Have been given nearly free rein to discuss research, physical publication and major motion picture Option of Wisdom's Maw, as well as my other longform works, interviews with exceptional folk and a novel-in-progress. With stalled action in re: Wisdom's Maw film project, I will cast the screenplay--which I wrote and own--to cyberspace on December 3, should no further progress be seen.
The greatest ride in cinema history will at least be "seen" on paper as it was originally envisioned for movie screens internationally. The "retired and agentless" actor James Woods was proposed by me a few months ago to those also involved in Wisdom's Maw. If the US should seek to avenge these thousands with new thousands of innocent dead, it will be the response of a nation merely.
I fear that we may do that, but hope that we will not. By what we do now, and what we refrain from doing, we ought to wish to be seen to act on behalf of the human nature from which the agents of terror have cut themselves off. In the days after the planes hit, the US appeared to be governed from New York, where the leaders of the city and the state all spoke in voices of dignity, compassion and deliberation.
Those should be the examples our lawmakers bear in mind when they frame a policy of response in the days to come. The news from the Middle East is not all bad. The savagery of the attacks on 11 September has, in at least one country, brought Muslim militancy into disrepute and swelled the ranks of the moderates. There have been candle-lit vigils for the American dead in Tehran squares and messages of sympathy from the Mayor of the city to the Mayor of New York.
While Iran is not suddenly going to allow the US the use of airfields and harbours for missions against the suspects in Afghanistan, it is doing surprisingly little to hinder them. In the 22 years since the US diplomats were taken hostage in Tehran the Iranians have had ample time to consider the virtues of Islamic government and international isolation. The Presidencies of Hashemi Rafsanjani were a slow-motion Thermidor. Since Muhammad Khatami was elected President in a landslide in , Iran has stumbled towards accommodation, first with the Arab countries, then with Western Europe and even its old bugbear, Britain.
Out on the horizon is the US. The vast majority of Iranians have forgotten their grievance against the US, have shed many of their complexes about Western intrigue and want nothing more than to join the mainstream of world affairs. Rarely have both wings of what is known as The System in Iran moved in the same direction.
Religious conservatives have doctrinal differences with Sheikh Osama and dislike the Taliban as a thorough regional nuisance. Women and young people, with their vigils for the American dead, express both an ardent sympathy for a loss they comprehend and an intense frustration with the stale taboos of a superannuated revolutionary culture. A raw and rattled US has responded with warmth. Iran, the first country into Islamic millenarian government in modern times, looks set to be the first out. Too bad, because, in any normal time, the book would be one worth mulling over.
In the Middle Ages many Western Europeans considered striped fabrics to be diabolical — mainly because they were associated with the infidel Saracens and Turks. When the Carmelites came back from a Crusade in wearing brown and white striped robes — a funky new fashion picked up in the Ottoman East — they were immediately made to renounce them by Papal edict. Medieval laws often required that social outcasts — thieves, traitors, prostitutes, lepers, madmen, hangmen — wear garish striped garments; in illuminated books, Biblical malefactors such as Judas and Cain were regularly depicted in striped robes and breeches.
Stripes were for people who were crazy and mean and ugly — people in cahoots with the devil. But things changed, Pastoureau says, in the 18th century. Stripes started getting happy and breezy. In the 19th century, with the growth of huge oppressive cities and the spread of industrialism, stripes came to symbolise — even more broadly — cleanliness, nature, physical activity and the open air. By the devil seemed to have been forgotten: stripes made people feel healthy, free and safe.
We still wear striped shirts and underwear; we use striped bath and hand towels; we sleep under striped sheets. The canvas on our mattresses has remained striped. Is it going too far to think that those pastel stripes that touch our bodies not only respond to our worries about keeping clean but also play the role of protecting us? Protecting the body against dirt and pollution, against external attacks, but protecting it also from our own desires, from our irresistible appetite for impurity? Yeah yeah, as they say in New York.
