RE: Why Europe is so Contrary

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Thu 21 Nov 2002 - 16:15:02 GMT

  • Next message: "RE: Why Europe is so Contrary"

    I'll deal with Grant and Joe's comments together if I may.

    First Grant's comment:

    < It is NOT a plot by the American government against Great Britain. To imply that it is and to equate personal feelings with national policy is disengenuous to say the least.>

    The point is that there is no more evidence that Iraq is directly or indirectly behind 9/11 than there is for US governmental involvement in Northern Ireland. So attacking Iraq now as part of the war or terror is just as misplaced as blaming the US goverment for Omagh, which of course I as not seriously doing.

            <And its a shame to see you fly off so tangentially into laundry-list
    > irrelevance. One has to deal with the situation as it IS, not as it WAS.
    > And as it IS, is that the Western world is facing a determined and
    > sustained series of terror attacks by Radical Muslims (not most
    > Muslims, but still a lot of people - maybe 10-15% of them - are
    > sympathetic) who wish to inflict a convert-or-die (to Islam and shar'ia
    > law) choice upon it.>
            Two things wrong with this. First, I would take issue with the claim that there is a 'sustained' series of attack on the entire Western world, but rather specific sporadic attacks, many of which are directed specifically at the USA, and further American military targets. The relationship of the Bali bomb to 9/11 and attacks elsewhere is mooted not proven. Second, none of this legimitates an attack against Saddam's Iraw at this time. Why not attack North Korea which is equally a rogue state and enemy of the US, which openly claims to have weapons of mass destruction?

            <And what does the refusal to sign environmental
    > and economic treaties have to do with the blunting oif terrorist threats,
    > any way? People criticize the US for getting involved, and then turn
    > around and criticize them for not getting involved. You just can't win
    > with infestees of the hate-US meme.>
            Howard Bloom in 'The Lucifer Legacy' talks about how it's largely inevitable that the dominant nation of any period in time is likely to find itself castigated in this kind of way e.g. condemnation of failure to give aid, alongside resentment of being patronised when aid is given. To some extent you're right, but the fact you can think up clear examples of US iconoclasm outside of middle-eastern politics, shows how, on occasion there is meat to the bones of a dispute.

            <And is the US not DOUBLY obligated to rectify its own errors in the

    > world? Saddam's regime is an egregious infliction upon the people of
    > Iraq, and a grave threat to other nations. If the US broke it, they
    > should
    > fix it (and should've done so 12 years ago).>
            I don't necessarily disagree here, for me its the context and the bending of other situations to try and legitimate going back and "finishing the job" that is distasteful, not so much the idea of getting rid of Saddam. I just wish the "logic" was applied equally globally, and not jsut when it's politically expedient to do so.

            <Afghanistan is a place where the US suffered for walking away too
    > soon, too.>
            And why did it walk away- because the political expediency of fostering that conflict by giving the mujahdeen arms went the day the soviet coup failed.

            <It will not repeat that error.>

    It's this kind of optimism that conventional war tactics will defeat terrorism on a global scale that also is so profoundly misplaced.
            <Nicaragua was not handled very well, but the result has been good.>

            So the ends justify the means do they? Even if there's now no way of knowing how a democratically elected socialist regime might have done? This is even more the case in guatemala of course. 'Good' for whom, and it what ways?

            <Korea in the '50's was a UN action.>

            In which it took signifcant British diplomatic efforts to stop the US dropping the bomb, and ended in a massive stalemate that cost thousands of lives, and continues to divide a nation. Not to mention the atrocities which the US government still refuse to acknowledge responsibility for (No Gun Ri springs to mind).
            <Vietnam was a war we never should've taken over from the French. In Somalia, our soldiers died attempting to apprehend warlords who seized food from Red Cross and UN distribution centers in order to use
    > starvation as a weapon.>
    Two conflicts where lack of detailed intelligence and political expediency led to literal disasters- although they've both made good material for war films.
            <The Clinton administration was pivotal in negotiating the Northern Ireland settlement.>

            That would be the agreement that collapsed again a few weeks ago would it?

            <Next irrelevant laundry list, please.>

            There's nothing irrelevant about pointing out how US foreign policy in recent decades has been problematic to say the least, and that contributes a lot to opposition in Europe and elsewhere to the war on Iraq.

            <Well, tie a red dress around the US and claim that it is enticing rape!
    > Blame the victim, right? One HAS to, when the US is the victim, for the
    > US has to be blamed for EVERYthing. I don't think you have carefully
    > considered the memetic nature of the threat to postmodern civilization
    > by a violently cannibalistic medieval memeset.>
            Or maybe like most rapists seem to be, parts of the US is denial convinced that their victims gave consent.

            <Actually, CNN shows them quite frequently, and streaming video is
    > available online. I read throughout the spectrum of opinion, and the
    > one I have formed over the last 14 months has been meticulously
    > researched and carefully considered.>
            Well, normally I'd expect this to be true of you Joe, but I see little sign of it in this case.
            <Sorry, but I access many European, East Asian, and Middle Eastern
    > sources, as well. As I said - the entire spectrum. Your attribution of
    > ignorance of this issue to me reflects an ignorance , on your part, of the
    > great amount of research I have done. YOU are the one who is bathed
    > in error in this one, and who is simply regurgitating knee-jerk memes.>
            What you're missing here Joe is that we're talking about political opinions, and if these are memes then we're both engaging in them- you in a heartfelt degree of patriotism, myself in an understandably more distanced and cautious cynicism (understandable not because I'm right, but because I'm sitting in a country a few thousand miles closer to the mid-east, and in a country with a very different political history and culture to yours).


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