Questions from Hanson (Carnage & Culture)
Ian Andrew Bell
Sun, 17 Mar 2002 10:36:40 -0800
It is rare to see such a disturbing piece of isolationist fluff these days,
mostly because I don't usually take the time to read deeply conservative,
revisionist rags like the "National Review". It occurs to me that if I
searched thru the archives of the American press in 1939 I might see simila=
rhetoric to this article.
One advantage of living in Canada (granted it's not Victor Hanson's hobby
farm) is the exposure to a number of different media and a plethora of
opinions and "facts", rather than the CNN/CNBC/ABC/CBS unfiltered
Bush/Cheney viewpoint. It's clear, having watched the limited spectrum of
information being spoon-fed to right-wing bastards like Hanson, that he
wouldn't have the foggiest clue what is really happening in the middle east=
thus exonerating his banal inquiries.
Now granted, it's 3:30 AM and these are simply my views, based upon an
education in this field, an open mind, and no substantial bias in any
direction, but they might help Hanson in his quest for answers. Someone ha=
better forward them to him. I know he'll be willing to listen to my
arguments and reflect objectively on the issues.
>"Why does Mr. Mubarak lecture us to become intimately engaged in the
>Middle East Peace process, when Mr. Clinton, who was very recently
>intimately engaged, got the intifada for his efforts?"
Well, Sharon made the intifada by marginalizing the PLO by committing
brutal, violent attacks on innocent Palestinians while Arafat was suing for
peace. As a result the Palestinians lost faith in Arafat's ability to win
through peace what intifada promised to win through war. Mr. Clinton was a
marginal player at best. The same ruthless, greedy bastards that supported
Sharon's campaign financially in the US voted for Bush. So Clinton doesn't
have much to do with it at all.
>"And why does Mr. Mubarak seek to advise us about our proper diplomatic
>role, rather than explain to us why an Egyptian masterminded the deaths
>of 3,000 of our citizens and others of his countrymen are top lieutenants
>of Mr. Bin Laden and are now killing Americans in Afghanistan?"
Because Mr. Mubarak can no longer appeal to the UN because it is a benign
bureaucracy, usurped by the US. The fact that several culprits were
Egyptian is simply not relevant. Several were also British and American
(Walker), so does that mean we should blame those countries because of the
fact that 1 person out of tens of millions decided to fly a fucking 767 int=
the World Trade Center?
>"And why, instead of warning about rising anti-Americanism in his
>country =8B itself the dividend of the virulent propaganda of his own
>state-run presses =8B does he not ponder another recent poll, one showing
>that 76 percent of Americans themselves have an unfavorable view of the
First of all, show me that there's any difference between the State-Run
media in Egypt and the free press in the US right now (in terms of their
unrepentant affirmation of government policy) and I will buy you a beer.
Second, those people living in the third world have every reason to be
hateful of the US, given their exploitation by US multinationals, the
pervasiveness (particularly in Egypt) of rude US tourists, and the cultural
imperialism which imprints a Leo DiCaprio/Britney Spears/Backstreet Boys
aura upon every society in the world. Thirdly, American isolationism is no=
a new concept. That 76% of Americans don't trust the Arab world is
surprisingly low, given historical statistics.
>"Why do Middle Easterners become excited and haughty as they gloat to
>you that Americans are unpopular in their countries, but suddenly grow
>shocked, silent, and hurt when you politely and calmly explain why the
>feeling is becoming =8B and perhaps should be =8B mutual?"
The fact is that America, as a first world nation and our world's only true
superpower, can and must be held to a higher standard. As PLATO once said,
the best form of government is a Benevolent Despot. As the governor of the
planet earth in this decade, America must display convicted benevolence.
Americans (and anyone) have an innate distrust of that which is unknown to
them. The US media have done almost nothing to bridge that gap in helping
Americans to understand that which opposes them.
>"Why do so many from the Middle East come here to find freedom, security,
>and safety =8B and then criticize the country that they would never lea
>as they praise the country that they would never return to?"
