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Showing posts from March 16, 2003
Remora Peter Dixon, 34, photographer, lives in London: "Just because war has started doesn't mean that my opinion has changed. The war is still illegal. Marching today is even more important than before. What else can we do?" -- Guardian, Anti-war protesters take to the streets . LI has been revolving Peter Dixon's question in our little pointy head since participating in the last Austin Anti-war rally Thursday. And we have been sharpening our big idea, which is that the antiwar campaign must either doom itself to irrelevance by playing the game of the politics of expression (hey, we are trying to get into punditspeak, where pronunciations are always from on high, and use the modals of necessity -- must and should, as if we were all Nemesis, Jrs. down here) or turn into a movement against the upcoming occupation. We went to the Stop the War coalition website , which is the Net hq for the people that organized the huge demonstrations on February 15. Unfort
Reruns -- Well, to see what LI has been thinking about Iraq, I went back in time -- difficult to do, since my archive is in horrible shape -- to September, 2001. LI was on the case about Iraq at that time -- erroneously, it seems, since LI's assumption was that 9/11 was connected to the Iraqis. But we made a few remarks we still hold to. And we believe the logic of our previous positions fits neatly with our position now, which is that the anti-war movement, if it is going to do anything, better turn into an anti-occupation movement. War is now the fact in the case, whether you support it or not. Occupation isn't, however. And that is the next big struggle. But it will be lost before it has begun if the antiwar movement doesn't show some flexibility. Anyway, this is from a post made on 9/26/01, and the next post is dated. The firstg post was an extended commentary on a Michael Kelley column about the wickedness of the left. I extract this paragraph: "I've
Remora So where are those weapons of mass destruction, anyway? Well, like a rich man ordering up the fine wine, Saddam Hussein apparently serves only his special guests his rich, toxic brews. He's saving them for when he's really in trouble, you see. Iraq is collapsing like a puff pastry in the path of a bull dozer. The cheerleading from the press is also on schedule, including yesterday's ridiculous craze for asking various and sundry people whether that was really Saddam Hussein on tv, including an archivist at the Richard Nixon library -- as if all these people were Saddam's friends. NPR had a great time with that one. At one point they annouced that Saddam Hussein's mistress, apparently given shelter within the friendly walls of the Pentagon, had put her thumbs down on the video: no, that was not her sweetie. No question is ever asked, no heresy is ever contemplated, that would disturb this seemless flow of misinformation from their mouths to your
Letters Our friend H. sent us this answer to our question (stolen, of course, from Lenin), what is to be done? "Since you asked, some short, swift campaign to get the bastards in syria, jordan and iran to open their fucking borders and let the refugees in and house them and treat them with dignity." A friend of ours in Memphis reports on the debilitated intelligence that is driving public opinion: "I bought a crazed tabloid "newspaper" (Weekly World News) at the supermarket (a first time for every purchase) with the headline "CIA's shocking revelation: Saddam Plans Move to France! . . .he'll be made French ambassador to the US!" I thought this was so brilliantly funny that I was laughing as I came to the register to check out. The cashier looked curiously at me so I explained, holding up the cover. "Well, is he?" said said cashier." Our friend T. in NYC wrote a literary detective's account of the bel
Dope ...and of no avail, O my master, is a twice told tale! So the inspection period is over, and we can see it for what it is: a tale out of the Arabian Nights. Yesterday we leafed through Robert Irwin's Companion to the Arabian Nights. A.S. Byatt refers to Irwin's book as gripping, which it is, indeed. Byatt's essay on the Mille et Une Nuits , by the way, begins like this: "The best story ever told? Perhaps the story of the two brothers, both kings, who found that their wives were unfaithful, took bloody vengeance, and set out into the world to travel until they found someone less fortunate than they were. They encountered a demon who kept a woman in a glass chest with four locks; she came out while he slept and showed them 98 rings she had collected from chance lovers and insisted on having sex with the princes to make it a round 100. The princes decided that the demon was more unfortunate than they were and returned to their kingdoms. There the elder
Dope What is to be done? The first stage of the antiwar movement is clearly over. We receive emails that urge us to demonstrate on the first day of the war, and we have to ask: what kind of gesture is that? It�s an oddly ineffectual and resigned move � surely the emails should have been pouring in to have us demonstrate during the last three days, or the last week. In any case, we expect that the conventional wisdom is right, and that the fighting against Saddam H. will be a matter of the demonstration of overwhelming American power and the quick collapse of his forces. If the conventional wisdom isn�t right, then Americans will have a very hard time justifying this war over the course of the next two weeks � for the only reason I can think of that would explain the prolonged resistance of a country that has been at war, or under sanctions, since 1979, to an invading force of the size and quality of the Americans is that the resistance is popular. My friend, Alan, at his
Remora This just in ... it is hilarious! As we've pointed out, there is a gap of about 120 billion dollars between what the U.S. wants to do in Iraq and the way it says it wants to pay for it. Now, Bush, having floated himself through the nineties in Texas via cigarette money (a strategy that has collapsed, now, as Texas faces about a nine billion dollar shortfall) has obviously decided to paper over his problems in the same way. Thus, the surprise announcement by the Justice Department today : "U.S. Seeks $289 Billion in Cigarette Makers' Profits By ERIC LICHTBLAU WASHINGTON, March 17 � The Justice Department is demanding that the nation's biggest cigarette makers be ordered to forfeit $289 billion in profits derived from a half-century of "fraudulent" and dangerous marketing practices.Citing new evidence, the Justice Department asserts in more than 1,400 pages of court documents that the major cigarette companies are running what amounts to
Dope As I've said before in a previous post, I can only retain my sanity in these maddening times by using second hearing -- which is rather like second sight, except that it goes backwards. I've been hearing the War through Burke -- but Bush's address last night overwhelmed the rather ornate and beautiful structures of Burke's thought. One needs something more scabrous. I looked up a piece Swift wrote, on the art of political lying. In that Swiftian way, he begins by admiring the devil for inventing the lie, but then registers an objection: the devil's lies, as is often the case with the initial run of a product, were full of glitches. Luckily, man has added an infinite amount of features to the devil's machine, making it much more useful for all ocassions And among the most useful of those occasions is the government of man, herds of which can be entranced by very simple lies, sworn to vehemently by a bunch of cut-throats who are otherwise known as &qu
Remora The WP headline reads: Baghdad Panicky as War Seems Imminent and the first graf reads: "People cleared stores of bottled water and canned food, converted sacks of Iraqi currency into dollars and waited in long queues for gasoline. Merchants fearful of looting emptied their stores of electronics and designer clothing, while soldiers intensified work on trenches and removed sensitive files from government buildings. Cars stuffed with people and household possessions drove out of the city." Surely there must be a mistake. Isn't it the Washington Post that has insisted for over a year that Iraqis will greet American soldiers with flowers? I imagine they are simply stocking up on those essential items now, before their streets, buildings, florist shops, kids and pets are flattened by liberating American bombs. It is so hard, climbing through the rubble, to find good orchids. This weekend we listened to a call in show -- yes, we are going crazy -- about the w