Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Moussaoui is Schizo

Can someone explain to me why they let Moussaoui pled guilty and the jury was allowed to decided whether or not to execute him? Sure the man wanted to kill Americans like his Al-Qaeda friends. Sure he tried to learn how to fly an airplane, but he was not involved in the planning, nor did he know about the 9/11 plot in any real detail. I suspect bin Laden or his lieuteniants decided Moussaoui was too unstable for the job.

It seems to me that the U.S. government will execute Moussaoui for being an Al-Qaeda member and a wannabe standby member of the 9/11 crew. Any rational actor would not behave the way Zacharias has these past years. Just contrast his behavior to that of Brain David Mitchell, who was found insane in Utah. And I am not the only one who thinks Moussaoui is crazy. [From the NY Times]

Dr. Xavier Amador testified about an encounter with Mr. Moussaoui last April in the holding cell of the courthouse in which the trial is taking place. He said Mr. Moussaoui repeatedly spat water on him and exhibited several classic symptoms of schizophrenia, including sudden shifts in the defendant's views accompanied by denials that he had only moments earlier held the opposite views.

Under questioning by Gerald T. Zerkin, one of the court-appointed defense lawyers, Dr. Amadeor picked apart Mr. Moussaoui's testimony last week in which he seemed to offer rational, if not plausible explanations for his odd behavior over the previous four years. For example, Mr. Moussaoui had regularly charged that his lawyers, whom he reviles, were part of a conspiracy to kill him.

I know people want revenge for 9/11, and the families deserve justice. But killing this man really isn't going to do it, because he did not do anything to further the 9/11 attack, didn't know about it, and was mentally incapable of doing so.

If you are so wacko that bin Laden doesn't think you are a good candidate for a suicide bombing, you have some serious issues, to say the least.

Kanab keeps koming

"The bottom line is that it's not the business of a city to tell people how to live their lives." I couldn't have said it better myself (JoAnne Rando-Moon, who moved to Kanab seven years ago and owns a pet-supply business there said it). According to the Deseret News:
Residents now are starting a campaign to send a different message than that of the resolution. One group of residents is distributing a 6-inch round decal to businesses in Kanab that states, "Everyone is welcome," said Rando-Moon. So far, 82 businesses are displaying the decal on their front doors.

Only 7 businesses refused the decale, according to Rando-Moon. "Carol Sullivan, the only council member who voiced support for revoking the resolution during the Feb. 28 meeting, said the issue has severely divided her town." That's the trouble with Culture wars even in fairly red areas like Kanab, they create struggle and animostity where there doesn't need to be any. "I'm really worried for our businesses. One hotel in town has lost $14,000 because of cancellations," said Sullivan. "There are a lot of innocent people in business who are caught in the middle of this. I don't know where it's going or where it will end."

Of course, the supporters are not backing down. But is nice to see that the theocrats are wasting everyone's time effort and livelihood on a powerless yet hate-filled resolution. The folks in Kanab, Utah should meet with the folks in Dover, Penn. Seems like they both have something in common.

the fundamental problem with Bush foreign policy

If you thought this would be a post about how dumb invading Iraq was, sorry, that is overplayed and everyone pretty much knows it by now. What I wish to discuss is how the Bush foreign policy team doesn't just have pre-9/11 thinking but pre-1989 thinking.

The reaction to the 9/11 attacks by the Bush team was one that Reagan would have had, not because Bush is like Reagan, but because Reagan fought against Nation-States, specifically the USSR (and Granada and Panama). The Nation-State is so 20th Century. Al-Qaeda is focused on an ethno-religious identity-- the Wahabist, who is usually Arab. Although the Fillipinos are heavily Muslim, most of Al-Qaeda's most active recruits are Arab. The know no country, in fact, these folks are militant preciesely because they are unwanted in their own countries.

Yet Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld's approach was to take out Afghanistan rather than Al-Qaeda. In reality, they did neither well. Both are back and the country is unstable as ever. Don't get me wrong, I wanted to invade Afghanistan in 1998 when I learned what the Tailban were up to and that is where bin Laden lived (who had killed people in American Embassies in Kenya). But to do it on the cheap outsource the hunting of the actual people that were responsible for 9/11 was criminal negligence.

When they decided to topple Iraq, they ignored the fact that Iraq is a middle eastern Yugoslavia, with competing ethinic groups that don't necessarily get along. Even worse than Yugoslavia, these three groups are also found in other not so stable countries and so the impact is felt more widely. Now because of no post-war planning, not enough troops, no international support, and general bungling by Rummy, we have a ethic war that is making Sarajevo look relatively better everyday.

As Bush drums up for war with Iran in a feable attempt to repeat his 2002 off-year election performance, his people should be made aware that Iran probabbly already has lots of its intelligence people in Iraq right now instigating more violence. The Persians share religious sectarian beliefs with a large portion of the Iraqi people. And Iran is a mountainous country with lots and lots of young men with not much to do. These young people like some parts of American culture, and Bollywood stars, but they don't like Bush and his Bible thumping friends.

And frankly, most of Americans don't anymore either. So don't let yourself be distracted into worrying about Iranian nuclear technology. Sure their leaders are nuts, but their people aren't, and the leaders aren't so nuts as to actually pick a fight with us. But if they are attacked, watch out.