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"What effect must it have on a nation if it learns no foreign languages? Probably much the same as that which a total withdrawal from society has upon an individual."
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Tuesday, May 25, 2004
 
Just a stupid observation

Is it typical, even among Arabs, for smugglers to hire musicians and bring their women (one in a western-styple wedding dress) and children to the middle of nowhere for a three-day party?

Smugglers live their lives on the run. Their income and survival depend on their ability to evade detection. Smugglers have to be some of the most paranoid people on the planet.

But we're to believe that a bunch of smugglers did not only all of the above, but fired their guns into the air in a war zone in which the enemy has uncontested air superiority and incredible satellite surveillance technology.

It doesn't even pass the sepulchral-rattle test.

Besides, the moral status of an Iraqi smuggler is, at worst, ambiguous. While Saddam was in power, the smuggler was transgressing against the law of an illegitimate, brutal tyrant. The Americans have yet to provide a functional government, to say nothing of a coherent set of laws, so smuggling is meaningless both morally and legally.

In a country where the occupying authority funnels billions of dollars to Halliburton, and the country is hopelessly disrupted, smuggling might even be a positive good. A man can feed his family, and people are able to get the goods they want at prices they can afford. Sounds like an economist's wet dream.