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02/15/2003 Archived Entry: "Countdown to war"

On the Political Front:

I am heartened to see that Prime Minister Jean Chrétien is reaffirming Canada's reluctance to support the invasion of Iraq without UN backing.

Indeed, Chrétien is openly questioning the Bush administration's motives for resorting to war to topple Saddam and warning the US not to undermine the UN's authority. I'm not a fan of the UN -- to say the least -- but it is good to see that any organization is acting as brake on this coming war. And my fingers are crossed that Canada will escape the worst of the insanity.

What insanity? An hysteria over biological/chemical attack is gripping the US, making people seal off their homes with duct tape and sheets of plastic. The color coded "alert" bar -- the mood ring of terrorism -- leads to massive expense and the disruption of society with each bureaucratic whim. The last intensification of color was based on information that a senior government official now says was likely fabricated. As ham radio operators, Brad and I are part of an emergency co-ordination network in our community to provide communications in the case of ice storms or other disrupting events. So we are aware of the need to make plans, practice contingencies... But the situation in the States is beyond reason. The Bush administration is mongering fear as well as war. Blair is no better. Thank goodness, in the wake of shutting down parts of both Gatwick and Heathrow, "senior government ministers are coming under increasing pressure to explain their orders as they were accused of a cynical publicity stunt ahead of war on Iraq." The cost of such evacuations is not merely -- or even primarily -- the labor-expense of police and other "security" personnel. The main cost is invisible, including: every missed business meeting, every businessman who no longer flies but telecommutes because flying is unreliable and humiliating, every plane connection that has to be re-routed, the delay of shipments and priority mail, the loss of business within the airport shops, the vacation plans that may have cancelled, the conferences that lost attendees/speakers... No one can measure the cost of making our society and of doing business less efficient and more tedious. It is a huge "tax" being imposed on the average citizen.

BTW, cheers to Jacob Sullum for an interesting piece in Reason re: Colin Powell's declining credibility. And, for those of you who have fast downloads, the following song "It's About Oil" is making the rounds. The bashing of white businessmen is unfortunate and reveals secondary agends of the antiwar movement...but enjoy the song for what is worth.

On the Personal Front:

Valentine's Day was a relaxation-fest. Enough said. I trust everyone experienced a respite from stress and a return to what is truly valuable in life.

Columnist Susan Lee comments in the Wall Street Journal, "Libertarianism is simplicity itself. It proceeds from a single, quite beautiful, concept of the primacy of individual liberty that, in turn, infuses notions of free markets, limited government and the importance of property rights. . . . Sometimes these policies are argued in a totally unforgiving way so that it's not easy to separate the lunatics from the libertarians. But it's a snap to separate the libertarians from the conservatives."

Best to all,

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