Defending Against Rogue Potlucks

One of the biggest issues of the presidential campaign is how the United States can defend itself against rogue nations, such as Iran, North Korea, and the Southern Baptist Convention. In the case of the first two, the fear is that they want to retaliate for decades of sitting through poorly dubbed reruns of American television shows. Being forced to watch "Three’s Company" and "Dallas" leaves you little choice but to turn to weapons of mass destruction. It’s a cry for help.

But U.S. leaders are divided on how best to respond to these threats. The Pentagon wants a missile defense system and is undeterred by the fact that, after $60 billion in research, they’ve only been able to shoot down one incoming missile. (And that was launched by the Junior Rocket Club of Littleton, New Jersey. The Pentagon has apologized and promised to reimburse the youngsters.)

Congressional leaders, in contrast, feel the nation can be better protected from missile attack by a thick layer of campaign contributions. When it comes to guarding the lives of American citizens, they reason, nothing works like soft money from undocumented sources.

But let’s look at these so-called threats, and see if they really are a danger to the United States (or, specifically, to the Junior Rocket Club of Littleton, New Jersey):

IRAN. Admittedly, this country has proven it can be dangerous. There was that thing with Salman Rushdie’s book where he compared Iranian religious fanatics to Southern Baptists and then Iran issued a death threat. They’ve moderated since then, withdrawn the death threat and even promised to welcome Rushdie back home just as soon as he gets some new glasses. (The pair he has now makes his face look chubby and that just reflects badly on the whole country, don’t you see?)

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Sojourners Magazine September-October 2000
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