Saturday, May 14, 2011

Preventing the next war

Essayist Terrence Heath has a couple posts about the death of bin Laden. In the first he poses the question, Did Osama bin Laden actually win? That of course, depends what he was attempting to do. Heath suggests that his goal was to bankrupt the USA in the same manner he bankrupted the USSR through the Afghan war in the 1980s. The bet was the USSR would pour lots of money into a war they couldn't quite win rather than admit defeat.

We cannot lay much of the blame for our current economic mess on bin Laden. But he dangled the bait which the GOP swallowed with gusto, making many bad choices while doing so.

In the second essay Heath looks at what has happened in America since the Towers fell. We haven't asked for justice. We want vengeance. And that was quickly confused with patriotism and baked into our foreign policy. And vengeance has caused a lot of death and destruction in Afghanistan and Iraq. And those people want vengeance against us. Those attacks of nearly 10 years ago has wounded the American psyche and we haven't yet recovered (and there are some who are working to make sure we don't). Yes, bin Laden was a monster. But in the eyes of many we are too.

What are you doing to prevent the next war? How are you treating those around you? Treating others with kindness will do a bit to make America a seeker of justice, not of vengeance.

Heath has a third post on the source of our economic mess. I'll try to simplify the reasoning.

* As long as people are hugely compensated for risking other peoples money and then suffer none of the consequences they will continue to take those risks and profit at another's expense.

* One of the mantras lately is that self-interest will regulate markets. That means everyone will behave themselves because that system works only when everyone is good.

* Those two ideas conflict. The huckster will make the attempt every time.

* Expand the second idea and we get fundamentalism. If you would only believe the way I do you would behave the way I think you should and you would play fair. This depends of purity of belief and proper action on all players.

* The Fundie claims the system didn't fail because my beliefs are wrong. The system failed because you didn't believe them as fervently as I do.

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