Posts from October 2002

Everything old is new again:

Everything old is new again
: Sen. Wellstone’s family and campaign aides urge Walter Mondale to take his place on the ballot.

Politically correct war: The is-so-is-not-is-so-is-not

Politically correct war
: The is-so-is-not-is-so-is-not yammering about webloggers being mean to Muslims just won’t end. It’s spreading like an oil spill.

Here’s the problem:

In the name of Islam, we were attacked. Our people were murdered on September 11. I was attacked that day. In the name of Islam, Israelis are attacked every week. In the name of Islam, a madman shut down our capital. In the name of Islam, a theater filled with innocents was terrorized and a hundred died in Moscow. In the name of Islam, hundred of innocents were murdered in a bombing in Bali. In the name of Islam, Hindus have been attacked in India.

Of course, not all Muslims took part in or supported those terrorist actions.

But where is their condemnation of them?

We should be deafened with the voices of religious and political Islamic leaders distancing themselves from these acts, condemning them, vowing to clean them up, for the sake of Islam.

Where are the fatwas calling these devils the devils they are?

I have not heard them.

As far as I am concerned, those who do not condemn these attacks condone them. Those who do not use their influence to stop them encourage them. As the bumpersticker says, folks: If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

Muslims of various stripes have declared war on us because they are Muslims and we are not.

And yet when we look back at them, when Charles Johnson dares to go to public sites on this web of ours and quote their own words and actions against them, he and we are accused of being politically incorrect.

Well, there is no way to wage politically correct war. War is not polite. War is rude. Our enemies are our enemies; those who support our enemies are our enemies; and I will call them our enemies unless they prove to be our friends.

We — and others around the world — are under attack in what der Spiegel (below) should have called the Islamic World War. There’s nothing correct, politically, about that.

Food fight!: Nick Denton and

Food fight!
: Nick Denton and Steven den Beste are in a brawl with a windbag Brit blogger (whose grammar and spelling are undoubtedly as bad as his teeth), Tom Coates. This will be fun to watch.

Terrorist World War: Der Spiegel’s

spiegel.jpgTerrorist World War
: Der Spiegel’s cover story this week declares a “Terrorist World War“.

: More on Andrew Sullivan’s point below: If all Muslim-inspired terrorism could be traced to bin Laden, then the challenge would be easier: just kill that weed at the roots. But that’s not the case. Witness the sniper. Witness last week’s latest explosion in Israel. And, of course, witness other terrorist groups responsible for Bali. Witness the horrible crime in Moscow last night. The garden is filled with weeds.

: A column by Peter Beaumont in the Observer says that we are suffering a new kind of terrorism:

If a single theme does link Chechnya to Afghanistan to Indonesia, it is not a sinister, single world conspiracy but rather the intoxicating allure in some sections of the Islamic world of the power of terrorism itself….

Terrorism is, above all, a means of communication. It delivers a message not only to the victim, but also to those sympathetic to the attacker. In the 13 months since 11 September, that message has been taken up by those who were literally thrilled by bin Laden’s gruesome coup de th

Life as an open book:

Life as an open book
: Privacy is one of those unquestioned holy words of the age: Privacy is a virtue; incursions on privacy are evil. I’ve long thought privacy was overrated; it’s often just a synonym for paranoia.

Blasphemous as it may be, I’ve never had a problem with Microsoft cookie-ing me knowing what programs I use; I like Amazon remembering what I buy. But those are trivial (if often emotional) considerations. 9.11 changed that. Now privacy is a real issue when it stands in the way of real security. Are we giving up some privacy and, yes, some civil rights post 9.11? I am, gladly.

Now Macleans, the Canadian newsmagazine, gives us a provocative essay by science fiction writer Robert Sawyer arguing not only that privacy is overrated. but that we need less privacy. [via Shift]

Whenever I visit a tourist attraction that has a guest register, I always sign it. After all, you never know when you’ll need an alibi.

I’ve been doing this since I was a kid, but these days you don’t have to take any positive action to leave a trail behind. Almost everything we do is recorded. Closed-circuit cameras watch us in most public places. Our credit-card purchases, telephone calls and Web surfing are all tracked.

Editorialists have decried these losses of privacy, as if it were the most sacred of human rights. But just what is the value of privacy? Do we really need it? And, indeed, can we afford it? After all, everything from your son’s shoplifting to the destruction of the towers at the World Trade Center could have been prevented if we had less of an ability to do things in secret.

Sawyer goes on to give us a not-too-science-fictional view of a world in which personal recorders and transmitters could protect us and our property from theft or lawsuit or ailments or death.

The message of history, most spectacularly driven home in the 9/11 terror attacks, is that preserving society as a whole is much more important than preserving an illusory personal freedom.