/web cafe /talk of the best

search port




We used to wonder where war lived, what it was that made it so vile. And now we realize that we know where it lives, that it is inside ourselves.

Albert Camus


Chomsky on the war

HAS Saddam ever posed a threat to the US? The idea verges on absurdity. Up to 1990, when he was committed by far his worst crimes, he was a friend and ally of those running the show in Washington today. Far from seeing him as a threat, they even provided him with means to develop weapons of mass destruction. The Gulf war and the sanctions reduced Iraq to the weakest military force in the region. Even the countries Saddam invaded don't regard him as a threat, and have been trying for years to reintegrate Iraq into the region, over strong US objections. The US is alone in the world, to my knowledge, in regarding Iraq as a threat, either military or terrorist. By "US" here I mean the image portrayed by government-media since September, primarily, which has had its effects on popular attitudes. []

Note that the US government is teaching the world a very ugly lesson: if you want to keep us from attacking you, you'd better have a credible deterrent. That's one reason why so much of the mainstream establishment opposes Bush administration adventurism, including the Iraq war, only a special case. They can see that it is likely to increase proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terror, and other pretty awful outcomes, if only as a deterrent to a rogue superpower -- as the US is regarded in much of the world, maybe most. []

There are a great many horrible regimes in the world. To take just one, the world's longest military occupation. There's litttle doubt that those under the military occupation would be much better off if the occupation were terminated. Does it follow that we should bomb Tel Aviv?

It's easy to continue. Such questions can, perhaps, be raised by those who regard themselves as God-like, entitled to determine how to use violence to "rid the world of evil," as in fairy tales and ancient epics. Are we so exalted that we have the right to make such decisions? []

If there had been any interest in allowing Iraqis to determine their own fate, these considerations point the way. But there wasn't. Hence the call that their torturers must use violence to "liberate them." An intelligent Martian watching this would be bemused, to put it mildly.

Complete text @ Znet


At some ideas you stand perplexed, especially at the sight of human sins, uncertain whether to combat it by force or by human love. Always decide, "I will combat it with human love." If you make up your mind about that once and for all, you can conquer the whole world. Loving humility is a terrible force; it is the strongest of all things and there is nothing like it.

Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov

See also



   Your fasting, and rest from work, your new moons also, and your feasts my soul hates: you have become loathsome to me; I will no more pardon your sins. When you stretch forth your hands, I will turn away mine eyes from you: and though you make many supplications, I will not hearken to you; for your hands are full of blood.

Isaiah, 1.14-15



Questions and answers


Is this for freedom?

The question is as complex and difficult, as a definition of freedom is. If we adopt the rhetoric of the USA government equating freedom with social autonomy, which can not exist while some group or anyone imposes his will against social consensus, then we have also to accept that the autonomous society remains autonomous and free to the degree that it maintains the capability of making all decisions - right or wrong.

According to the 'principles' USA overtly support, the liberation-argument is not valid, because liberation, being autonomy, should come out of an act of autonomy, it should start from inside, as an internal revolution against the tyrannical regime of Bagdat.

Interfering, without even having been invited, contrary to the will of almost all the world, USA ask to impose liberation, which is unthinkable and impossible, just as much as a necessary freedom is unthinkable and impossible.


Is this for justice?

As Chomsky reminds, Sadam never was a threat to the USA. "The idea verges on absurdity. Up to 1990, when he was committed by far his worst crimes, he was a friend and ally of those running the show in Washington today. Far from seeing him as a threat, they even provided him with means to develop weapons of mass destruction." If this is true, then the war would be as just, as just is for one to correct one's mistake.

If such were the case, USA would first think and explain how this mistake happened, why supporting a cruel and authoritarian regime, its arming and its murders and tortures, seemed just and good sometime, and why it looks differently now. What is it that changed?

If the USA had been following the demands of reason, if justice were of any concern here, then the attack against Iraq wouldn't be an attack of history's supposed innocent and innocuous People, but an attack of someone who made a grave mistake, admitting this mistake and explaining how all present activity, warlike or other, really heals the internal wounds. This means, USA would attack like someone who attacks and corrects himself, not an external threat.

Not having faced truth, not seeing into the USA the criminal, and not having made first of all against themselves an attack of thinking and criticism, USA, as regards justice, most probably replaces the first mistake with a second one, continuing thus their criminal activity and not at all correcting it.


Is this for the Western way of life?

The question is oversimplifying the issue, because it means that there exists indeed one and only one way of life in the West. But even if we confine Western way to the free election of a government, we can think at least if the war strengthens this institution.

Representative and electoral democracy presupposes the social body as the primary and ultimate spring of all political decisions. Who decides this presupposition? In order to have indeed the ultimate authority in the society, this supposition should emerge inside the society itself, therefore: not in some other society, not coming from elsewhere, whether by means of war or peace.

Can I transmit a will for autonomy, and how? If I can not, or if I don't know how, whatever else I do, I don't transmit the Western way and the democratic principles, but only an external covering and likeness of them (in the best case), an imitation of autonomy and democracy, so that, as much as I succeed in doing this, I don't support citizens, I create monkeys. But by creating monkeys I don't expand: I undermine the Western way.


Is this for financial interest?

The cynicism with which very often financial interest is placed first of all explanations, reveals how debased is our view of the Western societies. Even thus, is this war a profitable war?

A gang of thieves as such, may have some profit, but not finance, because loot is not finance. Therefore, however great the profit might be, since it is not based on work, economy and the relevant institutional framework, it will bring dissapointment rather than joy, being a contribution to the corruption of economical thinking. The war is useless and deeply damaging to the USA even from the financial point of view, no matter what profits should ensure temporarily.


Is this for strategic gains?

If the USA was able to intefere and maintain power, the war would have strategic benefits. USA is a great power, but not great enough to rule the international community against the will of all nations. Doing moves of imposition, however succesful to some degree, but without having the power to maintain rule to the absolute degree, USA just inspires suspicion, mistrust and fear, preparing thus the forces that will resist and defeat the American dominance. Therefore, in the long run the war undermines the strategic interests of the USA.


Is this for religion?

Almost all speeches of the American president include invocations of the name of God. If we can agree that God loves truth and justice, then the present question is already answered in the beginning of this text. We saw that this is not a war for truth, justice or freedom.

It is obvious that the name of God has become something like magic, in order for the society and its warriors to gain strength, to believe in and support the war. And yet it is not a real power that is being strengthened here, there can not be a real power inside lies, falsifications and self-deception, but only a blind stubbornness, the demand of the American society to destroy itself completely.

Words are nothing and priceless. If you honor them, they are nothing, if you despise them the cost you are going to suffer will be immeasurable.

This is not a war, this is just an act of what seems to prove the USA suicidal play.


Nat Gerrs, April 2003



* We are ungrateful to the USA? (mail)
* Terrorism 2001 (mail)

Also by Nat Gerrs
Why Europe? * The Man Without a Face

Why Europe?


Back to the Web Cafe front page

  Amnesty International - Help us tell their stories


  Mail this page to your friends!