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<nettime> Re: Response to Chris Paul on Doonesbury
louis schwartz on Mon, 10 May 1999 04:31:09 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Re: Response to Chris Paul on Doonesbury


Margaret Morse wrote:
>What echoes for me is the Gulf War, with its "surgical strikes" and the
>claim that the allies didn't want to hurt the Iraqui people, just Saddam
>Hussein. Destroying infrastructure in Serbia destroys the well-being and
>capacity for survival of a whole people, not just its leadership.  That
>includes a wide variety of oppositional groups, people who have struggled
>for social change in Serbia, and people who are just tending their
>gardens. It is hard to say how many thugs, rapists and killers are
>included in the bombing toll in Serbia--especially since they are more
>likely to be in Kosovo province.

even if it were possible to isolate "thugs, rapists, and killers," it is
far from clear to me that it would be ethical to wipe them out. such an act
replicates the logic of ethic cleansing at the level  of  ethical
cleansing. i would  argue that such cleansing is itself undesirable,
whether it is justified  by the metaphysics of ethnicity or metaphysical
ethics.

from the point of view of someone who takes the claim that NATO wants to
hurt the Serbian Government and not Serbian people seriously Serbia is
forcing us to hurt  Serbs because they know we have a responsibility to
stop ethnic cleansing. therefore any  collateral damage including and
geopolitical consequences of having hit the Chinese embassy can be laid on
the door of the Serbian State. the metaphysical narrative of the violent
triumph of The Good can recuperate any means because they are always
constructed as called forth by "thugs, rapists, and killers." such a
narrative is one of the primary ideological phantasms in the current
western culture of death.

when understood as an acting out of the fantasy of the triumph of The Good,
the Balkan war comes up short. the  fantasy is structured as a struggle to
the death, which means both sided go into it willing to die. currently NATO
is willing to kill to stop ethnic  cleansing, but unwilling to risk the
lives of its soldiers to do so. in this light bombing the embassy is
legible as a symptom the still repressed aspect of the fantasy - the
confrontation and mastery of one's own finitude. of course it was at some
level a mistake, but a mistake  which  happens to up the stakes.
louis schwartz

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