Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day

Today is election day, and (predictably perhaps), the IDS has a template example of the kind of bassackward thinking that is deriving Republicans to the polls.

Two points in particular (both direct quotes):

  1. We should just ignore North Korea until it does what we want, and if it continues to pursue nuclear weapons, we should invade. Well, yes and no. I agree with the "ignoring North Korea" part, but how's this with invasion? The US simply doesn't have an infinite supply of resources, nor is its military capacity unlimited. Invading Iraq is already proving hard enough. Now, granted, there would be clear victory conditions in North Korea, and something like a real surrender could actually happen - but that's only the tip of the iceberg. Countries we actually have to pay attention to - like China, South Korea and Japan, will all want a big say in what happens afterward - and "what happens afterward" is likely to be a huge mess! It's really best to take this one step at a time. I agree that sitting back and doing nothing about North Korea is probably not the answer - but why sweep options off the table in the name of simplicity? Let's give sanctions a shot. They may well lead to a manageable coup - and then we could avoid all that nasty business of either letting the North start a war or starting one for them that we'd be responsible for cleaning up after.

  2. There are many people in this country who think terrorists should have access to civilian courts and civilian lawyers and be charged like regular criminals. Gee, ya think? Who woulda thought that maybe civilians get civilian trials? I bet these same people think that murderers and child molesters have a right to due process too! The bastards... Look, the point is that "terrorist suspects" are still "suspects." Insofar as they are American citizens, they have full right to due process, just like everyone else. That's not optional - it's in the Constitution. Have a read though it and learn something interesting. Capturing people on the battlefield is, of course, different. The vast majority of these people aren't US citizens, and they are in war zones. The Constitution doesn't apply there. But I think we can all agree that what we really, really, REALLY don't want is a government with unlimited powers of search, seizure and arrest. Pick any random example from history and you'll see what I mean: this case makes itself.

This is apparently what's driving Republicans to the polls: (a) America is invincible; we should just take anyone out we don't like and (b) terrorists all wear convenient armbands that identifies them as such, so we can safely just shoot them on the streets.

The sad thing is, neither of those is much of an exaggeration of what this goon is actually saying in his column. Never mind that there are other issues too - you know, the pesky debt, that social security thing, immigration, etc. The "Good Party" and the "Evil Party" are running, and - well, you know whatchoo gotta do.

So I say again: choose none of the above and VOTE LIBERTARIAN!


At 1:52 PM, Blogger noahpoah said...

The graduate student who wrote this column pulls a slick one with the terrorist vs. terrorism suspect bit: "For years now, there has been a debate in this country about what legal rights to give terror suspects. No, I am not kidding. There are many people in this country who think terrorists should have access to civilian courts and civilian lawyers and be charged like regular criminals." [emphasis added]

He goes on to assert, without argument or evidence, that "[t]errorism is the most important issue any politician will have to deal with once elected."

Contrary to this butthead's (and other, much more prominent buttheads') assertions, there is a good case to be made that the best way to fight terrorism is with police procedures, not military engagement. Yes, terrorism is a real and pressing issue. No, it is not the only one (as you correctly point out, Josh).

I'm glad you wrote about this column. It irritated me, but I didn't feel like blogging about it myself.


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