As a Canadian who lived in the US for three years only to return home to
Vancouver I must wonder aloud what could possibly be wrong with trying to
amend a society's behaviour to include that which you think is morally
correct. That is how American Democracy was founded in the first place, an=
that is a fundamental tenet of a democratic society. America offers
opportunities which are obvious however one need not ascribe to the entire
ideology to benefit from its stronger points.
>"Why did we incur only anger from Eastern Europeans and Orthodox Christian=
>for saving the Muslims of the former Yugoslavia from Milosevic, but no
>praise at all from the Islamic world itself?"
You incurred anger from those few who were displaced from their homes in
Bosnia -- their anger had little to do with religion. And the Islamic
world, I certainly shouldn't need to point our, is as fractious as
Christianty and so one shouldn't expect tacit support for every small deed.
Frankly, I wasn't aware that America's participation in such events was
strategically designed to win praise.
>"If the West Bank is the linchpin of the current Middle East crisis,
>what were wars #1, #2, and #3 there about, when it was entirely in Arab
The Middle East hasn't been "entirely in Arab hands" for more than two
centuries. In fact, in World Wars #1 and #2, the Arabs and Palestinians as
well as other Muslims were promised self-rule and the withdrawal of
imperialism in exchange for helping us with our war efforts in Europe. Go
rent "Lawrence of Arabia", dumbass.
>"Is there a difference between Palestinians preferring to kill
>Israeli civilians rather than soldiers, and Israelis preferring to
>kill Palestinian fighters rather than civilians?"
I know that I will get an emotional reaction to this statement in the wake
of 9/11 but Terrorism is a tool of war for those who cannot fight wars.
Israel must be held to a higher standard because they are clearly an army o=
occupation. Despite that, Isreali forces have shown no qualms, especially
under Sharon's leadership throughout the years, regarding the targeting of
civilians. In the 1950s, then General Sharon burned entire villages and
towns to rubble to make a highway safe for the passage of Israeli tanks,
thus leading to his current legal troubles battling a Belgian war crimes
>"Would the world be angry if a Jewish terrorist forced a captured
>Muslim to admit to his race and faith as he executed and beheaded
>him on film?"
Sadly this is the type of incident that has frequently occurred on both
sides of the 50 years war. No one's hands are clean here. I remind you
that war is a brutal, savage thing and atrocities are committed on both
sides. The correct question is: if an American special forces colonel
captured an Al Quaeda soldier and tortured him, would we even hear about it
>"Why do not Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, who overtly and
>stealthily war along side the Palestinians, simply all join with
>the former to gang up and declare war openly on Israel and then
>settle the issue on the battlefield?"
Because they themselves cannot get along with each other. Just like in
Catholicism there are many sects within the Islamic faith, differing widely
on cultural and political issues. The US has had a policy over the last 50
years of maintaining a delicate balance between the Sunnis, Shi'ites, and
other more moderate groups in order to prevent Pan-Arabism from threatening
not only Israel, but also the worldwide oil supply.
>"If we remove the fascist regime in Iraq and help institute
>consensual government there, why would we need troops any
>longer next door in Saudi Arabia? What and from whom would we
>then be there to protect?"
Since Saddam Hussein represents the Sunni minority in Iraq, if you removed
him and held an election you would install a Shi'ite government which, when
it aligned with the Iranian Shi'ites, would threaten the region in ways
never before conceived of. The result would be a permanent and massively
mechanized US presence in Saudi Arabia.
>"Has any American in any live broadcast on television ever
>asked a Saudi prince, the king of Jordan, the President of
>Egypt, or the royalty of Kuwait, whether they plan on allowing
>a free press or democratic government? If not, why not?"
American foreign policy is not focused on the global acceptance of
democracy. American foreign policy seeks to support those governments whic=
are favourable to US interests, and that will maintain a free-flowing suppl=
>"If 19 Americans incinerated 3,000 Muslims in Mecca or Medina,
>and blew up 20 acres in either of those cities with a two-kiloton
>explosion, would the Saudis or the Egyptians a few weeks later
>politely listen to admonitions from the American government about
>their incorrect Islamic policies in the Middle East?"
