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10/24/2003

 

for the love of pete, don't ban the bomb



science fiction writer bruce sterling playfully offers a list of ten technologies destined for the museum. there's your usual liberal parade of hits like coal power and the penal system, but jumping three spaces up the chart to come in at number one this week is j. robert oppenheimer's hit single, boom boom out go the lights!

[Nukes] are excellent weapons for nongovernmental predators to deploy against centers of government. They are quite useless for governments to deploy against terrorists. So why are governments still manufacturing these expensive, dangerous, easily stolen objects?

If all nuclear weapons vanished tomorrow, the world's current military situation would not be affected one whit. The U.S.A. would still be military top boss. Yet we'd be much less likely to wake up one morning to find Paris or Washington missing.


few outside of dorkdom know or care who bruce sterling is, but i've heard this exact same argument advanced with increasing frequency in conversations with liberal friends. could it be that the no-nukes crowd is poised at the cusp of comeback?

just in case, i'll mount a pre-emptive strike with my standard fifty-megaton ordnance.

the argument for keeping the bomb is the same as the one for keeping the second amendment. silly liberals sit around romanticizing about how wonderful a nuclear-free world would be, but it's not going to happen. the box has been opened, and all their dope smoking, positive vibes, and candle-light vigils combined can't cram the daemons back in. this is why you people need to keep liberals out of power. children think the world works the way they want it to. grown-ups know better. grown-ups know that we can't wave nuclear armaments away with a magic wand; that regardless of who signs what treaty, the end result will be the nice nations obeying while the not-so-nice nations don't--and when it's only the not-so-nice nations who've got the bomb, well, God help you then, my friend.

so we'll lower our sword when pakistan, north korea, iran, and (oh yes) china lower theirs. that's to say nothing of the former soviet union's nuclear arsenal. you know, the one the russians couldn't fully account for even if they wanted to.

the world is a big, scary place, folks, and it's bigger and scarier now than it's ever been. the cold war was a joke compared to what we're facing today--c'mon, would one side have ever really struck at the other, knowing what that would mean? posturing aside, the cold war fell into a remarkably stable equilibrium and never much budged. but there is no stability today. there's just us and a bunch of irrational, unpredictable people who want to kill us. can nuclear weapons deter terrorists? probably not (although a pledge to vaporize mecca in response to a hostile detonation might give them pause...) but it can sure scare the heck out of any government fool enough to consider giving them one. if nothing else, it's a big stick to keep those little nasties out there who are deterrable safely in check. i'm looking in your direction, kim jong il.

locdog will give up his nuclear weapons when you pry them from his cold, dead hand




 

an atheist goes into the woods...



he strolls along a lovely creek, admiring the wonders of nature. suddenly, a giant grizzly comes charging out of the brush and knocks him to the ground. the bear rears up on its hind legs and raises its massive paws to strike. in a moment of sheer terror, the atheist cries out "Oh, God!"

the atheist cringes and waits for his doom, but nothing happens. he looks around only to discover that time has frozen. a bright light surrounds him, and a voice that booms like thunder calls down from the heavens.

"all your life, you have denied My existence. you have even taught others not to believe in Me. should I now number you among the faithful?"

it would be hypocritical of me, thought the atheist, to suddenly become a Christian. i know what i'll do.

"why don't you prove yourself to me by making the bear a Christian," he calls heavenward.

"very well," says the voice, and the light vanishes.

time begins once more, but instead of swooping down to deliver the coup de grace, the bear pauses, folds his hands contemplatively, and in a gravely voice begins to pray "Lord, for this meal which i am about to receive, i give you thanks..."

locdog heard that one on the radio this morning




10/23/2003

 

who says God doesn't take sides?



i'm a bit of a late-comer to the whole boykin fiasco--pretty shocking, even to me--so i won't waste time repeating what's already been said: whether or not boykin's heart was in the right place, his understanding of Scripture is sorely lacking and his my-god-can-beat-up-your-god rhetoric is antithetical to Biblical evangelism. it's post 9/11 falwell and robertson all over again, and as i said then, being a Christian is hard enough without having to apologize for this sort of idiocy.

boykin's childish statements drew loads of criticism, most of it deserved. but of all of the ways in which the general's critics have found fault, the most frequently heard are also the most incorrect. let's look at a few.

1. islam. Christianity. what's the difference?

boykin isn't an intolerant bigot because he believes Christianity is the true faith. Jesus Christ Himself believed that, and said as much when He declared that, except through Him, you can never truly know God. believing that Jesus is The Way doesn't make you automatically intolerant of other faiths any more than believing 2+2=4 makes you intolerant of those who believe 2+2=5. this is easy to see if you consider that tolerance cannot exist but for disagreement: how could i tolerate someone who agreed with every word i said? boykin is a bigot because he thinks his faith makes him superior to unbelievers, when Christians are supposed to realize that we are nothing more than desperate sinners in need of a savior, none of us capable of pleasing God on our own.