I live in a gay neighbourhood near the Castro and the dykes and queers turn out to be pretty patriotic. Every few hours I talk to my lover Blakey in Chicago. At night I crawl into bed with my little dog Charlemagne, rescued from the pound just last month, and he burrows down under the sheets to my feet. I feel like an effigy. Sirens go off outside; a lonely plane goes by. India is no stranger to terrorism. But the terrorism that India has had to face for some decades can by no means be connected only to Islam; and in almost every case the ruling government has played a part in causing and even nurturing the phenomenon.
If we look at the story of Sikh extremism in the s in Punjab, we find it has an eerie resonance with the events that took place in Washington and New York. For Mrs Gandhi, the Congress Party — a euphemism for herself and her family — represented democracy, stability and secularism; and, in order to perpetuate Congress rule, she used every undemocratic means at her disposal. Her deadliest intervention was the sponsoring of a Sikh fundamentalist in Punjab, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.
The Akali Dal, a regional party with a strong Sikh identity, was posing a threat to the Congress. Unfortunately, Bhindranwale turned against Mrs Gandhi to preside over a militant secessionist movement. The consequences are well known: the military attack on the Golden Temple, where Bhindranwale was hiding, the death of Bhindranwale, the killing later, in retaliation, of Mrs Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards, and, in the aftermath, the murder in Delhi of innocent Sikhs by Congress-led hoodlums.
Like Mrs Gandhi in India, America has been a great, self-appointed proponent of democracy in the modern world, while, in actuality, it has treated it as a nuisance and an obstruction when it gets in the way of its self-interest. In order to root out Communism from Afghanistan, it armed a religious extremist group; and created, in effect, a Bhindranwale. It is one thing to believe without knowing, quite another to know without believing. Never have world-shattering events been so relentlessly documented, the evidence of testimony converging with the hideous evidence of things.
Yet I still cannot at some level believe what I have seen and heard about the events of 11 September. One of the incongruities at which my slow-moving mind balks is the combination of two forms of life that Max Weber taught us were immiscible: the symbolic-religious and the calculating-rational. Obviously, those who carried out the attacks on 11 September practised both, and simultaneously. It took painstaking planning, meshed co-ordination of people and objects, and a strategic eye for opportunities. This is means-end rationality with a vengeance.
It also took a steely commitment to an ideal powerful enough to motivate suicide and mass murder. People have been known to blow up themselves and innocent bystanders in the cause of anarchism or nationalism. But all powerful ideals, religious or secular, hold followers in thrall through symbols and values. If the symbolic had not been trump, the pilots of the hijacked planes would have aimed straight for a nuclear power plant, with which they could have wreaked still more horror.
So the terrorists also inhabited the realm of what Weber called the rationality of values, and not in the compartmentalised way the rest of us balance these two ways of ordering our lives. During World War Two, the intellectual challenge went out to physicists and chemists, mathematicians and engineers to solve technical problems of enormous complexity.
If there really is to be something like a war on terrorism, then the new challenge seems to be addressed to anthropologists and historians, sociologists and theologians, students of the symbolic rather than the technical. Most ideology, however, works by a distinction between what one does and what one says one does, such that the one does not impinge too embarrassingly on the other.
Similarly, there is no conscious hypocrisy in believing yourself the great bastion of freedom while massacring Cambodians, financing terrorist thugs like the Contras, embargoing Iraqi children to death and being in effect a one-party state, since the belief and the deeds belong to incommensurable realms. This is one reason why there is only a faint hope that the US, in the wake of the moral obscenity wreaked on it, will recognise that the question of who one is is always dialogical, and stop behaving like the man in Wittgenstein who, when asked how tall he was, responded by placing his hand on top of his head.
In Planet of the Apes , the gung-ho American hero arrives at the inconceivably remote planet to find some of the younger apes playing basketball. As the globe is flattened into a single space, it is by the same stroke carved rigorously down the middle. In the conflict between capitalism and the Koran, or a version of it, one transnational movement confronts another. For the moment, in its atrocious suffering, the US has the moral advantage over its equally frontierless foes.
