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Foust then linked to an LA Times article from last July by Nicholas Goldberg that documented what field commanders were told. In a grisly calculus known as the "collateral damage estimate," U.S. military commanders and lawyers often work together in advance of a military strike, using very specific, Pentagon-imposed protocols to determine whether the good that will come of it outweighs the cost. We don't know much about how it works, but in 2007, Marc Garlasco, the Pentagon's former chief of high-value targeting, offered a glimpse when he told Salon magazine that in 2003, "the magic number was 30." That meant that if an attack was anticipated to kill more than 30 civilians, it needed the explicit approval of then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld or President George W. Bush. If the expected civilian death toll was less than 30, the strike could be OKd by the legal and military commanders on the ground.
Early this week, a little known blogger known as The Security Crank, made an interesting observation. In 2009 alone, there were at least 12 reports in U.S. and international media that cited U.S. and NATO military claims that exactly 30 militants were killed in either air strikes or other military operations in Afghanistan. According to the blog, "hopping onto Google News and typing '30 Taliban' or '30 suspected militants' brings up literally dozens of stories each year, stretching back at least to 2005. Indeed, 30 seems to be the magic number when it comes to arresting or killing off Taliban and other militant fighters in Afghanistan." A quick search reveals that is true.
Perhaps no single number more fully embodies the essence of the rhythmic fluctuations which characterize human affairs than that of the number 30. Its significance to the realms of finance, economics, physics, mathematics, astronomy, and religion is integral to a full comprehension of each field, and almost mystical in its import. In order to elevate our understanding of cyclical occurrences in human affairs (particularly in the realm of finance) we will take up a careful examination of this most important number as it relates to the markets.
The number 30 can also be expressed as 10 x 3 (10 being the number of ordinal perfection and 3 the number of divine completeness). This mathematical structure further underlines the special importance of this number. Thirty is also the number of probation and preparation. A man, before he is fit for success, very often must toil at his trade until he reaches the age of 30 before he is ready to advance and apply all his wisdom and experience with great success. Thirty also has a theological significance since we read in Scripture that Christ was 30 when he began his public ministry on earth. In biblical numerology, the number 30 is also representative of blood (the essence of all life) and the price of blood. For example, Christ was sold by Judas Iscariot for 30 pieces of silver.
In economics and socio-political affairs the number 30 also takes on a special importance. Major periods of economic growth and technological progress tend to occur in 30 year cycles. A definite 30-year cycle can be recognized in U.S. economic history going back as far as 1864, the end of a major economic depression in the U.S. (a period which culminated in the War Between the States). The next 30-year cycle bottom occurred in 1894, which marked a period of rapid innovation and the transition between an agrarian economy and an industrial one. The next 30-year cycle bottom occurred in 1924, which led to the explosive economic growth of the "Roaring '20s" and culminating in the Great Crash of 1929. The subsequent bottoms in the 30-year cycle came in 1954 and 1984, with the next 30-year cycle bottom due in 2014.