Saturday, July 05, 2008

Dick Cheney's "One Percent Doctrine" and Global Warming

In the book The One Percent Doctrine by Ron Suskind, Suskind points out that Cheney apparently promulgated the so-called "one percent doctrine" after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The doctrine goes like this: If there is a one percent change that a terrorist group might obtain nuclear weapons, or commit some other act of mass terrorism, the United States has to act as such possibility is a 100% certainty.

Now, of course, the ramifications of such a policy are very serious. It can lead to such things as condoning torture, holding people without any explanation, illegally intercepting Americans' conversations, and other unconstitutional acts. It also means that other branches of the American government cannot be informed of what the executive branch is doing because they might disagree with the doctrine.

Putting aside those problems, however, here is a question: Why doesn't Dick Cheney apply the same standard to global warming? There is certainly more than a 1% chance that global warming will occur and occur on a scale that is catastrophic. Yet, the Bush Administration, and other Republican skeptics of global warming would never accept such acting on only a 1% change of global warming occurring.

Apparently, to Dick Cheney, global warming is not nearly as significant as a terrorist attack on the United States, and yet, the consequences of global warming could be far greater than the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks.

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