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<nettime> Barlow: Please, Folks, Call The Capital Today!
geert lovink on Sat, 12 Oct 2002 06:38:54 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Barlow: Please, Folks, Call The Capital Today!


BarlowFriendz 8.6: Please, Folks, Call The Capital TodCALL YOUR SENATORS =
AND REPRESENTATIVES. NOW.


If you have opened this e-mail today, Thursday, October 10, stop reading =
it right now.


Drop your mouse and grab your phone.


Call the offices of your senators and representatives and tell them how =
you feel about their willingness to give "President" Bush blanket =
authorization to make war whenever and however he feels like it, =
renewable indefinitely. They may vote to do so as early as this evening.


This is nuts, folks. Good Ol' Dubya has the brains of a cocker spaniel, =
but unlike a cocker spaniel, he has nuclear weapons. Not to mention the =
masculine insecurities of a Houston frat jock working on his second six =
pack. Not to mention the conscience-anaesthetizing belief that God is on =
his side.


Worse, he has in the background some very bright people whose almost =
autistic capacity for compassion would make Stalin look like the Dalai =
Lama.


It was Stalin who said, "The death of one person is a tragedy. The death =
of a million people is a statistic." Dick Cheney, whom I've know quite =
well since 1976, is perfectly capable of thinking something like that. =
It's no small wonder that he has a heart condition. For years, his heart =
has been crying out for the attention of the HAL 9000 in his head.


Dick wants to impose the Pax Americana upon the world. By force. He =
wants to disarm Irag for the same reasons that Caeser wanted to disarm =
Gaul. The reason he isn't, like George Bush I, concerned about what sort =
of government would replace Saddam's is because *we* would govern Iraq =
for the indefinite future. As we now govern Afghanistan and will, =
according to his plan, come to govern the entire oil-producing portion =
of the Islamic world.


But Rome ruled by fear, not moral example. They crucified a lot more =
people than Jesus Christ. They had no more interest in the well-being of =
their subjects than do the architects of Pax Americana, which was first =
designed by Cheney and Wolfowitz at the end of Bush I.


This concept was buffed up and re-codified in September 2000. It took =
the form of a document called "Rebuilding America's Defenses, which was =
released then by an outfit called The Project for the New American =
Century. You may find this document at =
http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf.


After you've called DC, I strongly recommend that you read it. Like all =
great authoritarian literature, it produces in the reader a perfect =
combination of boredom and terror.


One of its authors, Yale's Donald Kagen, gave us a foretasted flavor of =
our Imperial ruling style when he said recently, "People worry a lot =
about how the Arab street is going to react [to the invasion of Iraq]. =
Well, I see that the Arab street has gotten very, very quiet since we =
started blowing things up."


This is not the quiet of tranquillity. This is the smoldering quiet of =
rage.


We have the military force to blow a lot of things up. But if that is =
how the Pax is to be maintained, it will be a pox on America's soul. For =
most of our history, we have led by moral rather than military force. =
Are we ready to forsake that tradition?


Besides, I believe the strategy of coerced Islamic pacification will =
backfire hideously. Those quiet Arab streets will produce a virulent =
bloom of young men who have nothing to lose and Paradise to gain.


As we learned on September 11, it doesn't take a nation state to =
threaten us, nor does it take a nation state to create genuine weapons =
of mass destruction. A pencil sized stick of Cesium 137, which can be =
easily acquired at any food irradiation facility, could, with 10 pounds =
of dynamite wrapped around it, deliver a lethal dose of radiation to =
everyone in Lower Manhattan.


Modern technology greatly favors the underdog. As a purely practical =
matter - never mind the moral questions - do we want to be the perpetual =
Overdog in a world like that?


Pax Americana may slouch out of the Capital tonight and head off to =
Baghdad to be born. If it is, we will make America safe for SUV's. And =
almost nothing else.


Call your senators and representative. Now.


We contained the Soviet Union for 57 years. We've contained Iraq for 11 =
years. However dishonest or barbaric or conniving Saddam's government, =
they have provided us with precisely zero identifiable threat since =
1991. We can go on containing them for a long time. With proper =
intelligence - which may be hard for us to muster - we could probably =
neutralize them as well and do so without "collateral damage" (our =
pleasant phrase for killing innocent bystanders).


But, as a nation, we no longer seem to think there are Moslem innocents. =
We are systematically dehumanizing them. I beg you not to do this. Do =
not turn the Islamic world into statistics instead of human beings like =
yourselves. Following one of my previous missives on this subject, I =
received some astonishingly bigoted replies. One former BarlowFriend =
said, essentially, "kill them all, let Allah sort 'em out."


I make faint defense for either the cultural or political practices of =
the Middle East. I've spent time there. It's pretty awful, at least by =
my standards. Egypt is a place so broken that it makes Mexico look like =
France. But the people, even the ones who hated everything I stood for, =
were incredibly sweet to me.


However bad their governments may be, however narrowing their ideology, =
each of them is, like you, another mask that God wears. They laugh, they =
love, they toss their babies in the air with as much affection as you =
toss yours.


There are many babies in Iraq who will likely soon be tossed into mass =
graves, assuming there's a recognizable body to toss. There are many =
adults in Iraq who have done nothing to you who will die horrible deaths =
simply because their leader, whom they hate as much as we do, just might =
possibly someday become able to do something bad to us.


These are real human beings. Very few of them mean you any harm. Even =
their leader, who probably does mean you harm, is smart enough to know =
better than to inflict it.


Imagine them, not as millions, but one person at a time. Grace them with =
actual faces. Look into their deep, dark eyes. Are you still ready to =
kill them? Do you have reason enough?


Call your senators and representatives. Now.


It's probably too late. Even Tom Daschle has caved. But if we lose =
today, we can begin to organize the long struggle that will be necessary =
to save America and the world from Pax Americana. And you might as well =
begin your new career as a political activist with a phone call today. =
You'd do well to get into the habit.


With bleak heart,


Barlow

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