|The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by Josh Nossiter
|The Morning Mendacity
Friday, September 23rd, 2005
|The Nossiter Net is cast to snare some of the riper rascalities of the day. Comments? firstname.lastname@example.org|
|President Bush is accused of turning a blind eye to the world’s problems. Poverty, environmental degradation, disease, and the other ills that plague the planet are, according to Mr. Bush’s critics, matters of perfect indifference for the nation’s Chief Executive. And in fairness to his critics, Mr. Bush does seem to be strangely oblivious to such urgent crises as the AIDS epidemic, the fast increasing appetite for a diminishing world oil supply, the genocide in Darfur.
But in the face of one great global challenge, Mr. Bush has been as active as he has been innovative. While not quite the catastrophe that Thomas Malthus foresaw, over-population is crisis enough for the average pessimist. B.F. Skinner noted what happens when you put too many rats in the same cage, and the poverty, poisons, and strife that lie all around us result at least in part from that same dynamic.
Mr. Bush, it is clear by now, has made over-population the chief priority of his administration. While his methods have been unconventional, his results are indisputable. At home, the incompetence of the crony-ridden Justice Department and National Security Administration gave Al Qaeda a free hand in slaughtering over three thousand of our fellow citizens on September 11th of 2001. Attorney General Ashcroft, it should be recalled, was addressing himself to the crisis of pornography. National Security Advisor Condi Rice was worried about Chinese missile attacks. At Defence, Assistant Secretary Paul Wolfowitz questioned anti-terrorism czar Richard Clark’s insistence on constantly talking about some guy named Bin Laden. Mr. Bush was mostly on vacation.
But those initial casualties were just the beginning. The invasion of Afghanistan has proven to be another innovative population control measure; so far more than two hundred and thirty of our fellow citizens have died there, not to mention seventeen Germans, an equal number of Spanish, over two dozen French, British, Danish, Italians, Romanians, and Australians, as well as a single unfortunate Norwegian.1 Nobody is really keeping track of how many civilians have died in Afghanistan since the invasion; estimates vary wildly, but the L.A. Times pegs the figure at around 1,200.2
Afghanistan’s casualties pale, of course, besides those generated by Mr. Bush’s invasion of Iraq. Since the war began in 2003, over 1,900 of our fellow citizens have perished there. Nearly a hundred British and dozens of Italians, Poles, Dutch, and others have also died.3 Nobody is really keeping track of how many Iraqis have died, but estimates range from over 23,000 to over 100,000, an impressive number no matter which end of the range you pick.4
And warfare is far from Mr. Bush’s only population control tool. In Uganda, authorities had begun to make inroads against the raging AIDS epidemic there thanks in large part to a US funded condom distribution program. Mr. Bush saw fit to shift the emphasis of the program from condoms to abstinence and prayer. As condom-laden warehouses stay shuttered and church attendance swells, the death toll is rising in Uganda once again.
After stripping authority and budget from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and installing clueless cronies in the top FEMA jobs, Mr. Bush completed the ruination of the agency by placing right-wing ideologue Michael Chertoff, Director of Homeland Security, in overall charge. When disaster struck New Orleans and the eastern Gulf Coast in the form of hurricane Katrina, hundreds died in the inept and tardy response. So far the death toll is over two thousand, and certain to rise higher. And as hurricane Rita now blasts its way across the westerly end of the Gulf Coast, thousands are trapped in enormous traffic jams outside of Houston, victims of a lethally ill-conceived evacuation scheme crafted by Mr. Bush’s political allies. So far the toll is in the dozens of deaths, but that too is certain to rise.
With a world population of over six billion, increasing at the rate of some seventy-five million each year,5 it could be argued that Mr. Bush’s population control measures, inventive though they are, barely make a dent in the problem. But to paraphrase Leona Helmsley: A few thousand here, a few thousand there, and pretty soon you’re talking real numbers.
©Joshua C. Nossiter, 2005
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