War and Terrorism
War in Iraq
Tim Brown counters charges that Bush has made a mess in Iraq with
a change that Clinton made a mess in es-Yugoalavia:: "To be historically
accurate, this comment should read "Clinton did not go to war in Iraq,"
since Clinton did go to war elsewhere. There was a nice article in The Economist
about the botched-up mess that the war in the former Yugoslavia has turned into
the aftermath of that intervention. As I recall, that war was fought to a great
extent by American armed forces at the behest of the French and Germans, who
twisted our arm to become involved when they realized they were unable to do
it alone. That action by them tells me that the French and German in fact have
no objection whatsoever against going to war when it is in their interest. It?s
just that in this particular case they have chosen to condemn our doing in Iraq
without them, exactly what they insisted we do in Yugoslavia with them. When
they are along for the ride - - intervention is good: When they are not involved
it becomes an immoral act. I find this a very interesting exercise in sophistry,
to say the least.
Incidentally, I do not use "Europeans" above because in my world France and Germany do not comprise the entirety of Europe. In my world Europe also includes Spain, Italy, the UK, the Eastern Europeans, the Dutch and all the other countries located on that continent and who form parts of the "coalition of the willing", even though I fully realize that this undercut post-modernist efforts to re-define "unilateral" as synonymous for anything and everything that does not include the French and Germans. But then I'm old fashioned."
RH: Donald Rumsfeld would agree with Tim about the "old Europe".
I do not know what Wesley Clark would think of Tim's account of the ex-Yugoslavia
war, but I do know what the French and Germans would think.
RH. A good question. Spying is a popular subject. History professors are desperate
to attract students. One reports that his most popular class is "The history
of spying". To attract students to courses on the Middle Ages, things like
witchcraft are stressed. The spy museum in Washington, DC is a great success.
Books on spies are popular. I hope that out of all this, there will come a serious
study of spying, which has grown enormously and perhaps dangerously in the electronic
"These stereotypes serve mainly to confuse debate on the subject. There
is no point in arbitrarily attributing motives, nice or nasty, to the terrorist.
It might be more useful to look at the situations in which terrorists find themselves
and at how they act, and may be expected to act, given their situations. Terrorists
have a grievance which they share with members of a wider community. But they
also have, from the moment they become terrorists,
significant amounts of power, prestige, and access to wealth, and these constitute vested interests in the present irrespective of the attainment or non-attainment of their declared long-term political objectives.
The sentimentalist thinks of the terrorist as driven to violence by grievance
or oppression. It would be more realistic to think of the terrorist in hauling
himself up, by means of the grievance or oppression and the violence it legitimizes,
to relative power, prestige and privilege in the community to which he belongs,
For an unemployed young man in a slum the most promising channel of upward social
mobility is his neighborhood branch of the national terrorist organization.
There are risks to be run, certainly, but for the adventurous, aggressive characters
unemployed or the otherwise frustrated the immediate rewards outweigh the risks. In this situation the terrorist option is a rational one: you don't have to be a nut, a dupe or an idealist." See
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0671667246/newsscancom/ref=nos im for Conor Cruise O'Brien's Passion and Cunning: Essays on Nationalism, Terrorism & Revolution.
RH: In fact, many terrorists are not unemployed young men.