Thursday, August 10, 2006

Unclear On The Terrorist Concept

The first call I heard coming in to Mike Barnicle on Boston radio this morning was from an impassioned woman, wondering WHAT IT WILL TAKE for Americans to WAKE UP and realize that WE HAVE TO CONSERVE ENERGY, and this terrorist plot proves it. Okay, exactly how much do we have to reduce our oil consumption until British citizens of Pakistani descent will no longer be able to afford to buy hair gel at the airport?

It’s a great example of looking for your keys under the streetlight because the light is better there, even though you dropped them a block away. It is certainly unpleasant and annoying that of the money we pay for gas, some of it ends up in the hands of people who know some other people who know some terrorists, who get some of our money. My calculation is that over my lifetime I’ve contributed about $.0037 to terrorist causes by not driving a Yugo.

The problem is that bad people want to kill us. We might adopt any of a number of strategies to combat this, but it’s important to keep our eyes on the main fact. Fanatics believe that whatever happens, it all relates back to their pet cause. I think it must give people some sense of control over a world they find chaotic to be able to identify something they can do that they think will help. Even better, getting to yell at other people to do what you’ve been telling them about for years activates even more feeling of control, and adds in self-righteousness to boot.

Conserving energy, even on a national scale, has very little to do with the war on terror. Even if we work really hard to impoverish the Arabs, there will still be a billion of them, many of whom hate us. Even with people starving in the streets, nutcase leaders will find money for weapons (See Korea, North; Iraq). Conserving energy on an individual level does not affect terrorism in any measurable way.

Tracing where their money comes from – that might help. Or listening to their phone calls. Just a thought, if you’re truly looking for some way you’d like to help.

Additional note: do you see now why someone might consider this level of evasion to be in some way unhealthy? Perhaps even diagnosable?


bs king said...

Isn't that of which you speak the same phenomena that caused a certain presidential figure to have this conversation:
People: "What will we do about al-qaeda, the admitted responsible party for 9/11?"
President: "To Iraq! Iraq I say!"
People: "But wait, aren't there no proven links between Iraq and Al-Qaeda? Don't they have much stronger and proven ties to Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia? Haven't you been talking about invading Iraq since you were campaigning? Can we talk about this for a minute?"
President: "Why do you hate freedom?"


Ben Wyman said...

Isn't this the same phenomena that caused an entire political party to tell the same "why do you hate freedom?" joke for 6 years?

I myself take a softer view on the issue. I believe it may be time to stop all military conflicts, welcome the Al-Queda into the States with open arms, put them up in the Lincoln Bedroom, and send them out hunting with Dick Cheney.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Except that the AQ ties to Iraq are now proven. And we did go to Afghanistan. And there were no campaign comments about going to Iraq. And we talked about it for months.

Political arguments are always easier when you can write the other guy's script and answer that.

bs king said...

Alright, I admit it, my comment was utterly unoriginal and grossly generalized. It was the obligatory Democrat response. In some sick way, I did this purposely. You see, I live in Massachusettes, and down here we're taught that a thoughtful and intelligent conservative response is on par with the Easter Bunny or Santa Clause, nice thoughts that don't exist. I needed a fix.

Political arguments are also much easier when you're yelling at a radio rather than engaged in a debate with a person who might actually answer you. My real theory? We've polarized far to much in this country. A real moderate real Republican for president in 2008. McCain? Giuliani? Are you listening?

Personally I mourn the atrophying of my debating skills from living in a place where everyone agrees far to often.

bs king said...

Alright, I expounded on my thoughts and posted them:

jlbussey said...

There aren't a billion **Arabs** in the world, there are a billion **Muslims**. BIG difference. And most of the billion Muslims don't live in oil-rich countries and aren't committing terrorist acts.

Your point still holds about nutcase dictatorial governments letting their people starve so they can buy weapons to threaten others and build palaces, but that isn't an exclusively Arab or Muslim behavior. (North Korea anyone?) Which, come to think of it, might support your argument better - even if we weren't dependant on oil and there were no rich Arabs or Persians funding it, there would still be Kim Jong Il and Robert Mugabe types causing trouble and killing people.

Sad, sad world.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

jbussey is quite correct, of course. And as he notes, NK and other countries provide good examples.

It shoots up the whole "War for Oil" accusation, because that's true in only an indirect sense. We're concerned whenever some dangerous person has power, regardless of what the power is founded on.