Mike (my co-worker) and I made a realization the other day... and I am taking it to it's inevitable conclusion: the terrorists have won.
Our realization was that with all of the resources available to the anti-terrorist forces of the world, the terrorists have a limitless supply of the most effective weapon ever devised:
If you don't know what I'm talking about, you obviously haven't spent any time on a military base recently. I don't know if things are as bad back in the States, but a cardboard box ("suspicious package") found by the side of the road here warrants shutting down the entire base for hours. Which makes this even MORE ridiculous is the amount of garbage that regularly blows around here. Pretty much anything that could be IMAGINED to be an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) mobilizes the EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) team. Their methods include dogs, portable x-ray machines, robots, and LONG STICKS. (ok, I made the last one up ... but I'm sure they have one, and I'd bet it's got a ridiculously over-thought acronym; like ERD (Extended Reaching Device or EPPD (Extended Poking/Prodding Device)). Sorry, getting a little off-track here.
Here's the process. Some eagle-eyed patrol spots a bit of trash on the ground. They make some calls on the radio, using several important sounding acronyms, and several important people make several important decisions: close the base, send out the EOD, notify all the other bases (so they can close too), then wait for the inevitable report that they were unable to determine the exact composition of the "suspicious package", so they blew it up.
Seriously, that's pretty much how things happen (minus my creative license) at least twice a week here. And as far as I know... there's NEVER been any evidence that the "suspicious packages" have been anything OTHER than just junk. Maybe it was something useful to someone before it fell off a truck somewhere, but after it's been detonated, there has never been any indication that it was an act of terrorism. Just random garbage.
Thus, my conclusion that we've already lost the War Against Terrorism. If all the terrorists have to do is scatter cardboard boxes around various "key" installations to bring them to a grinding halt, why would they even bother packing anything less innocuous? We have millions and millions of dollars invested in equipment and personnel; they have WMD (Weapons of Mass Delay) that cost them $0.08 a pound to produce.
I only wish I were kidding about this.
Speaking of rampant idiocy (and we were, trust me), has anyone else seen this? I was having very similiar thoughts during the whole "US is STINGY" media-slam. i didn't know the specifics though... now I'm REALLY pissed.
Yes, it's VERY long, but it's very well-written.
BUT KEEP AN OPEN MIND
There are over six billion people living on our planet. Of that six billion, almost two billion are Muslims. That's roughly a third of the total population of the earth.
The earthquake that triggered the killer tsunami was centered just off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country. It was also the most severely devastated by the wave. Nearly 100,000 of the victims of the December 26 catastrophe were Indonesian Muslims.
The vast majority of the victims were either Muslims, Buddhists or Hindu.
Got all that? Good.
Now, to the United Nations. The United Nations consists of 186 countries. The most powerful voting bloc is the fifty-seven Islamic countries that generally vote with one voice, especially when the United States or Israel are voting the other way.
The United Nations' head of humanitarian relief, Jan Egeland, criticized the West for being stingy. He didn't specifically mention America, but he cited the exact percentage of the US GDP that is budgeted for foreign aid, so there is little doubt of who the 'stingy West' was, at least in Egeland's mind.
Egeland slammed the United States for not raising taxes so that America could give a greater percentage of its GDP to the UN to distribute as part of the UN's foreign aid package.
Editorials in the Washington Post, the New York Times and other liberal newspapers echoed Egeland's charge, with the New York Times calling America's $350 million in direct government aid 'miserly'.
The United States makes up some six percent of the world's total population, but we pay a quarter of the United Nation's total budget. The United States pays forty percent of the world's total disaster relief aid, and sixty percent of the world's total food donations.
The $2.4 billion (that's BILLION) dollars Washington spent in emergency aid in 2003 represented 40 percent of the total amount of emergency assistance from all bilateral donors provided that year.
Evidently, that isn't enough.
It didn't take long for these same liberal elitists to turn Mother Nature into an American right-wing hater of Islam.
Not only had America's imperialistic self-enrichment policies created the natural disaster, but also cold-hearted Muslim hating President Bush wouldn't leave his ranch in Texas... which by the way, is his home -- not a vacation destination -- and only offered a 'stingy' initial monetary donation.
While these elitist journalist were assailing President Bush and expounding the mantra that America should be giving more money to the devastated region in a token gesture that would 'show Islam that America didn't hate Muslims', UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was still on his vacation skiing in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He returned to New York four days later.
The wave struck on Sunday, and it took only until Monday before the US announced its $350 million in initial aid, sent the USS Abraham Lincoln into the region, including helicopters, and C-130 transport planes, sent hundreds of tons of pre-packaged emergency aid supplies, and deployed some 14,000 American troops to help with the recovery and cleanup.
In Indonesia, U.S. helicopters flew at least 30 sorties, delivering 60,000 pounds of water and supplies, from the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln along a 120-mile stretch of Sumatra island's ravaged coastline.
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the richest nations in the Islamic world, donated a paltry $10 million each. The United Arab Emirates donated some $20 million to relieve the suffering of their Islamic 'brothers'.
Egypt's contribution at the time of this writing is $104,000.00. (Note: Egypt gets $2 BILLION in US foreign aid annually)
And did anybody notice that the majority of the private donations came from those evil corporate types the left so loves to loathe?
Pfizer donated $10 million in cash and $25 million in drugs. (That is more than oil-rich Saudi Arabia and Kuwait combined) General Motors pledged $2 million in cash, agreed to match employee donations dollar for dollar, and is sending vehicles to transport food and medical supplies to the region.
Other corporate donors include Nike Inc., American Express, General Electric, First Data Corp., Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Exxon-Mobil, Citigroup, Marriott International and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
On the other hand, where are all the Hollywood liberals? Activist actors such as Ben Affleck, Susan Sarandon, Al Franken, Tim Robbins, Martin Sheen, and Barbra Streisand have not been heard from.
And where is George Soros, the world richest left wing liberal?
Actress Sandra Bullock donated one million dollars, but Bullock is neither an activist nor a liberal. (She also donated one million dollars following September 11.)
Super-rich liberals like Bono and Bruce Springsteen are promising to hold another "aid concert" to collect money (not theirs) for the victims.
America, as noted at the outset, represents six percent of the global population. But in any catastrophe, it gets one hundred percent of the blame. The UN's nose is out of joint because the Bush administration refuses to funnel its aid through the UN's various aid agencies.
Kofi Annan wants to use the catastrophe to shore up the UN's sagging image in the wake of the Oil-For-Food thefts from Iraq. The United States wants to ensure the aid doesn't end up lining the pockets of UN officials. So the US is 'too stingy' and gets another black eye.
Where is the rest of the Islamic world? There are fifty-seven Islamic nations, and the world's biggest Islamic nation is the one that took the hardest hit. But it is the United States -- the world's largest donor nation -- that is grabbing all the headlines for being "stingy".
To put things in perspective, I saw a news photo yesterday of one of the Indonesian victims.
He was wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the face of Osama bin Laden.
Ok, I've uploaded some of the pictures I've taken recently. Haven't organized them at all, but they're in the Kuwait Album.
Love to all!