How sad is it that I'm on vacation, yet I'm still obsessively keeping up with the news? I've been thinking about that latest Osama bin Laden tape, and the conclusion that I've come to is disturbing: Osama bin Laden is a “better American” than the average American is. Why would I say something as vile as that? Look at the core of his most recent speech (video, excerpts):
Any state that does not mess with our security, has naturally guaranteed its own security. But we fought you because we are free people, we don't sleep on our oppression. We want to regain the freedom of our Muslim nation as you spill our security, we spill your security.
Remember when Americans used to fly their Don't tread on me flags? America was a free nation. It didn't mess with anyone else, and no one messed with it — because if anyone messed with America, you can bet that hellfire would rain down on them in return. This is exactly the demand for liberty that Osama is making here — “leave us alone, and we'll leave you alone.”
The US military is now upping tours of duty to a minimum of a full year of active combat in Iraq (more), and considering that people are being promised two or three back to back tours, this is going to deeply scar and destroy tens or even hundreds of thousands of US families — and that's just the kids that come back in one piece physically. On top of the lost time and the damaged psyches, the crippling injuries being sustained in huge numbers are just devastating (more)… and wasteful. Then of course there are the growing legions of corpses (more). Can you really say they died for your benefit?
Of course, as I pointed out before, America has as little as a five year supply of oil left in domestic and otherwise accessible fields. Even if you include Canada's giant reserves, our oil is so difficult to extract from the tar sands that switching to that resource would be an economic disaster to say nothing of the nightmarish effect on the freshwater systems. Alternative fuels? Great idea, but most estimates give 2040 as the earliest date that transition could happen. Which means that America has to either get along well with the rest of the world (yeah, right!), or it's going to have to go to war with the entire world.
Maybe that's why America is continuing to build its incredibly expensive (and dubiously functional) missile shield (more), which is useful exclusively for defending against Russia and other large countries with nuclear ICBMs. Of course, Russia has laughed off the US missile shield, building hypersonic cruise missiles that should be able to punch through. NASA has been demonstrating a similar set of hypersonic missile technologies in return.
People sometimes ask me, why are you always writing about America? Why don't you write about Canada — or as Osama put it, why not about Sweden? The above should clarify. When the US, the largest economy and the largest military, goes to war with the world, there aren't going to be a lot of places on this planet that aren't damaged by that war. 50,000 nuclear bombs going off aren't going to end all life on the planet, but the damage will be immeasurable.
So who are you going to vote for on Tuesday? Maybe that traitorous anti-war message that Kerry talked in the 1970s, as much as he's forced by his PR people to hawk it up these days in light of Cheney's “he's a wuss” comments, is the right message for America… Don't tread on us… We don't want war with you, and if you strike at us, we'll fuck you up. Simple demand: we leave you alone, you leave us alone.
Now, I know there are stupid and ill-informed people right now believing that all that's going on right now is America saying “don't tread on me” (it's all about September 11th, right?). But really, you have to be pretty brain-washed to believe that, when you realize that the US has troops in nearly every nation on the planet, often supporting corrupt regimes that murder millions of people, and that the US is the world's largest — and most indiscriminate — exporter of military technology.
As has been pointed out before, the fact is that the US is not going to be invaded and no meaningful strikes are going to be made on it, short of all this insanity escalating to the point where nutcases in the old superpower regimes decide to start lobbing nukes around. And all of us should be able to see what madness that is. I'm wearing an NRA shirt right now. If I'm asked here in Buenos Aires why I would wear such a thing, my answer is simple: because I believe that the world is safer and more free when the civilians hold as much power as government.
People make themselves free. Governments, by definition, restrict freedom, when instead their only role should be to keep people from restricting each other's freedom's. Absolute sovereignty on your own territory means respecting the territory of others. The more power the people have, the more free they are. A nation that puts its defense into the hands of its people, rather than allowing corporations to build corporate armies that plunder the world, will keep its liberty intact. But an empire which builds armies and extends its control will always be under attack, will always be hated, and eventually it will fall.
That said, the whole idea of “nations” is bunk.
But that's another story.
Oh, and to give you something to think about, here's an interesting Fark comment:
1. WWII refugee Jewish people look for a home after the war.
2. Nobody, including the USA, accepts them.
3. USA hatches brilliant plan to make their bible book come true by moving Palastinians out of their homeland to re-create the Jewish nation.
4. Decades of hell follow.
Imagine that after the US economy collapses and China becomes the next global superpower that they decide to relocate the citizens of LA and San Francisco to the Mohave in order to give the better land back to the native American people. While some would find it fair, those who are relocated are bound to be bitter about it and China's meddling for generations. As much as they resist the urge, some will resort to terrorist acts as a last resort to protest what was done to them.
Bin Laden is a product of US meddling. We made him. We need to un-make him and the Bush administration is not up to the task.
Goebbels understood that very well also.
Meh, I'm preaching to the choir. Those of you who get it understand that the best way to be free is to be non-interventionist, well-armed, strong, and capable, but pacifist. Those of you who don't are eating a hot dog and calling me a coward for thinking war is a mistake. Of course, most of those people are sitting at home on their couches while the impoverished youth of America go overseas to have their arms blown off by poor people who are just trying to stay free themselves.
A curse will be upon those who pay for death, and that curse will unleash its fury in our lifetimes, and it will destroy far more than just the guilty.
PS. If you have not yet seen Fahrenheit 9/11 yet, you can click here to download it now.