I just watched a fascinating interview with National Security Agency Director, General Keith Alexander, where he answers critics of the NSA’s counter-terrorism surveillance programs with a challenge at the 15:09 mark: “Can somebody come up with a better way of doing it?”

Here’s my way: starve the terrorist beast. I admit that my way has less to do with spying.

Here’s how: the US develops a radical energy plan to sever its dependence on oil and gas; then create an equally radical economic development plan for the Middle East which reduces poverty. Parts of Africa can benefit from the same kind of plan.

The take-out: gainfully employed youth have less time on their hands to be pissed about being poor — because they are no longer poor — and also have less time to hear the overtures of jihadist recruiters who blame the youth’s lack of loot on the West’s military presence and oil interests.

Which means: the citizens of the Middle East have more motivation to partner with the West to kick out the jihadists.

Another benefit: fewer prospects for instability means the US can think about shrinking or even closing military bases over time – to the benefit of American taxpayers.

These activities will inevitably lead to a properly focused discussion about a permanent solution to Israel-Palestine conflict.

Besides, aren’t we all getting the sense by now that these NSA spy programs have a scope that’s larger than terrorism…?

song currently stuck in my head: “sunday’s bells” – ronald shannon jackson

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