On Intelligence and Knowledge
Why isn't it spelled Afganistan?
Several times during recent discussion of the situation in Afghanistan, we have referred to Intelligence. However, I have not yet formally defined the term.
What is Intelligence? Intelligence is knowledge that is not part of the public historical record. This can either be knowledge of the future, knowledge of the fog-of-war, or analysis of knowledge of the past.
What is the Historical Record? The historical record(T)is difficult to define exactly. We use the operating definition of “anything which is properly included in a Wikipedia(T) article”. As a minimal requirement, it must be attested in reliable sources. Even if correct, an individual’s own interpretation of the historical record is not necessarily part of the historical record.
What is fog-of-war? The term fog-of-war refers to information about events which have already happened but are not yet widely known. For example, much of the information on the current state of armies in Afghanistan is under fog-of-war.
Presumably, the United States Intelligence community has some knowledge on the current state of armies in Afghanistan. However, this information has not been de-classified and publicly announced. There are a variety of tactical and strategic reasons why this information will remain secret.
How do you have knowledge of the future? The simplest way is to use a timemachine. This suffers from the practical problem that you do not have a timemachine.
However, you don’t need a timemachine to predict the future. A person can predict that ta will travel to Florida in November if ta has already made travel and hotel arrangement. The US Intelligence community surely had an estimate that the Afghan government was X% likely to collapse within Y days of the US withdrawal from Bagram AFB.
And several of the riddles of timetravel apply here. Specifically, the United States announcing publicly a detailed Intelligence estimate would certainly have changed that estimate. In that sense, it would have been impossible for the US to publicly give an accurate estimate. The government Knows but cannot Say.
The word is formally spelled with an invisible invisible character to signal a register shift. The word for “visible invisible character” is klipot and the word for “invisible invisible character” is fnord. In English, the invisible invisible character is represented via capitalizing Nouns.