The Null Device
And if the Falwell piece wasn't enough, here's another column, from a mainstream conservative paper: "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.". (Like we did to the Native Americans and Aborigines, right?)
The world's gone barmy: A MP3 file (and a transcript here) of US televangelist Jerry Falwell, speaking on the Christian Broadcasting Network about the WTC attack, blaming it on gays, abortionists, feminists, the ACLU and "Christ haters". (via Portal Of Evil News)
The ACLU's gotta take a lot of the blame for this... and I know I'll hear from them on this. Throwing God out successfully, with the help of the Federal court system. Throwing God out of the public square. Out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some of the burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy forty million little innocent babies we made God mad. I really do believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays, and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who tried to secularize America... I point the finger in their face and say "you helped this happen.
Beggars belief, it does...
Now here's a clever idea: a combination MP3 player/USB hard drive. Presumably it behaves like any USB storage device and thus works with anything USB-friendly including Linux, MacOS X and even weirder OSes. Unfortunately, when you read the fine print, it emerges that it doesn't actually record (i.e., digitise audio) as such, but only plays MP3s from the disk. Otherwise it would make a very nifty portable hard disk recorder.
The virtue of the vicious: As the US debates an open-ended declaration of war (which may turn out to be a Tonkin Gulf-style blank cheque), restraint has left the building:
"I say, bomb the hell out of them," Sen. Zell Miller, D-Ga., said Wednesday. "If there's collateral damage, so be it. They certainly found our civilians to be expendable."
I see... "You kill our innocent people, and we'll kill your innocent people, see if we don't". *sigh* The world is going to hell.
(And it's frightening how at times like this, otherwise rational, mild-mannered people become fanatical patriots, to the point of threatening or using violence against those who disagree with the wisdom of going to war.)
Here it comes: US Congress debates cryptography bans, mandatory back doors in all cryptography; after the attack, the balance has shifted enough for a ban on cryptography, once unthinkable, to be on the agenda. Never mind the problems in getting terrorists to comply with bans.
Chilling: A MetaFilter log of comments posted as the WTC attack unfolded, by observers, as the true horror of the incident unfolded. (via Peter as well)
Oh, and this blog hasn't become a single-issue blog; there will be posts about other topics; perhaps even less depressingly serious ones. Though, I must say that my ironic detachment seems to have left me, and I don't know when it will return. Hope you weren't expecting too much in the way of flippant commentary.
As it stands right now, the wünderkammer is temporarily closed.
A defense expert has said what the Soviet Army, and the British Army before them, discovered through bitter experience: a ground war in Afghanistan would be extremely difficult. Meanwhile, cruise missiles would not be particularly useful.
John Howard has made the first announcement that Australia could go to war. It's likely that Australia will declare that it has been attacked (under the ANZUS treaty, much as NATO has done), and Howard would be more enthusiastic than many Europeans about committing all the troops that can be raised to the war. (Btw, what would be required to bring in conscription in Australia; would it be a referendum or simply an act of Parliament?)
A thought-provoking and controversial perspective on the terrorist attack from progressive Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk: "The wickedness and awesome cruelty of a crushed and humiliated people" (via Indymedia Israel; thanks, Peter).
But this is not the war of democracy versus terror that the world will be asked to believe in the coming days. It is also about American missiles smashing into Palestinian homes and US helicopters firing missiles into a Lebanese ambulance in 1996 and American shells crashing into a village called Qana and about a Lebanese militia Â paid and uniformed by America's Israeli ally Â hacking and raping and murdering their way through refugee camps.
Ask an Arab how he responds to 20,000 or 30,000 innocent deaths and he or she will respond as decent people should, that it is an unspeakable crime. But they will ask why we did not use such words about the sanctions that have destroyed the lives of perhaps half a million children in Iraq, why we did not rage about the 17,500 civilians killed in Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon. And those basic reasons why the Middle East caught fire last September Â the Israeli occupation of Arab land, the dispossession of Palestinians, the bombardments and state-sponsored executions ... all these must be obscured lest they provide the smallest fractional reason for yesterday's mass savagery.
It's quite tragic; and will be undoubtedly buried behind simplistic Good-Versus-Evil rhetoric as the Western world marches off to war against the crazed, evil Arabs, without considering what could motivate people to commit such horrific crimes (other than perhaps dismissing it under the broad category of "madness" or the Devil). And so, all are punished and innocents die on all sides.
(Of course, this is not to in the least way excuse the atrocity. It was an utterly evil act, in the most chillingly premeditated way.)