01 May 2006

Take that, Craig! (BR)

This began as a reply to a comment my infinitely esteemed and respected colleague Craig made in response to my most recent article on Iran. However, by the time I came around to addressing all his points, I had an entire new article unto itself.

The gentleman begins by quoting from my aforementioned article:

"invasion was the right move given the information he and our allies had in front of them."

He proceeds, then, to attribute the sentiment embodied in this fragment to my own personal feeling:

After the Downing Street memo and countless other things that have come to light since, do you really still think that's true??

Of course I don't think it's true; their argument is proffered thusly in the article for the sake of demonstrating the inconsistency of the administration's tack in handling terror, to wit:

Fair enough. So what about Iran?

As in, "You said that we won't sit on our hands while crazy dictators rattle their sabres at us, so why on earth are we doing exactly that with regard to Iran?"

Moving on, Craig discusses my oft-repeated belief that the only way to defeat Islamic terrorism is for the US and our allies to divest fully from Iran and its contemporaries, and just wait for the region to strangle itself.

As for divesting from Iran and trying to tie their hands economically, I fear that they might be batshit insane enough to consider this "an act of war" or close enough to go ahead with "pre-emptive strikes" (thank you Mr President for that wonderful precedent you set...)

To which I say: If Middle Eastern governments which are hostile to the US and American interests get riled up when the Great Satan cuts off economic intercourse with them, good. Great. Perfect. That's exactly what we want. Witness the current crumbling status of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority. They were so intent on scaring the shit out of the entire civilized world that they've lost all their Western funding, and now they lack even the resources to feed themselves, to say nothing of destroying Israel.

When the "Arab street" gets the message that electing terrorists and their sympathizers to office is a nice way to guarantee starvation and death for themselves and their families, they will seek out our friendship and quit electing gun-toting radicals with zero experience in public service as symbolic representations of their antipathy toward us.

Finally, he broached the subject of the other prong of my novel theorem for eradicating the terrorist threat: Compulsory transition of American industry toward operation and production using non-petroleum-based energy sources.

as for energy initiatives to get the country less dependent on oil... Yeh, progressives have been asking for this sort of thing since Kyoto. But all the administration has to offer on this front is talk. No action.
You'll see the idea of energy initiatives in his State of the Union, but they'll hardly lift a damn finger when it comes to actually doing something.

During World War II, American industry was, for all intents and purposes, nationalized and unified under government control. I'm no socialist and I am highly suspect of any initiative to grow government power. However, if we really are fighting a war for the survival of our civilization, you'd think we'd take some steps to make sure we weren't trading with the enemy and filling his pockets with oil money.

George Bush, his cabinet and his supporters seem to want to endow the office of the president with boundless power to monitor and control the daily lives of individual Americans while simultaneously stripping it of any ability to regulate business. As I've said, he could snap his finger tomorrow morning and every new car coming off an assembly line in America would have a hybrid engine, and every gas station in the country would have at least one flex-fuel Ethanol 85 pump. Are we serious about defeating terror? We'd better get serious about taking away the competitive advantage we've given our enemies!

Bush has put it as bluntly as admitting that we as a nation are "addicted" to foreign oil. His solution? To vow replacement of "more than 75%" of Middle Eastern oil imports by 2025, only to have his lackeys, including Energy Secretary Sam Bodman, go out the next day and say Bush didn't really mean it.

The big point here is that Bush would like to pretend that the War Powers Act allows him to do anything at all, whenever he deems appropriate, to fight and defeat the thugs who orchestrated attacks on America and seek to carry out more, even if his actions do nothing of the sort, even if they hinder our ability to defend ourselves, even if they expose our troops to undue and unnecessary peril. (The truth is that the Act was passed in 1973 with the sole aim of reducing this kind of egregious use of executive power.)

At the same time, Bush shrugs and throws up his hands at any suggestion of asserting the same type of power over industry, even in as innocuous a form as a windfall tax on record profits by oil companies -- I mean, come on, what could we possibly need that money for, anyhow? Two wars? Medicare Part B? Pell Grants? Oops, forget that last one.

Every day, this government looks more and more to be by the people, for a few kajillionaires who, if "the bomb" were to drop tomorrow, would probably receive advance notice and escape on their private SSTs this evening.


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