The Talking Lion

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Tierney, oh Tierney...

John "Kick Me" Tierney has a new column out. And I was shocked to be nodding my head to what he was saying:
President Bush briefly admitted last summer to Matt Lauer that the war on terror couldn't ever be won, but he got so much criticism that he promptly backtracked. It was a textbook Washington gaffe: perfectly true but terribly inconvenient.

It was inconvenient because politicians like to promise a cure for any problem in the news, especially if the cure means dispensing money to constituents and campaign contributors.

Promises to halt terror have turned homeland security spending into the biggest porkfest in Washington, and the London attacks have inspired calls for still more spending.

Sure this sounds good now. Wait for the stupid:
Washington obviously has a role in hunting terrorists and protecting the borders, but it can't stop small-scale attacks like the ones in London, no matter how much money it gives to each Congressional district.

If subway riders like me in Washington and New York want to pay for better security in the hope that terrorists will attack someone else instead, we should pay for it ourselves.

Ahem. Pay for it ourselves... So public transportation, whose existence is to provide a method of travel for those who cannot afford their own, should become more expensive and hurt the people who need it most? I mean hey, supply-side Jesus says its time to trickle down, big boy. Hey, Rich People, John says its time for you to make good on your promises to use your tax breaks to help those who don't make a buzillion dollars a year. Am I right? Am I right?

Keep talking, I guess:
But I think that we'd be better off reconsidering our definition of victory in the war on terror. Calling it a war makes it sound like a national fight against a mighty enemy threatening our society.

He's right, fighting a war on terror is a stupid idea that has an unfortunate amount of political capital. But we know this. By "we" I mean, you know, people who read the news.

But right now the terrorists look more like a small group of loosely organized killers who are less like an army than like lightning bolts - scary but rarely fatal. Except that the risk of being struck by lightning is much higher than the risk of being killed by a terrorist.

I think talk like this (terrorists are lightning bolts) even when less than serious is harmful to the national discourse. The more you dehumanize the people who carry out acts of terror the less you are able to understand why they do it. And it's the "why" that is important if you hope to stop being terrorized. They don't "hate us for our freedoms", they hate us because, among other reasons, the United States has a terrible foreign policy especially regarding Middle Eastern nations with oppressive regimes.

Sigh. This column would be fine if Tierney wasn't a hopeless case.

1 Comments:

  • What a goddamn moron. We should pay for public transit ourselves?!?! What the fuck does that even mean?! The reason we have public transit is because not only does it help those who can't afford it, but it stimulates the economy. It isn't some pork black hole. It's shit like this that makes me want to rip the arms off of "libertarians" and beat them senseless.

    By Blogger Patrick, at Saturday, 09 July, 2005  

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