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<nettime> Iraq: The Ways Forward: Digest [Geer, Goldhaber, Geer, Guibert
nettime's_decider on Fri, 19 Jan 2007 06:27:21 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> Iraq: The Ways Forward: Digest [Geer, Goldhaber, Geer, Guibert]


Re: <nettime> Iraq: The Way Forward
     "Benjamin Geer" <benjamin.geer {AT} gmail.com>
     Michael H Goldhaber <mgoldh {AT} well.com>
     "Benjamin Geer" <benjamin.geer {AT} gmail.com>
     "A. G-C" <guibertc {AT} criticalsecret.com>

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Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2007 18:01:47 +0200
From: "Benjamin Geer" <benjamin.geer {AT} gmail.com>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Iraq: The Way Forward

On 18/01/07, Michael H Goldhaber <mgoldh {AT} well.com> wrote:

> In my original piece on Iraq, I tried to make the point that the main
> reason for  US militarism is itself, it's ecnomic benefits(?) at
> home, and its effect in solidfying the country behind leaders and
> policies that otherwise would be more suspect. Justifications or
> rationalizations in terms of defending something or other have to be
> produced from time to time, but it is folly to take those at face value.

In your original piece, it sounded as if you thought those economic
benefits were limited to justifying military spending.  Even if
governments use military operations in part for that reason and to
shore up their popularity at home, as they undoubtedly do, enemies are
not chosen at random, nor are the locations of military bases.  Surely
it makes sense for governments to focus military power on targets or
regions where they believe it will bring other benefits as well.  Why
were the opponents in the Cold War the US and the USSR, rather than,
say, the US and Western Europe?  I think it must be because the US
wanted to ensure that the world remained hospitable to its companies,
and communism threatened that objective.

For example, in 1954, after the elected government of Guatemala passed
a land reform law allowing it to expropriate land owned by the United
Fruit Company,[1] United Fruit lobbyists persuaded US president
Eisenhower that Guatemala's president Arbenz intended to align his
country with the USSR, and Eisenhower authorised a $2.7 million budget
for a covert military operation to overthrow Arbenz.[2]  A covert
operation couldn't possibly bring Eisenhower any greater popularity in
the US, and the economic interests it was meant to serve were not
limited to those of the US military itself.  The overthrow of Iranian
prime minister Mossadegh in 1953 was a similar covert operation,
carried out for similar reasons.[3]

Ben

[1] http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/50s/zinn-chap16.html
[2] http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB4/index.html
[3] http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB126/index.htm

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From: Michael H Goldhaber <mgoldh {AT} well.com>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Iraq: The Way Forward
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2007 10:46:16 -0800

Ben,

Let me take your comments in the opposite order. I may have the 
advantage (dis?) on you in being old enough to remember the overthrow 
of Arbenz and Mossadegh. Some of the details indeed were secret, but 
there was enough news coverage so that a US pre-teen knew all about 
them. They were both treated quite openly as US victories. Naively, 
at the time, I was pleased at both.

Enemies do have to be plausible, and of course Communism was painted 
as a huge and tyrannical threat. Domestic anti-communism from the ADA 
to Joe McCarthy was certainly part of the picture. As I emphasized, 
most domestic politicians in this country know little about the rest 
of the world. Thus they easily buy into exaggerated fears that are 
out there. At the same time of course, Stalinism was pretty awful; it 
just wasn't much of a danger to the US, nor even to most of Europe, 
especially after the Marshall plan. (Marshall offered to include the 
USSR--which rejected the offer--so the focus on communism as a threat 
was not originally so coherent.)

As for aiding US business as a whole, a high rate of development in 
the rest of the world, including in the USSR would probably have 
benefited  more companies than the kind of imperialist adventures you 
point to, which only aided the profits of a particular few. Many in 
fact chafed --and still do -- at export control laws designed on the 
basis of what I think was an exaggerated threat. (Right now, US 
business as a whole would probably benefit from high-quality, single-
payer national health insurance, but that doesn't mean we can expect 
it any time soon. One reason is we keep hearing that the US health-
care system is the best in the world -- another stance that only 
survives because of great ignorance. )

As for Iraq and the generalized over-emphasis on global jihad today, 
that (a) raises the price of oil, which hurts most US businesses 
(though inadvertently being a possible boon in fighting global 
warming); and (b) by hurting the international image of the US, 
removes many business opportunities and  damages our cultural status. 

(I do not intend this as an apologia for business in general, which 
certainly has many anti-human practices quite separate from 
militarism -- for instance the anti-union stance of American investors 
in countries like China.)


Best,
Michael

On Jan 18, 2007, at 8:01 AM, Benjamin Geer wrote:

> On 18/01/07, Michael H Goldhaber <mgoldh {AT} well.com> wrote:
 <...>

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Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2007 23:55:53 +0200
From: "Benjamin Geer" <benjamin.geer {AT} gmail.com>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Iraq: The Way Forward

On 18/01/07, Michael H Goldhaber <mgoldh {AT} well.com> wrote:

> They were both treated quite openly as US victories.

OK, fair enough. :)  But surely you accept that there have been truly
covert US military operations, which not even Congress is informed
about.  How about Reagan's support for the Contras in El Salvador?  If
the purpose of war is to justify military spending in the public's
eyes, why fight a secret war?  It just makes people wonder what the
money is being spent on, hence the resulting scandals.

> As for aiding US business as a whole, a high rate of development in the
> rest of the world, including in the USSR would probably have benefited
> more companies than the kind of imperialist adventures you point to,
> which only aided the profits of a particular few.

