[FoRK] Death by terrorism
Fri Aug 12 12:52:31 PDT 2005
August 10, 2005: Defense contractor Lockheed Martin, taking advantage of
the widespread fear of terrorist attack in the United States, has
proposed a billion dollar anti-missile defense system for the northeast
coast of the United States. Lockheed Martin believes it is likely that
terrorists would use cargo ships as launching platforms for SCUD
missiles. Existing Patriot anti-aircraft missile technology would be
used to shoot down the SCUDs before they could hit any of the urban
areas from Boston to Washington. The latest version of Patriot has a
proven track record in knocking down SCUD type missiles. What?s
interesting about this proposal is that no terrorists have been known to
have obtained SCUD missiles, or seagoing cargo ships. Lockheed Martin
said it spent a year analyzing this problem.
It?s long been feared that terrorists, especially well financed ones,
could easily by older merchant ships (the ?tramp steamer? often featured
in fiction for over a century), and use them to set off a cargo of
explosives in a major American port. So far, no one has been able to
find terrorist owned cargo ships. Terrorist owned SCUD missiles are a
relatively new threat, and none of those has been uncovered either. But
you can?t be too careful, especially if there?s a chance you can get
another billion bucks out of Congress.
> On 12-Aug-05, at 9:05 AM, Elias Sinderson wrote:
>> Where is the 'War on Aspirin' or the 'War on AIDS'? The 'War on
>> Cancer'? 'War on Poor Nutrition'? I tell you, our priorities seem
>> pretty fucked up. I often wonder how different the world would be if
>> we had spent 400 billion dollars over the last four years on
>> beneficient causes such as providing clean drinking water and medical
>> supplies to third world nations or combating the spread of HIV in
>> africa or converted a portion of our armed forces to 'peace forces'
>> that undertook public works projects in developing nations. . . to
>> say nothing of the countless domestic issues that could benefit. . .
>> Quite simply, the opportunity costs associated with the 'War on
>> Terrorism' are very troubling to say the least.
> As if you didn't know this already, the Judeo-Christian realpolitik
> doesn't care about these things, as it doesn't adversely affect them
> (in fact, it may be that they benefit from the deaths and suffering of
> others by some of these means -- indirectly, of course). To these
> folks, AIDS mostly affects homerseckshuls and drug-addicted criminals
> and people who can't keep their pecker in their pants. People suffer
> from poor nutrition 'cause they're not working hard enough. And
> Cancer? Aw, heck ... by the time I get it they'll have cured it, right?
> AIDS is a particularly political affliction. Many see it as a
> necessary population control mechanism for Africa (reference earlier
> debate about Western nations letting people starve in Niger). It does
> statistically affect a lot of gays and therefore is a hot potato in
> America. There's also much more money to be made from selling
> prescription drugs that manage disease than from those that cure it.
> Imagine what a disaster it would be for the shareholders of
> GlaxoSmithKline, the makers and marketers of AZT, if the disease were
> eradicated as happened with Polio in 1979. The drug companies needn't
> make that same mistake twice.
> IMHO, just re-allocating war dollars to these things won't solve
> anything. The system has been gamed.
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