Friday, November 13, 2009


A reader/commenter of yesterday's post asked about Nightwatch, an internet source I referenced. So, here goes.

There are literally thousands of blogs, websites, agencies, NGOs, pundits, talking heads, etc. on the web that will, if you let them, fill your head with assinine reporting, dubious "facts" and lame analysis. If you are an SME*, you might be able to parse these various sources and ferret out some usable information. If you are like the vast majority of the Western public, it can be impossible to figure out who to trust.

*Subject Matter Expert, another class of suspect individuals who are usually to be assiduously avoided. There are dozens of SMEs on Afghanistan working in the US Government, think-tanks and various news organizations, many of whom have never been to Afghanistan and most of whom have never been outside of Kabul. In general, stay away from any self-proclaimed "experts."

My Google Reader is daily jammed with updates and posts from various sources on Afghanistan and Central Asia*, some of them good, some of them not-so-good and a few of them entertaining only for their sheer ignorance. But there are a handful of old standbys, proven providers of verifiable facts and cogent analysis. Nightwatch is one of those.

*As well as some lighter fare, such as Joe Posnanski and Ben Casnocha.

The format is simple, text-based and to the point. No agenda to filter out, no bullshit to wade through, only a daily recap of significant political/military events culled from a wide variety of open sources, usually with a bit of commentary or analysis attached. Recent example here. It's usually the first thing I check in the morning to get an idea of what I missed while I was sleeping off my hangover.

The parent organization to Nightwatch (here) is a non-profit professional organization "serving the military, government, industry, and academia as an ethical forum for advancing professional knowledge and relationships in the fields of communications, IT, intelligence, and global security." I'm not sure what that means exactly, but their output is always reliable and professional.

So, if you're one of those weird people (like me) who just has to know what's going on in the rest of the world, even if it has an almost-zero chance of affecting your life, then start your day with a quick glance at Nightwatch. If not, then stick with The View and FoxNews.

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