The terrorists are winning, and other musings on politics

The terrorists are winning. The new security restrictions on flying, especially those in the UK, have now reached the level where I no longer intend to fly. I’d be willing to fly from San Francisco to Europe even if it weren’t safer than my (short) daily commute to work, which it probably has been for the past few decades. But it’s not worth traveling if I have to give up the ability to bring reading material onto flights (UK only, so far), and I don’t trust airlines to provide enough water. But our government (and the UK government) would rather we live in a state of terror, so traveling at slightly higher but still reasonable risk is not an option.While I’m on the topic of politics, I’ve been thinking about the war in Lebanon. I’ve seen some speculation about why the Israeli political and military leaders were foolish enough to respond so aggressively to provocation—a response that greatly reduces the prospects for peace in the region. But that idea just doesn’t seem to add up—I have more confidence in the ability of the Israeli government to act rationally than I have in the United States government (although I suppose that isn’t saying much), and the reasons I’ve seen for the response just don’t ring true. A theory that makes more sense to me, and which I think an article in The Economist hinted at, is that either the United States or Israel is preparing to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear weapons program. The Economist article suggests that if Iran were attacked, its method of retaliation would likely be to use Hezbollah as a proxy to attack Israel. Thus it would make some sense for Israel to preemptively attack Hezbollah if the United States and/or Israel were preparing to attack Iran without wider international support. (Attacking Iran unilaterally or bilaterally is itself a very bad idea. That the United States can’t get wider support for blocking Iran’s nuclear program is yet another sign of the ineffectiveness of the Bush administration’s foreign policy.)

And one more thing about politics. It’s clear that today’s Republican party doesn’t believe in democracy. Bobby Kennedy Jr.‘s article about the 2004 presidential election in Ohio alleges that their tactics changed the result of the 2004 presidential election (see also two rebuttals: 1, 2). I don’t think it’s clear whether whether or not their tactics actually changed the result of the 2004 election. But what’s alarming is that they don’t believe in letting the people choose, and they’re getting away with it (in Florida, in Ohio, in Alabama, in Missouri, and elsewhere).

Kind of like the way they use homeland security as a political tool rather than as a way to keep people safe.

I’m waiting for the day when the Republicans try to stop the teaching of the American Revolution in schools because it might give the kids dangerous ideas.

Facts Courtsey: L. David Baron


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