Feeds

NK nukes: We're all (not) going to die

The wrong monster

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Analysis Just when we all got comfortable with the idea of Islamofascists bringing down the curtain on humanity's dominion over the Earth, those wacky North Koreans come along and put everyone's pet Apocalyptic theories into disarray. And boy, is it getting complicated: we've got people trying to blow up airplanes with KY jelly and Gatorade; we've got Iran doing the nuke walk and thumbing its nose at us; meanwhile, we're knee-deep in sexual predators, insurgents, rogue states, terrorists, and whack-job wannabes. It's difficult to know who we're supposed to be terrified of any more.

But one thing is certain: the US and UK governments consider it our patriotic duty to be terrified of someone. Whole security and surveillance industries of global dimensions are being spawned and supported by government money, and people are getting killed in putatively counterterrorist wars, so it's essential that public fear be sustained. We just lack consistency on who the Diablo du jour should be.

Old friends

It wasn't so long ago that Saddam Hussein was the scariest monster on the planet. A lot of people got killed, and many more got maimed, disfigured, or dispossessed in teaching us that he was in fact a garden-variety buffoon surrounded by a crude security apparatus which a fair number of clever people found profitable to maintain. His trial, which ought to bring what psychobabblers call "closure" is an unruly low comedy in the Benny Hill mold, and consequently there appears to be no catharsis in the offing, or even on the distant horizon. It seems, alas, that little cathartic potential arises from buffoons in the dock.

Naturally, Osama bin Laden had been a fabulous universal monster, and could have provided rich stores of fear energy for governments to feed on, until, unfortunately, he became an official guest of the government of Pakistan. This was a necessary accommodation to stop the regular assassination attempts against President Pervez Musharraf, and it has worked well in that capacity; but it has also meant that bin Laden must be scratched from the official monster registry.

The Bush administration had obviously lit on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the most convenient UBL/Saddam replacement, being situated so near the US/UK foundry of world democracy centered in Iraq; and for a time it seemed that allowing the moderate former President Mohammad Khatami - with whom the West could have worked productively, if slowly - to founder from neglect had not been such a great folly after all. Here was a scary monster just where the administration wanted him. Iranian nukes and diplomatic intransigence could have relieved the US/UK fear machine of the sad duty to round up thought criminals and inept wannabes, such as the Heathrow crew, and trumpet them as great victories in the war on terror.

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Next page: New friends

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.