Shortly, no doubt, it will squander even that. This Manichean vision of the world, so deeply rooted in our Puritan past and evangelical present, is daily reinforced by the media as an emblem of national resolve. It was an indispensable source of information but not a place to turn for analysis.
Meanwhile, the certifiably conservative Fox network, owned by Rupert Murdoch, resounded with calls for all-out war against an ill-defined enemy. When a former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia made the point that the United States has directly or indirectly visited a great deal of violence on the Middle East, he was rudely interrupted and soon dismissed. It was a rare commentator indeed who pointed out that Osama bin Laden and the Islamic fundamentalists of Afghanistan were trained and armed by our side during the s or that the list of states that harbour terrorism includes some close allies of the United States.
An Administration that for months disdained world opinion on issues like global warming, missile defence, and global arms sales now finds itself trying to construct an international coalition. Already, newspapers are reporting that our European allies are unenthusiastic about the prospect of an open-ended war against the Islamic world. I write this in an ominous lull between the talk of vengeance and vengeance itself. We can hope, but without much optimism.
The moment any such retribution is sought with bombs and guns will be the moment for the mobilisation of anti-war forces all over the world. Their momentary jubilation, however, reflects not their strength, nor even their huge numbers, but their weakness. It merely enhances and exaggerates the feeling among exploited people that the matter of protest has to be left to a few martyrs.
All I have to offer, in this distracted time, are stray thoughts and overheard lines. Symbols serve this blinded purpose, too; all the flags are hard to take, but then some are hung up to staunch personal wounds. Maybe this will stem our talk about the weightlessness of representations. Of course this gravity is not a blessing. On the one hand, the shock of the images: on the other, the emotionality of TV interviews with near-victims, witnesses, family members.
Everyone is checking in, wishing well, groping at narrative. Ludicrous before, reality TV is offensive now, as we are all under stress, on the edge, with no need for voyeuristic thrills. Therapy culture is put into new perspective, as is round-the-clock entertainment. Frames are shifted. In my own little world as a critic of avant-garde art and design, I find the old romance of symbolic transgression suddenly looks different; so do the criteria of urban architecture.
It is difficult to find a critical place, a political position. The jingoistic talk of most politicians is awful, but the anti-American posturing of some intellectuals is inadequate. For the first time many Americans have experienced extreme loss and grief, the daily bread of myriad people who resent this country so passionately. Unlike some other cities on the Eastern Seaboard, New York was not a religious settlement; it always had the diversity of a market town. There are horrendous moments in its history: slave markets, draft riots, racial conflicts. Still, I know of no other city so diverse.
A symbol of some hateful things, the WTC also oriented us when we were lost. While Thomas Jefferson waxed pastoral about an agrarian America, Hamilton insisted on the cosmopolitanism of the city as the wellspring of the nation. To see his grave buried again was difficult, but the rubble will be removed. So come delight in the city again, swap stories, argue politics, see a show, have a drink. If I had been there and seen it up close in New York or Washington, I, too, might cry out for revenge.
But I have been there at other times: in Libya, when American warplanes punished people who were asleep and unarmed; in Iraq, when America sent explosive messages to the dictator, killing the people that an American President had called on to arise and depose him; in Lebanon, when an American battleship pounded the shore and blew up mountain houses; in Somalia, when the American Government decided its arms would save the Somalis from one another; and in the Palestinian territories that the Israel Defence Forces occupied in and where American weapons and money have enabled it to plant settlers, confiscate land and dictate its will to the natives.
All those people must have imagined vengeance. America has come to stand in the same relation to the Third World, especially its Muslim corners, as Israel stands to its Palestinian subjects. When Palestinians demand rights, the Israeli Government ignores them.
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When Palestinians attack Israeli settlers and the soldiers conscripted to defend their illegal colonies, Israel bombs and besieges Palestinian villages. It also assassinates Palestinian activists. No one, least of all the United States, compels Israel to listen to the Palestinians. And nobody, least of all Britain, dares tell the United States to do, or not do, anything. Palestinians fall back on a tactic, not simply of the fanatic, but of the weak.
