Comments

AndyOctober 23, 2006 12:35 PM

I thought politics was not permitted here?! Anyway, is 9/11's damage really comparable to car accidents? Should we have just looked on since: "only 3K people dead, a couple of buildings down and then only business and billions if not trillions of damages to the economy?

Fred POctober 23, 2006 12:51 PM

@Andy-
This is Bruce Schneier's personal blog; I'd say that whatever he wants to put on is permitted.

I liked the cartoons; my only problem with them is that Democrats are doing similar things. as an example from the previous election, Kerry with his "suitcase nuclear bomb" movie plot.

RichOctober 23, 2006 12:53 PM

@Andy raises an interesting question: what was the impact of 9/11 on the economy? Certainly the REACTION was in the trillions, but how about the actual event?

@Anonymous: I suggest reading Doonesbury's excellent pieces on the wounded soldier. It is far from a "one-note" rut. (Available in books as "The War Within" and "The Long Road Home")

Joe BuckOctober 23, 2006 12:58 PM

Well, Andy, it's Bruce's blog; he can do what he wants, as you can on your own blog. And the series is certainly consistent with the message of Bruce's book "Beyond Fear".

Yes, car accidents cost billions per year, and a lot more lives than the WTC attack. But a lot of people still act like seat-belt laws are an unacceptable infringement on their civil liberties, while they accept useless measures like the no-fly list. Such issues are, by necessity, political, as they involve government policy.

robOctober 23, 2006 1:03 PM

@fred: some of the reaction has to be accounted for as part of the event. the markets tanking, for instance, would not have been preventable by a more competent administration.

but i agree that some things can be counted separately: the billions spent fighting an unrelated war, the billions spent dreaming up PR-inspired security measures, etc.

Trudeau ROCKSOctober 23, 2006 1:15 PM

If one watches the Loose Change video, they have some interesting commentary on the various "put options" that were placed on stock for several airlines immediately prior to the event.

http://www.loosechange911.com/

There's also the fact that Cantor Fitzgerald handled a lot of transactions for the Federal Reserve, and as their office was destroyed almost to a man, no one will ever know what the final transactions were that went through that office.

Sun Microsystems ended up having to absorb a huge cost to replace equipment that was under contract to places like Morgan Stanley. This in addition to losing two complete floors of their own office space/equipment. Aside from a horrific loss of life, any company that was directly or indirectly affected had a great deal of financial fallout.

gnomeOctober 23, 2006 2:33 PM

The "culture of corruption" and "civil war in Iraq" talking points are also versions of Mr. Fear Itself's work. Instead of bringing forward alternatives that can be debated in public, the dems appear to simply be pointing the finger at the repubs and hoping they will hang themselves. Dems will have no promises to keep that way (like no new taxes). Polls say it's working, but what exactly are we looking forward to after the election if either side wins? The answer: "more of the same".

As American taxpayers and voters, we simply can't win with the current system of "lesser of 2 evils".

antimediaOctober 23, 2006 2:38 PM

Trudeau ROCKS writes, "If one watches the Loose Change video, they have some interesting commentary on the various "put options" that were placed on stock for several airlines immediately prior to the event.

http://www.loosechange911.com/"

The supposed put options controversy has been put to rest long ago. Only in the minds of fevered conspiracy theorists does it still hold any credibility.

"There's also the fact that Cantor Fitzgerald handled a lot of transactions for the Federal Reserve, and as their office was destroyed almost to a man, no one will ever know what the final transactions were that went through that office."

That's ludicrous. It completely ignores the fact that there is another end to the transactions. If you had ever done any investigating at all, you would realise that. And to imply that the good people of Cantor Fitzgerald would conduct illegal transactions WITH NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER just before dying in a terrorist attack is to spit on the graves of people who cannot defend themselves.

You should be ashamed.

Bruce, I'm not surprised at all to see Gary Trudeau use the estimate for firearms deaths http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/f/firearm_injury/... over SIX YEARS as a comparison for the loss of life on ONE DAY (and ignore the fact that almost 60% of those deaths are suicides!)

