In Canada, I learned that my entire approach to life is wrong. I tend to trust and believe in the responsible people who are fair-minded and try to see both sides of an issue. I disdain the Not-In-My-Backyard approach of people who only care about their own petty personal issues regardless of the larger good, and I harbored (from lots of reading and zero personal experience) a special secret disdain for Native Americans and First Canadians who try to stop oil trucks to defend some vanished Eden that ain't never coming back. I thought we should soberly consider all the facts—like the global need for oil to warm our houses, to drive to work—and find a reasonable balance.
I was wrong. Global warming turns all those assumptions on their heads. I thought about it throughout my reporting for "Keystone"—which I've been reflecting on all week here and which is now available online in full—from Fort McMurray in Alberta, where the pipeline begins and cannot be stopped, to Port Arthur, Texas, where the oilmen tell you the opposite of the scientists. And, turns out, the crazy people are the sane ones, and the sober, reasonable, responsible people are probably going to be the ones to destroy the world. If that's not the fking bitterest joke of all time, I don't know what is: The Great Destroyer isn't Hitler or Stalin or Mao; it's the Canadians — and all the sober little Canadians within us.
To save the world, we need to do a lot better than that. And get a lot crazier.
When you arrive at night in Fort McMurray, the little Canadian town that might just destroy the world, the tiny airport looks smaller because of the snow and all the Explorers and Rangers and four-wheel drives in the parking lot. An ambitious ramp enters a highway so wide the shoulders must be in different time zones, and trucks the size of dinosaurs roar by belching clouds of steam and snow. The smaller trucks have buggy whips that hoist flags high above them so the giant trucks will notice their insignificant speck existence and avoid running over them. The giants are so large they need little pilot trucks to guide them, one ahead and one behind. Largest of all are the hauler trucks that pull hoppers piled with tons of black sand, the prize of all this furious enterprise. They look like props from Star Wars—you expect a turret to swivel and shoot out death rays. But what they actually do might turn out to be more deadly. ...
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2003:
In Bush's weekend radio address, he claimed the US was "keeping our word to the Iraqi people by helping them to make their country an example of democracy and prosperity throughout the region."
While a second day of mass protests in Basra underscored Bush's lack of grasp with reality, not even other Republicans could stick with the script.
"I think a thorough misunderstanding of how complex the politics of Iraq are and continue to be; an inability to understand the decapitation theory—that is, getting rid of the top types while the workers continue—wasn't going to work," [Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Dick Lugar (R)] said.
"In other words, the basic assumptions, whoever was making them, at State, at NSC, at Defense, simply were inadequate to begin with." NSC is the National Security Council.
He said the facts in Iraq show "that if we are theorists before the fact, we better all talk about it a great deal more."
The problem is that the administration's theory was based onideology, not facts. Be it Iraq or anything else, the administration's ability to ignore facts in the service of ideology is breathtaking.
The pawns in this game—our men and women in uniform in Iraq—grow increasingly tired of being shot at in the service of Haliburton and Bechtel.