Even in Imperial Japan, it was a last resort for a nation that had lost its Navy and faced invasion. And it was futile. Suicide bombardment itself is not the enemy, it is his weapon — one that American patriots might use to defend their country if their nuclear arsenal and Armed Forces had disappeared. The struggle has been long already. For me, the terrorist attack precipitated a series of time-consuming missions: it took me eight hours to reach my wife on the telephone, I had to wait forty-odd hours for the US-Canadian border to open, and then spent 18 hours on a train back to New York which was delayed not only by a lengthy police search but by the ninety or so bomb threats that plagued Manhattan all day Thursday.
I arrived at Penn Station sometime after 2 a. The weather was a comfort. I took a taxi-cab to 14th Street, the site of the first police barricade, and — showing my ID whenever necessary — walked two miles downtown in the rain past floodlit checkpoints and Army convoys. I wish I could have kept that intensity of purpose for the rest of my life but since then I have been completely distracted.
My neighbourhood was empty but my block was eerily untouched. There was no sense of catastrophe until you walked to the corner and saw the smouldering mountain of rubble used by CNN for updating its rescue reports. By Saturday afternoon, the street had become a tourist site. It seems incredible to me that the period between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the World Trade towers will be perceived as some sort of golden age — albeit one characterised by the production of disaster movies ranging from the Gulf War to Pearl Harbor. After several days of uncertainty, the US President found his role as a front man; he has been making many appearances and talking like a cowboy.
My reaction, however, is still intensely localised: it seems almost inevitable to me that the very traits for which New York was the paradigmatic 20th-century metropolis — its spectacular verticality, density, heterogeneity and mediacentricity — will now make it an irresistible theatre for the shadow war of the 21st century that has long been anticipated but never really expected. Suicidal militants who hate us and want to kill us obviously cannot be deterred by threats. But can recasting US policy — say, withdrawing our troops from Saudi Arabia or putting pressure on Israel to retreat within its borders — blunt Arab and Islamic anti-Americanism soon enough to deflect the harm already flying our way?
We will upgrade airport and airplane security, no doubt. We will invest millions in foreign language training for our intelligence operatives. We might conceivably launch a super Marshall Plan for distressed Islamic economies. But will such efforts bear fruit in time? Those who committed this savage act against generic Americans see the United States as a giant who walks unthinkingly across the earth, barely noticing the small peoples it crushes. In response, they burrowed under our skin, flew into our body and blew themselves up inside us. At long last, we have noticed their existence.
But how many will remain at large? What has thrust the US foreign policy establishment into a panic is the possibility that such stealth fanatics, bruised by real and imaginary humiliations and intoxicated by self-certainty, will eventually master the delivery of those frighteningly destructive weapons that Western science has bequeathed to all mankind.
Any action we take, especially if it inflicts Muslim civilian casualties, will recruit more foot-soldiers to the jihad. So what is to be done? It is more accurate to say that failed states incubate terrorism. Therefore, bullying these states, ignoring the need of weak governments for domestic political support, will be devastatingly counterproductive.
Precipitating a coup in Pakistan, above all, is too high a price to pay for the small gain of eliminating Osama bin Laden. That Americans now see their own destiny at risk in such distant goings-on is a direct result of that unforgettable, unforgivable, life-shattering Tuesday morning. Islam was a medieval religion that had managed to stumble on into the 20th century. This was the view held in the s by academic pundits in the West, such as Alfred Guillaume and Wilfred Cantwell Smith, who wrote general guides to Islam.
The final chapters in such books invariably pontificated about how, if Islam was going to thrive in the future, it was going to have to adapt to Western ways and accommodate its outdated theology and law to modern science and democracy. As for a popular image of Islam, it existed as a ragbag of visual icons: flowing robes, camels, dancing girls, minarets, scimitars, tarbushes and weirdly squiggly writing.
