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Dear Bob, Emir, and List, Perhaps the impression I created with that post was a bit misleading. I apologize. And I'll try to explain what I meant. I only posted these citations to illustrate that it isn't only the "Arab World" (the reporter's phrase) that now distrusts the (supposed) neutrality of the UN. People worldwide do, even is they previously didn't. And to show why people distrust. The retired Egyptian cabdriver's comment sums it up: "'The U.N. is just a screen for the U.S. -- it lost all credibility during the war.'" The reporter's headline "To Many Arabs, the U.S. and U.N. Are One Entity" is putting it more euphemistically. Bob, I wasn't thinking of those who wield power, politically or otherwise. It can only be in their interest to keep the myth of a _neutral_ UN alive. Once the "screen" is widely perceived as such it becomes useless as a tool of mass distraction. Even the LA Times reporter keeps using the phrase "international body" and "world body" to stress the notion of international consensus. (As Peter van Walsum, then Chairman of the UN Sanctions Committee explained to John Pilger in 1999: "We operate by consensus." "And what if the Americans object?" "We don't operate.") My distinction between people "who put humanity above power and money grabs" was foolish (How would I know?) Emir's comment made me realize that. But it would take too long to explain what I meant. Emir, of course you are right: in an ideal world the US and the UN _are_ "different". I also used to believe in an "independent" UN, but no more. I now think it has always been dominated by one power. Most of us just didn't notice it. But I'll keep struggling - only with more scepticism. > I am confused. I can't figure out who/what the > UN is. Bob, as Philippa has pointed out, "the UN isn't homogeneous". But I think you knew that anyway. In this context 'UN' refers to the 'political arm' of the UN (if that's the word) - just as US would refer to the US government. So that's the Secretary General's office and the Security Council (and it's branches). The context should make it clear what's meant. For example: "... the UN has failed Iraqis who put faith in its mediation, hoping it would ward off the US/UK attack." [China Radio International (CRI)] Here 'UN' means 'Kofi Annan'. For it was Annan who kept telling the Iraqi people at the last stage that there would be no war, no attack, if their government 'cooperated'. This of course was a bald-faced lie. CRI is putting it more delicately, but Annan was (deliberately) lying. > Killing -- even killing invaders in self-defense I didn't mean to raise any speculations on the ethics of this. Still, I wouldn't call it "self-defence". The resistance is fighting against the occupation - as their compatriots have done in the 1920s, and as people elsewhere have done. "It's war, man!", the U.S. Military Police told Geert Van Moorter - if you can call the invasion of a small, destitute country by the world's superpower a 'war'. And as to the ethics... Well, we haven't walked in these moccasins. So perhaps we should neither condemn nor approve. We can still empathize though. > Even assuming De Mello was a very good person, is > his becoming "collateral damage" less justifiable > (what a word...) than the dead Iraqis? To me, no death is "justifiable". Mr. de Mello was a husband and father. He was loved and will no doubt be missed by many. Even a 'bat' person doesn't deserve such violent death. And who's to judge what's good or bad? > I think Vieira De Mello did have good intention... I didn't mean to cast aspersions on Mr. de Mellos' intentions - or character. I mentioned him only in relation to the topic under discussion: why the people distrust the UN. In this case, de Mello was beholden not only to his employer, but also to the US. That was my point. (The East Timorese also have a story to tell about occupation and the UN. Another point.) Presumably he got killed because the UN is about to collaborate with the occupiers - they are working on a new resolution. This will intensify the occupation. And it's the occupation the resistance tries to oppose. It seems unlikely that Mr. de Mello's "intentions" enter into this. > Is there a time I am not being manipulated?? Sorry, if I was being vague. What I meant is a specific type of manipulation: the one inevitably leading to more Islamophobia, or the Us vs Them syndrome. As you may remember this type of prejudice has also led to violence and harassment of many Americans and Canadians of Arab/Muslim descent - and elsewhere. You know what mass hysteria followed 9/11 - and it has only slightly abated. And long before 9/11, the spin doctors have been successfully manufacturing a new 'enemy' in the form of Islam - both in North America and in Europe. So that's what I meant by saying the LA Times reporter "stops just short of suggesting that the 'Arab world' was jubilant over the attack". (Every little bit adds to the fuel.) I happen to disagree with Huntington's theory, expounded in: "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order", 1996. There are differences between cultures and civilizations, of course, but there need be no clashes. What Huntington does is stereotyping - and rather obtusely, I think. But it makes sense (geopolitically) if you also read eg. "The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives" by Zbigniew Brzezinski, 1997. And by sheer coincidence, Huntington and Brzezinski were university chums of sorts - Wolfowitz mindsets, but a little more subtle. Enough OT! Elga _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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