Frankly, I'm not surprised to see you quoting it approvingly either. Intellectual honesty doesn't seem to be Trudeau's long suit. For you to quote him in this way brings into question your willingness to deal with facts without distortion as well.

jfkadlecOctober 23, 2006 2:58 PM

I have a friend who swears that the Republicans are planning to announce the killing of Osmam Bin Laden on the day before the election. He claims that by the time it is found out not to be true, that the election will be over and nothing can be done about it. It will simply be written off as an incorrect news story, but the Republicans will have tricked the electorate into feeling they have got someone in charge of protecting the people.

LonerVampOctober 23, 2006 3:11 PM

We can get into all sorts of rhetoric if you want. :) (And no, I have no interest in any of this discussion outside of a little bit of rhetorical analysis...I am just butting in.)

How were the put options put to rest long ago? I can say a lot of things if I want to as well. I am going to say this entire argument was dead 3 years ago. Hah!

Denouncing Trudeau ROCKS' Cantor Fitzgerald comments by saying they did so just before dying and thus he is spitting on their graves is just an emotional plea and not a responsible argument either. If I do something illegal but then die a day later, does that make it illegal? Again, I have no idea what Cantor Fitzgerald is, but I can see spurious arguments when I see them.

The loss of life in one day vs six years is a bit misguiding, especially since the money spent for both incidents is over 6 years. If you want, we can adjust it just as easily. How many people in the US have been killed in the past 6 years due to domestic terrorist attacks? There we go, we've now evened up the values. Did this do us any good? Nope. The point is not in the distinct details (which some people just love to nitpick in order to avoid the overarching point) but rather in the point of it all. In 6 years we've had a huge number of deaths for which we've done a relatively small amount to combat, in relation to a relatively isolated outlying event that has exploded into so much money spent.

For someone who is "antimedia," you likewise use media...

It's about risk assessmentOctober 23, 2006 3:51 PM

Points from the strip:
* On 9/11 3,000 Americans died
* Since 9/11 nearly 150,000 Americans have been killed with guns
* Since 9/11 200,000 Americans have died on the highway

erasmusOctober 23, 2006 4:02 PM

@T Rocks. "There's also the fact that Cantor Fitzgerald handled a lot of transactions for the Federal Reserve, and as their office was destroyed almost to a man ..."

Some of us here worked with those guys and have words for people that spout such uninformed allegations.
Their business was then handled between London & NY with a lot of business on their electronic network held elsewhere. That's why CFI is still in business even though 650 lost their lives.

Trudeau ROCKSOctober 23, 2006 4:23 PM

@antimedia:

"The supposed put options controversy has been put to rest long ago. Only in the minds of fevered conspiracy theorists does it still hold any credibility."

Where's the proof? Got any links?

@erasmus; antimedia: Saying that transactions that might have been illegal and untracked through Cantor Fitzgerald would have been CF's fault is ridiculous. Their personnel might not have known that what they were doing was anything other than unconventional.

Of course transactions have two endpoints as well, but if the people on the other end (*coughahemSAUDI*) aren't talking, it's still money that could have easily disappeared into a financial black hole.

If there are Feds also involved, they're also not talking. There's a LOT of stuff the government is not talking about to their citizens lately, or haven't you noticed?

antimediaOctober 23, 2006 5:10 PM

It's about risk assessment writes, "Points from the strip:
* On 9/11 3,000 Americans died
* Since 9/11 nearly 150,000 Americans have been killed with guns
* Since 9/11 200,000 Americans have died on the highway"

First of all, 150,000 people have not *been* killed with guns. More than 57% of them have killed THEMSELVES. Big difference. Furthermore, there are things you can do to avoid the risk of homicide, only a few of which you can similarly do to avoid the risk of death by terrorist.

People die on a highway doing something they've chosen to do that involves risk. They know that before they turn the key in the ignition, and they accept the risk.

People who are killed by terrorists do not have a choice (unless you want them to adopt the very strategy [FEAR] which you insist is wrong to adopt) about dying at the hands of terrorists. Try telling the Christians in Indonesia, for example, that they are more likely to die in a car accident than by the hand of a terrorist.

Terrorism frightens people because it is, by definition, unpredictable and you cannot plan for it or reduce your exposure to risk from it in the same ways as exposure to gun accidents or car accidents.

Some people have to travel internationally because of their jobs. Should they adopt a "What, me worry?" attitude and not be concerned about lack of security at airports?

It's one thing to criticize *what* governments do to "protect" us. It's another entirely to claim that the risk is so small that we shouldn't worry about it or take measures to defend against it.

