Friday, August 28, 1998

If the lottery is a tax on innumeracy, what do we call Clinton's terrorism policy (I'd call it an anti-terrorism policy, but the US did drop missiles on Khartoum)? Some terrorists mount an operation probably costing a few thousand dollars to destroy embassies worth millions. So we respond by destroying a primitive training camp (barracks, tents and an obstacle course) worth thousands of dollars, at most, by dropping 50 or 60 missiles worth $1 million each on it. Surely a win-win situation, even at the loss of Terrorist University (watch out for the frat initiations, but the keggers are awesome, dude!). And this is the "war of the future," huh?

Let me be the first to say that chemical weapons are a bad thing, but I have yet to be convinced that the plant in Khartoum produced anything more than human and veterinary medicine. For a start, a fair number of westerners have been inside it and haven't seen anything untoward. And I'm getting increasingly curious as to the terminology being used--"precursors" to nerve gas? Does that not mean that we know damned well the plant was incapable of producing actual nerve gas and are so claiming only that it could have produced components of nerve gas, like any pharmaceutical, chemical, or paint factory in the entire world? Something like the airstrips in Grenada that could have landed Soviet Migs--or Canadian tourists? No, I suspect this was just added on as a justification after intensive focus group studies, just like Bush didn't start talking about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction until other rationales failed to produce high enough poll ratings. And because Clinton needed two targets to match the two embassies.

In the same way, I suspect this bin Laden character has been promoted, and probably promoted way out of his league, to Darth-Vader-of-the-year to put a human face on the Enemy.

The language I dislike most is the language of legality. I've heard several times, I think from both William Cohen and Madeline Albright (incidentally, one hates to give in to anti-semitism, but having those two fronting this policy doesn't really help a whole lot in the Middle East), that this was a legal action. What is meant by this? It is true that the 1996 Terrorism Act does allow the president to do literally anything against he wants against anybody he deems to be terrorists, which is pretty much the same as having no law at all, but it doesn't matter since these actions took place outside the boundaries of the US. So Sudanese and Afghan law should apply, unless we claim that the cruise missiles have diplomatic immunity, and I'm willing to bet there is nothing in the laws of either nation that says that other countries can bomb them, although perhaps the lawyers on this list will correct me. Recycled paper isn't even legal in Afghanistan, so I doubt missiles are. That leaves only United Nations law, which allows for self-defense. Which is what we're claiming, although normally revenge doesn't quite count. So we're claiming to have foreknowledge that bin Laden was planning lots more terrorism. Probably picked it up off his web site or something, since if we had such great intelligence sources, I suspect they'd have mentioned something about the embassy bombings in advance.

I suspect Helen of Troy was much more attractive than Monica, but did she give blow jobs?

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