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From Heroes to Zeroes

April 22nd, 2014 No comments

link New drone strike in Yemen kills Al Qaeda militants | Fox News.

Rabid and fanatical as they are, you would think that at least some of the Al Qaeda militants might get an epiphany about the future of their chosen profession.

When they consider that if taken prisoner by the Americans, they can be pretty much guaranteed a civil and protected lifestyle even if it is within the confines of a prison.  They are given clean clothes, a floor that is not dirt, indoor plumbing, regular feedings which will likely make them fat during their stay and above all, respect and support by the American media.   Even the threat of being water-boarded has been removed as a tool in the pursuit of answers to skill testing questions, since, well, that’s inhumane.  The worst that can happen is that they pipe Justin Bieber or Beyoncé music into their cells to encourage cooperation.

On the other hand, if they are just standing around in Yemen or some other middle eastern outpost plotting to do unsociable things, they are afforded no such civility.  They just hear a faint and increasingly loud whistling sound, then nothing.  No pearly gates, no 72 virgins; they become desert vapor. They are not afforded the charade of a civil trial, habeas corpus, interviews by CNN and extended incarceration.  Those kinds of niceties are reserved for militants that actually create havoc and murder people and are lucky enough to be taken prisoner for their deeds.  If you are just standing around looking guilty, you’re legitimately a pest to be wiped out as if you were a fly at a picnic.

Not being lawyers, we aren’t clear on why terrorists who are caught red handed and admit to their activities are feted and given celebrity status whereas people who are merely hanging around with undesirables get the working end of a missile.  We are not seeing the outrage which erupted around the ‘rights’ of Khalid Sheik Mohammed and the resultant turning of his military trial into a civilian show trial.   This should be a strong hint to all potential terrorist inductees.  The glamour part of their existence is over.  The political currency derived from the kabuki of protecting the rights of terrorists has been spent by this administration.  That political theater is done.  Now they’re all expendable.

In truth and for pragmatic reasons, this is a far more efficient way to rid yourself of enemies than the old fashioned of way of sending in troops, suffering casualties and creating havoc.  The previous administration should have thought of that. We can just take out people that may be threats.  Hmm, seems civilized.  Once they figure out how efficient this really is, we can see them using the same methods domestically and Miranda will just be the name of a country singer.  When that happens, people had better choose who they hang out with wisely.

 

 

 

Just Me And My Gang

March 27th, 2014 No comments

link Barack Obamas first visit to Brussels to cost Belgium more than €10m | World news | theguardian.com.

With the ever escalating costs of moving political dignitaries around, maybe it would have been more efficient to move the mountain to Mohammed as the old proverb goes.  It would have been cheaper for Hollywood set builders to create a mock up city of Brussels on an LA movie set and bring the heads of Europe there than to fly half of DC to Europe.  Even with union labor, it shouldn’t cost much more than a couple of million dollars especially if only facades were built.

Instead, the Presidential entourage to Europe is composed of 900 staffers, numerous airplanes, limos, food tasters, door openers and secret service agents for a simple meet and greet.  This massive movement of people is like a summer migration of wildebeest on the Serengeti plains; probably visible from space.  Hasn’t anyone heard of Skype? Couldn’t they use Dropbox to exchange a few messages?  It’s as if a hundred years of advances in communications never happened as the politicos meet in the fashion they have established for thousands of years, with big delegations, pomp and circumstance.  The only apparent concession to modern times is the omitting of the elephants and palanquins.

The real problem is the accepted delusion that politicians and sundry dignitaries are in need of coddling, deferential treatment and expensive security at all.  Sure, someone’s going to hurl a few eggs once in a while, but for the most part, the scrum around politicos is pure theatre.  In real life, no one wants to be near those guys.  And let’s remember, since they are politicians, there’s no shortage of them; they can be replaced.  They’re as common as lawyers at an accident scene, not Faberge eggs.   If there’s any security detail needed, it’s probably back at the home turf where the constituents really hate them.

If a phone call or Skype conversation doesn’t meet the needs, the logical thing to do is to convene somewhere that’s so hard to get to, very little security is needed.  It would reduce or  eliminate the cost of the regal entourage, fleets of cars, food tasters and assorted hangers-on’ers.  A bare, isolated wasteland with no civilization and no paparazzi or protestors; Newfoundland pops to mind.

 

 

 

Don’t Make Us Send Joe…

March 18th, 2014 No comments

link Biden Arrives in Europe to Reassure Allies – NYTimes.com.

By now of course, Russia’s Vladimir Putin has firmly secured his grip on Crimea, that southern chunk of the Ukraine that is coveted for its strategic geographic locale.  While this did occur ostensibly with the full approval of the Crimean residents with a convincing 95% approval vote and without the necessity of firing even one shot from the Russians, the posting of 60,000 troops at the borders may have been a bit of an influence.

Ukrainians who may be somewhat averse to the possibility of the entire nation being pulled back into the grip of the Russian Bear are feeling just a bit lonely here. It’s as if their erstwhile political buddies disappeared like frat boys at a seedy bar when the big guy at the corner table stands up and bellows “hey you!” in their direction.

On the face of it, sending the second-in-command of the most powerful nation on earth to assuage the percolating fears of the European states appears to be a strong message to both the Europeans as well as to the Russians.  If this were Dick Cheney, definitely. But this is Joe Biden.  Was Pee Wee Herman not available?

Hopefully, Plugs has brought with him an arsenal of strong words and lots of chalk because he’ll need it when Putin keeps walking across the chalk line that Biden dares him to cross over.  This is the equivalent of sending Gilligan to threaten Goldfinger.  We can imagine the Europeans figuratively checking his luggage for guns.  “What? No guns? You brought no guns?”  Joe replies, “We’re civilized, we don’t do that anymore.  We’ll hit him with the finger waggle.”

What seems to be playing out here is the battle between the rule of law, as it’s believed in the West, versus the rule of the jungle, which is how the rest of the world operates.  It’s like the idiot pedestrians who are so confident that the rule of law will protect them at crosswalks that they blithely walk into the path of ‘rule-breaking cars’.   Joe Biden is going to tell the Europeans that they are in the right and that will protect them against Vlad’s dash through the crosswalk in his SUV.  Yeah, good luck with that.