Trudeau, if I gave you the links you'd pooh pooh them anyway, so why bother? I see you continue to insult the good people of Cantor Fitzgerald. How kind of you.

HematiteOctober 23, 2006 5:45 PM

Looking at the Doonesbury linked as "Thursday", the first panel says "It is now undeniable that the war in Iraq has created thousands of new terrorists". Is this really undeniable, or are they conflating 'terrorists' with the various militant groups opposing the US and each other in Iraq?

I could accept 'thousands of terrorist supporters' or 'thousands of hostile belligerents', but I find it hard to believe that there are now thousands more conspirators hatching plans to instil fear into the American public by destroying civilian targets in spectacular ways.

Or perhaps they are just referring to the number of people who have been flagged as terror suspects?

Michael AshOctober 23, 2006 6:07 PM

@antimedia

You can always do more. If you can never decide on some amount of risk which is acceptable, then you *will* always do more. This means that you will end up spending all of your time, effort, and money on being safe, and none on living life.

People who claim that there is no minimum acceptable risk are simply being irrational and refusing to think about the situation. Life is risky. You can be killed early despite doing all the right things. You *must* decide on some minimum acceptable risk, or better yet, decide on some sort of cost/risk tradeoff which makes you feel ok.

Saying that you think air travel is too unsafe is fine, although IMO a bit loopy since you have a greater chance of being killed doing almost anything else. But don't criticize the rest of us for thinking this risk is minor. We've simply made different tradeoffs than you have. Denying the fact that tradeoffs exist at all is simultaneously the classic tactic of a fearmonger, and an excellent way to make everybody less safe.

Jon SowdenOctober 23, 2006 7:12 PM

@antimedia: "First of all, 150,000 people have not *been* killed with guns. More than 57% of them have killed THEMSELVES. Big difference."

Um, no. They were still killed with guns, regardless of who pulled the trigger*. I suppose you could consider them the suicide bombers of the 2nd Amendment.

* Yes, it does matter that they used a gun. Other methods of attempting suicide are typically far less successful. http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/327/...

Trudeau ROCKSOctober 23, 2006 8:26 PM

@antimedia:

"...if I gave you the links you'd pooh pooh them anyway, so why bother?"

Well, given that the Loose Change people produce known facts and you produce only vapor, you could bother producing actual proof so that you could be taken seriously.

7Null_SevenOctober 23, 2006 8:55 PM

One thing that I think that many people forget to do is to separate out the damage that was a direct result of the destruction of the Twin Towers, and the damage that was caused by our reaction to that event.

Places where violence and terror attacks are endemic (like, say, today's Iraq) can't afford the sort of traumatized paralysis that gripped the United States in the immediate aftermath of September 11th. The Iraqis would've all have starved to death by now if they reacted that way. But the kind of death toll seen in Baghdad today would bring Chicago to a dead stop. (I use the Windy City because pre-war Baghdad was [very] roughly the same size.)

People who hold up a figure of a trillion-dollar economic impact from a major terrorist attack tend to ignore the fact that most of that impact would be from our reaction. If we went on about our business, making the bare minimum adjustments required (hmm... better detour around the massive fire here), the impact would be a lot less.

But perhaps the biggest bugbear in the room is the idea that we have a "right" to safety. Even with the statistics that Trudeau put in his strip, the United States is a VERY safe place to live. We've become so accustomed to that safety that we really don't know what we'd do without it - forgetting that for many parts of the world, it's something beyond their wildest dreams. We've also forgotten that it's a relatively new for so many Americans to feel safe. Lynchings make national headlines these days. 50 years ago, barely anyone noticed one.

Eric K.October 23, 2006 11:13 PM

@antimedia:
"Should they adopt a "What, me worry?" attitude and not be concerned about lack of security at airports?"

The major problem is that there already IS a lack of security at the airports, and it masquerades as security itself. "Security theater" is merely appearance of security for the purpose of assuring people something i's being done.

Those responsible for security at airports, having done what they can think of, adopt a "what, me worry?" attitude.

Meanwhile, anyone who wants to can slide through or around these checks with ease, as has been proven by a number of organizations testing TSA screeners.

The only thing TSA actually accomplishes is making Americans feel afraid. Not from terrorism, but from the TSA's regular abuse of power and abuse of passengers' civil rights.

