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"Five axiomatic propositions of Canadian Nationalism vis-a-vis the Americans:

1. Boy, we hate Americans.

2. We really do.

3. Really.

4. I'm not kidding. We really hate them.

5. So how come they never pay us any attention?"

--Will Ferguson, Why I Hate Canadians, Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1997, p.105.


Saturday, February 02, 2002

Let's just ask Al-Qaeda to promise not to attack the Super Bowl game, pretty please. In today's Globe and Mail, Doug Saunders writes about the injection of "aggressive patriotism" into the Super Bowl next week. What you don't see on the Web site is the sub-headline, which is "Tomorrow's game will be a classic game of jingoism and rhetoric." Among Saunders' complaints are:

"And no venue will be better for delivering this message than the Super Bowl in New Orleans, which this year will be a flag-waving jubilee of jingoism, its broadcast filled with shots of soldiers in action, its stadium guarded against terrorists by more than 12,000 soldiers and police officers, and its breaks filled with patriotic messages from advertisers, fans and politicians."

Apparently Saunders believes that the use of thousands of police and soldiers to guard the stadium is a jingoistic stunt rather than a necessary precaution. Perhaps we could just ask the Al-Qaeda sleeper cells in the U.S. to please not attack the stadium during the game (and the post-game festivities, just to be on the safe side).

Saunders goes on to demonstrate his keen grasp of economics by dismissing ads, to be aired during the Super Bowl, that will argue that "Terrorists use drug profits to...commit acts of murder. It you quit drugs, you join the fight against terror in America." Saunders's complaint: "While Al-Qaeda leaders have used the sale of opium and heroin from Afghan poppies to finance their operations, drug experts say that almost none of those drugs reach the United States. Most are consumed across Europe and Asia."

What does Saunders think will happen to the drugs currently being imported into the U.S. if demand in the U.S. goes down? A reasonable conjecture is that they will be sent to Europe or Asia, thus creating competition for the al-Qaeda-affiliated drugs. Increased supply, increased competition, lower profits, less funding for the terrorists. This is the kind of supply-demand graph that first-year undergrads see on their second day of Introduction to Economics. Is it unreasonable to expect a journalist to be at least vaguely familiar with this?
Selective outrage update, take three. I win a big shiny loonie. Why didn't more of you take up my offer? Last week, Heather "I'm against torture" Mallick wrote a column condemning the treatment of Al-Qaeda prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Two days ago, after the Globe and Mail began to report on the truly horrific treatment of several Westerners framed for bombings in Saudi Arabia, I offered 20-1 odds that Mallick would not condemn Saudi Arabia for its brutality (see below, "Selective outrage update"). Mallick's column appeared today, and I win in a big way. Of course, Heather "I'm against torture" Mallick may eventually focus on the Saudi issue, but for now she is more concerned with what she apparently sees as a far more important topic: one woman's achievement of her dream to row around the world, while her husband didn't complete the journey. Hilarity ensues! Way to bravely tackle those tough issues, Heather!

Oh, well, never mind then. I guess we don't have to worry about reports that Saudi security police arrested and brutally tortured several Western expats to extract false confessions for several anti-Western bombings within the Kingdom (see prior posts below). Mohammed R. Al-Hussaini, Saudi ambassador to Canada, responded to recent news reports with an indignant letter to the editors at the Globe and Mail:

"The article quotes a London newspaper claiming that the blasts in Riyadh that killed and injured some foreigners were carried out by anti-Western Saudi supporters of Osama bin Laden and that there is no connection between the victims of the blasts and the Westerners, including William Sampson, who were detained."

"Saudi Arabia has no reason whatsoever to detain and torture Westerners, let alone Britons and Canadians, without some concrete evidence of their involvement in the blasts." [NB: does this imply that they would have a reason to torture Westerners if some concrete evidence existed?]

"I categorically deny that Canadian William Sampson was exposed to torture or pain before or after his confession on television. The laws in Saudi Arabia prohibit torture in all its forms."

So I must have been wrong. There's no torture in Saudi Arabia. Nothing to see here. Move along, move along!

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