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Re: [casi] While Baghdad is burning...

Dear Eric and List,

I apologize again for the Nero comparison. I said it
in passing, and shouldn't have said it. Yes, it was
unfair. It just struck me as odd that someone should
be worrying about the alleged import of 'chewing gum
machines' at this sad time. Still, mea culpa...

But it was "current crisis" that prompted my response.
Here I stick to what I said.

And this wasn't meant personal, Eric. I wasn't trying
to single you out for using that term. My examples made
that clear, I hope. Nor was I trying to cast aspersions
on your sincerity as an 'antisanctions campaigner'.

But Iraq is, at this very moment, being bombed to
smithereens. Iraqis are being killed, wounded, and made
homeless. The reality of this is being denied through
a stream of propaganda lies. And the hypocrisy displayed
seems mind-boggling to me.

So I was trying to draw attention to manipulation through
language. It was an effort at awareness raising. Sorry
if this was misconstrued.

You said:
>> in view of current crisis)
> and have not used euphemisms

Eric, if you don't see 'crisis' as a euphemism in this
context, I respect your view. To me it is a euphemism.
The word is 'war'. (I called it slaughter in my post.)

In my mind, the word 'war' conjures up images of death
and destruction - 'crisis' lacks these associations.
War advocates must have had similar perceptions. They
frequently spoke of a 'war on Saddam' - and denounced
the proper term, 'war on Iraq'. Why? To soothe their
conscience, perhaps?

And no, _you_ did not use the term with this in mind.
I believe that. As I said, "'Current crisis' or 'Iraq
crisis' is the accepted euphemism - and a dangerously
deceptive one". ('Iraq crisis' moreover very subtly
shifts accountability.)

But I believe that politicians use 'crisis' to cloud
reality. The media faithfully perpetuates the term. And
so it enters the public's consciousness. The same public,
that is, who has come to accept 'collateral damage' and
'liberation'. 'Collateral damage', revived by the military
during the 1991 Gulf War, was then perceived as obscene
by many. Today it is common usage - I have seen it used
in academic papers.

That's what I meant by manipulation through language.
(Language after all forms our ideas and perceptions.)

And since the US dominates the news sources, these
conscience-soothing euphemisms are translated into other
languages by the foreign media - picked up by their
readers. (Irak-Krise and Kollateralschaden in German.)

Rightly or wrongly, I also believe that acceptance of
such euphemisms desensitizes people to human suffering -
and to injustice.

Above all, euphemisms are meant to deceive people. And
they are not confined to politics or the military.

(William Lutz, an English professor in the US coined
the term 'doublespeak', based on Orwell's doublethink.
Lutz collects and publishes these gems.)

You may recall the euphemism 'humanitarian intervention'.
This was meant to suggest that the 'intervention', ie,
the bombing, was carried out for noble reasons. And the
ruse worked: most people to this day believe that the
NATO bombing of Yugoslavia was justified.

(Not only was the NATO bombing unjustified and illegal,
it rested on a whole slew of lies. This is now well
documented. And the reason was not 'humanitarian', but
geopolitical: control of the Balkans... Kosovo, pipeline.
But that's another story.)

Yours peacefully and respectfully,
Elga Sutter

-------------Original Message-------------
>From Thu Apr  3 17:10:18 2003
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 2003 12:13:27 +0100
From: Eric Herring <>
To: H Sutter <>
Subject: Re: [casi] While Baghdad is burning...

The comparison is indeed unfair, as if this is all I have talked and
written about for these past years. I have not ignored the big picture
and have not used euphemisms. To see the truth of this, go to my
website, or look at the exxamples below of my many articles. And the
little picture like the one indicated below matters because of what it
symbolises about the big picture, which is exactly why the Foreign
Office (and indeed antisanctions campaigners look at such things.


On Thu, 3 Apr 2003 06:29:37 -0400 (AST) H Sutter <>

> and the innocent victims of US/UK missiles are
> lying in hospital wards, weeping and writhing in
> agony, the question was asked:
> > Iraq imported chewing gum machines through OFF?
> Quoting Mr. Blair's official spokesman:
> > 'the oil-for-food programme was abused by the Iraqi regime
> > by, for example, using it to "import thousands of chewing
> > gum machines"'.
> >
> > Has anyone heard anything about this before? I've emailed
> > OIP about it and await a response (not holding my breath
> > in view of current crisis)
> Nero came to mind, as I read this. Forgive me if the
> comparison sounds unfair. It probably is.

[Articles deleted to conserve space]

Dr. Eric Herring
Department of Politics
University of Bristol
10 Priory Road
Bristol BS8 1TU
England, UK
Office tel. +44-(0)117-928-8582
Mobile tel. +44-(0)7771-966608
Fax +44-(0)117-973-2133

Network of Activist Scholars
of Politics and International Relations (NASPIR)

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