car·riage re·turn

n. the lever or mechanism on a typewriter that would cause the cylinder on which the paper was held (the carriage) to return to the left margin of the page


Five Easy Steps?

My aversion to airport security is well-documented. I’ve never really mentioned that I don’t particularly care for my fellow travelers,either. And when I see headlines like “Baby is sent through X-ray machine at LAX,”it seems to confirm that there are people out there capable of doing some dumb things.

Putting a baby through an X-ray machine at airport security is a bad idea. But if you want to see the Mother of all Bad Ideas,check out the article I found in Capitalism Magazine this morning,entitled “How to Solve America’s Terrorism Problem in 5 Easy Steps.”

Craig Biddle,the author,starts off his list of spectacularly sound ideas with “Stop sacrificing American soldiers to bring ‘freedom’to savages in Iraq. Pull our soldiers out of that hell hole,and let the savages have their civil war.”

Savages? I’ve heard various adjectives flung from both sides of the Arab –American conflict,but “savages”is a new one. An extremely ignorant one,considering that the denizens of Iraq certainly aren’t savage. They’re descendants of one of the oldest,most storied civilizations on the planet.

The second “Easy Step”is “Declare war on Iran.”

So easy. Apparently Mr. Biddle has personally fought several armed conflicts,because his third “Easy Step”demonstrates his chops as a tactician:

“Obliterate,from high altitude and long distance,all known Iranian military assets,all Iranian government buildings,all Iranian mosques and madrassahs,and the residences of all Iranian leaders,imams,clerics,and government officials. Hit these targets when they are most likely to be occupied (e.g.,mosques during the day and residences at night). Do not send soldiers in on foot,except as necessary to identify targets or gather intelligence. We do not need to send soldiers in on foot to fight,and it would be immoral to do so. We have many big missiles,fast planes,and good bombs,and we should use these liberally while building bigger,faster,and better ones. (As to innocent non-Americans,such as Iranian children,who would be killed in such a campaign,they are not properly the concern of our government. Nor would their deaths be the fault of our government. Such deaths are always the fault of the force-initiating regime—and of those who in any way support or enable it—whose actions necessitate such retaliatory measures.)”

Not only would bombing mosques be a complete violation of the Geneva Convention,but imagine the retaliatory strikes against the United States by states like Syria and organizations such as al-Qaeda and Hezbollah. The attacks of 9/11 would be a walk in the park in comparison to the anarchy unleashed inside this country in the wake of such an attack.

Easy Step Number Four is the basis of an outstanding PR plan:

“Airdrop leaflets across the Middle East explaining:‘From now on,this is how America will respond to any and all threats to her citizens or allies. We look forward to the time when you decide to civilize yourselves,stop taking religion seriously,renounce the initiation of physical force,recognize the principle of individual rights,establish rule of law,and join the free world. Until then,we will be watching you from way up in the sky—higher even than Allah,by means of technology He cannot fathom—and if we see anything that we so much as feel might conceivably pose even a remote threat either to America or to our allies,we will annihilate it and everything in its proximity without further warning.’

and is closely followed by Easy Step Number Five:

“Notify the regime in Saudi Arabia that it got lucky and has the option of not being obliterated;that we are prepared instead to seize ‘its’oil fields and sell them to private industry,in part to pay for the campaign against Iran,and in part to return the fields to private industry where they belong;that it has 24 hours to turn the fields over to our agents;and that if it fails to comply or ignites the fields or does anything to thwart our program,its leaders,like those of Iran,will meet Allah sooner than later.”

Mr. Biddle admits that,even if we took these steps immediately “there would still be a few isolated instances of terrorism here and there in months and years to come.”I’d like to ask Mr. Biddle what further terrorist attacks have occurred on American shores since 9/11. I’m not naive enough to think we’ve solved the terrorist problem by the rent-a-cop TSA-types in the airport,the Patriot Act,and the Department of Homeland Security,but I know that we would reap tenfold what happened in Manhattan that day in September 2001 if we followed such an idiotic scheme.

One might think Mr. Biddle was an ultra-militaristic Evangelical Christian,living in a compound in Montana,by the tenor of his approach,but it turns out he’s an Objectivist,motivated entirely by a doctrine of rational selfishness. I hadn’t realized such individuals were in our country,and I’m disappointed to learn that they’re organized enough to publish several periodicals.

In the self-interest of the sane people in the country,I think we should lock up Mr. Biddle and his cronies and throw away the key. If they’re true Objectivists,they’ll understand.

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