Web Slander/Libel

I’m not sure to just what “ravings” Mr. Dog is referring, since he provides no actual quotes, but anyone can do a deja and see that I for one, have never proposed nuclear carpetbombing of Afghanistan, or even using nukes, though I may have said that it was conceivable that this might be required at some point as the war progresses (though I seriously doubt that they would ever have any utility in Afghanistan, other than possibly some small tactical nukes to flush out caves, but even this would be unlikely). I have also never proposed murdering survivors of such an attack, or sterilizing anyone.

I should also add, in response to what was to me the greatest insult, that I almost never watch CNN, and I certainly don’t consider it a source of useful knowledge. It is true that I have proposed that we may have to do what we did in Japan and Germany (not nuke, but subjugate, install a decent government, and reeducate) to have a true long-term solution to the Current Unpleasantness. Perhaps this is what upset him.

I am genuinely curious as to just what it was that I wrote that got his canine panties sufficiently in knots that he felt compelled to slander me on his web site, but whatever it was, I hope that this sets the record straight until he chooses to elaborate.

Taliban Emigration Update

[Update] At the risk of destroying the pristine value of a potential Iowahawk classic, I’ve come up with a new verse, and invite readers to contribute more…

Convoy!

[Ah, breaker one-nine, this here’s the Fatwa Duck. You got a copy on me, Goatpen? C’mon. Ah, yeah, ten-four, Goatpen, for sure, for sure. By golly, it’s clean clear to Kabultown. C’mon. Yeah, that’s a big ten-four there, Goatpen. Yeah, we definitely got the tent door, good buddy. Allah Akbar alive, looks like we got us a convoy.]

It was the dark of the moon on an old sand dune

And a camel pullin’ logs

Cab-over Pete with some poppies on

And a Jimmy haulin’ wogs

We’s headin’ for death on the Old Silk Road

‘Bout a mile outta Shakeytown

I says ‘Goatpen, this here’s Fatwa Duck’

‘And I’m about to put the jihad down’

{chorus}
‘Cause we got a big old convoy rockin’ thru the night

Yeah, we got a big old convoy, martyrs packed in tight

Come on and join our convoy, six dozen virgins await

Gonna roll this truckin’ convoy, to Allah’s pearly gate

Convoy!

We got Saudis, Egyptions, Lebanese and Yemenese, and

Folks down from Gaza Strip.

We’ve even got an idiot from Oregon

All eager for the trip

If our stingers don’t work, and the gunships home in

And they blow us all to Kingdom Come

We’ll send up a prayer to keep the virgins in stock

With an extra ration of rum

{chorus}

‘Cause we got a big old convoy rockin’ thru the night

Yeah, we got a big old convoy, martyrs packed in tight

Come on and join our convoy, six dozen virgins await

Gonna roll this truckin’ convoy, to Allah’s pearly gate

Convoy!

[Ah, breaker, Pigpen, this here’s Fatwa Duck ‘n’ you wanna back off them hogs? Ah, ten-four. About 5 mile or so. Ten roger. Them infidels is gettin’ INtense up here. Aaaagghhhh!!!]

Sing it with your friends tonight…

Bellicose Afghan Women

Sharifa’s neighbour, Parigul, a 55-year-old widow whose husband was killed fighting the Taliban, was shot through the arm in the cornfield battle, but vows that she will fight again if needed.

The article also notes that

The women here have an extra incentive to fight off the enemy. During previous raids, Taliban fighters have raped some women and kidnapped others as sex slaves – despite their regime’s official commitment to a fanatical Islamic experiment.

Hmmmm….Do you get more or fewer than seventy-two virgins if you’re martyred by a lowly woman?

Looking Out For Number One

But not our fearless leaders. According to Tom Delay, we “little people” aren’t important enough to be bombed, so the focus should be on protecting our invaluable and irreplaceable statesmen and stateswomen. As Steyn caustically and accurately points out, “Given that the comparative losses of the war since Sept. 11 are Nobodies: 5,000, Symbols: zip, DeLay’s remark is at the very least in extraordinarily bad taste.”

As usual, I can find very little to add to Steyn’s comments. Go read it.

