Saturday, June 09, 2007

Bush's Far-Reaching Agenda

So Bush met with the Pope and they talked about Africa, the Middle East and what he wants to do with respect to interstellar K-12 education. OK, that last one was a reach, but with a Compassionate Conservative, you never can tell, can you?

Like most sane people, I was appalled the other day when Bush announced that he wanted to spend double what we're currently spending to combat AIDS. Compulsory charity is no charity at all, but theft. As my friend Mr. Hargis has been known to say: if I were to do what the government is doing, and take your money against your will and give it to another person, I'd be put in jail. That there's little difference between the activities of crooks and Congressmen makes me pause.

Yet, here's an argument that stumped Medved, who I generally consider a pretty good debater. A caller suggested that before deadly diseases make it to America and potentially kill Americans, that we're better off preemptively fighting disease "over there." This was a clever spin on Bush's doctrine of preemption and Medved didn't have much to say. Chalk it up to being taken off guard pretty effectively.

But here's the difference. Disease - be it AIDS, TB, avian flu, whatever - can be fought if it is contracted by Americans. Suppose a rogue terrorist organization infected themselves with some super flu and brought it to the United States to infect others. Not a whole lot, I suppose, that could be done to stop that, yet medical treatments remain that could fight such bugs. If terrorists decide to ram planes into buildings, shoot up malls, blow up airports, or just plain drive their SUVs into crowded streets, there's not a whole lot of opportunity to fight back; once the act is done, it's done, and we're talking about merely putting up yellow police tape and preventing the next attack. As that ambulance chaser showed us, biological terrorism - or merely the resurgence of third world disease - may pose a threat to Americans and national security. However, using that analogy that stumped Medved is a little intellectually dishonest.

But I digress.

Here's what we all have to keep in mind come primary season: there's conservatives, and then there's everyone else. As Bush has showed us, there's precious little difference between a big government "conservative" and a Scoop Jackson Democrat (See: Rudy Giuliani).


Daniel Webster said...

I dunno, man, it seems like a pretty good analogy to me. It just appears that both President Bush's and the caller's respective preemptive doctrines leave a little to be desired. But there seem to be some pretty interesting parallels there. I can see why Medved was stumped...momentarily.

The problem I'm seeing with the analogy is this:

It's an apples and oranges comparison...

it posits that deadly disease originating elsewhere in the world has the self-determination to come to the U.S. UNLESS we pump huge amounts of money and technological resources into fighting it over there. And that amount of money, regardless of what it is, can never be enough. This isn't necessarily the case, though it may be the probable case given our apparent unwillingness to control our borders. The difference then is that disease itself has no determination or desire to come to the U.S. and infect this populace. It possesses no independent power to do so. It goes wherever its incubator takes it; it infects those that its host comes into differing means of contact with. People do (our enemies to be exact), however, have those ambitions, and those independent powers. War on disease is not the same thing as war on our (yuman) enemies.

If my home were vulnerable to an invasion by gun wielding lunatics from, ummm, Illinois (and I can never completely erase that vulnerability no matter how remote) it would be absolutely ridiculous of me to approach the threat 'preemptively' by committing an ever-increasing percentage of my income to finding a cure for, ummm, the existence of lunacy in the State of Illinois for example. Like I said, wherever the host takes it, that's where it goes. That's why ya gotta restrict the comings and goings of the host. And that duty is reciprocal among nations. That's why we isolate violent criminals from the rest of the population. Of course, one has to commit a criminal act of violence before we put him away, but nonetheless.

I don't know of a single instance of a lion, tiger, ostrich, emu, giraffe, or whatever that ever boarded a ship or an airplane on its own.

Michael Tams said...

Good point I neglected, DW. In addition to the immediate lethality of the threat, there's also the lack of sentient determination, as you say, in the case of disease.