To: letters@economist.com
From: themic
Date: 2002 10 18 1731 EDT
Re: Nobel Prizes

Dear Editor,

Last Friday (Oct 11 2002), TUNKU VARADARAJAN wrote an editorial in the WALL STREET JOURNAL calling for a Nobel Prize in Evil. At first glance it is an almost light-hearted rant against the ever-surprising Nobel Peace Prize committee, and the prize itself. However, it quickly becomes a compelling and serious opinion on the value of "peace" prizes altogether.


Creating a true committee for an anti-peace prize, with international recognition and clout, would of course be incredibly difficult to do. However, it immediately occurred to me that one of the most respected and renowned organizations might have the brains, the slightly offbeat sense of humor, the means, and especially the *guts* to create and back such a disparaging prize.


With respect,

-- Brendan



other references:
Brian Micklethwait http://www.samizdata.net/blog/archives/002247.html#002247
Glenn Reynolds http://www.instapundit.com/archives/week_2002_05_05.php
William Quick http://www.dailypundit.com/archives/005401.php
Dale Amon of Samizdata volunteered some research and came up with this very specific reference:
And btw, the law that limits the military taking part is the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, I come up with Title 18, Part I, Chapter 67, Sec 1385 of the USC


Walking around the Lincoln memorial, last night...

A war might be beginning, a war on American soil.

We haven't had to deal with this since the 1860s.

War on your home turf is no longer a war fought by your government, or your military. It's a war fought by the people. At what point will the people realize this? What will they do? What should they do?

OK, not to go overboard dramatic here, but someone's got to point out the direction this is heading.

The war on terrorism will be fought not on Afghani soil, not in Iraq, not in the air, not by military troops. The war is against an asymmetric threat that has thoroughly infiltrated our borders and society. The war will NOT abide by UN rules of conduct, the Geneva Convention, the moral or just standards of modern "civilized" wars. It will be fought dirty, mean, underground, vicious. It will be fought by a ruthless enemy bent on creating as much destruction, death, damage, fear, and panic as they can possibly cause. It will be fought by an enemy willing to send suicide missions.

It is not targeting the military. It is not targeting the government. It targets us. The American people. Mother, father, schoolchild, priest. The common American citizen. It holds no prejudices against gender, race, age, or religion. It is triuly against the entire American people.

Who has to fight back?

Guess what. If someone's trying to kill you, you can hire or convince or talk anyone and everyone into trying to defend you or catch the bad guy. But in the end, nothing works unless you defend yourself.

We, the American people, must be ready for the war against us. Because only we can effectively fight it.

update: As I was writing this, Dale Amon over at Samizdata wrote basically the same thing.

The ACLU has come through to officially and legitimately question the use of military personnel and equipment in the sniper search.
Christopher Ruddy at NewsMax publicly raises the point that everyone refuses to use the dreaded "T" word in regards to the sniper shootings. It's an observation of a trail of bad communication with the public from police and the media.

What about the rumors that there was a shooting at a moving car the day before it all started? It was squashed down and not officially linked, and find me a news site that refers to it once. Other shootings? It's not small stretch of the imagination that the worst fears of those in charge of information is to let the public think that these are terrorists that are shooting even at cars or homes. Are they? We can't know, but we can suspect, since they (Moosey is the biggest culprit here) refuse to relase any information. For god's sake, Moosey got pissed when they said the damned taillight was out on the van. WTF? Has it not occurred to anyone that the best chance to prevent the next shooting as opposed to reacting to it is the common man who witnesses it?

What this comes down to is this: Is this a nation of cowards? Is this a public that can't be trusted to act in the face of adversity? That can't be trusted to hear the truth and make their own choices about how to live their life?

Is that who we are or how we are treated?

More on this later...


So now little happy Predators are going to be flying over the DC area.

OK. The sniper is a bad guy. A BG. he needs to be caught. he needs to be tracked. he needs carved apart with a spoon.

But hot damn, it gets creepy when we start using the latest and greatest military weapons to aid in the hunt. I'm betting these predators don't belong to the National Guard. I'm betting it's constitutionally illegal to deploy military stuff without the declaration of martial law.

Now, admittedly, I'm no constitutional scholar. I can point to some stuff like Article II and Amendment III but frankly I can't find anything conclusive that says that the military shouldn't be deployed over American land, over American people, unless it's a really fucking big deal. Like, revolution, armageddon, invasion, mass mayhem, anarchy, etc.

Putting federal offiers in the planes or with the guys controlling the planes doesn't really matter. The point is, the military has been deployed, albeit subtly and without hearing much complaint, over my head. And it makes me kindof nervous, the precedent that they're setting. That it's just ok to go ahead and do that.

There are reasons we don't deploy troops at every crisis. There are reasons it takes an act of congress to do federal overhead surveillance over American soil.

Um, what happened to police helicopters, to small planes, to any other way of aerial surveillance?

On that note, by the way, Stephen Hunter of the Washington Post wrote an excellent article on just exactly how good this guy(s) is.