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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 22nd, 2003 10:58 am (UTC)
Thanks for the link! It's heartening to find some essays I can find agreement with.
I just posted my own link to the story.
Maybe it's time to finally get a subscription to Salon...
Mar. 22nd, 2003 11:24 am (UTC)
You're welcome
Salon really needs the money right now. You should subscribe, I think it's only $20 a year.

I wonder what woud happen if somebody showed up with a sign at a rally that said "Free Iraq !" You'll notice that he's saying a lot of the analysis on the left is basically of the tone, "It's all about us." Well, it's also about awful historical situations and powerful social forces that don't give a toss about how "we" feel about ourselves.

Berman also has an article in tomorrow's New York Times magazine about the philosophical roots of Islamism. I think it's going to be a good one.
Mar. 22nd, 2003 04:12 pm (UTC)
Re: You're welcome
I found a lot to agree with there. Particularly the unsettling combination of anti-war protests at home combined with a guardedly welcoming reaction in Iraq (if reports are to be believed).

And like Berman I wonder if the focus of the demonstrations should switch. IMO the war was a terribly foolish risk. But now that Bush has rolled the dice for all of us, we're obligated to hold it to its idealistic justifications. The only chance we have of getting out of this one without a deep wound in the Middle East that lasts for decades is if the Iraqis are totally ecstatic with what happens with to their country.
Mar. 22nd, 2003 04:24 pm (UTC)
Re: You're welcome
I think the positive reactions are guarded because the Iraqis still don't trust the US (for good reason) and Saddam has more lives than a litter of Texas kittens, or something colorful like that. And this war will not be a surgical as anybody could hope for. Even 2000 lb bombs that are perfectly targeted are likely to do damage to the perimeter. But yes, now that it's underway, hope for the best in both what can be controlled, the coalition's conduct, and what cannot be controlled, which are the actions of the factions inside and outside Iraq. Good luck, we are all going to need it.

I have also been thinking of what people can do on an individual level – I already voted, and I don't like protesting. If you know people in the region (I used to work with some Palestinians and Jordanians, but no Iraqis), you can engage them online. You can engage your elected representatives – this is going to be crucial because the war isn't really budgeted yet and it's going to have to be paid for. You can give money to relief efforts. I would be interested to see if George Soros is supporting any liberalizing foundations in the region, and there are lots of other NGOs that are going to help, if, as we should all pressure him to do, Bush does the right thing.

I have to admit, a demonstration movement that adapted to current circumstances would knock a lot of people for a loop. They might even be stunned enough to pay attention to it.
Mar. 22nd, 2003 05:10 pm (UTC)
Re: You're welcome
> I have to admit, a demonstration movement that adapted to current circumstances
> would knock a lot of people for a loop. They might even be stunned enough to pay attention to it.

I've been meaning to write about this candlelight vigil I attended with darthmaus.

This was a few hours before the clock was going to run out. One of the core organizers got up to speak, and he lamented the hundreds of hours people had spent trying to stop the war, since it looked like it was about to happen anyway, but...

The crowd didn't allow him to finish the sentence. "PEACE NOW! PEACE NOW!" A corpulent earth mama started yelling "WE DON'T WANNA HEAR ABOUT WAR! WE WANNA HEAR ABOUT PEACE!"

Eventually these dimwits were hushed by a lot of rhubarb-rhubarb crowd noises to allow the guy to speak. But I was struck by how all the "core" protesters unanimously voted to shut their ears. After all, that's what demos are all about right? We reaffirm the most trite of clichés and then mark time to till the next vegan potluck! Don't let REALITY intrude.
Mar. 22nd, 2003 11:33 am (UTC)
What a great article. My thinking has undergone a sea change in the past few days and Berman articulates right where I stand at this time. Thanks!
Mar. 22nd, 2003 12:02 pm (UTC)
Coming from you, that speaks volumes !
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