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April 03, 2006

Schrodinger's War

One exciting thing about America today is getting to experience quantum mechanics on a huge scale. Just as Schrodinger's cat is both alive and dead at the same time, the United States is simultaneously at war and not at war.

For instance, here's the Assocated Press just now on Jose Padilla:

A divided Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from Jose Padilla, held as an enemy combatant without traditional legal rights for more than three years, sidestepping a challenge to Bush administration wartime detention powers.

It's not surprising they'd put it this way. After all, Bush & co. tell us we're at war and he's a wartime president every two seconds.

But here's the thing: according to the Attorney General of the United States, the person prosecuting Padilla, Congress has not declared war:

GONZALES: There was not a war declaration, either in connection with Al Qaida or in Iraq.

It's easy to understand why the Bush administration wants it both ways: we're at war because that gives them more power...but we're also not at war because they would then have treaty obligations, such as under the Geneva Conventions.

Meanwhile, the AP, the rest of the U.S. media, and the Democratic party say nothing whatsoever about this. No one asks Bush the obvious question: "Is the United States at war?"

I guess everyone intuitively senses that the war's quantum superposition, in which it exists and does not exist at the time, can only be sustained as long as we don't observe the issue. If we did, the war's wavefunction would collapse and it would either be one or the other.

And who wants that? It's much more enjoyable to live inside a gigantic thought experiment.

Posted at April 3, 2006 11:26 AM | TrackBack

The especially beautiful thing about this post, I think, is that Schrodinger's Cat is trapped in a box with a cannister of CYANIDE GAS. I feel like our position in the US is pretty much the same; except that George Bush has decided to smash the cannister. Can't have any of those gray areas, you know.

Posted by: Aaron Datesman at April 3, 2006 11:46 AM

I have it from an impeccable source that Abu Gonzales is in reality a failed clone of Santa Anas's ghost. Instead of a wooden leg, he came off with a wooden brain.

Posted by: Jesus B. Ochoa at April 3, 2006 11:59 AM

whoops - nasty typo, that 's.

Posted by: Jesus B. Ochoa at April 3, 2006 12:00 PM

America is and always has been a "thought experiment", Jon.

And, the way things are going, I guess we'll ALL find out soon enough if America's "leaders" still take 'the idea of it' seriously...

Posted by: Mike at April 3, 2006 12:03 PM

I am amused because of course, the essence of the game is understanding entanglement. When we were sex-starved students we would always joke about les liasons dangereuses, with attendant feline puns; now as democracy-starved adults the mockery runs towards politics and it's the cyanide and the geiger counter that hold our fascination.

Posted by: Saheli at April 3, 2006 12:36 PM

"Alice laughed: 'There's no use trying,' she said, 'one can't believe impossible things.'
'I daresay, you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen. 'When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.'"


Posted by: donescobar at April 3, 2006 01:47 PM

Double-speak! Double-speak!

Posted by: alexis S at April 3, 2006 02:01 PM

As Alexis knows, it's only double-speak if you say it twice.

Simplify and repeat. Simplify and repeat...

Posted by: Sully at April 3, 2006 04:57 PM

Think- Double Think
Speak- Double Speak
Cross- Double Cross
I suppose one can be a Virgin and still be Royaly Screwed at the same tine by King George Bush(KGB). What I like is I get this benefit for the low low price of 2/3 of my income. (a bargain at any price) Of course Mr. Padilla in his rent free digs, and the complementary nightly romps with the personal recreation coach, at Hotel Fed, doesn't have to worry about paying off a HUGE TAX BILL for his free ride in the S&M parlor. NO, FELLOW TAXPAYERS, that's OUR burden. It just shows to go ya', DENY ONE AMERICAN HIS CIVIL RIGHTS YOU'VE DENIED EVERY AMERICAN THEIR CIVIL RIGHTS. Thank you KGB. (King George Bush)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at April 3, 2006 05:54 PM

Can you cite the reference to Gonzales statement that we are not at war? That would be most useful.

Posted by: zenster666 at April 3, 2006 08:18 PM

There's another disturbing thing about this that you touched on earlier Jon: our political leaders don't just lie to us, but to themselves as well.

They have no conception of what war really means. How else can you explain Tenet declaring war against Al-Qaeda and then going to work the next morning as if nothing had changed? They think they're in a movie, and they like declaring war because it sounds cinematic, but -- like most summer blockbusters -- they leave the screenwriting to the special effects people (in this case, Boeing).

Posted by: Cal at April 3, 2006 11:32 PM

It's all about speed or momentum for them, Jon. This way they can confidently deny any position. Heisenberg may have said it first, but George Bush does it the best.

Posted by: rich at April 4, 2006 01:39 AM

Are the links too hard to see?

Yes. And thank you.

Posted by: zenster666 at April 4, 2006 10:40 AM


Posted by: Gotham Image at April 4, 2006 12:28 PM