Random Shots: Notes for Life Under Siege

Against the Current, No. 95, November/December 2001

R.F. Kampfer

WHEN ONE THINKS of communities around the world that have been under siege for decades, one wonders how the U.S. will cope in the absence of a quick fix. Return to normal? This is normal for a lot of people. It’s safety that is an aberration and an illusion.

Those of us who have read Tom Clancy’s Debt of Honor are experiencing a sense of deja vu these days.

Dubya may come to regret being given such a free hand by Congress. When things go wrong, there will be nobody else to blame.

In previous wars, civilians were called on to sacrifice to support the troops. Now it’s the patriotic thing to spend more than we can afford on ourselves.

U.S. policy produced bin Laden the same way the Versailles Treaty produced Hitler. Of course, that doesn’t justify either one of them.

If Milosevic were still ruling Serbia, he would undoubtedly be welcomed into the anti-terrorist alliance. The next generation will suffer a great deal for the rotten bloc that’s being assembled now.

Irreverent Musings

COME TO WASHINGTON and see the Quadragon.

Rush Limbaugh has gone deaf to the point where he can no longer hear his own voice. Lucky him.

Urban seagulls have learned how to herd migratory birds into the sides of tall buildings, so they can feast on the battered bodies. Jonathan Livingston, how could you?

Al Gore has finally managed to define himself. He’s the one with the beard. He’d get more credit if he had grown it during the 1960s, when one had to fight for the privilege.

Daimler-Chrysler’s medical program no longer covers prescription cough syrup. Apparently they suspect some workers are using it to get high. That is so Twentieth-Century! Aspirin and Coke anyone?

Just think how fast this anthrax virus would spread if it were mixed with cocaine. Even if they were warned, a lot of people would take a chance.

Has anybody else ever looked at a Jackson Pollock painting and
thought “Jack the Dripper”?

When you’ve spent half the afternoon rewiring a three-speed switch, its humbling to think that some Korean woman probably assembled it in about ninety seconds.

Kampfer’s position is that there should be no restrictions on stem-cell research until the embryo is 21 years old.

Hunting the Enemy

THE INTERNET MESSAGE boards, normally a snake-pit of factional hostility, were overwhelmingly swept by calls for National Unity — for about thirty-six hours.

Dubya will undoubtedly call for fighting terrorism by cutting the capital-gains tax rate. (Actually, Forbesmade the call. Stranger than fiction.)

It’s going to be open season, for the foreseeable future, on any movements that can be linked, spuriously or not, to Osama bin Laden. We can expect anti-fundamentalist campaigns in Macedonia, Kashmir, the Philippines, Indonesia, Egypt, Algeria, Chechnya, and especially Palestine.

from ATC 95 (November/December 2001)