"[...] But what I worry about is homeland defense--the notion that somebody who wishes us ill will find other ways to get at our vulnerabilities. And we are vulnerable in so many ways domestically here at home, [...] The bad guys are right here at home looking for ways to bring down our economy, to do damage to our society, and maybe kill millions of Americans. We need to start thinking about that problem--how we deal with it; how we have to shape our expectations that we have for key institutions; what roles they're going to play in our society, if we're going to be equipped to cope with that kind of threat."

-- Vice Presidential candidate Richard Cheney, interviewed on Frontline during the campaign last year.

So the VP is both prescient and a bit cagey. When he says that the bad guys are those that "wish us harm" and might "do damage to society," - exactly how does he distinguish those bad guys from those whose freedoms are granted by their creator and protected by the constitution he has sworn to defend? Does the Federal Government exist to protect a particular society? And does wishing for change (i.e. not being conservative) make you a bad guy? Maybe so... and maybe recent events have made it a lot easier to get rid of you and your bad influence.


By Executive Order, the President has placed the means by which terrorists will be indentified and prosecuted into the hands of the Department of Defense and sealed their proceedings against any other outside authority, including public disclosure.

The individual shall not be privileged to seek any remedy or maintain any proceeding, directly or indirectly, or to have any such remedy or proceeding sought on the individual's behalf, in any court of the United States, or any State thereof, any court of any foreign nation, or any international tribunal.


Things for which to be Thankful

1. Love and Friendship. For this, I am thankful every moment of every day.
2. Comfort and Prosperity. I can't begin to appreciate how rare these are in human history and in today's world.
3. Pretty girls. One smile can make me happy all day.
4. Literacy. That part of the world that I am best equipped to appreciate is the part that's been written down.
5. Humanity. I've never been so consistently choked up as when I've heard stories of people selflessly giving of themselves to others in the face of cruelty and chaos.
6. The internet. This is how I have access to all these things.

So.. Thanks be to God.(and, of course, Al Gore.)


The following quotes are from the Hearing on U.S. Interests in the Central Asian Republics conducted on February 12, 1998 by the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Committee on International Relations

"One hundred years ago, Central Asia was the arena for a great game played by Czarist Russia, Colonial Britain, Napoleon's France, and the Persian and the Ottoman Empires. Allegiances meant little during this struggle for empire building, where no single empire could gain the upper hand. One hundred years later, the collapse of the Soviet Union has unleashed a new great game, where the interests of the East India Trading Company have been replaced by those of Unocal and Total, and many other organizations and firms."

- The Hon. Doug Berueter, Chairman of the Subcommittee

"The U.S. Government's position is that we support multiple pipelines with the exception of the southern pipeline that would transit Iran. The Unocal pipeline is among those pipelines that would receive our support under that policy.
I would caution that while we do support the project, the U.S. Government has not at this point recognized any governing regime of the transit country, one of the transit countries, Afghanistan, through which that pipeline would be routed. But we do support the project.

- The Hon. Robert W. Gee, Assistant Secretary for Policy, U.S. Department of Energy, in testimony

"The second option is to build a pipeline south from Central Asia to the Indian Ocean. One obvious route south would cross Iran, but this is foreclosed for American companies because of U.S. sanctions legislation. The only other possible route is across Afghanistan, which has of course its own unique challenges. The country has been involved in bitter warfare for almost two decades, and is still divided by civil war. From the outset, we have made it clear that construction of the pipeline we have proposed across Afghanistan could not begin until a recognized government is in place that has the confidence of governments, lenders, and our company."

- Mr. John J. Maresca, Vice President of International Relations, Unocal Corporation, in testimony

"So the government doesn't necessarily have to be acceptable to the people of Afghanistan as long as it's internationally recognized?

- The Hon. Dana Rohrabacher, Subcommittee member, questioning Mr. Maresca.

"I wish you luck in the project. I will do my best to help your project succeed. But at the same time, I think that we have got to put the effort into bringing freedom and peace to Afghanistan."

- Rep. Rohrabacher, concluding his questioning of Mr. Maresca


"The Afghans [...] wish nothing more [...] than to live their lives in peace, to practice their religion in freedom, and to exercise their right to self-determination. As a consequence, they now find themselves struggling for their very survival as a nation."

-President Ronald Reagan - Remarks on Signing Proclamation 4908, Declaring March 21st as Afghanistan Day in the United States. (10 March, 1982)

"The resistance of the Afghan freedom fighters is an example to all the world of the invincibility of the ideals we in this country hold most dear, the ideals of freedom and independence. We must also recognize that the sacrifices required to maintain this resistance are very high. Millions have gone into exile as refugees. We will probably never know the numbers of people killed and maimed, poisoned and gased, of the homes that have been destroyed, and of the lives that have been shattered and stricken with grief. [...] Our observance again this year of Afghanistan Day on March 21, the Afghan New Year, will recall for all the world America's unflagging sympathy for a determined people, its support for their refugees and commitment to achieving a political settlement for Afghanistan which will free that country from tyranny's yoke."

-President Ronald Reagan - Proclamation 5034, Redeclaring March 21st as Afghanistan Day in the United States. (21 March, 1983)


A Voice in the Wilderness?

"But the war on terrorism starts within each of our respective sovereign borders. It will be fought with increased support for democracy programs, judicial reform, conflict resolution, poverty alleviation, economic reform and health and education programs. All of these together deny the reason for terrorists to exist or to find safe havens within those borders."

Secretary of State Colin Powell, Remarks to the UN Security Council. 12 Nov. 2001

As far as I can remember or determine, this is the first indication that our leaders recognize that terrorists have any reason to exist. Moving the war on terror to the causes rather than the effects seems to me to be a move toward sounder tactics. (My hurried version of the same sentiment)


"Throughout the five-hundred years since Columbus's first landfall in the Bahamas, the evangelist has walked beside the conqueror and the merchant, too often blandly assuming that his cause was the same as theirs. [...] [O]ur destruction of nature is not just bad stewardship, or stupid economics, or a betrayal of family responsibility; it is the most horrid blasphemy. It is flinging God's gifts into his face, as of no worth beyond that assigned to them by our destruction of them."

- Wendell Berry. "Christianity and the Survival of Creation", found at CrossCurrents via Wood S Lot


125 Years ago in the News:

"If at this moment it has been decided to invade the Ameer's territory, we are acting in pursuance of a policy which in its intention has been uniformly friendly to Afghanistan."
-London Times editorial, November 21, 1878

"Save me from my friends!"
- caption of cartoon appearing in Punch later the same year.


Best Costumes on Five Points:

1. Frauleinen in Leiderhosen
2. Harlem Globetrotters
3. Carmen Miranda (with Cleopatra)
4. Sexy female police officers
5. Flasher (camera attached to crotch)
6. Princess Leia
7. cute bumblebee girl
8. Goth kids (unless those weren't costumes)
9. Frat kids (ditto)
10. disgruntled bunny rabbit