AndrewOctober 23, 2006 11:41 PM

Perception of control is very important to us crazy Americans.

We feel in control of our lives when we drive a car -- even though we sit in the place where we are most likely to be killed, we think we can affect our destiny. Ditto firearms, smoking, etc.

Risks that we cannot control -- aircraft, terrorism, cancer, etc. -- scare the dickens out of us.

RogerOctober 24, 2006 2:39 AM

At the risk of starting some kind of gun debate:
@Jon Sowden:
> http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/327/...
Aaagh! That old saw! It has been demolished repeatedly [1] since it was dished up more than a decade ago, yet is still trotted out as a popular factoid in gun control debates. It has numerous problems: for example, by including only suicides which occur in the home, it automatically excludes all outdoor methods such as jumping from a high place, drowning, and crashing motor vehicles, which happens to rule out nearly all the other methods commonly used by the gender most likely to use firearms, thus inflating the RR for firearms use. However the most serious issue is that old classic, confounding cause and effect; Kellerman's study is unable to distinguish between persons who were contempating suicide and used an accessible firearm to do so, versus persons contemplating suicide who _obtained_ a firearm to do it. In fact, Kellerman found that persons who commit suicide with a handgun are three times as likely to do so within the first year of obtaining it as in all years afterward combined, indicating that just such a confounding bias does exist.

What we actually wanted to know is, "is suicide less likely when firearms are harder to obtain, all else being equal?". There is no obvious way to answer this question; the best we can do is comparisons between two very similar localities with differing firearms laws, or before-and-after studies when laws were changed. Such comparisons involve obvious areas for inaccuracy, but they are the best we can do. Anyway, such studies have been done, and the answer is "no" [2]; if firearm availability has any effect on suicide rate, it is undetectable amid the noise of the many stronger factors, such as unemployment rates, decreasing family sizes, cultural dissociation, alcohol abuse, cannabis use, etc. [3]

___
1. It would be fairer to say that its misrepresentation has been demolished. Kellerman et al. never claimed the results are causal; it's just every single citation ever made that does that.
2. 13 are analysed in G. Kleck (1997). Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control, p 285. New York: Walter de Gruyter, Inc.
3. Of course, in several of those cases there is also the risk of confounding errors; for example, use of cannabis weekly or more often is associated with a RR of ~6 for suicide. But maybe people who are already depressed are more likely to use cannabis.

@nonymou5October 24, 2006 2:45 AM

@It's about risk assessment


>Points from the strip:
>* On 9/11 3,000 Americans died
>* Since 9/11 nearly 150,000 Americans have been killed with guns

Risk assessment can only really be achieved if we use honest numbers.
Now where does Trudeau get 150,000 ? When I look at murders, I go by FBI stats.
The FBI keeps the official record for crime stats.

As per this URL http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/05cius/data/table_01.html all murders
from 2001, through 2005 total 81,634. That is half of what Trudeau stated.

Now for 2005, ( http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/05cius/data/table_20.html ) the total
number of gun related murders is 10,100. Since the annual total of murders
for each year is not significantly different from each other I will multiply 10,100 by 5 for
a result of 50,500. Now we are dealing with 1/3 of the number quoted by Trudeau.

Hence Trudeau would have had a good point had he used honest numbers.

This is like the time Rosie O'Donell claimed 13 kids a day died from guns. When I checked the FBI numbers, I could only get to 13 a day is I included 19 -24 years olds. If I just looked at "real kids" (0-17) the most generous number I could get was 2.8. But the national news doesn't seem to check the stats from the FBI.

Now if you are going to accuse me of being a gun nut, remember I am using numbers straight from the FBI web site. Not the NRA. Hence I am dealing with the closest thing to honest numbers. Can you show me a better, more accurate resource?

@Jon Sowden
>Um, no. They were still killed with guns, regardless of who pulled the trigger*

Um no. With a suicide, the "victim" has the control. The victim chose to die. In a murder, the victim did not choose death. In terrorists attacks the victims did not choose to die. Hence suicides are misleading.

Really the overall issue is not the guns, but someone else choosing to take our lives. How do we mitigate the risk of our loss of life while preserving our liberties. That is the issue. It is unfortunate that we loose sight of it to gain a few quick political jabs.

