Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

"Three Nos" don't make a right. Nuclear disarmament means war..

Graham Allison’s logic in “Preventing a nuclear terrorist attack” (Sunday, March 30, 2008) demonstrates the flawed perspective of most ‘experts’ who tend to view problems through a limited area of expertise.

His analysis of the nuclear terrorist “threat” is accurate but his “Doctrine of Three Nos” is lethally flawed. Stopping such an attack won’t “prevent” even larger death tolls likely to result from our global implementation of his doctrine.

Stopping Iran (or any other determined ‘independent’ nation exercising its rights of national sovereignty) from developing nuclear capabilities will eventually require military force. And, any such act of war will have unpredictable consequences. Retaliation by Iran or any other ‘preempted’ nation could take the lives of tens of millions of Americans if they used biological weapons. Or, they could reduce us to Third World economic starvation conditions by targeting our satellites or oil supply using cyber, chemical or even conventional weapons?

Essentially, there can be no security for anyone if some believe they can arm themselves to the teeth and assuredly ‘prevent’ others from doing the same. This is not a new reality. Emery Reves, author of ‘Anatomy of Peace’ detailed this fact nearly 60 years ago when he wrote, “Once the mechanics and the fundamental causes of wars – of all wars – are realized, the futility and childishness of the passionate debates about armament and disarmament must be apparent to all. If human society were organized so that relations between groups and units in contact were regulated by democratically controlled law and legal institutions, then modern science could go ahead, devise and produce the most devastating weapons, and there would be no war. But if we allow sovereign rights to reside in the separate units and groups without regulating their relations by law, then we can prohibit every weapon, even a penknife, and people will beat out each other’s brains with clubs.

These words were made real for me after the Rwandan Genocide when nearly a million people were killed primarily with machetes and clubs.

We could likely “prevent” a million Americans from being incinerated by a nuclear attack? But the ultimate price we pay in American lives, dollars and essential inalienable freedoms will be far more costly.

The only sane path requires abandoning the flawed concept of the supremacy of national sovereignty, not trying to abolish some weapons for some groups.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

National security vs capitalism

Dear Editor,

Frank Gaffney, Jr. accurately details the lethal dilemma in US military systems relying on “foreign suppliers” for key logistical needs, but, then states that our ‘tanker’ capabilities are “arguably one of the most important determinants of US ability to project power around the world”.

Mr. Gaffney simply doesn’t understand several other components that are far more important to protecting the lives, freedoms and prosperity of the American people.

First, our nation’s prosperity is key to maintaining any semblance of military superiority that Gaffney and others believe are the key to our nation’s survival. Yet this ‘national’ prosperity is entirely dependent upon a global capitalist system that currently has an absence of enforceable national government controls. And we can clearly see that unregulated private capital investments anywhere (U.S. Mortgage finance rules or OPEC oil supply decisions) can harm prosperity everywhere.

Second, Gaffney makes a catastrophic error in assuming military threats are the only (or even the greatest) threat we Americans face. Pandemics, climate change or natural disasters could cause far more devastation than some European country failing to join with us in executing yet another questionable war.

Third, Gaffney assumes that domestic companies will provide near perfect military systems -- yet current examples of corruption in ‘cost plus contracts’ with Halliburton or their incompetence in supplying US troops with clean water or body armor, or the repeated instances of spies within U.S. companies to providing useful information to our enemies.

Forth, there is also the military itself that provides weapons and advanced weapon systems and technology to those who are the ‘enemy of our enemy’, who will likely someday become our enemy again. Arming the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation in 1980s or providing Saddam with chemical and biological weapons components as he was gassing the Kurds and Iranians before he became our enemy are just two of hundreds of such examples of such insanity.

Last, military power is not ‘one of the most important determinants” of US power projection. Our moral ideals expressed within our ‘Declaration of Independence’, our ultimate devotion to the rule of law instead of the law of force, and our innate tolerance for diversity of thought, religious belief and phenotype are far more powerful in influencing human behavior throughout the world – when we chose to practice them.

Mr. Gaffney and others like him must eventually come to grips with reality. We cannot rely on independent forces to protect us in an irreversibly and entirely interdependent world. We must either chose a globally regulated capitalism system where national sovereignty does not reign supreme, or continue retaining the faulty ideal of national sovereignty and abandon any and every aspect of an unregulated or even partially regulated global capitalist world. Trying to maintain both is truly a “ plane wreck” in the making.

Labels: ,