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<nettime> Iraq: What Is To Be Undone digest [x3: Holmes, De Vries, Reckt
nettime's_six_steps_back on Sun, 21 Jan 2007 05:05:53 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> Iraq: What Is To Be Undone digest [x3: Holmes, De Vries, Recktenwald]


Brian Holmes <brian.holmes {AT} wanadoo.fr>
    Re: <nettime> Iraq: Ways Backward Digest
"Kimberly De Vries" <cuuixsilver {AT} gmail.com>
    Iraq: the way forward
Heiko Recktenwald <uzs106 {AT} uni-bonn.de>
    Re: <nettime> Iraq: Ways Backward Digest [4x]

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Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2007 19:41:33 +0100
From: Brian Holmes <brian.holmes {AT} wanadoo.fr>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Iraq: Ways Backward Digest

Tom Keenan asks:

>  what has the war actually demonstrated to any potential future adversary? 

Well, on the one hand that the US really is the rapacious bloodthirsty 
imperialist band of crooks and goons they thought it was. On the other, 
that it and any other power is still unable to win a protracted 
guerrilla resistance war, or to stop individuals from exploding 
improvised devices on the streets. A radical defeat with people hanging 
off the struts of helicopters would obviously embolden all kinds of 
actors. The consequences are potentially enormous, especially when you 
add looming failure in Afghanistan. The Islamists who want to switch the 
battle to the "near enemies" - like Musharref, or maybe the Saudi royals 
- are gonna be seriously encouraged. The Iranian border could easily 
move westward. It's gruesome to think what could happen in southeastern 
Turkey. Fortunately the US lost in Vietnam and had to abolish the 
conscript army. Otherwise the overwhelming temptation would be to assume 
the mantle of Empire, and carry out a full-on, long-term occupation of 
Iraq to keep the lid on. But that doesn't seem to be an option. The real 
discussion now is the exit strategy. It's not as simplistic as you leave 
or you stay. There is a links page here:

http://www.comw.org/pda/0512exitplans.html

I would like to see a more complete one. What's enlightening about this 
one is the gap between the longer papers by experts, and what the 
politicians and pundits say. The latter is just rhetoric and clearly 
doesn't come close to what's seriously envisaged. I guess if I was an 
educator I would teach exit-strategy-as-literature. Or as one of the 
fine arts. Or as another form of non-Euclidean geometry. The point is to 
get the real situation on the table. The US needs a totally different 
foreign policy based on ecological codevelopment and respect of the 
other. There is a historic chance to do it, because the course pursued 
since the 1980s is a total failure. But maybe just a frank defeat would 
be better for everyone in the long run. If it doesn't bring the whole 
house of cards all down with the House of Bush.

best, Brian

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Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2007 17:06:06 -0500
From: "Kimberly De Vries" <cuuixsilver {AT} gmail.com>
Subject: Iraq: the way forward

Benjamin Geer <benjamin.geer {AT} gmail.com> wrote:

"So what I'm suggesting is this: if you have a teachable moment, take
advantage of it not only to teach Americans about their bloated,
self-serving military, but also about the economic disparity that that
military is being used to protect.  Point out that US oil consumption
is an environmental disaster as well as a cause of war.  Try to end
the occupation of Iraq, yes, but also try to get people thinking about
how to change the US economy (e.g. by eliminating the use of fossil
fuels) so that their governments will be less tempted to invade other
countries."

I agree that this broader issue also needs to be addressed far more
vocally, but it won't be enough just to educate people about the
effects of over-consumption.  In fact, there iis a growing trend
toward things like "not so big" houses, "slow life," sustainable
communities and so on, but as been the case with organic food, all of
these things seem much more costly or are unavailable to most people.
For example, many communities have a lower limit on house size, many
have building codes that make green building far more difficult to get
approved than traditional plans, and real estate developers campaign
fiercely to block zoning regulations that would limit growth and
require attention to environmental impact.

In spite of differences between participants in this discussion, I
think we all agree that American policies and actions ought not
continue in the same stupid (or strategic) and destructive way as they
have been.  I think we must try to think more practically about what
we can do during this teachable moment.  What would be most helpful or
effective to focus on, either individually or as a group in the next,
say, 3-6 months and 6-12 months?

Should we publish something?  Stage something?  Having just joined the
list, I don't have a good sense of what resources we have as a group
or as individuals--other than our obvious intellectual wealth. ;-)

pax.

Kim De Vries

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Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2007 16:26:43 +0100
From: Heiko Recktenwald <uzs106 {AT} uni-bonn.de>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Iraq: Ways Backward Digest [4x]

> Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2007 00:41:44 -0500 (EST)
> From: Thomas Keenan <keenan {AT} bard.edu>
> Subject: Re: <nettime> Iraq: Ways Backward Digest
>   
> But, Brian, here's q question. Has the US failed in Iraq? If the point 
> was, as many have argued, to make Saddam a lesson, a "demonstration," of 
> what American power can do if you mess with it, or something, what has the 
> war actually demonstrated to any potential future adversary? That the US 
> will wreck your [any] country for umpteen forseeable years, with no plan 
> for what to do about it, and leave it to some unspecified whomever to fix 
> up? Or that the US can overthrow you, who cares what happens next, and 
> that's all that matters? Or that the US, rather traditionally, has some 
> thuggish friends with whom it will replace you in power, and that's more 
> than enough? Or that US military force simply failed miserably to 
> accomplish any reasonable foreign policy or power projection goal, and you 
> [anyone] should feel free to do whatever you feel like (build a nuclear 
> weapon, slaughter hundreds of thousands, fly more planes into more 
> buildings, whatever) and take it on however you like? I -- truly -- have 
> no idea which answer is correct. Not even a guess, honestly. Do you? 
> Anyone?

What we see here is some prejudice for power. The default value is ok. 
The destinction between aggression and defense is forgotten. Lets take 
Somalia as an example. The world aka some powers or one is waiting for a 
peace keeping army, but the "Islamists" had allready proven that they 
are more or less easily capable to garantee law and order and there is 
no iusta causa for some sort of servitude.

H.

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