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To kick off, the first of two recent items from the always readable (and often far more paradigm-bustin' than the main body) GUARDIAN DIARY.
Let us never forget, genuine WIT can be a scimitar thing . . .

Meanwhile, the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz has come by the minutes from Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas's recent meeting with President Bush. According to Abbas Bush said:
"God told me to strike at al-Qaida and I struck them, and then He instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did ... and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East."
And thus the United States' battle against the evils of religious zealotry goes on.


"President Bush has recently enunciated a new military doctrine, which amounts to an open-ended declaration of perpetual war. In a new policy of 'defensive intervention', which breaks with long-standing military doctrines of containment and deterrence, the US now claims the right to undertake massive preemptive strikes, wherever and whenever it feels so inclined, not for any clearly definable reason, and certainly not only in the face of an existing military threat, but merely in anticipation of some future danger - or even none at all. The Bush administration has since made it unambiguously clear that the doctrine of preemptive strikes includes the use of nuclear weapons. This endless state of war is also supported by a new political and ideological cliamte, ranging from the erosion of civil liberties to the discouragement, even the suppression, of dissent*.

{*An interesting symptom of the latter tendency is a scurrilous document entitled 'Defending Civilisation: How Our Universities Are Failing America', which denounces academic critics of the so-called 'war on terrorism' as traitors. The document, produced by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, an organization co-founded by Lynne Cheney, the US Vice-President's wife, named names, in a manner reminiscent of the infamous McCarthy era. Mrs Cheney is also the author of a children's book, America: A Patriotic Primer, an A to Z of jingoistic propaganda.]

{frm: EMPIRE OF CAPITAL · Ellen Meiksins Wood · [Verso 2003] - which I cannot urge you strongly enough to obtain and study. It pretty much "explains" the general thrust of US foreign policy, and gives to the lie to the idea that recent interventions or developments are purely a resposne to 9/11.
Read at your peril, though, so to speak, as, if you are anything ike me, your already simmering rage and depression and paranoia will be increased a hundred fold; and, what's worse, your paranoia now has solid FACT to feed off.
I mean, combine what's going on in Guantanamo Bay - the so-called "trials" about to begin {which, don't get me started ...} with that last little footnote about naming names of academic "traitors" ... and it's not such a stretch when that famous quote from WW2 pops into your head, as it did mine, the one about: "They came for the political opponents and I did nothing; then they came for the queers and I did nothing; then they came for the Jews and I did nothing; then they came for me, and I cried out for help, but ... "

Maybe one of the PILL BOX's American readers can tell us (before I really let my rage off its leash) just how people feel over there, and whether there is any kind of groundswell of protest about the Guantanamo Bay "trials" which, I mean talk about unbelievable, and this really is the time to stand up and be counted - i.e., the worst case scenario, the trials of even PERHAPS indefensible people is always a paradigm, surely of due Justice - but you will have no cause for complaint if they finally DO "come for" you as anti-American if you didn't speak up before; and the IRONY is, you ask me, America could do itself a HUGE favour worldwide if it only stopped, and thought, and treated these people with uncharacteristic DECENCY, it would be SUCH a brilliant and clever and subversive gesture on SO many levels, never mind just conforming to basic notions of a fair trial etc, etc, etc ...

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posted by Ian 7/09/2003 11:23:00 AM

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