July 7th, 2005

pod

London

The recent terrorist attacks in London were horrific, vicious, and uncalled for. They were also extremely predictable. Every major city in the Western world is at risk, and London was a prime candidate due to British involvement in the war in Iraq and the U.K.'s close ties to America. Of course we don't know that it was Islamic terrorists at this point, it could be the IRA, or some anti-globilization group, or even a response to the Olympics. Regardless of the reasoning behind the attacks we know that we're in an age where no place is safe from this sort of attack. It may be only a matter of time before one of the bombs is nuclear and the stakes change dramatically.

So what can be done? More importantly what should be done? Most reasonable people believe that the correct response to terrorism is to fail to acknowledge it. Most terrorists commit their heinous acts with some sort of message or policy goal, and if they fail to achieve that it de-incentivizes further acts by them and others. This is true to a degree, certainly I believe that negotiating with terrorists will just breed more terrorism, but it leaves out a key component of terrorist activities, lashing out.

A lot of terrorism seems to stem from powerless people lashing out against those they blame, rightly or wrongly, for their lack of power and prospects. From the KKK in a humiliated and devastated South to Arabs growing up in countries with 25% unemployment and few prospects for real economic advancement, these people want to matter in the world somehow. They don't want their years on this planet to pass without anybody noticing or caring. It's not the job of America or the United Kingdom to provide employment or advancement for these people, we couldn't do it if we wanted to without making things worse, but we are complicit in their powerlessness. The rotten regimes of the middle east would not have survived as long as they have, keeping their countries in the dark ages, if not for the billions of dollars in oil money we give them every year.

What's the right thing to do in response to terrorist attacks from Muslim groups? Start looking HARD for alternative sources of energy. Imagine if we spent the $200 billion we wasted in Iraq on research and development for hybrid cars and other technologies to reduce oil dependence? We could get there in five, maybe ten, years. Without inflated oil prices those regimes would become cash starved, and without oil to blackmail us with we'd be able to pressure them to democratize and create a free society where those angry young men could go to college or write books or do anything other than blowing people up in order to make their mark on this world. Now some might argue that China's increasing demand for oil will nullify any such attempts, but we could license the technology to the Chinese market to deal with that. That would be both a boon to international relations with the next big swinging dick of the world stage, and a tremendous aid to national security.

Terrorism is a terrible price to pay for gas guzzling SUVs and energy so cheap that people refuse to run their air conditioners at a slightly higher temperature to conserve it. As a block of nations we need to take a long hard look at what we're doing and how we can truly make the world a better place for not only those of lesser means but ourselves as well. These attacks in London were terrible and terribly predictable. They will not be the last and they will probably be among the least fatal. If we don't change the way we operate in the world things will continue to worsen. I for one don't want to turn on the news some day and hear that Paris no longer exists due to a nuclear blast. I don't want you to turn on the news and learn that I was killed by a bomb set off in Times Square.

We can make this a better world for everyone and we won't have to send young people off to kill other young people in foreign lands to do it. The choices are ours. Let's pressure our leaders to make the right ones.
  • Current Music
    The Clash - London Calling
pod

Calling all moon theorists

The most tragic thing about the London bombings won't be the few dozen British lives taken by the terrorists (as horrible as that is) but rather the potential for millions of Africans to continue starving and dying of AIDS thanks to the disruption of the G8 summit. That's not to say I believe that the summit would have gone swimmingly for them if not for the attacks, but whatever hope Live 8 had of pushing things in the right direction probably went up in a bang with those buses. Blair's had to go back to London, and surely terrorism will become even more of a focus now.

That being said, I am sure some conspiracy theorists will claim that someone, either agents of a G8 government or international business interests, is using the bombings to take attention/pressure away from the summit and the developing world. It's not that crazy a claim if you really think about it. If big tobacco is any indicator then killing 40+ people and injuring a thousand or so wouldn't be out of the question for a mainstream company or group in search of higher profits. Now perhaps the mere publicity of the summit was enough to lure terrorists who would have attacked anyway to make a statement, but if so their actions were a little ridiculous. Bombing London would make sense, it would still be an atrocity but it would make sense, if the G-8 summit were in London. Instead it's sort of nearby. Perhaps it could be merely an attack on England for daring to hose the summit, but then why the transportation system, why not a bank or a national monument? Because it's convenient?

I'm not saying I believe that anyone beyond the usual suspects had a hand in these attacks, but I expect others will think so, and if it turned out they were right I would not be shocked beyond all reason.

One thing's for sure, it's a sad reminder of how much easier it is to focus on a few scores of deaths close to home than the millions that occur far away from the TV cameras and people we know. I feel for those injured in the London bombings. I feel for those starving or dying of AIDS in Africa. Both groups are victims today.
  • Current Music
    The Goo Goo Dolls - Long Way Down
A hairy situation

Dr. Phil is a huge Douche: reason #1212431

One of my dirty secrets is that I sometimes watch bits of Dr. Phil's television program on CBS 2. I do it for the same reason I listen to Rush Limbaugh or read Townhall.com, to know how the other side thinks and get a little bit of outrage going. Today, though, he crossed a line that's scummy even for him.

When speaking of a teenage girl who died from binge drinking he said to the parents: "I can't even imagine what you are going through having lost a daughter who was...just look at the picture...so obviously beautiful." She was indeed a very pretty girl but...WHO CARES? Why is it that these people always focus on how beautiful or handsome a dead young person was? If an ugly young person dies do the parents just shrug and go "Well he was my son but did you see those teeth? Kinda glad I don't have to look at them at the dinner table anymore."

Talk about a dead person's character, intelligence, dignity, whatever. Talk about how much they were loved. But talk about their physical appearance? Is this a funeral or a pick-up bar?

Dr. Phil, you are a beautiful beautiful DOUCHE BAG.
  • Current Music
    The Goo Goo Dolls - Naked