Schrodinger’s War

One exciting thing about America today is we all get 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 be either one or the other.

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