Friday, June 14, 2002
1. MISSILE DEFENSE: IF THE NEWS IS BAD,
Yesterday marked the formal withdrawal of the US from the ABM Treaty,
and President Bush vowed to deploy an effective missile defense as soon
as possible. Effective? That could take a while, but who will know? Faced
with a series of embarrassing failures of missile defense tests, the Pentagon
took firm corrective action last month, placing a secrecy order on future
test results (WN 17 May 02). Naturally, news
of any successful test will be leaked. A move in the Senate would amend
the Defense Authorization Bill to block the secrecy order, but Secretary
of Defense Rumsfeld warned that he would recommend a veto of the spending
bill if it tinkers in any way with the President's missile defense plan.
2. DIRTY STORY: IF YOU CAN'T CLASSIFY
IT, CREATE A NEW HEADLINE.
On Sunday, FBI screw ups prior to 9/11 were on every talk show. By Monday,
congressional committees were fighting over who would get to hear the
first public testimony from FBI whistle-blower Coleen Rowley. The White
House urgently needed an intelligence success. So what are news managers
for? On Tuesday, it was announced that Abdullah al-Muhajir, described
as the key figure in a plot to explode a dirty bomb in Washington, DC,
had been arrested at O'Hare International Airport. Failures of the FBI
vanished from the news. Lucky timing? Not exactly. Muhajir, a US citizen,
had been arrested a month earlier, and was secretly held in a military
prison, without charges, until he was needed. The media did the rest,
feeding on the public's exaggerated fear of radiation - even pictures
of mushroom clouds. President Bush was shown on television explaining
that "Padilla is a bad guy." It's probably true, but then, that's why
we have trials isn't it?
3. GLOBAL WARMING: NOW THAT IT'S OFFICIAL,
WHAT DO WE DO NEXT?
When asked about an EPA report acknowledging the climate is growing warmer
(WN 7 Jun 02), President Bush said he had
"read the report put out by the bureaucracy." If you're wondering who
the bureaucracy is, the White House signed off on the report. The Administration
proposes we learn to live in a warmer world. In fact, we have little choice;
as a result of CO2 in the pipeline, climate models show temperatures continuing
to rise for years no matter how we cut emissions. The National Climate
Change Vulnerability and Resilience Program, introduced by Rep. J.C. Watts,
Jr. (R-OK), offers a plan for adapting to the change.
4. NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION? NOT IN JAPAN.
Japan is certainly the most technologically advanced nation without a
nuclear arsenal. But when Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda warned
"Japan could abandon its long standing non-nuclear principles," popular
opinion quickly compelled him to recant.
(Christy Fernandez assisted with this week's What's New.)