Thursday, January 22, 2004

Nation-building politicians

George W. Bush was very critical of Clinton's meddling foreign policy in 2000, and he said the following in the 2000 presidential debates...

"I don't think our troops ought to be used for what is called "nation-building." I think what we need to do is convince people who live in the lands they live to build the nations. Maybe I'm missing something here? I mean, to have kind of "Nation Building Corp" from America? Absolutely not."

That's a failed campaign promise.

But none of the current Democratic front runners, even the ones that are called “anti-war” by the major media, are proposing anything substantially different. All believe that Saddam Hussein needed to be disarmed. All support meddling in the Middle East and elsewhere. All support welfare for dictators (foreign aid).

• Wesley Clark says we shouldn’t have gone about attacking Iraq alone, not that we shouldn’t have gone. Key word: Coalition.
• Howard Dean agreed with Clark in that he thinks we shouldn’t have gone alone. But his largest disappointment was that there was no plan for “after the battle” – no real plan to nation-build. Key words: Prudent planning.
• John Kerry voted to give Bush the go-ahead, but says that didn’t really mean Bush should’ve gone. He was giving the president a bargaining chip, but expected the president to be more prudent, stall, and issue threats he never intended to carry out. Key word: Nuance.

Where’s a guy or gal to turn if they believe this war has,

• led to unbridled growth in government?
• removed President Bush from accountability on other issues. That loss of accountability has removed the last vestiges of restraint or opposition the GOP was willing to mount to government growth -- they're now outspending the Democrats and expanding entitlements?
• meant a nation-building exercise that has already cost us nearly $100 billion, and that's just the beginning?
• resulted in thousands of deaths, 500 of which have been to Americans?
• violated the Constitution and standards of Just War, ripping at the moral fabric of the country?

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Your census and other personal data now being passed around the government...
...Conclusion? An 8% chance you're a terrorist!

The Washington Times reports, "U.S. census information provided by millions of Americans was used in a government study to profile airline passengers as terrorist risks. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration also obtained for its study the private information of hundreds of thousands of passengers flying Northwest Airlines..." This news "comes in the wake of reports that JetBlue Airways gave a military contractor computer data on 1 million of its customers." The Census Bureau had denied that individualized, personal information was being passed around. NASA had initially denied requesting the information from Northwest. Both were caught due to a Freedom of Information Act request by the watchdog group the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

The purpose for all this data-mining and snooping for your personal information? The Homeland Defense Department is building a computerized, pre-flight, terrorist screening system called CAPPS II. The danger? It is estimated that the system will have an error rate at 4 percent to 8 percent, which Barry Steinhardt, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's technology and liberty program said "means 4 [million] to 8 million Americans will mistakenly be labeled as terrorists."

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