It was seen as primarily a religion of Arabs who galloped around the desert invoking the beard of the Prophet and dutifully submitting themselves to the decrees of destiny. The political and social programmes of such leading figures of the s and s as Nasser, Bourguiba and the Shah of Iran suggested a Middle East in which the role of Islam and of traditional institutions would be much diminished. Western pundits went on to write books about the future of Arabia without the sultans and about an Iran in which the autocracy of the Shah should have been replaced by a modernising left-wing democracy.
Things changed. Nasserism was seen to have been a military and economic failure. Pious, traditional-minded peasants migrated to Cairo, Istanbul, Tehran and Kabul, and urban congregations became seedbeds of revived, rigorist Islamic movements. There was nothing very medieval about the new Islamic revivalism and many of its leaders had studied such subjects as engineering, aeronautics or computer science in America or Europe.
They knew what Western culture was and they did not like it. The Rushdie affair made people in Britain and elsewhere realise that Islam was far from moribund some thought that its vitality was really rather sinister. Western observers of Islam had to revise their views and, in doing so, went into overdrive. In the s, once Communism had collapsed, it was possible to present Islam as the last great adversary.
This was a good splashy topic for grand cultural seminars. Today some of his readers must be hailing Huntington as a latter-day Nostradamus and so much more lucid than his Renaissance precursor. However, I am confident that the alignments in the coming conflicts will demonstrate the precise opposite of the Huntington thesis. There are many versions of Islam and many, probably most Muslim regimes will side with the United States. Historical events, however, are not punctual, but extend in a before and after of time which only gradually reveal themselves.
It has, to be sure, been pointed out that the Americans created bin Laden during the Cold War and in particular during the Soviet war in Afghanistan , and that this is therefore a textbook example of dialectical reversal. But the seeds of the event are buried deeper than that. They are to be found in the wholesale massacres of the Left systematically encouraged and directed by the Americans in an even earlier period.
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The physical extermination of the Iraqi and the Indonesian Communist Parties, although now historically repressed and forgotten, were crimes as abominable as any contemporary genocide. Despite this uncertainty, however, it is permitted to feel that the future holds nothing good for either side. Eighty years on, the British Government has been bullied into submission again by the IRA, but in the meantime lots of other terrorists freedom fighters, if you like have managed the same thing: the Stern Gang in Israel, the FLN in Algeria, Flosy in Yemen, Zanla in Zimbabwe and so on. The supine nature of British foreign policy derives in part from the fact that Britain has been more often successfully bullied by such tactics than anyone else.
The big point about the present crisis is globalisation. It will be an epic struggle. Terrorism works by standing on its head the normal military objective of killing the maximum number of enemy soldiers while taking minimal casualties oneself. But why fight soldiers when it hurts the enemy so much more to kill their civilians? And why worry if your casualties are worse then theirs? Now the logic has been pushed further still: the terrorists assume a per cent casualty rate among their own soldiers and happily take their losses up front.
By which they mean, pull out of the Middle East, stop supporting Israel, stop harassing Gaddafi and Iraq. Underneath the dreadful images lie these enormous strategic choices.
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The thousands who died in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania were people of all races, faiths, classes, nationalities. The street leading from the Defence Ministry into the heart of Tel Aviv has been renamed Pentagon Street for a month only. We are mourning more than anyone else, and wishing you a happy new war. Terror now can involve massive killing, almost like an American air-raid on Basra, or Baghdad. Is it not that very fact that our Hebrew media have been celebrating? And the Arabs? They are criminals: no more chance for them to be seen as victims.
We are in, they are out. We, the Jews, belong with you, dear Old West. Dear sponsors, we — like you — are victims. Nobody even noticed, said one of our ministers with satisfaction. Then came holy night, the beginning of the Jewish New Year. Your grandfather, my son, like my grandfather, was born and grew up when being a Jew was much like what it is today to be an Arab. But we — you and me — are saved. Is it? The dead in New York? In Baghdad?
In Gaza? In Jerusalem? Perhaps one of the most upsetting aspects of post-bombing America is the fatuousness of our response. Nor do I mean those who mourn or who fail to mourn, who still cling to the belief that a fire-fighter not seen since the collapse of the tower is still alive, who cover lamp-posts with posters, who put up small memorials near the site or far away. Strange are the rituals of emptiness.
