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

Dear List,

Am I being unfair in seeing excessive apologising - the 'mea culpa' syndrome
as irritating & meaningless. Usually, it is those who, otherwise, put up a
very good case who are oversensitive and inclined to lick the boots of their
debating opponent. If you examine the facts,
you will probably see that those (clever or otherwise)who really do make
gross mistakes seldom apologise. So they sit back, smugly, following the
humblenesses, thinking they have won the argument, which
they often have not. What is needed, on this List, as well as in the general
anti-war movement, is more, not less, of some well-channeled aggression,
which my be hurtful to some, but is less damaging than cluster bombs. My
advice to all those terribly sorry people is: be tough, don't undermine your
own arguments by being a, sometimes rather arrogant, person's doormat. By
the way, this isn't meant to be, entirely, a joke.

Oh dear, I think I've spoken out of turn, again. Please, I didn't mean to,
really, now I feel ever so guilty. Please forgive me, I've had a bad day: my
wife has left me, I've been burgled, I've gone bankrupt, &
- worst of all - my dog has got run over. You do understand, don't you?
I should never have said what I said, you must feel ever so troubled.
I promise never, ever, again to tread on your precious toes. MEA CULPA!!

Greetings, Bert G.

>From: H Sutter <>
>Subject: Re: [casi] While Baghdad is burning...
>Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2003 01:34:02 -0400 (AST)
>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)
>Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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