2. muslims are not our enemy

i agree with this one: while most of our enemies are muslims, that doesn't mean that all muslims are our enemy. boykin made little effort to distinguish between mainstream islam, and the militant wing we've been grappling with since september 11th. i list this criticism because i think it misses the deeper problem with boykin's attitude. boykin sees muslims as ravening wolves, but Jesus saw them and any other non-believers as lost sheep. our job as Christians is to save these people through evangelism. they aren't the enemy, for "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against [satan and his angels.]" it's funny that boykin actually quoted the Scripture that militates most strongly against his position: we must not conflate physical enemies with metaphysical ones, and we must not conflate the lost with the one who has led them astray.

3. God is not on anyone's side

now this is just plain dumb. do you people mean to tell me that God was not in favor of the allies during world war two? i mean, we're assuming the existence of a moral God here, so if that's the case, then how could He not have been against hitler, or against bin laden today? i don't know who or what God is to you, but if you think He's neutral between the osama's of the world and everyone else (that being how osama sees the sides) then your God isn't worth having. maybe you're a deist and think He doesn't care about human affairs in any way. fine. maybe you're an atheist. that's fine too. but if you recognize the existence of a supreme moral law-giver as the vast majority of human beings do, then there's simply no way you can maintain that God is neutral in human affairs.

the problem arises when we start to believe that God has national allegiances. that God is an american or an arab or whatever. God is on the side of whoever is doing the right thing, and opposed to whoever is doing the wrong thing. at the moment, we happen to be in the right. but that could change tomorrow.

those are the big three as locdog sees 'em. any thoughts?




10/22/2003

 

political roundup



we've got PBA's proscribed, pakistani perfidy, and pentagon pessimism in today's parade of pertinence as presented by yours truly, howard cosell--er, i mean, locdog.

the world is going to end

ask those around you to be still, go to any window, open it and stick your head out. listen. hear that? that blood-curdling shriek? those ghastly wails? know what's causing them? there's now one less way to legally commit infanticide, and the pro-abortion crowd is going into meltdown. well, perhaps i'm getting ahead of myself. technically, all that's happened is that the partial birth abortion ban has passed the senate, and will be signed into law by the president. whether it holds up to the legal challenges the ACLU, planned parenthood, et al has promised remains to be seen.

"This ban makes no exception for a woman's health even though it outlaws medically necessary abortions. It is unconstitutional and we will pursue every legal option, including a federal lawsuit, to prevent it from taking effect," the Planned Parenthood Federation of America said.


medically necessary abortions? when is inducing a breech delivery ever more medically sound than birth by c-section or some other option? the pro-choice rank'n'file believe this jive (see zinya's hysterical response) but their leaders are smart enough to see the real threat: incrementalism. pro-life forces are staging the same assault on abortion that the anti-death penalty crowd has been using on capital punishment for years. given that the sides are the same as well, i'd say turn-about is fair play.

abortion, like capital punishment, will never be defeated on principle. if either of them are ever pinned to the mat, it'll be by a thousand lilliputians who crept up during the night. abortion advocates frequently chide pro-lifers on supporting a bill which "won't save a single life!" but thinking persons on either side of the debate know what the real threat is.

i'm in favor of incrementalism, but even if i wasn't, i'd support this bill. as rick santorum argued, partial birth abortion contributes to the degradation of american culture. how any society can countenance the cruel and unusual execution of sentient human beings at any stage of their existence is beyond me. if i suggested that we execute condemned prisoners by jamming forceps into the back of their fully-conscious heads, opening them, inserting a tube, and sucking their brains out until their skulls collapse, the roar from the left would sound like...well, like it does right now.

i heard today that the united nations is going after canada because of legislation that permits spanking. they think it's inhumane. what a world.

the world is going to end

maybe.

claiming a reliable "ranking Pakistani insider," the washington times reports that the saudi government has brokered a deal in which free or cheap oil will be sent to pakistan in exchange for nuclear capabilities.

whether or not this particular story proves true, the united states is going to have to deal with nuclear proliferation sooner or later. if our handling of the north korean situation is any indication, neither party has any intention of taking the sort of bold steps needed to ensure a mushroom cloud doesn't one day rise over manhattan. what the u.s. needs to do is decide who can be trusted with the bomb, who can't, and act accordingly. think it's ever gonna happen? if it does, it'll be after millions of americans have been vaporized. bin laden proved that.

what we the people need to come to terms with is the fact that we live in a world which is more dangerous now than ever--and i mean ever. the cold war was never really much of a threat because both sides always knew what the other was going to do. but mutually assured destruction does not hold for a terrorist. these aren't rational actors.

the world is going to end

if we don't start taking terrorism seriously. ok, ok, fine. so i took a little artistic license with donald rumsfeld's memo, but if you combine this memo with the nuclear deal-making mentioned in the last story, it's still pretty darn scary.

