slaves.

In some cases, fighters seeking to join ISIS have had to behead their own mothers to demonstrate loyalty to ISIS. And ranks of the ISIS terrorists have swelled to about 20,000 fighters. 

Tom Sanderson, a terrorism expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told CBS News that ISIS far more powerful, well-funded and influential than al Qaeda under bin Laden.  What ISIS has now, he said, "is more significant and more varied than what al Qaeda had in terms of its actual combat capabilities where they are fielding artillery. They are holding much greater territory than al Qaeda had, they are governing people, they have a more diverse funding base... they have a greater localized funding base than al Qaeda."

Al Qaeda "simply did not have the technology that ISIS has now, the social networking that enables them to reach a much greater audience," Sanderson said. 

ISIS has captured millions of dollars of American weaponry abandoned by Iraqi troops that fled the fight early on in the jihadist group's takeover. David Rohde, a columnist for Reuters and The Atlantic said on CBS News' "Face the Nation" Sunday called that a "disaster." When the US engages ISIS, it will be fighting against and enemy with US weaponry.

The two stated goals of ISIS are to establish a caliphate and to raise an ISIS flag over the Whitehouse.

With the group's full capability somewhat of a mystery, it is hard to predict when they might turn their attention to the U.S. But it is not a matter of if they will attack the US, it’s when.

I was not in favor of military intervention in Syria, Egypt, Libya or Iraq. But in this case I believe that the Kurds need to be equipped to defend themselves.   The tide of the ISIS advance needs to be stopped. 

There is much blame that can on be pinned on the current foreign policy for essentially creating ISIS through our intervention in Syria.   Then over of the past two years we have watched this terror group take shape and gain power. ISIS has been overlooked and minimized during this time. Even Obama referred to ISIS as ‘the junior varsity’. The administration has told us not to take this group seriously. And they haven’t taken ISIS seriously, but at some point, the Obama administration will have to.

Note: In a confrontation with a local liberal, I conveyed disbelief that he still has a higher degree of hatred and anger towards the Israeli army than towards ISIS. I can’t understand the illogical hatred of Israel. The IDF is practicing a very timid self-defense to preserve the lives the Israeli residents. ISIS is engaged in full blown demonic barbarism.   There couldn’t be a wider chasm between the two.

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