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November 27, 2008

A Mournful Anniversary and a Shocking Revelation

In 2006, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, a federal jury in Fresno, California took just two hours to find Dustin Costa guilty of growing cannabis for medical purposes, an activity supposedly protected by a state initiative passed ten years previously. That travesty had been enabled by an unprecedented state-to-federal transfer of jurisdiction over a year earlier, a move never seriously discussed by either side or by the press. Its bland acceptance, the gross injustice of the pre-trial rulings, the trial itself, and the maximum sentence handed down by a cowardly judge; when combined with the abysmal civil rights record of the Bush Administration, and my own experience in studying pot applicants, have combined to convince me that we Americans have been as hypocritical and cowardly as the Soviet Union under Stalin.

Yesterday, as I was struggling to fashion those thoughts into a coherent remembrance of Dustin’s ordeal, I heard the first news from Mumbai. Now, eighteen hours later, the shooting is still going on and the Indian government has yet to regain control of India's biggest city. At this point, CNN is all over the story like a blanket, even as the usual Thanksgiving hoopla: football and the Macy’s parade, are still on the tube. It's now clear to me that the real significance of Mumbai has yet to dawn on those commenting on the story: it’s really stark confirmation of the degree to which 9/11 suckered the US and several of the world's wealthier nations into a trap, otherwise known as the “war on terror.”

In that context, we can see Osama bin Laden’s creation of al Qaeda as one of the most significant events in history: his deep seated religious convictions (which he’s never bothered to conceal) have allowed him to create an efficient, yet decentralized network united primarily by shared resentments against the West. Nor has he ever bothered to hide its historical roots in the Crusades. We also know he was inspired by the effectiveness of Hezbollah’s attack on the US Marine barracks in Lebanon and by the near miss of the ‘93 truck bombing of the WTC; also that prior to 9/11, he tested his new organization’s ability to launch coordinated attacks; first in Saudi Arabia, and later, against American embassies in Africa, and since 9/11, al Qaeda has been o responsible for several loosely coordinated bombings around the world.

During that interval, not only has bin Laden not been captured, we have never come close to him, even though he’s almost certainly not left the Pakistan-Afghanistan border area since he slipped away form Tora Bora in December 2001. In the meantime, America has bankrupted itself in a futile war in Iraq and the world economy is now in danger of collapse.

Ironically, the final revelation of Bush’s (and the West’s) folly was delayed until he was a lame duck on the verge of waddling out the door.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at November 27, 2008 05:52 PM