Saturday, September 24, 2005

213. Endless War?

The idea of some kind of Divine Retribution is floating around in everyone's mind right now. Two killer hurricanes in the space of a month? According to the scientists it's simply a matter of water temperatures. Anything over 28.3 degrees C: calculator time -- 28.3 x 9 (254.7) divided by 5 (50.94) plus 32 =82.94 degrees Fahrenheit -- means a tropical storm will build into a hurricane.

The Independent (London) ran a front-page article quoting a top British scientist who claims this is a result of carbon dioxide emissions and the resulting global warming. A more cautious article on the BBC website points out that water temperatures were actually higher in the 1930s and 40s, leading to some killer hurricanes, and that the process is cyclical.

Choose your explanation. In either case, the timing of these storms couldn't possibly be worse. A beleaguered US administration, already under attack for its faltering policies in an unpopular war, is now being held to account for incompetence in handling the aftermath of Katrina and for slashing the funds that could have prevented the extent of that recent disaster. With Rita approaching it is catch-up time. Mr B and his staff are getting hyperactive: second time around, in front of the cameras, let's do this right!! The fact remains that the infrastructure of the USA (highways, levees, dams, electrical grids) are falling into a state of neglect and disrepair which puts the average citizen at much greater risk than any possible outside terrorist attack.

The poor will always lose; the rich will always escape. It's about time the rapidly shrinking middle-class (the hard-working young unable to match the lifestyle of their parents) woke up to the fact that the country is not being run in their interests. Sooner or later the gov will have to re-introduce the draft since they are scraping the bottom of the barrel already (high school graduation no longer required, felony convictions overlooked, fast-track citizenship dangled like a carrot for foreign enlistees). Hitler invaded Russia -- June 1941 -- when the war in the West was still unresolved. Bush and the Neocons are quite capable of attacking Iran while the mess in Iraq continues. At this rate, we'll all end up in the Army .... but not with their sons and daughters.

And now for some further thoughts (Gawd help us) ....

I remember feeling sorry for Nixon when Watergate overwhelmed him. I was a young guy at the time, living in the States, and I remember coming across a small article on about page 11 of the local Austin paper describing a break-in at the Democratic National HQ. Oh-oh. Alarm bells. Sure enough it turned into a major scandal and brought down the Presidency. In the beginning the Rush Limbaughs and Pat Robertsons and Sean Hannitys and Ann Coulters of that time spewed their usual venom against the "liberal media" but when it became evident that their guy was guilty as sin they all turned against him like the injured party in a bad divorce. It was painful to witness all this self-righteousness so I actually felt a stab of fellow human feeling for the poor guy who had become the national scapegoat. When Bush comes down in flames -- bringing a large part of the national and world economy crashing down with him -- I doubt if I will feel the same degree of sympathy.

That he will be brought down is reasonably certain. He can't possibly complete his term unless he radically ups the ante (war with Iran comes to mind) and he could lead the USA into a major disaster and crisis of confidence. He is halfway there already like Hitler in about 1937-38. It will take years if not decades to clean out the stables and pick up after him. Leaving Nixon aside for the moment (some good footwork with China and the old Soviet Union) he is the worst choice of president since Andrew Johnson. On the international stage back then it didn't matter so much. Now it does.