Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The One Percent Doctrine

So Ron Suskind's new book, The One Percent Doctrine, has been getting a lot of press for how incomepently the Bush Administration has run the war on terror. But here's the thing - I couldn't find a definition of what the title doctrine was supposed to be. I finally found it, and it scares the bejeezus out of me:
Absorbing the possibility that al-Qaeda was trying to acquire a nuclear weapon, Cheney remarked that America had to deal with a new type of threat--what he called a "low-probability, high-impact event"--and the U.S. had to do it "in a way we haven't yet defined," writes author Ron Suskind in his new book, The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11. And then Cheney defined it: "If there's a 1% chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al-Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response. It's not about our analysis ... It's about our response."
This is simply bizarre. Given a world with 1 billion muslims - to take just one of the many demographics who have reason to be angry with the US - the odds that someone, somewhere is planning a "high-impact" terrorist attack against the United States is probably much more than 1%. This is the point, I imagine: If you set the threshold for American military violence low enough, you get to justify using it whenever you want. The Iraq War, in a nutshell.

Of course, the other point worth noting is that since Cheney said that, Iran and North Korea have both started a nuclear program that - Cheney believes - threatens the United States, but because of the application of this doctrine in the Iraq War, the US can't do anything about it.

Suskind's book looks interesting - apparently, Bush is even more out of touch than we thought. Lord help us.

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