Heresy is another word for freedom of thought

I saw John Gibson on Fox blow a gasket over this editorial which any American with a brain larger then a walnut can consider high praise, Putting 9/11 into perspective

IMAGINE THAT on 9/11, six hours after the assault on the twin towers and the Pentagon, terrorists had carried out a second wave of attacks on the United States, taking an additional 3,000 lives. Imagine that six hours after that, there had been yet another wave. Now imagine that the attacks had continued, every six hours, for another four years, until nearly 20 million Americans were dead. This is roughly what the Soviet Union suffered during World War II, and contemplating these numbers may help put in perspective what the United States has so far experienced during the war against terrorism.

This way of looking at 9-11 is no doubt a modern heresy much like Galileo’s assertion that the earth is not the center of the universe. Its a heresy that we need to come to grips with despite the never ending shrill paranoia of the fringe Right. Though we shouldn’t confuse the personal devastations inflicted by 9-11 with 9-11 as a national tragedy. The personal closure that comes with dealing with any loss due to that day are just that personal and deserving of our empathy. On the other hand as an event that happened to us as a nation it is time to stop the rage and self pity. The rage in some Americans says that we cannot ever stop feeling the rage that “they” must be stopped. About 3000 people were killed on 9-11 who came from various countries and held a variety of religious beliefs it was mostly, but not  exclusively an American tragedy. So who are “They”. Historically Islamic and Christian fundamentalists have been with us for thousands of years. It jars the rational mind to think that by occupying Iraq or Afghanistan for years if not decades will stop the relatively small minority of radicals. We are more then capable of defending ourselves, but we should see threats to America through the lens of our own national murder rate, one of the highest in the world. We have meet the real enemy, the statistically most probable threat to the average American’s life is another American.

Yet as the comparison with the Soviet experience should remind us, the war against terrorism has not yet been much of a war at all, let alone a war to end all wars. It is a messy, difficult, long-term struggle against exceptionally dangerous criminals who actually like nothing better than being put on the same level of historical importance as Hitler — can you imagine a better recruiting tool? To fight them effectively, we need coolness, resolve and stamina. But we also need to overcome long habit and remind ourselves that not every enemy is in fact a threat to our existence.

We would be better off as far as bitter political acrimony and national security if we saw actual terrorists as international criminals rather then some enemy that can be eventually subdued if we do enough nation building and sacrifice enough American lives in urban street warfare in the middle of a civil war.( some people laugh at the old quote about WW I being the war to end all wars, why would we think that Iraq would be the war to end all terrorism) That the John Gibson’s and George Bush’s don’t want to see it that way is a tragic and dangerous political and psychological phenomenon that will only increase recruitment for terrorists. Since the Right has gone to such extreme lengths to fuel the fires of contention in the middle-east one can’t help but think that prolonging and inflaming conflict is exactly what they want – they seem to have something akin to abusive parent syndrome. Come to think of it that is exactly what the Osama Bin ladens of the world want too.

The case for plagiarism? Well someone had to eventually getting around to defending it ‘The Little Book of Plagiarism’ by Richard A. Posner

Such distinctions, however, are ultimately less interesting to Posner than the notion that the current obsession with plagiarism stands at the precise intersection of the cult of celebrity and what he calls “the cult of originality.” Indeed, he complains about “the absurd idea that ‘copying’ is inherently bad” and the “growing belief that literary, artistic, and other intellectual goods are not really ‘creative’ unless they are ‘original.’ ” Although he never condones the kind of unacknowledged quoting or paraphrasing that got Viswanathan and Kearns Goodwin in trouble, he suggests that copying the works of other authors is an old and honorable tradition.

Thus, for example, Posner points out that T.S. Eliot’s masterpiece “The Waste Land” is “a tissue of quotations (without quotation marks),” a fact that Eliot himself seems to have acknowledged when he elsewhere observed: “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.”

In they lie all the time about everything department we had this front internet page from WaPO yesterday ( the press is like an addict they just can’t give up the habit of reporting things that Bush says without question) Iraqi Forces Showing Initiative, Bush Says , Professor Cole points out,

Attempts are being made to knock down all kinds of stories about the Najaf uprising. Bush expressed happiness that the Iraqi Army (actually the Badr Corps fundamentalist Shiite militia) acquitted itself well against the rebels. But in fact, the Iraqi security forces were surrounded, cut off and nearly destroyed by heavily armed cultists–and had urgently to call in US troops, tanks and close air support.

I’ve said this before, but I think that Senator McCain(R-AZ and a member of the One Last Chance Great Surge Club) is a very personable guy. He tries to present a civil demeanor and we should give him credit for that, but we should not ever think that good table manners pass for a substantive moral philosophy, Feingold, Obama, and Senate Republicans

Sen. John McCain – October 19,1993

There is no reason for the United States of America to remain in Somalia. The American people want them home, I believe the majority of Congress wants them home, and to set an artificial date of March 31 or even February 1, in my view, is not acceptable. The criteria should be to bring them home as rapidly and safely as possible, an evolution which I think could be completed in a matter of weeks.

Meet the real John McCain who can double-talk as well as any conservative.

“Heresy is another word for freedom of thought.” – Graham Greene