Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Missed opportunity

The President of the University of Columbia is an embarrassment, and not because he invited Iranian President Ahmadinejad to speak to students. His introduction (of Ahmadinejad) was crude and cheap. Instead of attacking the Iranian President's ideas, he started by launching ad hominem (personal) attacks. It is intellectually dishonest, and a sign of great weakness.

The Iranian President has a host of absurd positions. He apparently believes there are no homosexuals in the entire country of Iran. He pursues nuclear weapons, restricts the freedoms of his own people, and warmongers. How easy would it have been to simply ask him straightforward questions and allow Ahmadinejad to humiliate himself with his insane answers? Instead, the Iranian President was made to be the dignified and well-behaved one. What a missed opportunity.

It almost makes one envious, though. To see the President of Iran take unscripted questions from a hostile audience in an enemy country. The President of the United States won't even take unscripted questions from his own citizens.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Nuclear proliferation


The Israelis recently bombed a target of some sort in Syria. It was a unique situation, because the Syrians didn't complain about it other than mentioning a violation of their airspace. Now we know why. They didn't say anything because the Israelis caught them with North Korean nuclear materials.

There are many things I can tolerate rogue states doing. Proliferating nuclear materials isn't one of them. A really big red line was just crossed.

In a related subject, what of the prospect of a dirty bomb attack on an American city? Imagine: a small explosion in New York or Chicago. Suddenly some Joe with a Geiger counter calls up the media and tells them that the readings are off the charts in the proximity of the explosion. Word spreads that the bomb was nuclear, and that a radiation cloud is engulfing the city. Citizens panic and rush to evacuate. There are mass casualties in the chaos, with destruction and violence on a large scale. Imagine Katrina, only worse, and in a bigger city.

This is why our government should have a strong public awareness project concerning dirty bombs. Humans can take a lot more radiation than we do now without having any huge problems. If there was a dirty bomb attack, unless someone purposefully went to the explosion site and started rolling in the bomb's remains, I can't imagine it would be a big deal. The government needs to have a containment plan, a cleanup plan, and a very clear and honest assessment of the danger. People need to understand before the fact that a dirty bomb does not merit the evacuation of an entire city - only a few blocks or so.

Terrorists don't need a nuclear bomb to do massive amounts of damage. All they need is a regular bomb with a tiny bit of radioactive material. The real power behind that weapon would not be the explosion, or the radiation - it would be the ignorance driving the chaos after the fact. People need to understand the dangers, so they won't panic when it happens.

...and given recent developments in Syria, we can assume "when" will be sooner rather than later.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Prospect of war

Over the last few days I've suddenly become convinced that a war with Iran is likely, and is only a matter of time. News that Israel bombed Syrian nuclear supplies is part of the equation. And when the French of all people begin to speak of war, one starts to wonder when rather than if.

It will be a moral and strategic mistake to initiate a war on Iran. That being said, I don't think it will prove to be as big of a challenge for our military as people think. Iran only has the capability for asymmetric war.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

GOP shoe-in

Fred Thompson.

I've said from day one that Guliani is overrated, and who would vote for Romney? Before being destroyed by his position on the war, McCain was the only candidate that seemed reasonably well-rounded - until Thompson entered.

If Iraq was to suddenly turn around, McCain might pull a comeback, but if I was betting it would be on Thompson. Hasn't the right been looking for another Reagan, anyway?

The entry of a well-rounded, seemingly moderate Thompson puts the pressure back on the Democrats. Will they risk fielding a woman or an African American? I'd vote for Obama over just about anyone, but would the nation?

Check out Fred Thompson's blog.