Look, we've been in the midst of a revolution in the US since 9/11. It
involves a rewriting of the most basic laws of economics, a trashing of the
environment, an assault on the rights of Americans, an elimination of the
rights of anyone else our govt decides, without judicial intervention, is a
threat. We've also engineered a melt-down of the norms of international
behavior that we'll all, here and abroad, be paying for well into the
future. It's hard to imagine how the US establishing Afghanistan and Iraq
as glorified military bases can fail to have disastrous consequences, from
driving enormous barriers between ourselves and Europe, not least because
we apparently plan to establish a US monopoly over the exploitation of the
wealth of the middle east, to destabilization of a region in which there
are three atomic powers ruled by religious and nationalist fanatics and a
fourth on the way to developing atomic weapons. All of this justified by
our leadership's absolute faith that the world is a simple place in which
whatever we say must be the morally and tactically correct position.
It may be that this enormous role of the dice will play out ok, but the
odds aren't with us, not least because the rest of the world isn't likely
to roll over and play dead. If they don't the horrors perpetrated by Saddam
(and throw in Al Qaeda for good measure) will look like small potatoes.
Let's remember that our forces killed 3 million people in Vietnam, that we
backed the killing of several hundred thousand in Indonesia, and that the
destabilization that followed from our actions made Pol Pot possible. A
series of unintendeed consequences, precipitated by what many felt were the
best possible motives. This is not about whether George Bush is personally
as nasty as Saddam, it's about foreseeable consequences.
And here's a really nasty thought that I resent like hell being forced to
think. The less costly this victory the more likely we are to try it again.
The equation goes something like this: The less US blood is spilled this
time the more blood of others, by several factors, will be spilled in the
future. Because our feckless leaders will see war as cheap to fight, not to
speak of an easy boost in the voting booth.
At 12:06 AM 3/27/2003 -0500, you wrote:
>Mark Weiss wrote:
> > Only our guys are fully human. How could it be otherwise? Hasn't it always
> > been so?
> > In the fullness of time, as you develop something like compassion, you too
> > may become fully human.
>I don't quite understand for whom I am not showing compassion. But
>you're right, in part - I feel no compassion whatever for Saddam Hussein
>or anyone who willingly serves him. As opposed to those who fight
>because of fear of reprisal against their families.
>Lt. Col. Tim Collins, commander, 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Marines, 16
>Air Assault Brigade, to his men, 22 March: "The enemy should be in no
>doubt that we are his nemesis and that we are bringing about his
>rightful destruction. There are many regional commanders who have
>stains on their souls and they are stoking the fires of hell for
>Saddam. He and his forces will be destroyed by this coalition for what
>they have done. As they die they will know their deeds have brought them
>to this place. Show them no pity."
>The rest of his statement is equally moving. You can find it.
>Yes, yes, I know, sentimental, self-righteous, partial, a half-truth.
>In these respects like so much that appears on this list, and hence a
>useful corrective. And now I'll be silent. Because I know from
>experience it will do no good to say I detest Bush and Ashcroft, that I
>regard them as being ALMOST as dangerous to civilization as the
>theologians of jihad. It will do no good to argue that DESPITE the fact
>the US helped keep S.H. in power while he served its purposes, the fact
>that it's now deposing him MAY lead to a net gain in freedom for his
>people. Against whose oppression people like us would certainly have
>signed petitions, but never physically fight. It did no good for me to
>send that material about Sayyid Qutb - it inspired no serious, i.e.
>non-moralizing, questions about real forces in the world. It inspired
>nothing whatever - it didn't fit. Some of you have to see America as
>the greater enemy, no matter what it is opposing. A mullah, a suicide
>bomber, the stoners and mutilators of women, "brilliant Osama," Saddam
>H. - they're human, they're sacred victims, they're no threat, they're
>fucking MATES compared to, say, an oil executive.
>I'll go back to lurking, now. Sometimes there's useful stuff on poetry