Rob R.October 24, 2006 7:46 AM

@nonymou5
>Um no. With a suicide, the "victim" has the control. The victim chose to die. In a murder, the victim did not choose death. In terrorists attacks the victims did not choose to die. Hence suicides are misleading.

Doonesbury didn't say "murder." He said, "... 150,000 Americans have been killed ..."

JonOctober 24, 2006 8:45 AM

It's about the economic impact of the perceived concept of "security." The basic issue can be highlighted through any socio-political point of view.

AnonymousOctober 24, 2006 8:46 AM

@Rob R

>Doonesbury didn't say "murder."

But his example is compared to 9/11.
9/11 was not a mass suicide, it was a mass murder. Even for the people who jumpped out of the towers it was a murder since they were attempting to have the 1% chance they would survive.
Hence I comparing Apples to Apples.

C GomezOctober 24, 2006 10:14 AM

I only read the first link. It is a classic red herring.

"Don't worry about terrorism and 9/11 because you should really be looking over here at gun control."

No matter how you feel about terrorism and gun control, this is an illogical argument and fails due to the classic "look over there" problem.

Gun rights and gun control is its own issue. Terrorism is terrorism.

A similar cartoon, making just as worthless a point, would instill fear over the loss of gun rights in response to 9/11. Perhaps a different Congress and administration would require more onerous background checks that fail to do anything to prevent gun violence or terrorism... in the name of fighting terrorism.

The only point this cartoon reasonably makes is, "Don't bother doing anything about terrorism until instead you solve this problem." However, this is an easy argument to reject. There is no reason action can or can not be taken on both simultaneously.

This, in no way, equates to unequivocal support for everything that has been done or not done in response to terrorism. I certainly agree that much of the response is waste, and feel-good politics that works with voters. It simply points out that the cartoon makes no point.

Classic... loose change fans saying "where's the proof?"...hahaha. Exactly...

X the UnknownOctober 24, 2006 10:56 AM

Highway Safety -vs- Gun Control -vs- Counter-Terrorism, etc.

The real point is that we have limited resources to apply to issues affecting National Security. Ultimately, the ability of citizens to keep living *IS* National Security.

We are spending hundreds of billions (is it in the Trillions yet?) on "Counter-Terrorism" (if you count the war in Ireq). If we spend that money on issues that cause a much higher annual death toll, we would presumably get better overall results in terms of reducing citizen mortality. Hence, better National Security for our money.

That is the very valid way in which Gun-Control -vs- Counter-Terrorism compare.

Of course, one can perform "security theater" in any venue. Disfunctional Gun-Ciontrol measures, even if beefed up through several hundred billion dollars of funding, would still be a waste of money. Functional Counter-Terrorism measures would undoubtedly be more worthwhile.

But, the potential return (in lives saved) for the cost suggests that we would be far better off in working on Highway Safetey, combatting obesity, and detering smoking. If ineffective techniques are used, the money is just as wasted. But, to the extent that the approaches are successful, more lives would be saved by targeting the demonstrably greater threats.

@nonymou5October 24, 2006 12:54 PM

@X

>...we would be far better off in working on Highway Safetey, combatting obesity, and detering smoking.

I will grant you Highway Safety, but the other two risks are within the control of the victim. Hence they are not a good comparison to terrorism, since the terrorism places all the control in the offender.

Michael AshOctober 24, 2006 12:59 PM

@X the Unknown

Actually, National Security has little to do with keeping citizens alive. It's all about control. If a mad scientist took over the brains of the top 1,000 people in government, that would be extremely bad for National Security. But killing lots of citizens is usually no big deal for it, unless it gets to the point where it weakens your ability to repulse invaders. Historically, the states which have been most focused on National Security have been those states which were most willing to murder large numbers of their own citizens.

@nonymou5October 24, 2006 1:02 PM

@Michael Ash

>Historically, the states which have been most focused on National Security have been those states which were most willing to murder large numbers of their own citizens.

Please cite some examples. Then compare how you believe the U.S. is murdering it's own citizens as related by your post.

Davi OttenheimerOctober 24, 2006 1:27 PM

"I suppose you could consider them the suicide bombers of the 2nd Amendment."

Interesting point. Although I think the comparison would be someone who first shoots other people, then themselves, ala Columbine. On that note, I find it strange that someone would argue we should count n people killed by a gun, but exclude the shooter who kills him/herself from that count. Almost as bad as saying the gun did not kill someone, a person did...