More Airline Insecurity (Part Deaux)

It’s not a laughing matter, but: “”If you don’t take this plane to China, I’ll cut everyone’s nose hair…”

…You have no idea how long you’ll be in ticket and security queues. I’ve gone to an airport five hours before my flight and reached the gate in 15 minutes. Friends have arrived at DIA four hours prior to flights and were shut out. Nobody, especially airport officials, knows when you should get there…

…They took away my fingernail clippers and razor, but I was able to walk into a newsstand and buy fingernail clippers and a razor before I got on the plane. I went into a B Concourse Discovery Channel store and counted a dozen things I could use to cause problems on an airplane…

Hopefully, enough such commentaries will result in a little more sanity, but I’m afraid that they’ll just back off on the new draconian nonsense without actually doing anything effective, because the terms of the debate remain fundamentally orthogonal to the real problem.

What happened on September 11 was a result not of lax security by the government, but rather the culmination of decades of attempted infantilization of the American people, in which we’ve been told that we have no responsibility for our own security, and that the only safe way of life was to disarm ourselves and trust to our paternal government. If there is any good to come out of the attacks, starting to roll back that tide may be part of it, but only if we start to have the serious discussion about it that the mainstream media has been studiously attempting to avoid for many years.

More Airline Insecurity

The bill pushed by House Republicans would create a Transportation Security Administration within the Transportation Department responsible for security of all modes of transportation. It increases the number of air marshals on flights, takes steps to strengthen cockpit doors, requires law enforcement personnel at each screening location in airports, and imposes a passenger fee of up to $2.50 per flight to pay for new security measures.

The Senate bill and legislation introduced by House Democrats contain many of the same provisions. But the Senate bill would make all 28,000 airport screeners federal workers, allowing smaller airports to use local or state law enforcement officials.

If our only choice is one of these two versions, then my vote is for the House version, but what’s frustrating about this debate (as in most public policy debates) is the “false-choice” aspect of it. It is based on a set of flawed assumptions, e.g.:

  • That what happened on September 11 was a failure of airport security procedures
  • That improving those procedures will prevent future such events
  • That the legislation being contemplated will actually have the effect of improving those procedures
  • That no price is too high to pay to prevent airline hijacking attempts

The story notes that a price of $2.50 will be added to each ticket to pay for this improved security. This is indeed a trivial amount, and if it were the only cost, and it really increased our safety, I’d cheerfully pay ten times the amount. But what is always ignored in these debates is the real cost (perhaps because politicians and bureaucrats, who are not paid by the hour, don’t understand that time really is money).

Has anyone ever done a cost/benefit analysis of these bureaucratic butt-covering edicts? Has anyone ever calculated the undoubtedly tens or hundreds of billions of dollars that confiscating toenail clippers from business travelers costs in terms of lost time and productivity? Has anyone even attempted to estimate the lost wealth to the economy because of deals that don’t get done because someone finds flying not too frightening, but simply too harrying and inconvenient?

As I’ve pointed out in a previous editorial, I don’t worry much about hijackings any more. The hijackers themselves have put a permanent end to that by shifting the paradigm of both passengers and crew–we simply will never tolerate it again. I am now more worried about bombs on board, and at least in the case of checked luggage, these can be checked for with very little inconvenience to the passengers, and even with carry-on, a bomb is much easier to detect, and can be screened without wasting time on the minutiae of personal grooming tools, or even Swiss Army knives (I had to leave mine in Puerto Rico last month because of the continuing brainlessness of the current security approach).

Some say that if people are expected to have to defend themselves, they won’t fly. My bet is that what will keep people from flying is ineffective and time-wasting security procedures, that only give us the illusion that we don’t have to take any personal responsibility for ourselves. As Ann Coulter once said, the flawed thinking is apparently that, the more annoying the procedures, the safer the plane. I know that I’ll be flying less, and not because I’m afraid, but because I value my time.

My preferred anti-hijacking solution remains to allow qualified people to carry–cockpit crew, active/retired military, law enforcement personnel, even people with valid CCW. Let’s make the hijackers have to guess who’s carrying and who’s not and how many are, and my bet is that there won’t even be any more attempts, let alone successes. But that remains a politically incorrect solution (though perhaps becoming less so, as we see gun sales skyrocketing in the wake of the attacks).

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!

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