Thursday, June 7, 2007

Thought of the Day

Bureaucracies have a vested interest in their continued existence, which is not necessarily the same as solving problems. Sort of like the Department of Homeland Security and its cadres of "Terrorism Experts". If they successfully address the root causes of terrorism, such as injustice around the world and past wrongs, they actually risk losing their jobs. So instead the approach of the "terrorism expert" is to "keep 'em coming and we'll take 'em out, one-by-one". When faced with escalating terror attacks, the "terrorism expert's" advice is to "hire more of us so we can keep taking 'em one-by-one." Like all bureaucracies, the terrorism experts are a self-preserving breed - that is to say, they're good at preserving themselves, but not necessarily the people they're hired to protect. No one is left to address the root causes.

The problem with bureaucracies is that they're sluggish and easy to topple by more nimble entities. Examples abound, from how the infant Microsoft toppled the age of the mainframes to this age one the mobile Google is toppling everyone including the now bureaucratic Microsoft. The Roman Empire fell mainly because of its failure to adapt to a changing world.

So while state and federal officials in Virginia continue to squabble about whether the rail link to Dullus airport should be built above ground or below ground, the DC Metro area will continue to suffocate from congestion. Meanwhile in countries like China Maglev trains will continue to be constructed without a second thought, linking airports to downtowns in minutes and accelerating the pace of growth.

As for terrorism, no one will address the root causes because the stakes are elsewhere. After all, to have a terrorism expert one first must have terrorism, which means the latter is not really a bad thing to be eliminated. Perhaps none is better at exporting this line of illusionism than the Israelis, their ex-PM Netanyahu being a prime example. Any idiot can discern that his recipes of "combatting terrorism" by creating severely disproportionate civilian lossess on the other side is calculated to accomplish none other than create more terrorists. "Keep 'em coming", he says, so he can stay in business and tour more and more institutes and TV cameras, offering his "advice" for buckets of cash.

It's only a matter a time before the shaky house of cards is toppled by the next nimble enterprise. The only difference is: today I'm an American.

40 years to the Fall of Jerusalem

40 years ago from today, the Israeli army completed its occupation of Palestine by conquering Jerusalem. Seen here is an Israeli soldier erasing the Arabic script from a street sign, possibly the first step in Israel's now long-standing policy of changing the character of the city. The rest of Palestine suffered a similar fate, with hundreds of villages depopulated, roads rerouted, people expelled, houses demolished and places renamed. The 1000-mile journey starts with one step, and the theft of a whole country starts with one street sign.