Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Did you know your life story will soon be available to airline security?

Officials Seek Broader Access to Airline Data

Published: August 22, 2006
WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 — United States and European authorities, looking for more tools to detect terrorist plots, want to expand the screening of international airline passengers by digging deep into a vast repository of airline itineraries, personal information and payment data.

So we may be facing a further reduction of privacy and freedom as the result of our reaction to "plots."

This has been the real story of the post-9/11 world. The US, Israeli and European powers regularly reacting to Al-Qaeda, Iran, Hamas et. al just as they hope we would.

With Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, it is not what they do that presents an existential threat to the West. It is the West's reaction to what they do. In other words our reactions present the real existential threat.

In James Fallows excellent July Atlantic article he explains this idea in detail.

A great example he gave from the past is this. During the 19th century and early 20th century the widespread anarchist movements across Europe killed perhaps 2,000 people. Authorities at the time proclaimed them to be "existential" threats.

The anarchists wanted a new European order and continually tried to provoke internal and international war to do it.

One anarchist killed Arch Duke Ferdinand, only one man. But European reaction to the killing started WWI, millions were kiled, it led to WWII where tens of millions were killed and Europe was remade. The English Empire fell, the Austo-Hungarian Empire fell, the Soviet Union was founded and the anarchists succeeded.

So we go today.

It is not what they do (and it never will be what they do) that determines who is winning this "war." It is how the West and the U.S. in particular reacts.

Iraq is the best example of this. The U.S. played right into Osama's hands on this count.

For years he told his followers:

The U.S. is an imperial power

The U.S. wants to steal Arab oil

The U.S. is engaged in a war on Islam

The U.S is determined to rule over the Middle East

I can't help but say, he would appear to be right.

Our treaury is depleted

Our military is depleted

Our moral authority is depleted

Our way of life is changing

We are fighting the EXACT war Osama wante dto fight, as 9/11 was his invitation to war, which we accepted.

Staying in Iraq will further decrease oor moral and international standing, our treasury and American and Iraqi lives will be lost.

Leaving could be the disaster that leads to the collpase of the American age, just as defeat in Afghanistan resulted in the fall of the Soviet Empire.

It was not the 3,000 who died on 9/11 or even the 3,000 more who might die as a result of the next attack that present us with an existential threat. It is our reaction that will count the most.

3,000 US deaths resulted in worlwide (including Muslim and Arab) sympathy. Iraq (and the killing of more than 100,000 Iraqis) has resulted in worlwide hatred of the U.S.

You do the math.