Would those particular few happen to be the ones who have the most
influence over US foreign policy?

Moreover, I'm arguing that US militarism is partly intended to bring
economic benefits, but not that it always succeeds in doing so.  On
the contrary, governments often make huge mistakes, including fighting
wars they can't win.  I think the US government really expected Iraq
to be pacified easily, and was genuinely surprised by the turn the
occupation has taken.

> As for Iraq and the generalized over-emphasis on global jihad today, that
> (a) raises the price of oil, which hurts most US businesses

I think it misses the point just to consider prices and profits.  Oil
is a structural necessity in the current US economy.  Expensive oil is
better than no oil, or not enough oil.  US military bases in Saudi
Arabia are not there to protect the price of oil, but to make sure
that the supply will never be cut off again as it was in 1973.

Ben

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Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2007 00:56:53 +0100
Subject: Re: <nettime> Iraq: The Way Forward
From: "A. G-C" <guibertc {AT} criticalsecret.com>

Dear Michael, dear all,

Again I apologize for my language plenty of strange syntax and of twisted
words.


On 18/01/07 1:51, "Michael H Goldhaber" <mgoldh {AT} well.com> probably wrote:

> In my original piece on Iraq, I tried to make the point that the main
> reason for  US militarism is itself, it's ecnomic benefits(?) at
> home, and its effect in solidfying the country behind leaders and
> policies that otherwise would be more suspect. Justifications or
> rationalizations in terms of defending something or other have to be
> produced from time to time, but it is folly to take those at face value.

    Please, let us see what aspects can takes the folly and from which part
of representative and progressive philosophy.. When mostly democrats have
win the chambers without hindrance to the presidential lobby and power for
send more and more soldiers in the Middle East this new year: I do not thin=
k
that the situation cannot be folly whatever the appearance of the elected
democracy. There is a big problem in the democratic machine that does not
assure the best alternative from the changing presidency can he be a
democrat.=20

We have known a microcosmic version of it during the war of Algeria from th=
e
part of socialist themselves at the power (under the tendency of the
parliament). The one who legitimated the torture and the mass death
sentences to the Algerian clandestine soldiers and more on a missing attack
made condemning a French communist to whom Mitterrand himself being the
minister of the Justice has refused the discharge of the punishment
(guillotine); even the president asked for the grace. More FR communist
activists having disappeared after their arestation, and others thrown in
jail (a lot) in proper FR.

Do you think really that Guentanamo more having agreements in all the UE is
not folly as tribute to the security of a country self represented as the
world while claiming the security of the totality of the world?

Where there is not otherness there is rationalist folly (the well-known
modern rationalist folly by this way being Nazi Germany).

Imagine nowadays the increasing folly to the largest territories that are
considered having to be subjected, secured or exploited-even can being both
destroyed/ exploited (oil sanctuaries) in the name of military practice of
power from the old western democracies.

Not to speak of the abuses into the Federate Russia and the otherworld
China. But the powerful destruction of the world as nation self considered
representative of the entirety of the world being of course the US side:
able to supervise the global organizations on earth (see who is at the head
of the World Bank and who can have the biggest debt without reform its mone=
y
but win a strategic position and so on -remember the positive effect inside
and outside of the devaluate the dollar (twice times) in the nineties, at
the very credit of the USA).


    From a hand I think that what happened in Iraq as well Abu Gra=EFb as wel=
l
Falloudja were not accidents but deliberate political decisions of
demonstrative massive repression and experimental extermination.

May be worst Falloudja than Abu Gra=EFb of which obscenity (the humiliation
more the suffering more the murder of the incarcerated Iraqis) was so much
communicated as lesson of a changing situation since the second
international war.

Personally I think that after Guernica, Hiroshima, Viet Nam, mostly of us
shall never forget what they felt all around the world as connected citizen=
s
during the destruction of Falloudja. I shall never forget what the western
allies more their local alliances have made to the resistant Falloudja whil=
e
the information (as well during the siege as well after it), was forbidden.
Experiment a collective extermination as a demonstrative fact front of the
world of the UN. Which weapons burning whatever the matters the walls and
the bodies reducing, as if they would have best disappear, may be, instead
of being discovered? And what the future war? You know what, but you will
not collectively express it because you are afraid. We are afraid of the
next step of the global war, that one which never stop because it is an
alternative solution from the lost industry of the western countries...

The clean war, where places are destroyed and cleaned by the same weapon? O=
f
any manners the result was not exactly this one, there is still progress to
be made... Toward the perfect collective murder as mode of war, as we say a
perfect murder - no victim no criminal - on the road.

All the western countries of the world have wait without get up for stop th=
e
end of the extermination.


    From another hand it is notorious that prospective research for prevent
the worst in matter of geo strategy as well economy as well defense cannot
avoid the worst logical predictable arrangement of the environmental
conditions and can imagine uncomfortable events but otherwise not being a
relevant research.

The concept of the global containing its proper entropy as totality is wron=
g
as well the economy. The collective western mistake and responsibility sinc=
e
the eighties of the last century is unlimited.

If you are afraid of the logical reality of your proper camp you cannot
accept that any power may be completely out of ethic whatever the democrati=
c
reason so what you cannot prevent it.

More the ethic not being in the western landscape of western NATO when even
the partners who refused the fight have accepted the flight to transport th=
e
troops crossing over the 'peaceful UE countries (for example Fr not to name
it).

All that I say is a simple predictable situation from a pragmatic
observation comforted by any expert friendship on a field since the two
former decades.=20

May be that we have to awake and largely open our inside eyes to influence
otherwise the next coming,

Best.

<...>

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