Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Through Thick and Thin

with 6 comments

I guess I struck a nerve with my last post, even better some of the people who took umbrage left comments. I mean, I always encourage dialogue. Unfortunately they didn’t actually make any points. Worse they apparently concluded that my observations about America’s response to 9/11 meant that I thought we shouldn’t have responded to it. Sounds like the same old “any criticism of the Bush Administration is tantamount to treason and surrender.” Boy, I wonder what will be the response when I post my “Bush, War President Not” post.

I should add that I didn’t disapprove of the USS New York site. Sites I disapprove of I usually won’t mention, and I certainly won’t link to them. I just don’t understand the point of building a warship out of the steel of the WTC. We are commemorating a terrible crime…because? And, um, sending troops to foreign lands is what inspired Al Qaeda’s creation in the first place, so the purpose of the USS New York is to inspire more attacks on America? I was especially creeped out by the “Never Forget” motto. We seem to have forgotten about capturing the man who was responsible for 9/11, and the terrible cost our 9/11 vengeance has wreaked both at home and abroad. It’s all very strange to me.

Moving right along, the economy is still in the news. I was talking with the Deli owner across the street. He says his business has dropped 40% in the past few months. I think more than anything else, this really hits home how severe this situation is.  That’s basically catastrophic for a small business, and if it’s the same for millions of other small businesses, the damage that will do to the economy is almost incalculable. I expect we will start seeing small businesses fold big time the next few months, if not sooner. The next guy in the White House has got his work cut out for  him.

Speaking of the economy, Alan Greenspan said something the other day that I thought was truly remarkable and really illustrates the mind set of the people who made this mess. Alan Greenspan was chairman of the federal reserve bank for nearly 20 years until 2007. In five hours of testimony before a Congressional committee, he only used the word “mistake” once and basically used a lot of weasel wording to avoid taking much, if any, responsibility for the current financial crisis, which he termed a “credit tsunami.” He also thinks the economy will come through it stronger than before because…”Investors, chastened, will be exceptionally cautious,”  I’m sorry, but this problem was NOT cause by investors making unwise investments. This was caused by people like Alan Greenspan manipulating the system for their own benefit.

For those of us who live in the real world, where there is no bottom in sight for this ongoing economic collapse, here is a great list of what items will be valuable after the store shelves are empty. It was written by a fellow who lived through the Bosnian War, so he has some personal experience on the topic. It gives both insight into the human condition under these circumstances, and good advice about what sort of stuff people should be stockpiling: 100 Items to Disapear First.

Yesterday someone asked what I thought about an article that claimed that Bush’s response to 9/11 was just what Al-Qaeda wanted, and that Al-Qaea is hoping McCain will win and continue Bush’s policies thus bankrupting America both economically and militarily. I can only but agree, Bush has been practically a poster boy for Al Qaeda. As I pointed out in the last post, a military response to terrorist groups is the least likely way to defeat them, but playing with tanks and bombs appears to be the only game Bush knows. By responding to 9/11 as if it was an act of war and then launching a “war” in response to it, Bush gave Osama bin Laden more credibility and stature than he could ever have dreamt was possible. We turned a despicable criminal into almost a demigod by responding to him as if he was some sort of terrible threat to the USA. As I keep stating, we would  all be better off if we had taken up the Taliban’s offers to turn Bin Laden over for trial.

In a final bit of mixed news, India has launched a Moon probe. I’m all in favour of space exploration and science, so it’s all good news from that perspective. And it’s a proud accomplishment for a nation, I salute all the people of India this day. The only fly in the ointment is that if India can deliver a payload to the Moon with a rocket, it also means they could deliver a nuclear weapon to anywhere on Earth. So this kind of illustrates a basic problem we as a world are ignoring, allowing WMD technology to spread without dealing with the underlaying issue of nuclear disarmament while pretending we can keep WMDs out of the “wrong” hands is a recipe for inevitable disaster. India may be a reasonably stable nation now, but anything is possible with the world’s economies going into free fall. The last big world wide depression was a big factor in certain unpleasant people assuming power in  a number of countries, so the more countries that have this technology, the closer the day when it does fall into the wrong hands.

Have a great weekend everyone.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being use for profit, is a low resolution partial image, and arguably is an historically important image. Credit and copyright: ISRO. It’s the India Moon probe, Chandrayanaan-1 on its launchpad. God speed little Moon probe.)

Written by unitedcats

October 24, 2008 at 3:26 pm

Posted in Business, Terrorism, War

6 Responses

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  1. It is the nature of technology to propagate, of course. If the US had remained a sole nuclear power, we would have used them again. No other nation in modern times has used nuclear weapons in war.

    Our power needs to be checked, as all power must be.

