Re: state of memes

From: Dace (
Date: Tue Oct 02 2001 - 20:16:11 BST

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    Subject: Re: state of memes
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    > Hi Lawrence.
    > I'm not sure if the excerpt from Chomsky really addresses the matter of
    > the US and other countries wanted to have a war against Iraq. The segment
    > seems to suggest that stock prices might have been a motive, or that
    > territory was a motive. And the oil motive almost does not need to be
    > mentioned to be suspect, even if there is no clear reason why the US would
    > prefer to buy from Kuwait than from an expanded Iraq.
    > Yet a far graver threat was posed by Iraq through its nuclear weapons
    > program. That weapons program was explicitly announced by Saddam Husein
    > himself during the Iran-Iraq war. A nuclear reactor capable of producing
    > fissile materials for atomic bombs was being built by a French company in
    > Iraq at the time. Iraq had been using chemical weapons against the
    > but the Iranians were clearly afraid of the nuclear threat. So they tried
    > attack Iraq's reactor from the air, but unsuccessfully. Then Hussein made
    > mistake by announcing that the weapons to be produced were not for use
    > against Iran, but rather, for use against Israel. So Israel sent in a
    > squadron of advanced US fighter-bombers armed with "smart bombs" and
    > disguised as Jordanian aircraft. They then made short work of the Iraqi
    > reactor. But Iraq continued its efforts to build an atomic bomb. Whether
    > want to call the weapons ideas "memes" or "thought contagions" or
    > the basic ideas behind nuclear weapons had clearly proliferated to Iraqi
    > weapons scientists even as the weapons themselves had not--at least not
    > After the invasion of Kuwait, Saddam Hussein even held up some
    > high-performance capacitors capable of dumping their charge very quickly
    > the plastic explosives that initiate a fission bomb. Such capacitors would
    > have had very high capacitance, high voltage, low parasitic inductance,
    > low parasitic resistance as a result of modern materials science advances.
    > Hussein was, in effect, threatening to use nuclear weapons against the
    > States or any other country that might reverse his conquest of Kuwait.
    > According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,
    > (, the Gulf
    > War was therefore "the non-proliferation measure of last resort." By the
    > implications of that assessment, a negotiated withdrawal from Kuwait
    > would have been a "nightmare scenario."
    > Some might say that we should not worry if Iraq should become just another
    > member of the nuclear club. Yet each new "member," poses a very serious
    > to us all, especially if the country or organization is strongly oriented
    > toward initiating conquest and warfare. The problem is not so much that
    > or two fission bombs would destroy a country such as the USA, although
    > weapons would certainly put to shame all the present talk of "Ground Zero"
    > the World Trade Center in New York. The real problem is that with just a
    > atomic bombs, someone who is really determined to start a new empire could
    > smuggle fission bombs into some major cities of a country such as the USA
    > Russia. Then they could use nuclear blackmail to attempt to extort an
    > of advanced hydrogen bombs. Along with millions of others, Noam Chomsky
    > have been relieved of his electrons by the likes of Saddam Hussein.
    > --Aaron Lynch


    Your "thought contagion" site is the best discussion of memes I've seen yet
    (if you don't mind me using Dawkins' slippery term.) Thanks.

    I can't say much in favor of your analysis of American policy in the Middle
    East. It's silly to think that Iraq, had it possessed the requisite
    technology, would have considered launching a nuclear attack against the
    United States. Armed with 24 missiles, each containing up to 17
    independently maneuverable warheads, a single Trident submarine (of which we
    have 22) could have obliterated the country in minutes. Saddam wanted nukes
    because boys like toys. At no point would such weapons have offered him any
    leverage against the US.


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