Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Good News and Bad in the War on Terror

The good news is that a new fingerprinting system seems like it's working. I say "seems" because just because we're making arrests doesn't necessarily mean we're arresting the right people. I'm all for curbing illegal immigration, but obviously the priority is on preventing those who want to blow up America.

"Mr. Bonner has described the new system as 'absolutely critical' to CBP's priority mission of keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country, adding that it gives the agents the ability to identify those with criminal backgrounds 'we could never have identified before.'

"The program, known as the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), is a biometric identification technology enabling Border Patrol agents to search CBP's Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) and the FBI's criminal fingerprint database simultaneously, CBP spokesman Mario Villarreal said. "

The bad news is that 22 people were killed in an attack in Mosul.

Okay, taken in isolation, and compared with the broader perspective of the necessity of the War on Terror and the potential benefits of a Democracy in Iraq, 22 isn't so much, is it? But it's not just the 22, it's the 22 combined with the more than 60 from yesterday, combined with however many were killed the day before. At a some point, I have to be concerned not only with the deaths themselves, but with how those deaths reflect on our learning curve.

I totally respect our military. They freakin' kick butt, as illustrated in the video I linked yesterday. U.S. military technology is second-to-none, and I believe it is in the hands of dedicated warriors who are well trained to do an unpleasant job.

But should out learning curve in Iraq look the way it does? I'm assume it's hard to prevent a suicide bombing, but it gets depressing to think that we haven't come up with some way of preventing these attacks. It looks like our intelligence net is insufficient. It looks like our campaign to train Iraqi military and police forces isn't working out. I know these things take time and hard work, but even with that knowledge, daily attacks can certainly get to you. And I live in New Orleans. Imagine how the Iraqis must feel.

Great, now I'm going to be depressed all day. At least, until I finish my latest Photoshop project featuring Leon Trotsky. Hopefully that will be ready later today.