    Mahakal / מהכאל

    October 24, 2008 at 11:06 pm

  2. We’ve got Genie’s coming out of bottles all over the world… throw in a few Pandora’s boxes of economics and its a stiff brew for humanity.

    Yes, ‘lets never forget’ that we still don’t have Bin Laden!

    ET

    October 25, 2008 at 7:07 am

  3. First, Doug, don’t take it so personally. A commenter on the previous post thought I come here to bitch and moan at you, and you seem to think I have entirely missed the point of your missives here. This is not the case. I read your weblog because you often point out parts of the world or politicosocioecononmic space that I miss (because I live under a rock). While you’re not any more obligated to read what I write than I am to read yours, you might consider having a look at the link behind the man and seeing that we’re not quite so different, and indeed agree on many things.

    I’d like to point out two (friendly) counterpoints today, though. First, bin Laden is every bit the lame duck that Bush is. A younger, angrier, less-informed (kids who, for example, weren’t even alive when we armed bin Laden during their fight against the Soviets; this is widely considered to be one of the most egregious cases of American/Western duplicity and, uh, evil, I guess) group of people who are – let me be clear on this point – fundamentally unconnected to bin Laden (exactly how many recruits can he personally welcome into the al-Aqsa webelos?). Kill him, and he’s a martyr. Capture him and he’s a political nightmare. There’s nothing good that can come from capturing him, other than checking that box off and soothing the need for vengeance so many people seem to have.

    Secondly, there are two quotes I like to carry around for discussions on nuclear arms proliferation or advancement. The first is, “close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and atom bombs.” The second is that gem from the not-wonderful Kidman/Clooney movie, The Peacemaker: “I’m not afraid of the man who wants ten nuclear weapons, Colonel. I’m terrified of the man who only wants one.” (per imdb; I may be quoting a novel made into a movie, or something)

    Point is, Doug, it doesn’t matter if you have Saturn V’s or Trident SLBMs if you have nuclear weapons of any kind. Have a look on the web for the term “Scud in a bucket.” Because of the way they do damage, and their size relative to their destructive radius, they’re very cost-effective even without precision guidance. If you can use UPS or FedEx to get it to within a zipcode or two, you’re doing okay. If you pay some halfwit enough to drive there from Uzbekistan in a cement truck to deliver it, same story. Put it on a yacht and have some Somali pirates sail it to Catalina Island, and park it right off the Casino.

    This is why the 50MT nuclear weapons are, in many ways, less scary than the very-low-yield weapons. A small weapon has to be precisely guided, and you can be sure if somebody is developing small weapons, or possesses them, that they have or are developing a precision method to deploy them. If they have one or a couple largeish (say, 50kT) weapons, it doesn’t matter how they deliver them, because they’re not trying to make a specific point; they’re trying to make a finite point. It’s a boolean. Kind of like scrawling “IM IN UR COUNTRY NUKIN UR DOODZ” on a wall.

    So don’t worry so much about North Korea’s or Iran’s medium-range ballistic missiles, India’s or China’s space program. Worry instead about the folks generating plutonium or building breeder reactors. Large nuclear programs are slow-moving, easily-spotted, and as such benign as deterrents, rather than as elements of a surprise attack.

    Alex J. Avriette

    October 25, 2008 at 1:25 pm

  4. Doug
    Thanks for clearing that up about the USS New York site, but I must admit that after rereading your post that you were clear all along, I just didn’t pay attention. When I came up with the concept http://www.northjersey.com/news/newyorkmetro/WTC_steel_lives_on_in_naval_warship.html
    It was a continuation of the naval tradition of naming future vessels after important battles and New York was a battle we lost. The steel part is just trench art on a large scale and of course “Never Forget” was “GW’s words at ground zero on the 14th. Thanks, your blog is a good read, I’ll be back.
    Scott

    Scott Koen

    October 25, 2008 at 3:02 pm

  5. Meh, I’m a Leo, I take everything personally, it’s a curse. No offence taken, none meant.
    Bin Laden is a lame duck? Interesting thought, and definitely fodder for a blog post. Thanks.
    I’m not so much worried about India per se, as much as arguing that very dangerous WMD technology continues to spread, and worrying about countries like Iran while ignoring general disarmament issues is a mistake.
    Well, I wish the USS New York safe sailing, thanks for your thoughts..and I look forward to your comments.

    unitedcats

    October 25, 2008 at 5:51 pm

  6. A dead Bin Laden means less $$$ for the defense industry. Why kill your best reason for being?

    duh..

    Amazing that the biggest military on the planet cannot kill a specified person after 7 years of ‘trying’ ! Such a failure..

    Think about that… its either we are totally lame, or some people are making too much off of his existence. Follow the money folks.. its not really that hard.

    E

    ET

    October 26, 2008 at 9:40 am


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