Re: state of memes

From: Dace (
Date: Tue Oct 02 2001 - 19:50:03 BST

  • Next message: Wade T.Smith: "Re: What/Who selects memes?"

    Received: by id TAA25814 (8.6.9/5.3[ref] for from; Tue, 2 Oct 2001 19:55:39 +0100
    Message-ID: <002401c14b73$40d7eee0$6924f4d8@teddace>
    From: "Dace" <>
    To: <>
    References: <>
    Subject: Re: state of memes
    Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 11:50:03 -0700
    Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
    Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
    X-Priority: 3
    X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
    X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.50.4133.2400
    X-MIMEOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V5.50.4133.2400
    Precedence: bulk

    > Thanks Ted.
    > I don't remember the specifics around that time, but assuming Chomsky is
    > reporting this accurately, I would not characterize Saddam's Aug 12 offer
    > legitimate, given that they involve issues (Syria/Lebabon and Palestine)
    > that have nothing to do with Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Perhaps Saddam
    > thought he could hold Kuwait hostage to force others (the US, Syria, and
    > Israel to name only those that come first to mind) to do what he wishes.

    Why would he care if Palestinians are subjugated or not? Even if the US had
    accepted this condition (as preposterous as that sounds) Hussein would have
    gained nothing other than prestige in the Arab world as someone who got away
    with standing up to Uncle Sam and demanding justice for his brothers. The
    only difference between Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and Israel's domination of
    Palestine is that Israel has the muscle and the US backing to make it stick.
    Might makes right.

    > The offer of the 19th, of course, would have been greatly welcomed but
    > have been something he could do without reference to the US. All he had to
    > do was sit down with the government of Kuwait and then withdraw. Could
    > been done in a couple of hours.

    And then the US withdraws gracefully from the Middle East, right? I'm
    afraid not. Hussein was demanding Arab self-determination. That means the
    US stops pouring money into Israel and propping it up as a regional
    superpower. It means we don't buy off Egypt as a potential counterbalance.
    It means we're not supporting fanatical theocracies that happen to provide
    us with plenty of oil, like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. It means backing off
    and allowing the Arab world to constitute itself and sell its goods as it
    sees fit. Of course, Hussein hoped to dominate this process himself. But
    even if he'd succeeded it would have been an improvement.

    > The December 4th offer, if it is accurately reported, might from the US
    > point of view been a real offer, but the question that remains open and
    > critical is whether Saddam in fact proposed discussions about this with
    > government of Kuwait. And if the Kuwaitis declined to discuss the status
    > any or all of their territory, then there was nothing left to discuss and
    > the Iraqi seizure invasion, prolongued any further would have been doubly
    > illegal. Please remember that the initial invasion itself was fully

    No more so than the six-week bombing campaign in the winter of '91 and the
    10 years of sanctions that have followed. The US dropped 88,500 tons of
    bombs on Iraq (according to the Pentagon) with an emphasis on the water
    distribution system, such as reservoirs, dams, pumping stations, and
    purification plants, not to mention roads, hospitals, schools, commercial
    and residential districts, power generators, and so on. The US killed a
    hundred thousand people and lost 157, mostly to "friendly fire." We
    inflicted widespread civilian suffering and death-- a war crime. So was the
    "turkey shoot" that killed thousands of retreating troops. The sanctions,
    which have killed 1.5 million more, are considered genocidal conduct under
    the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of
    Genocide. We're killing about one percent of the population of Iraq every
    year. This would be about two and a half million if it were Americans or 25
    million during the 90s. Congolese, Armenians, Ukrainians, Jews and Roma,
    Vietnamese and Cambodians, Kurds, Tutsis, Iraqis... it's all the same.

    > Thus the real and only obligation was for Iraq to leave Kuwait, and pay
    > reparations for the damage they created. There is no obligation on those
    > invaded -- or their allies -- to negotiate with the invader.

    And there's no obligation for the Palestinians to negotiate with the
    Israelis. But then the Palestinians don't have cluster bombs and laser
    guided missiles, do they?

    > Invasion
    > creates no rights or benefits under international law. There cannot really
    > be a 'reasonable' offer when only unconditional withdrawal is required.
    > US was under no obligation (nor were any of the other allies of Kuwait) to
    > delay at all to give Iraq additional time. All Iraq had to do was withdraw
    > and pay damages. Sometimes, life IS simple.

    Yes, it is. And what makes it simple is that the country that monopolizes
    violence gets to determine whose conquest is legitimate (Israel's) and whose
    isn't (Iraq's.) The US itself is built from conquest and genocide. It's an
    expression of the war meme. As long as we identify with "America," we
    internalize its imperialistic value system. We see "the good" as that which
    is good for US. It's a "selfish meme," replicating at the expense of our
    capacity for moral judgment.

    > I'm surprised that Chomsky would suggest anything else.

    I'm surprised you're unfamiliar with Chomsky's geopolitical analysis. I got
    started with his pamphlet-length analysis of the Panama invasion,
    "Terrorizing the Neighborhood." I believe his latest book is called Rogue
    States. You may want to consider innoculating yourself against this "USA"

    > Having said all of that, I do believe that it would have been possible to
    > influence Saddam so that he would withdraw from Kuwait without the
    > of war, but I think that the required level and type of influence was
    > the capabilities or knowledge of the governments involved. But that's
    > another story, as they say....
    > Thanks again for the citations -- very helpful.
    > Lawry
    > > -----Original Message-----
    > > From: []On Behalf Of
    > > Dace
    > > Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2001 2:14 PM
    > > To:
    > > Subject: Re: state of memes
    > >
    > >
    > > Chomsky, Deterring Democracy, 1992, South End Press, Chapter 6:
    > > Aggression.
    > >
    > > On August 12, 1990, Iraq offered to withdraw from Kuwait if Syria would
    > > withdraw from Lebanon and Israel gave up the Occupied Territories. On
    > > 19th, Iraq suggested that disputes between Arab states should be decided
    > > among Arabs themselves, in the absence of outside intervention. This is
    > > akin to the US view that disputes in the Americas should be handled
    > > exclusively by American nations. On December 4, Iraq offered to
    > > withdraw on
    > > the sole condition that Kuwait discuss the status of a couple of
    > > islands in
    > > the Gulf. This offer was so reasonable that there was widespread
    > > fear that
    > > war would be averted. Stock prices plummeted. But the US stuck to its
    > > insistence on unconditional surrender, and the "nightmare scenario" of a
    > > negotiated resolution never came to pass.
    > >
    > > > Interesting. Do you have a source for this? Thanks.
    > > >
    > > > >Yet Hussein
    > > > > was perfectly willing to relinquish Kuwait through negotiations. No
    > > > > military buildup was necessary.
    > > >
    > > >

    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Oct 02 2001 - 20:00:52 BST