DoD has been organized, trained and equipped to fight big armies, navies and air forces. It is not possible to change DoD fast enough to successfully fight the global war on terror; an alternative might be to try to fashion a new institution, either within DoD or elsewhere — one that seamlessly focuses the capabilities of several departments and agencies on this key problem.


i want all of you people to read rumsfeld's memo. these are the sorts of questions we need our leaders to ask, and while i'm going to take issue with his assessment in part, it's comforting to know that we've got cowboys like rummy busting up group-think and forcing his staffers to face reality.

ok, here's my objection: rumsfeld is exactly right.

the dod isn't designed to turn on a dime. it's designed to be an irresistible force smashing into the immovable object of communist hegemony. that's a lot of inertia, baby. but dod's sluggish, torque-y diesel motor isn't just a product of cold-war engineering, it's a product of the nature of government itself. the ferrari rumsfeld envisions is a long way from the big yellow bulldozers government normally pumps out. i'm not opposed to the creation of rumsfeld's new speedster, but it shouldn't signal the abandonment of the bush doctrine, which, i think, is what rumsfeld has just suggested.

you can kill a mosquito with a fly swatter, but if you want to win the war, you've got to drain the swamp. that's the bush doctrine in a nut-shell, and it's why the elimination of the taliban is more important than the capture of bin laden could ever hope to be. the united states cannot control individual terrorists or their masterminds, but we can control foreign governments, and those we cannot, we can eliminate. the dod is very, very good at that sort of thing. ideally, we would bring about regime change non-militarily but we've got to do what we've got to do. want progress in the war on terror? regime change in iran, and saudi arabia. there is terrorism where there is tyranny.

locdog brings you all the news he sees fit to print




10/21/2003

 

for the crime of embarrassing the federal government



are you safer today than you were two years ago?

no, you aren't. fool me once, shame on you. fool me twice...

nathaniel heatwole is a twenty year old physics (hoo-rah!) and poli-sci major at guilford college, a small quaker school in greensboro, nc. he's not a quaker, but he is a pacifist, a draft-dodger, and, in short order, a felon. on the day after the second anniversary of september eleventh, and then again three days later, mr. heatwole smuggled box cutter knives, play-dough made to look like plastique, bleach, and matches onto two southwest airlines flights, hid the contraband in the lavatories, and sent emails to the transportation security administration notifying them of what he had done--right down to the exact flights. when authorities finally found the stash--five weeks later--they found detailed notes describing exactly when and how he'd done it along with it. turns out he went through the same security procedures we all do. (thank God for those federal security workers mr. daschle got us.)

mr. heatwole does not strike me as the sort of person i'd meet for a few beers at the game, but as far as i'm concerned they ought to give him a medal. what he's going to get, i fear, is a nice, comfy cell in a federal penitentiary. probably right next to zacharias moussauoi's. the government is not amused by mr. heatwole's stunt, and the TSA is downright livid:

Deputy TSA Administrator Stephen McHale said Monday's court action "makes clear that renegade acts to probe airport security for whatever reason will not be tolerated, pure and simple.''

"Amateur testing of our systems do not show us in any way our flaws,'' McHale said. "We know where the vulnerabilities are and we are testing them ... This does not help.''


i saw this guy on television, and he looked a lot like an inept bureaucrat sputtering with rage over the threat to his existence posed by an untrained hayseed with access to a walmart and a computer. imagine that. folks, do you hear how this guy is talking to you? "WE are the professionals. security is OUR concern. YOU people just shut up and do what WE tell you. YOU aren't helping."

and--get this--"WE know where the vulnerabilities are..." you know where the vulnerabilities are? yes, and now the rest of us do, too: right where they've always been.

now you may be surprised to learn that i'm in perfect agreement with mr. mchale: mr. heatwole's actions did nothing to show him any flaws in his system. but they did show us the flaws in his system. mr. heatwole whisked back the curtain and caught mr. mchale with his pants around his ankles while mr. bin laden crouches in a cave somewhere biding his time and making his tapes.

so three cheers for nathaniel heatwole, a very unlikely patriot as far as i'm concerned, but one who has done his country a great service by showing us that, if anything, our security is worse now than it's ever been. he broke the law, knew he was breaking it, and, if they sentence him to prison, will have to place his courage behind his convictions. but i'm hopeful that congress will take up his cause and put some heat on the federal prosecutors to work out a plea. we do it with real terrorists so why not do it with a warrior who has won perhaps the greatest victory in the war on terror since the toppling of the taliban?

locdog has a new hero