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Y'know, we could have just given every Iraqi citizen $37 336.58 and we'd still be ahead by 3,000 american lives and 500,000 iraqi lives. A trillion is a very large number. I bet that, for a flat rate of 37k per capita, we could have gotten the entire Iraqi army to overthrow Saddam all on their own.

Or, as an alternate view, you and I and everyone we know in this country has paid or will pay 4,000 dollars each for this useless war.

Terrorism

Sep. 22nd, 2006 12:44 pm
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Every now and then, I get pissed off enough about the news to go on a ranty tear about it. Read this or not at your pleasure.

I feel like I'm living in some kind of imaginary dystopia that I will wake up from - this is Pottersville or Bifftown or something. Terrorism is not scary. Nuclear war is scary. Terrorism is only scary if you don't evaluate risk well and your government helps make you afraid. And terrorists seem to be pretty incompetent. You know what's really creepy? Police states leveraging modern surveillance technologies to monitor everyone without oversight while at the same time making it illegal for people to look back. So what is bringing this all to a head?

The fact that our representatives are rolling over and trying to make it legal suspend habeas corpus and torture suspects for information and then try them in tribunals where they can't see the evidence against them makes me seriously scared. The fact that they only want to do this to foreign nationals is no comfort because a) those are people too, and b) this administration has maintained their right to strip US citizens of their citizenship (in contravention to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which we are a signatory). I think one of the main reasons that people aren't up in arms about this crap is that it just seems so unbelievable - most people wince a bit at stuff like this but generally think of America as A City Upon a Hill, and that's a hard belief to shake. But c'mon people - let's at least agree on some facts:
  1. The president illegally authorized the collective wiretapping of every phone in America despite being told that it was illegal by BOTH of the other branches of government
  2. The president, in direct contravention to the Geneva conventions, has established a third category of person for whom he says there exist no rules
  3. We're embroiled in a war in Iraq with no short or medium-term goals, and no strategy to reach the long term ones.
  4. We've pretty much LOST the war in Afghanistan. (Afghanistan? Yup, it's still a shooting war over there, except the Taliban is back in power and heroin production is way way up)
  5. Every other country resents us for throwing our weight around, even our oldest friends. The UK, with whom we've maintained a "special relationship" for so long has actually decided to force their Prime Minister to resign because he went along with us.
  6. Terrorists don't "hate freedom", they hate specific US policies. Those policies may or may not be things that, when looked at in the light of day, we actually think are good ideas. Not acknowledging this fact means that we will forever be playing wack-a-mole with suicide bombers and never understanding why.
  7. Terrorists aren't soldiers - they have no army, no country, and no chain of command. (Perhaps they are then CRIMINALS, and should be dealt with as such?!?)
  8. Secret jails with secret "not torture we promise" chambers extracting evidence from guilty-unhtil-proven-innocent suspects are really creepy and, if necessary, should be dealt with sub-rosa and not openly endorsed.
  9. By focusing on Iraq we've dropped the ball on the GWOT/GSAVE/permanent struggle with Eurasia (fortunately Oceania is our ally) and Osama Bin Laden is still at large
With a track reord like this, why are people trying to give the executive branch MORE power? How much of this would fly if a *gasp* DEMOCRAT were doing it? Is it that people think that 24 is real and that Jack Bauer will save them and that he needs to be allowed to torture? Do people really think that the right way to bring freedom to the world and safety to ourselves is by eliminating freedoms and our sense of safety domestically?
meme alert: "The Bill of Rights is not a suicide pact" is going to be used in an attempt to justify the elimination and curtailment of the rights enumerated therein. The proper response is either: "The Declaration of Independence IS a suicide pact" or "We will not walk in fear, one of another [...] if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men".


I'm genuinely worried about how far this could go, especially if there is a Republican majority after this November, as there probably will be. Republicans need to decide who really stands for them and who is a fascist. According to David Brin, the Democrats did this with communism in 1947, and it would be really nice to see Republicans toss out the Neocons in 2006. But right now Karl Rove is explicitly planning an October Surprise and we seem to already be conducting operations in Iran, so it looks like business as usual.

Does anyone else get an "apr├Ęs moi le deluge" feeling about the way politics are being conducted? Short-term fixes, terror alerts correlated with spikes in opponents' popularity, massive expansion of executive powers, massive increase in secrecy, torture, wars based on lies, huge deficits, ignoring and distorting science, exposing CIA operatives for political gain, and claiming that to disagree with these policies is to agree with the terrorists. It seems like something has to give, but I've been waiting for years and it's still holding up.

How much longer can this hold up? What will the flood hold? Any thoughts?

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