Wednesday, July 12, 2006

"Big Dig" Disaster 

Boston's "Big Dig" underground highway was a disaster the day it opened in December 2003, being five years late and billions over budget. Now a 12-ton portion of the overhead has collapsed and crushed an automobile, killing a woman passenger and injuring the driver, her husband. I offer my prayers for the dead woman and her family.

The tragedy corrorborated the opinion of an engineer who in March 2005 declared that he could not affirm the safety of the project. At this point, I would not use the tunnel if I were a Boston resident.

Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly has properly declared the site a crime scene and launched an investigation of whether the woman's death was negligent homicide. The project has long been the subject of allegations of fraud and corruption. Last May six men were arrested by federal authorities for falsifying records to hide evidence that substandard concrete was delivered to the project.

From 2800 miles away the project looks to this taxpayer, whose money helped feed the project, as the closest example we have of a black hole. It is also a great example of how overly ambitious politicians can screw things up. On one level, I feel sorry for the people of Boston, and Massachusetts in general, because they have to live with those politicians. At another level, I have to say that people deserve the government they elect.

It's a sad day in Boston, for many reasons.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Kill, Don't Capture 

The new "Thought" at left is from this piece by Ralph Peters, appearing in today's New York Post Online Edition (and maybe in the dead tree edition, too). As appalling as it may be to the more squeamish among us, it is pure common sense. Peters is a retired US Army Lt. Col., and knows whereof he speaks.

The terrorists break every rule in the book, and "international law" means no more to them than national security means to The New York Times. Our response: reward their evil behavior. I'd be willing to bet that once the word got out that the US military's rules of engagement were changed to "take no terrorist prisoners," things would calm down. A lot. I also agree with Peters that such a change would not increase the likelihood that our troops would be subject to atrocities when captured--they already are subject to atrocities when captured.

Peters observes that our PC tendencies have changed the nature of war as we fight it from a battle for survival to a sort of law enforcement action on a grand scale. In the long run, this is societal suicide when confronted with an an enemy like Islamofascist terrorism. Islamist terrorism as practiced by al-Qaeda and its ilk is an existential threat to Western civilization, and its adherents are more than willing to continue their war against us for centuries, if that's what it takes for them to win. We as a society will not be able to fight the threat effectively until we, and especially our political leaders and opinion makers, acknowledge that fact.

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