Democratic Underground

The Second Chance Kid
May 10, 2001
by Jorge Root

The Second Chance Kid

"A single bomb of this type, carried by boat and exploded in a port, might very well destroy the whole port together with some of the surrounding territory."

- Albert Einstein, 1st letter to President Roosevelt, 8/2/39

Amazing - Albert Einstein figured out nearly 62 years ago that terrorism of the future will more than likely be hand-delivered. Big Al's observation still holds water today and we should heed what he said. The White House wants us to believe that we are in imminent danger of being attacked by ICBM missles or similar technology. The attack may come from our cold war friends (the Russians), our new cold war friends (the Chinese) or from any number of "Rogue Nations." Any day now, while watching my favorite TV show, reruns of "F-Troop", the networks will splash a news bulletin accross the screen, warning us of "incoming".

In this crazy world of ours, I guess anything is possible. However, "incoming" will result in "outgoing" which will result in even more "incoming" and so on. When that happens, we can all grab our you-know-what and kiss it good-bye.

This is where the "doomsday scenario" begins to break down. It doesn't leave room for survivors and that is a big part of the picture. You can bet your last penny the perpetrators will want to live. Yes, even if they are zealots willing to die for a cause. In this case these zealots will want to flex their muscles, they will want to be part of the celebration, part of the eulogy and finality of the U.S.A. You can count on it. It's what they live for, with "live" being the key word.

You see, it is important to look at this issue with an open and unclouded mind. Living through the cold war period taught me a very valuable principle - that reality must always be defined in terms of perception. We must be absolutely sure that what we perceive is what really exists. During the cold war we were told "the USSR is the devil, we should consider ourselves lucky that Uncle Sam is here to protect us and make decisions for us. We need only to hang on and go for the ride. Trust us." It all seemed fine then, and I bought into it, the same as most people, and you can be assured the USSR was shovelling it pretty deep on their side of the world.

Total illusions in both hemispheres. The U.S. used the cold war and the threat of communism to justify spending absolute fortunes on defense while the USSR used their propaganda similarly with the added benefit of explaining away the terrible quality of life that existed throughout their country. We must never again be that gullible or naive.

The repugs in power are all cold warriors. Don't forget that. They were part of the charade. It worked well then, it will work well now. That's what they are planning on. Don't fall for it. Demand absolute, rock-solid evidence that we need to go into the shield business. No evidence, no shield, no exceptions.

Want some more? Okay, my opinion - there is not a country on the face of the earth that can successfully launch missles into the CONUS let alone do it in an overwhelming fashion. The possible exception is Russia and their capability is, of late, suspect. The Russian launch also lacks a motive as they need us more than we need them. It is important to understand why I can make this statement. If such an attack was possible, it would be happening right now. Let's face it, there's no such thing as a "good time" or a "bad time" to launch your missles. You get them ready and do it. Just that simple. The target country can either stop them or they can't stop them. That's pretty simple too. This part of it isn't rocket science. There is no advantage to waiting until 2:18 A.M. on May 23, 2003 to pull a sneak attack.

So the argument continues onto how we need to protect our allies who are unable to protect themselves. This is why the repugs say we need satellites, ships, (yup, Aegis destroyers - get the picture?) planes and shore bases all linked together in a grand scheme to cover the globe. I don't suppose the prime contracts for all these expensive electronic devices will go to companies in Texas and to other companies which were large campaign donors though. Nah!

Back to our friends in the White House. Thinking they have scared us to death with this "doomsday propaganda", the repugs are now suggesting the American people should pay to design, build and install a National Missle Defense shield (NMD). This is not much different than we heard back in the late 80's and early 90's with the push for the Strategic Defense Initiative, also known as SDI. And in that statement lies the real reason for the push to build the NMD.


This is his baby and his alone. His record shows between 1984 and 1988 he co-sponsored several bills which dealt with the passage of SDI, "peace through strength" and base closings. It was Cheney's dream - legacy if you will. The dream was never fulfilled. Now he has a second chance which is also his last chance.

The stage is set differently this time. We are a country without a sitting president. We have a puppet at best. We are a country with a Congress that can not think for itself. They pass anything and everything that is presented as ideologically Republican. We are indeed a country that is vulnerable and prone to make some serious mistakes. And Cheney knows this. He knows there is no stopping him, at least at the legislative or executive level.

Outrage is the only thing that can stop this hugh mistake from becoming reality. Yes, the threat of terrorism still exists but we will not stop it using a global shield. It will take localized protection and that is where we need to spend our money. We need to protect ourselves against that ship Albert mentioned, against the lunatic that walks our streets with a backpack bomb or stalks our subways with chemical weapons. This is our real and immediate threat. If we don't afford ourselves this type of protection, we are asking for a momentous tragic event, extreme misfortune and possibly utter overthrow or ruin.

The existing ABM treaty, dismantling of nuclear weapons, working with developing nations and sound judgement will take care of the threat of long range missle attacks. It is totally unthinkable that we should ever again take a cold war posture. We must press forward and never look back.

To sum it up, Albert Einstein indeed had it right 62 years ago, and so did Franklin D. Roosevelt, also 62 years ago, when in a radio speech on October 26, 1939, he made this statement:

"A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward."

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