- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 22, 2004

Juxtapositioning

From C-Span’s main Web page yesterday:

“Latest video: House committee hearing on Mad Cow Disease.

Most watched video: Howard Dean reaction to Iowa caucus results.”

The price of the Dems

One of John Kerry’s main campaign themes right now is the need to push down drug prices, either through government bargaining through Medicare or by allowing the cheap re-importation of drugs from Canada. Maybe he should read Bain and Company’s new report on the European pharmaceutical industry, unveiled at Davos, Switzerland, this week. Similar policies have pushed down drug prices in Europe by one-third in comparison with the United States. But there’s a huge cost.

According to Dow Jones: “Europe has lost out in four ways: The number of new drug targets launched in Europe has almost halved to 44 between 1998-2002 from 81 between 1993-97, top R&D jobs have flooded to the U.S., European drug companies have moved research centers abroad and Europeans now have to wait 33% longer to get new treatments than patients in the U.S. … For example, Bain claims Germany saved $19 billion by spending less than the U.S. on healthcare in 2002, but lost $22 billion in reduced R&D investment and drug innovations, lost wages from high added-value jobs, disappearing R&D centers and poor health.”

If the Democrats and some Republicans get their way on the pharmaceutical industry, this will be America’s fate as well. The revolution in new treatments will end. Maybe the trade-off is worth it — to get cheaper drugs today. But a trade-off there assuredly is.

Pre-emption

What are the real consequences of our not finding real, actual weapons of mass destruction in post-Saddam Iraq? My gloomy take is that the pre-emption doctrine has taken a huge hit. Don’t get me wrong. I still believe in the need to take out WMD threats before they take us out. And I don’t buy the argument that you have to have proof of actual ready-to-go weapons in order to take action. All you really need is componentry. And the preliminary Kay report convinced me — and still convinces me — that the war was worthwhile, that Saddam Hussein had been lying, that he couldn’t be trusted, that we had no viable future alternative to war (sanctionswerebecoming grotesquely immoral and porous) and that the future threat was absolutely real. But — and it’s a big but — we made the case on the existence of actual, operational WMD and stockpiles of the same. We did so publicly, openly, clearly to as big a global audience as we could find. We said: Trust us. We know. But we didn’t. I cannot see how a single ally will support us in future similar circumstances because of that. Certainly, Britain won’t be able to. And I think a large swathe of American public opinion will be more skeptical than ever. It’s not exactly a case of crying wolf. The wolf was there all right. It’s a function of exaggerating a threat. I believe it was an honest mistake. I was prepared to give the inspection teams months and months to find something. But so far … no actual weaponry.

I hope we still find some. Or that we can get some plausible explanation for why we were so wrong. But we’re deluding ourselves if we think it doesn’t matter, won’t count in the future and hasn’t done us a great deal of damage in the court of world opinion. And if the president cannot take responsibility for that, who should?

Thought for the week

“To be called an Uncle Tom is an honor. Like our foundational black thinkers, Uncle Tom is often invoked but rarely read. He is not who the Politburo says he is. He was a moral, religious man of dignity and duty who accepted his lot as a slave because he had no choice yet by his behavior transcended it. He was an ancestor of whom to be proud; how has it been overlooked that he chose torture and death rather than inform on two sexually abused female runaways? To follow the Politburo’s anti-intellectual, perverse construction to its logical conclusion, blacks should have cultivated no manners, created no art, pursued no knowledge, expended only the minimum energy at their tasks, and avoided any kindness or heroism that could not have been confined to the black community. They shouldhaveactually been subhuman.” - Debra Dickerson, from her new, stimulating book, “The End of Blackness.”

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