From: Vincent Campbell (VCampbell@dmu.ac.uk)
Date: Mon 18 Nov 2002 - 14:33:43 GMT
Sorry for this post everyone, I'm just indulging in some displacement
activity to avoid marking a huge pile of essays on my desk. so if you want
to avoid the political rhetoric feel free to skip- although I do mention
memetics in the third paragraph. so I hope that keeps the moderator sweet.
<Oty has to do with the root causes for the European reticence to
> engage a dire terrorist threat: fear. Quite simply, they are afraid to
> off the maniacs; they would much rather snub the reasonable people,
> because the reasonable people will not answer with truckbombs,
> airplanes flown into skyscrapers, and poison gas in subway systems.
> What the Europeans fail to realize is that they, inasmuch as they are
> not Islamic and ruled by shar'ia law, will receive these attacks anyway,
> simply because of who they are; part of the infidel Dar el Harb, and an
> affront to Allah. Chamberlain once, as Churchill phrased it, had a
> choice between war and dishonor, chose dishonor, and still got war.
> Vis-a-vis Radical Muslim terrorists (Al Quaeda and others) and those
> who would supply them with WMD's, many Europeans are facing the
> same choice, and are making it in the same way that Chamberlain did.
> Fear is a visceral memetic hook, sometimes overriding both logic and
> the urge to freedom.>
> Whereas the pre-9/11 rhetoric of the Bush administration was very brave in
> its isolationist, ignore the rest of world rhetoric, was it? For someone
> who's so articulate and incisive in so many of the discussions we have on
> this list, it's such a shame to see you fly so dramatically off the rails
> with this kind of stuff, Joe.
Your sweeping generalisations over dozens of highly different European nations are unfair and unfounded, unless of course you want to call Americans fearful in those quite years between 1914-17, and 1939-1941? Some do argue that that Martian panic in the US in 1938, after Welles' war of the worlds broadcast was influenced by fears of war in Europe. So maybe fear is a memetic hook- but fear is not what is informing mass public and some significant political opposition in Europe to an American war in Iraq, it's the political expediency of a war that is what people over here who are against the war, hate most of all. Saddam was put in power by the US, was given intelligence and arms by Western nations including the US during the Iran-Iraq war, and now it serves the USA's purpose to get rid of him. Indonesia, Guatemala, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, Northern Ireland all spring to mind as examples of the persistent contradictions in American foregin policy. The selective nature of US interference in the affairs of other nations is typified by the new policy on Iraq, and it is that more than anything that annoys people in Europe- and elsewhere. Surveys have clearly indicated that it is only in America where the public interpretation of 9/11 downplays US foreign policy- I'll try and dig out the reseach if I can- everywhere else, _everywhere_ else in the world, where questions were asked, many people felt US foreign policy has something to do with the motives behind the attack, and the legitimate concerns of many people_everywhere outside the US_ (and some inside to be fair) is what the consequences of this kind of heavy handed response will be.
Indeed, what's interesting from a memetic point of view is how
people close themselves off from alternative points of view (e.g. are the US
networks still refusing to show Al-jazeera footage in case of coded
messages?) when it threatens their attempts to force a particular
interpretation of events onto themselves and others. Off this topic might
be how holocaust deniers cope with the mountains of evidence for the
holocaust having occured for example.
How you could be so wrong on this topic, when nornally so astute
Joe, is a case in point here. For all your references, I see you almost
exclusively sticking to American magazines, American commentators, although
with the massive number of posts I may have missed some you've gleaned from
non-American sources. You do realise that the American news media are as
complicit in self-censorship with regard to commercial and political
interests as any media system anywhere in the world don't you? After all
during the last Gulf War it was American journalists who willingly went
where they were told by military "guides" and even reported European
journalists who went off on their own to find real stories. I wouldn't be
too reliant on Ted 'I want to buy a nuclear bomb' Turner if I were you (and
yes he did say that in an interview a while back).
Attacking Iraq on the back of 9/11 is a bit like the UK attacking
the US on the back of the Omagh bombing, although that would have more
legitimacy given the very overt fundraising for the IRA that has gone on in
the US for decades. Of course one big difference is that one of these
situations involves attacking a nation with weapons of mass destruction that
it has used against multiple nations in the past- guess which one I mean.
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