In 1991, American B-52s carpet bombed and killed somewhere between 125,000 =
200,000 Shi'ite conscripts who were herded out into the Kuwaiti desert by
the Iraqi Republican Guard and were essentially starving to death and
running out of ammunition and who were effectively waiting to surrender. A=
issue here is the fact that the incident was the most under-reported
atrocity of the war, estimates of the numbers of dead varying so widely
because not a single Western journalist chased down the story.
>"If the Eiffel Tower had been wrecked by an al Qaeda hijacked
>airliner, would the French have gone into Afghanistan after the
>terrorists? And if so, how and why? And would they have asked our
>help? And would we have given it?"
Since the French cannot effectively project power into the region, they
would have sought the support of NATO. America would have used this as an
excuse to do exactly what they're doing today. If you think that the US is
in the region solely to fight a war on terrorism then I have a bridge to
sell you. It would have been much more difficult of course to sell the war
to the American public, which traditionally turns a blind eye to deaths in
foreign countries. Most Americans, including Joe Kennedy, thought that
Hitler was a progressive leader while he was slaughtering jews by the tens
of thousands in 1939.
>"Why in the last decade have we seen a succession of Israeli prime
>ministers and opposition figures but only Mr. Arafat alone?"
Last time I checked, Palestine isn't even a country and the PLO isn't a
government. How can one have a democracy without borders?
>"Why do Middle Easterners become far more enraged at Israelis for
>shooting hundreds of Muslims than at Iranians, Iraqis, Jordanians,
>Syrians, Indians, Algerians, Russians, Somalis, and Serbians for
>liquidating tens of thousands?"
Israeli jeeps regularly pull up to taunt the inhabitants of Palestinian
refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza, where Muslims live in poverty
without running water, plagued by disease, and walled in by the lack of
education. Understandably, the occupants of the camps (young boys mostly)
vent their frustration by throwing rocks at these jeeps. The Isrealis
return fire with rockets. Does that not deserve criticism? All murder is
worthy of examination and analysis -- for instance, how many times more
people have the US killed in Afghanistan than were killed at the WTC?
>"Will Palestinians cheer when Saddam Hussein launches chemical-laden
>missiles against Israel when we invade his country?"
Yes. Why shouldn't they? I keep getting this feeling they're at war... Oh
yes, that's right! THEY ARE.
>"If someone blew up another 3,000 Americans, would the EU do anything?"
Did America declare a war on Terrorism after the hostage disaster at the
1972 Munich Olympics, where the Isreali athletes were held hostage and
subsequently killed by Palestinian terrorists? Did they declare a war on
Terrorism when the US-supported IRA bombed a hotel during a wedding at
Enneskillen in 1981?
>"Has anyone made an inventory of the all the goods, services, and
>equipment that France has sold to Iraq since 1991?"
Has anyone inventoried the military hardware sold by the US over the last 3=
years to Iran, one of the most prominent members of Bush's "Axis of Evil"?
The point of my selective responses to this profoundly disturbing article i=
to illustrate that hypocrisy is everywhere and that America, as
imperialists, are necessarily held to a higher standard than third world
countries. America is plagued by the difficulty of being "reluctant
imperialists", wherein American foreign policy requires the projection of
power and influence worldwide to keep the economy moving but the citizens o=
the US are largely isolationists.
On 3/16/02 7:20 PM, "John Hall" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Some of the better ones:
> If the West Bank is the linchpin of the current Middle East crisis, what =
> wars #1, #2, and #3 there about, when it was entirely in Arab hands?
> Is there a difference between Palestinians preferring to kill Israeli
> civilians rather than soldiers, and Israelis preferring to kill Palestini=
> fighters rather than civilians?
> If the Eiffel Tower had been wrecked by an al Qaeda hijacked airliner, wo=
> the French have gone into Afghanistan after the terrorists? And if so, ho=
> why? And would they have asked our help? And would we have given it?
> What would the world think if Mr. Sharon displayed a revolver and then
> attempted to strike one of his ministers at a Cabinet meeting?
> Why do Palestinians shoot machine-guns up into the air at funerals and
> Israelis do not?
> If nearly two-thirds of the Arabic world believe that Arabs were not invo=
> in September 11, why should any American believe anything that two out of
> three people from that region say?
> Has anyone heard a Muslim in the United States condemn September 11 witho=
> employing the word "but?"