Archive for September 11th, 2007

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Russian Pride Over A New Instrument Of Death

September 11, 2007

You really have to wonder what goes through the heads of scientists and engineers who are hired to come up with new and inventive ways to kill as many people as possible:  Russia tests ‘dad of all bombs’

“The tests have shown that the new air-delivered ordnance is comparable to a nuclear weapon in its efficiency and capability,” said Col.-Gen. Alexander Rukshin, a deputy chief of the Russian military’s General Staff, said in televised remarks.

Unlike a nuclear weapon, the bomb doesn’t hurt the environment, he added.

This reminded me of another story I read about the Russian’s triumph in the pissing contest that is the race for the most absurdly deadly WMD:  Tsar Bomba

tsar-bomba.png
Comparative fireball radii for a selection of nuclear weapons, including the Tsar Bomba. Full blast effects extend many times beyond the fireball itself.

 

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FearBush.com Is Down (again), And An Idea

September 11, 2007

It has come to my attention that one of my favorite sites, FearBush.com, is offline.  I admit that I haven’t been posting there as much as I used to because I’ve spent the majority of my online time working in the realm of the blogosphere. Also, because of my new job, I seem to have less time for this kind of thing in general.

I’ve sent out an email to a dozen FB regulars that I had in my address book to see if they are interested in using my blog as a hangout during the downtime.  If this situation is permanent, I’ve considered the idea of turning the Chamber into a “group” blog (a blog that has several authors).  Group blogs are quite popular, actually.  Most ordinary people have regular jobs, after all, and it’s tough to find the time to run a blog all by yourself and expect the site to be entertaining enough to keep regular readers and commentors.  And let’s face it, there are literally millions of blogs out there, so many of the people that post comments here are “drive bys”.

Most group blogs that are political in nature feature authors who are like-minded individuals and focused on a specific theme (for example, an anti-Hillary blog, or a pro-Brownback blog, or pro-life, etc.).  I’ve long considered something different, however.  My idea would be to open up my blog to authors (who I trust) that are unlike-minded.  The ideal would be a blog that features posts from a diverse range of viewpoints, and topics are debated in the comments sections in a relatively civil manner.  Incidentally, this is sort of the reason that I started the WordPress Political Blogger Alliance and why my blogroll features blogs from all over the political spectrum.  In fact, the reason why I named the blog the “Chamber” was because I had hoped that there would be a certain amount of honorable battling going on here.

I have already granted authorship to several individuals a few months back, but I thought I’d try to expand on it a bit.  I think it would be fun, for example, to feature an author who as a regular on LGF, and another that is a regular on Kos (two blogs that consistently go at each other).  Perhaps I’d feature an author who is part of the 9/11 truth movement, another who is a conservative Christian, another who is Muslim.  I could have someone from Canada, and another from Europe.  The idea would be to make the blog a kind of playground of ideas. 

There are, of course, many political message boards out there that feature an open exchange of ideas.  For blogs, however, I think this sort of diverse group dynamic would be fairly unique.  And blogs have an advantage over message boards, in that they are tapped into the arena of political discourse in the blogosphere. 

Anyway, I thought it would be a cool idea, and since I’ve met many diverse netizens in my travels thus far, I already have a mental list of a few people who I’d like to have on.  I would try to keep the number of authors fairly limited, while having enough to make sure that the site maintained a certain amount of balance.  I think it would result in a pretty entertaining site, and at the same time it might -in some small way- bridge some of the divisions and increase understanding while promoting intellectual honesty and attacking ‘group think’. 

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9/11 Revisited

September 11, 2007

Since this is the Chamber’s first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I thought I’d post a few thoughts since a) I have a few, and b) I know a lot of other bloggers are probably doing the same, so I figured that visitors might be interested in how my views compare and contrast to those of other bloggers.

Six years have gone by since the attacks, which is quite a bit of time in the realm of reflecting and analysis of one’s personal feelings on what is undoubtedly one of the most tragic days in American history.  Incidentally, it wasn’t just the loss of life or the  magnificent towers that I find tragic, because I find certain aspects of our reaction to the attacks to be equally harrowing (namely, our ill-conceived and completely unnecessary invasion of Iraq).

First off, I thought I’d mention that I find many people attempt to portray the attacks as more than what they actually were.  My opinion is that, at it’s most basic, the attacks were nothing more than a fairly elaborate stunt carried out by members of a deranged and sadistic cult.  I view it as and in the context of a criminal act, as opposed to some grand event that signaled the beginning of a clash of civilizations (a characterization, I might add, that I find particularly troubling as well as an exercise in giving the perpetrators exactly what I believe they had hoped to achieve). 

Also, I don’t believe that it was merely an attempt to kill as many Americans as possible.  If that were the case, I think they would have picked a more deadly target than the Pentagon.  The killing of Americans and destroying recognisable and iconic structures was the means to an end, as opposed to the end itself.   It was bold attempt to force a response when previous attempts had failed to generate the desired outcome.  Our ideal reaction (as far as al Qaeda is concerned) is probably a matter of debate.  After all, I can’t speak for OBL, and it’s hard to know for certain whether what they’ve said publicly on the matter has been an honest statement of their goals or a deft use of the tactics of subversion.  I think there is little doubt, however, that 9/11 was a provocation

In many ways, I feel that our reaction was appropriate.  For a little while at least, Americans were united in a feeling of sorrow and anger.  We asked the questions why?, who?, and how can we prevent this from happening again?, and took some reasonable steps to address those concerns.  We attempted to bring the culprit to justice.  We took steps to fill the gaps in the safety net that we had developed over the last few decades to detect and prevent this sort of thing.

Unfortunately, there were many aspects of our collective reaction that was wholly inappropriate and/or downright irresponsible.  We allowed our leader to exploit the attacks and the emotions attached to it by pursuing a policy of war whose perceived benefits weren’t based on the best interests of America, but rather of a political party.  “War” was viewed as a winning platform and support for it as a partisan weapon, sold to us as an attractive policy, and executed in a breathtakingly reckless and arrogant manner.  In addition, 9/11 was exploited as an excuse to expand presidential power and twist the Constitution.  All too often, it was evoked as the rationale behind the support for policies that otherwise would have had little support.

Sometimes I can’t help but feel ashamed and humiliated that we’ve given this “stunt” so much weight.  As I noted in the previous thread, the fact that -even after 6 years- Osama is gloating and relishing in what he’s managed to accomplish should prove that, to him, 9/11 is the gift that keeps on giving.  Al Qaeda’s goal was to do something big, but we’ve managed to make it even bigger.  In that respect, we’ve played right into their hands.