Opening Borders

Max Sawicky sawicky at
Sat Apr 3 12:09:20 PST 1999

Hi Gar.

I appreciate your bracing feedback to my posts, but you cross-posted your reply to PEN-L, when I hadn't posted the original. If I had wanted it to appear there, I would have preferred it do so in all its sophistic glory, uninterrupted by your responses. But no harm done.

> It is also defensible as a lesser evil -- better to provide haven to
> refugees than to have them killed or driven to hellhole refugee camps
> If you want safe return to Kosovar, negotiations not war are your best
> options.

I thought my agreement with this was clear in my post. Oh well.

> insensitivity to the Kosovars. After all, only 2,000 of the
> latter were killed, that was last year, they are led by drug
> runners and Mafiosi, and this year they've been blessed with
> complimentary train tickets out of the country, albeit with
> baggage service somewhat in abeyance.
> Max, this is bullshit. I bet you cannot find one person on this list
> opposing the war who used the word "only" when citing the 2000
> figure. The point of the 2000 figure is that the NATO invasion has
> already ensured that a lot more than 2000 people in Yugoslavia (which
> still technically includes the Kosovo province) this year. If we
> escalate to a ground invasion then the final number will be a hell of
> a lot more.

I beg to differ. Yoshie cross-posted something called "Balkan Stats" which was a kind of bizzarro-Harpers List which justaposed the 2,000 figure to the million in Iraq and to a million and a half in the Sudan. (who killed all the Sudanese, I wonder, but I digress). And our own beloved Doug posted a statement by Tony Snow which compared the level of violence in Kosovo to that of Atlanta. Others have variously mentioned higher levels of casualties in other parts of the world and noted U.S. failure to intervene, as if that put the 2,000 in some kind of useful perspective. Others here have made comments and cross-posting which purported to refute the most basic facts of the situation -- e.g., the refugee problem is overstated (since there are refugees in Serbia), the refugees are fleeing NATO, the destruction of property in Kosovo is due to NATO bombing, etc. So minimization exercises have been in full flower, by my lights.

> You sure aren't making the situation better by supporting Clinton's
> homicidal stupidity.

As far as I can see, nobody is making the situation better. Tell me how to stop bombing without facilitating ethnic cleansing and I'll sign up. Now, without question, bombing is not stopping cleansing either. The only hope is for a prelude to some effective defense of Kosovo.

I was distressed to see downtown Belgrade in flames last night, but then when I saw tens of thousands of Kosovars milling around in a field I didn't feel so bad. If the Serbs harm the P.O.W.'s they've captured, their case is weaker still.

> embodiment of "the national interest." Rather, I would suggest
> that what some have called hand-wringing, bleeding heart, and
> cruise missile liberalism is really our ultimate political
> weapon: an effort to fix on the moral center of issues.
> Oh come on. The people who want to escalate the killing have the moral
> center?

I'd say the moral edge, if not the whole center, lies with the soft-on-bombing position, yes. That's why I'm there. I do not mean I am any more moral than anyone else. I do mean that I've chosen as I have because I see my choice as the better exercise of moral judgement.

> And the idea that the left is trying to claim the to be an embodiment
> of "the national interest" is not just a straw man. It is a full
> fledged talking, singing, dancing if-I-only-had-a-brain scarecrow.

True enough, and nice turn of phrase. I meant that the anti-bombing position is in part an appeal to a certain conception of self-interest, as in, this won't work and will only cause the U.S. lives and resources. And I don't think the left is competitive in this arena, will never be, and shouldn't be.

> And Chris Buford, who is a bombing/invasion enthusiastic attacked Noam
> Chomsky as an "old moralist". I would think that part of the claim to
> a moral center is a look at what is most likely to save lives in both
> the short and long run. I guess I'm not giving you what you want. I'm


> applying your moral principle to a set of facts and reaching the
> opposite conclusion to yours, rather than simply moving the discussion
> to a philosophical plane and disputing your principles.

Right again.


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