Wednesday, June 16, 2004

conversation with jagdeesh q. public

via autopr0n, foreign policy magazine has this "interview" with your average american slob. it was generated from survey data on various topics and then morphed into a conversational format.

the results paint a picture of a pretty much level headed average american (although that could be due to interpretive bias applied to the survey data by the piece's author):

FP: Do you think that seeing the United States overthrow Hussein has given the North Koreans pause?

JP: No, it probably made them more motivated than ever to build nukes. They're not stupid—they know the United States has never attacked a country with nuclear weapons.

FP: What do you think about some limited use of military force, such as bombing their nuclear facilities?

JP: I don't think so. Besides, I'm not sure we have the right to do that kind of thing.

FP: What about overthrowing their government?

JP: Definitely not.

FP: What do you think about how the United States has approached North Korea?

JP: We should take a more diplomatic route, rather than trying to intimidate them by implying we might attack. I mean, isn't their fear that we would attack them exactly what got them all riled up in the first place?

FP: What do you think about using food aid as a bargaining chip?

JP: Definitely. Whatever it takes to get them to disarm. And our pounds are overflowing anyway. We could get Kim Jong Il's finger off the button of Armageddon, rid America of stray dogs, AND keep those dirty Koreans fed for YEARS.


okay, so the last exchange is by yours truly, but i am positive that's what the average american would say if asked. fuck, that's what the above average american would probably say too.

the only eyebrow that i raised was during the discussion of civil liberties:

FP: Let's talk about the domestic front of the war on terrorism. How do you feel about the creation of the Department of Homeland Security?

JP: I guess it is doing a fine job, but I am not sure that putting all those efforts into a single agency really adds anything or if it just creates more bureaucracy.

FP: Shortly after the terrorist attacks, the U.S. Congress passed new legislation called the U.S.A. Patriot Act, which removes certain limitations on the government's ability to monitor and detain individuals. How well do you feel you understand that legislation?

JP: Not very well.

FP: Based on what you know, though, would you say that the Patriot Act is a good thing overall?

JP: Basically, yes.

FP: Do you think it is necessary for Americans to be ready to give up some of their civil liberties to more effectively fight terrorism?

JP: Right after September 11, I thought that maybe we did, but now I am more inclined to believe that we don't. I am certainly not ready to give the government a complete pass. Civil liberties are important to me, even if we are talking about terrorism.

FP: Do you think the government has gone too far in compromising civil liberties?

JP: No. But I am concerned that it might.

FP: Are you aware that U.S. citizens have been detained under suspicion of being involved in a terrorist group?

JP: Yes.

FP: In such cases, should these suspects have the right to an attorney?

JP: Definitely.

FP: And is it your impression that they do have such a right?

JP: Yes, of course. Don't they?

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