17 July 2004

The Moral Equivalent

Since it's Saturday morning, I'll go ahead and pose some rhetorical questions simultaneously masking and masquerading something of substance. Like I'm the only one who ever does that.

Sometimes it's quite useful—and even necessary—to view the newspapers of this nation as a massive exercise in "connecting the dots." For example, today we have scathing and yet understated criticism of the fundamentalist bigotry masquerading as L3ft B3h1nd, which is bad from the standpoint of literary values before considering its social and ethical implications; and, on the other hand, a passing reference in rumors of the intelligence-failure report's recommendations that are left completely contextless.

The panel has repeatedly pointed to the failure of F.B.I. headquarters to follow up on the work of field agents in Minneapolis, who apprehended Zacarias Moussaoui in August 2001 and immediately warned Washington that they feared Mr. Moussaoui, a student pilot, was part of a terrorist plot involving passenger planes. The report also noted a failure to follow up on the work of an F.B.I. agent in Phoenix who similarly warned that Islamic terrorists might be seeking flight training in the United States.

Philip Shenon, "," New York Times (17 Jul 04) (emphasis added).

What were the people at FBI headquarters doing instead, given that by law they are responsible for domestic counterintelligence? Where was that part of their attention not devoted to advancing their careers? (Sorry, but that's a problem in all federal agencies, not excluding the military.) Could, perhaps, they have been tunnel-visioned upon a different "war"—the "war on drugs" (which has been far less successful than Vietnam by any reasonable measure)? And if dealing with the "drug problem" is/was a "war" of greater priority than terrorism, what does that say about the arrogant certainty of what is best for others lurking under that war and the post-Apocalyptic vision of the yoyos who have made Tyndale House so much more than a source of Bibles?

Then, on top of that, ask yourself if there's any connection to the US's continued refusal to pay its share of the funding for the UN population control agency, on the dubious ground that some people at the agency might sometimes say the "a" word in China.