And for that segue, I found an odd debate on the knife ban in the UK:

http://davi.poetry.org/blog/?p=575

Some choice quotes from the BBC:

"Knife amnesties will have a negligible impact since knives will be available as long as there is unsliced bread. 'If the goal of criminal justice policy is to reduce the number of victims and the harm they suffer, we should look at the root causes - the inclination or desire to resort to violence.'"

See, even sliced bread has security implications. So what would precipitate a decline in the use of guns? A less extreme (fear-based) and more representative government?

Michael AshOctober 24, 2006 11:16 PM

@nonymou5

"Please cite some examples. Then compare how you believe the U.S. is murdering it's own citizens as related by your post."

Examples are obvious. Basically every Communist country. Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan. Probably any dictatorship from previous history, but I'm not knowledgeable enough to name them.

The US is not currently murdering its own citizens in any kind of large fashion. But history shows us that this is where the path ultimately leads.

The greatest threat to national security comes from insiders, and so a government which is strongly focused on national security must crack down on those insiders. But they're almost impossible to identify and people who might appear to sympathize with the enemy are everywhere.

Davi OttenheimerOctober 24, 2006 11:44 PM

"The greatest threat to national security comes from insiders"

Insiders who are really outsiders, or outsiders who are really insiders? And for that matter, how/where do you draw a line between the two?

Calo BobOctober 25, 2006 3:18 AM

I liked the cartoons; my only problem with them is that Democrats are doing similar things. as an example from the previous election, Kerry with his "suitcase nuclear bomb" movie plot.

Actually, National Security has little to do with keeping citizens alive. It's all about control. If a mad scientist took over the brains of the top 1,000 people in government, that would be extremely bad for National Security. But killing lots of citizens is usually no big deal for it, unless it gets to the point where it weakens your ability to repulse invaders. Historically, the states which have been most focused on National Security have been those states which were most willing to murder large numbers of their own citizens.

Michael AshOctober 25, 2006 9:12 AM

"Insiders who are really outsiders, or outsiders who are really insiders? And for that matter, how/where do you draw a line between the two?"

I don't think it really matters for this debate. The simple fact is that people who are physically present in your country are more dangerous. Almost any identifying characteristic you can name will include some citizens, and they tend to expand as time goes on.

The classic example for the US is the Japanese internment during the second World War. Although pointless, both for protecting the US and protecting the internees, this did not stop the US from forcing the wholesale relocation of tens of thousands of citizens, and tens of thousands of resident aliens. Given the conditions of the camps, it's likely that many deaths were caused, although this is more a sin of omission than of commission.

Ian CognitoOctober 25, 2006 7:40 PM

``People die on a highway doing something they've chosen to do that involves risk. They know that before they turn the key in the ignition, and they accept the risk.''

Actually, it's possible you might die from a meteor strike if you stay home; so one takes risks whether you choose one option or another.

``Try telling the Christians in Indonesia, for example, that they are more likely to die in a car accident than by the hand of a terrorist.''

Okay. "Christians in Indonesia, you are more likely to die in a car accident than by the hand of a terrorist". Now, what did that prove?

``Trudeau, if I gave you the links you'd pooh pooh them anyway, so why bother? I see you continue to insult the good people of Cantor Fitzgerald. How kind of you.''

Another emotional appeal. "It's wrong of you to discuss possible wrong-doing of people who are no longer around to care". Fact: people do illegal stuff, even CEOs of Enron. Some of them die. What does the latter have to do with the former?

But FWIW, I found a very well put-together page on it:
http://www.loosechangeguide.com/...

This guy actually has footnotes and links you can use to check his sources, unlike most conspiracy theorists.

But what about snakes? Snakes are said to kill more people than terrorists (annually), and none of them chose to die by snakebite (presumably).

So what about SNAKES ON PLANES!?!

The fact remains, with - what, 19 allegedly Muslim hijackers allegedly from Arabia, we vacate Arabia (talk about appeasement - that's just what they wanted!) and invade a secular country where no hijackers came from that just happens to have more of its reserves left than all but one Arab country. Of course, the early oil is cheaper to extract (sometimes it gushes on its own), and we have capped the maximum tax the new Iraq can place on it, but I'm sure it has nothing to do with Cheney's Energy Task Force discussions.

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