Just flipped the Public bit on the Blogger settings page. Five hits so far, all from me. It’s a start.
The good professor discusses Eric Alterman’s analogy between Iraq and Vietnam. He asks,
So, the question raised by the Vietnam analogy here is: Are we serious about winning? And who, exactly, is going to intervene on a massive scale to stop us if we look like we’re going to win big?
Well, there are several places from which opposition could arise. Most obviously, there are the other Islamic nations, one of whom (Pakistan) has nuclear weapons. They haven’t shown a lot of teaming skills, but they might be able to pull something together if they see the United States as a common threat. There are other countries that might be interested in helping to pummel us. China always comes to mind, as do various parts of the former Soviet Union if the wrong type of people gain power. Also, given their reaction to Israel’s fight with terrorists, we should keep a careful eye on Europe. I’m sure they could use a big strategic partnership with the OPEC countries, and some of them have caused trouble before. In combination, these countries could be a serious threat, especially since they can pile on with the opportunistic abandon of a bar fight: If our forces get sucked into the Middle East more than we expect, we could lose our strategic mobility, tempting countries like North Korea to make their move.
None of these disasters, however, are imminent. China is focusing on local matters, Europe seems resigned to complaining without doing much, the Arab countries have no powerful unified military organizations, and there’s no talk of them ganging up on us. So the answer to the question “who…is going to intervene” is that no one will intervene if we act before our enemies coordinate their efforts.
Nick Gillespie suggests that Bush is eager to invade Iraq because it’s a lot easier to find than Osama bin Laden.
However, sometimes hi-tech problems have low-tech solutions. My friend Ken teaches information technology for MBA‘s, and in his security classes he shows them a stupidly simple way to avoid nearly all the privacy risks of supermarket discount cards: He swaps cards with his students and encourages them to swap with each other. Everyone still gets the discount at the register, but the data is meaningless. He’s been using other people’s cards for years.
Slate‘s Eric Klinenberg writes about the worst U.S. natural disaster of the 1990’s, at least in terms of the loss of life. It wasn’t the Northridge quake or Hurricane Andrew. It was the heatwave that hit Chicago in July of 1995, killing 739 people.
If this doesn’t ring a bell, welcome to flyover country. Klinenberg’s article discusses other reasons for the general lack of attention paid to heatwave deaths.
The heatwave’s death toll wasn’t immediately obvious. Heat death is slow, and its victims usually live alone, because otherwise someone would have saved them. When the Medical Examiner’s office announced the disaster, City Hall politicians tried to play it down, claiming that Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Edmund R. Donaghue was mistaken or trying to get publicity. A more thorough investigation showed that the doctors were right. In fact, the ME‘s estimate had been conservative.
The politicians should have known better: Many years earlier, Dr. Donaghue’s office had been the first to detect the Tylenol poisonings.