10 Mar 2008

Your Stuff -- and Terrorism

Watch this excellent video, The Story of Stuff, and pass it along to all your conspicuously-consuming friends. Although it suffers from a slight bias ("factory products are full of toxic waste"), it does get at the big-picture problems: Weak property rights in the developing world, fast consumption patterns, problems with waste in the environment, etc.

While you're at it, read this opinion (from 2003!), "The War on Terrorism is Bogus." Written by a British MP, he asks a sensible question: If the U.S. wanted to find and defeat al Qaeda, why did it invade Iraq? He also makes the conjecture that the U.S. executive branch did not react to rumors of an impending 9/11 because Bush and the Neocons wanted to get America into Iraq in 2000, i.e.,
We cannot allow North Korea, Iran, Iraq or similar states to undermine American leadership, intimidate American allies or threaten the American homeland itself. The blessings of the American peace, purchased at fearful cost and a century of effort, should not be so trivially squandered.
We got regime change, and we (not the Neocons) got a lot of dead and wounded soldiers and $3 trillion (that's "T" as in trillion) in debt. Think about it: Nobody wanted to invade Iraq until 9/11. Then we were told that al Qaeda was in Iraq, and Saddam had WMD. Neither were true (though al Qaeda is sure in Iraq now), and now we (not Bush or the Neocons) are stuck.

Remember that Nixon took 5 years to get out of Vietnam. How long will it take us to get out of Iraq, to escape a war that was not necessary? (The MP notes that FDR probably knew about Pearl Harbor, but that case was different -- Americans didn't want to get into WW2, but if we didn't, the Nazis would defeat Britain. There was no such threat from Iraq.)

When they put Bush et al. on trial for deceiving the American people, killing thousands and hundreds of thousands and destroying our economic security, remember to ask yourself: Why didn't we go after al Qaeda? We knew where he was but never carried through because we (rather Bush et al.) wanted to invade Iraq.

I am not sure which topic makes me more depressed, an environment that cannot cope with our waste or politicians who waste our lives. Looking for a connection? Bush et al. wanted Iraq for the oil, and we use plenty of oil for our stuff. See it?

Perfect post for a Monday.


Anonymous said...

Known terror plots thwarted by the U.S. government since 9-11:

• December 2001, Richard Reid: British citizen attempted to ignite shoe bomb on flight from Paris to Miami.

• May 2002, Jose Padilla: American citizen accused of seeking “dirty bomb,” convicted of conspiracy.

• September 2002, Lackawanna Six: American citizens of Yemeni origin convicted of supporting Al Qaeda. Five of six were from Lackawanna, N.Y.

• May 2003, Iyman Faris: American citizen charged with trying to topple the Brooklyn Bridge.

• June 2003, Virginia Jihad Network: Eleven men from Alexandria, Va., trained for jihad against American soldiers, convicted of violating the Neutrality Act, conspiracy.

• August 2004, Dhiren Barot: Indian-born leader of terror cell plotted bombings on financial centers.

• August 2004, James Elshafay and Shahawar Matin Siraj: Sought to plant bomb at New York’s Penn Station during the Republican National Convention.

• August 2004, Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain: Plotted to assassinate a Pakistani diplomat on American soil.

• June 2005, Father and son Umer Hayat and Hamid Hayat: Son convicted of attending terrorist training camp in Pakistan; father convicted of customs violation.

• August 2005, Kevin James, Levar Haley Washington, Gregory Vernon Patterson and Hammad Riaz Samana: Los Angeles homegrown terrorists who plotted to attack National Guard, LAX, two synagogues and Israeli consulate.

• December 2005, Michael Reynolds: Plotted to blow up refinery in Wyoming, convicted of providing material support to terrorists.

• February 2006, Mohammad Zaki Amawi, Marwan Othman El-Hindi and Zand Wassim Mazloum: Accused of providing material support to terrorists, making bombs for use in Iraq.

• April 2006, Syed Haris Ahmed and Ehsanul Islam Sadequee: Cased and videotaped the Capitol and World Bank for a terrorist organization.

• June 2006, Narseal Batiste, Patrick Abraham, Stanley Grant Phanor, Naudimar Herrera, Burson Augustin, Lyglenson Lemorin, and Rotschild Augstine: Accused of plotting to blow up the Sears Tower.

• July 2006, Assem Hammoud: Accused of plotting to hit New York City train tunnels.

• August 2006, Liquid Explosives Plot: Thwarted plot to explode ten airliners over the United States.

• May 2007, Fort Dix Plot: Six men accused of plotting to attack Fort Dix Army base in New Jersey.

• June 2007, JFK Plot: Four men accused of plotting to blow up fuel arteries underneath JFK Airport in New York.

• March 2007, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: Mastermind of Sept. 11 and author of numerous plots confessed in court in March 2007 to planning to destroy skyscrapers in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.


David Zetland said...

@anonymous: Excellent examples. What have they to do with Iraq? I was not implying that al Qaeda did not pull off 9/11, only that it had nothing to do with Iraq.

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