Living Near The Terminal Moraine

I was interested in UJ’s recent post that linked to a photo that showed that a particular Canadian glacier has retreated in the 90 years since 1919.  UJ’s question was whether the photographic evidence of the glacier’s retreat was “bothersome.”

Being a lawyer, my answer to that question is (of course!) it depends.  Glaciers advance and retreat as weather conditions change.  We in Ohio should be acutely aware of that fact because the impact of glaciers can be seen all around us.  During the last Ice Age, advancing glaciers gouged out the Great Lakes, covered most of the State, and shoved enormous boulders hundreds of miles to the Terminal Moraine, which geologists place a few miles to the south of Columbus.  If glaciers were immutable, the location where I am typing these words would still be covered by a sheet of ice hundreds of feet thick and would be a likely playground for the woolly Mammoth and his Ice Age animal companions. 

The question is not whether it is good or bad that glaciers grow or shrink, but why that process occurs.  Is it part of the same natural processes — whatever they may be — that has produced the variable weather conditions, like the Ice Age, that have been found throughout the geological record?  Or, is it the result of human activity and greenhouse gas emissions?  The mere fact that temperatures have increased does not mean that a hypothesis about why temperatures have increased is correct.

This is why, in my view, it is so important to have a legitimate, vigorous scientific debate about climate change, complete with testing and experimentation that challenges the currently prevailing global warming hypothesis.  After all, scientists have been known to be wrong.  When was the last time anyone went to a doctor and asked if they had an imbalance of bodily humours?

Lessons Learned From A Day That Will Live In Infamy

Sixty-eight years ago, the Imperial government of Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.  The surprise attack on America’s main Pacific Ocean naval base was just one of many attacks launched by Japan that day, but it is the one that Americans remember most.  President Roosevelt called it a day that will live in infamy, and he was right.  Americans still remember the attack, still burn inwardly at the iconic photographs of tilting, sinking battleships partially obscured by smoke, and still visit the Arizona monument and think somberly of the sailors below, trapped forever in their watery tomb.

I mention Pearl Harbor not merely because today is the 68th anniversary of the bombing, but because I think our national response to the attack is worth remembering.  Under President Roosevelt’s leadership, America — which was horribly unprepared for war — geared up for an enormous struggle, fought a two-front war that featured bloody battles on virtually every continent, and eventually forced its enemies to accept unconditional surrender.  America did not ask for war, but when war was thrust upon it, it accepted that burden, made the necessary sacrifices, fought the war, and won.

I recognize that fighting an elusive terrorist network like Al Qaeda is not like fighting the Japanese Empire or Nazi Germany.  Al Qaeda’s minions do not wear uniforms or fight conventional battles.  Instead, they hide in remote, lawless areas, like the wild, mountainous territory along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and wage war through suicide bombers and other terrorist devices.  Nevertheless, Al Qaeda attacked our country just as surely, and with results as devastating and deadly, as the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  The only appropriate response to that attack is to find our enemies, engage them, and ultimately kill them on the field of battle.

This seems self-evident to me.  The first obligation of any nation must be to ensure its own security, and no nation can be secure if it allows deadly attacks to occur without finding and defeating the attackers.  The United States therefore must find and defeat Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda.  If, as our government currently suspects, they are in Afghanistan, then that is where we also must be.  For that reason, I support President Obama’s decision to send in more troops, and I think we should stay in Afghanistan — or wherever Osama bin Laden and his terrorist gang is found — until we get the job done.  This is not a war that America asked for, but it is a war that we must win.