G. Bush: US in Holy War Against Iraq?

Daniel F. Vukovich vukovich at uiuc.edu
Thu Jan 20 22:36:57 PST 2000

At 11:03 PM 1/20/00 -0500, you wrote:
>What was the point of this "aren't they barbaric!" story?

Good question. Or what was the point in forwarding it, for that matter, other than to take a cheap shot at Arabs/Islam, or to indulge in that pleasure of "realizing" that, after all, even we are not that bad. We are still modern! (Esp. us atheists) The frisson or downright pleasure of Eurocentrism, or of Orientalism to boot? (I hope that doesnt sound too "pc" but Im not going to rehearse Amin or Said here, not now anyway) What are the wages of whiteness in an international frame? The satisfaction of knowing that, after all, things were better in the good old days under the degraded Worker's State, and/or that, after all, the Taliban is not a product of the twin evil empires -- the fSU and the USA-- but of "fundamentalism" and "Islam."

I have known that colonialist ideology runs amuck on the so-called "left," from journalists and activists to prof.'s and scholars, which was why I was so pleased today, to snag from the library James Blaut's book on The Colonizer's Model of the World. But I used to think that Said over-stated the case in re Islam and Arabic culture *specifically* (at the expense of the so-called Far East, China in particular, and the "Asiatic" more generally). I know better now, and not least b/c of all the various "wars", ideological and material, over Kosova, as well as the self-serving and self-righteous hand-wringing over the Taliban.

>At least the Afghani people in Marc Manson's story have the guts to be
>honest with themselves about their justice system.
>What's worse: cutting off someone's hand for a petty theft, or locking
>someone up for decades for a crime they did not commit, or for something
>that no rational person would consider a crime? In our enlightened country
>we have tens of thousands of people in jail with sentences of 10 years or
>more for drug crimes they didn't commit, or for things like possession of
>pot, which clearly does not deserve jail time whether it's a crime or not.
>For details on this one great source is Frontline's web site 'Snitch':
>They do a great job of explaining how our drug laws put people in jail for
>the drug crimes of others, while letting off the people who actually
>committed the crime.
>Our justice system is just as public and inhumane as the one described in
>Carl's post. If we are more enlightened than those Afghanis, what good does
>it do if it doesn't cause us to even try to stop our own barbaric human
>rights abuses?
>Another angle on this would be to look at the Gulf War as a form of justice.
>We punished the Iraqi people for the invasion of Kuwait. We bombed the land
>where "an eye for an eye" was invented, but we took that principal much
>further. For invading a country of 250,000 people (extremely rich people,
>most of whom were on vacation) we killed 500,000 Iraqis--mostly soldiers
>during the war.
>Then, we continued to punish the people, and by established estimates a
>million or so people, mostly children, have died as a result of the
>sanctions which for a while didn't even let medicine, like penicillin, into
>the devastated country.
>Isn't that justice more barbaric than anything the Taliban have done? A
>million and a half lives for the crime of invading a country of
>50,000. --Especially considering that we committed the same crime by
>invading Panama only a couple years earlier.
>Well, this may seem all a bit out of line. But perhaps people will think it
>is something worthy of discussing. The left these days is very obsessed
>with the crimes of other countries like China, and Afghanistan. And it just
>seems a shame that there is so little energy in comparison, these days,
>going into stopping the worst human rights abuser: ourselves (i.e. America).
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: owner-lbo-talk at lists.panix.com
> > [mailto:owner-lbo-talk at lists.panix.com]On Behalf Of Carl Remick
> > Sent: Thursday, January 20, 2000 12:06 PM
> > To: lbo-talk at lists.panix.com
> > Subject: Re: G. Bush: US in Holy War Against Iraq?
> >
> >
> > >Bush salutes US air strikes on Iraq as "Lord's work"
> >
> > [The Lord words in mysterious ways His chores to accomplish.
> > Here are yet
> > more folks doing God's work. This is from Orato, which can be found at
> > http://www.orato.com/frames/hand.htm]
> >
> > Bloody Justice in Kabal

------------------------------------------------------ Daniel F. Vukovich Dept. of English; The Unit for Criticism University of Illinois Urbana, IL 61801 ------------------------------------------------------

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