That world of immediate loss is very far from California. We mainline the fatuousness. Worse, we hear that, if not in the short run, then in the long term, we will root out this evil and rid the world of terrorism; that we will win the first war of the 21st century, and as a result of these efforts we freedom-loving people will be safe again. Never mind that this is pie-in-the-sky. On the scale of evil the New York bombings are sadly not so extraordinary and our Government has been responsible for many that are probably worse.
They are not in the same league as the grand world-historical iniquities of the 20th century. Terrorism itself is of course already a proleptic judgment. The terrorist acts of victors are magically transformed into the early stages of a struggle for freedom or a mad, but heroic blow for righteousness.
John Brown only looks good in retrospect. The chances of success in a war against terrorism are about the same as those in the war on drugs, which has destroyed the political and economic lives of several Latin American countries and left hundreds of thousands of people, mostly minorities, in jail here without affecting drug use very much. One thinks of the disastrous Afghan Wars of the British Empire, itself not slow to boast or bludgeon, and of the Russians a century later who, using tactics more brutal than our country could get away with, yet failed to subdue Afghanistan.
What really matters is that there has been almost no serious attention paid to what this bombing says about the geopolitical and historical place of the United States in the world today. It is, so they say, one of the charming things about our country that it is not burdened by a past.
We are a can-do nation and we like to do things quickly. But I wonder whether the following might not be a more promising approach. We recognise that the owl of Minerva has taken us to unimaginable heights of wealth and success and that others have drawn a less than spectacular lot. We recognise that while the gap may never have been as large as it is now, there have before been empires besieged by the poor and demanding, foreign and homegrown.
We recognise that historically beating back these people has not been successful. So perhaps a more positive engagement with history could be considered. What if we took the 40 billion dollars that we are spending fixing up New York, the 20 billion that are being readied to bail out bankrupt airlines, and the untold billions we will be spending on the upcoming war, and divided some big chunk of it among the Palestinians and the Israelis to build an infrastructure for peace.
That amount would buy lots of desalination plants, schools, and maybe some of the less hardline settlers as well. It would at least buy new houses for the uprooted.
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And a few billion more for the children in Iraq who have suffered from the boycott which has left their dictator in place but them hungry and sick. And maybe a few more billion for Pakistan, where the most desperate poverty has driven many to sympathise with a radically anti-progressive view. Anything but stale rhetoric from John Wayne movies. For the moment in Washington the talk is all of resolution and war. But at the same time I am full of doubt that military action can achieve what it is intended to do, and I know that this country, like its Presidents, has very little tolerance for long, indecisive military conflicts.
Bad as things have been, the desire to strike back could make them worse. I hope we will remember that there is another way. To threaten arrest, prosecution and prison may seem paltry when the victims are so many but in fact this is exactly what Americans are best at: painstaking investigation and steadfast prosecution. It is not in the field but in the courtroom that Americans can be as patient as mountains.
When a Florida grand jury indicted General Noriega on drug charges more than a decade ago, the initial response was dismissive, but Noriega was arrested, he went to trial, he was convicted, and he remains in a Federal jail. Milosevic may once have scoffed at the idea that he would ever stand trial for war crimes, but he is in jail and the proceedings are underway.
The mills of the law grind slowly but starve terrorists of what they need most: fear and drama. Indictments are brought with care, those who provide sanctuary are made to pay a price, difficulties accumulate, costs mount, friends fade away, and the awful persistence of the law gradually narrows the field of action and closes the doors of escape until the day arrives when the wanted persons are handed over and they must appear before a judge diminished and few.
Such a process transfers the arena of conflict from the battlefield, where even defeat can appear heroic, to the moral sphere where rules, procedures and evidence are the deciding factors. It seeks truth, shields the innocent, does honour to the victims, and requires the whole world to consider calmly and thoughtfully whether justice has been done. Absolute horror is the first response.
One week later, in the face of political and emotional misappropriations that will only grow worse, it is important not to lose touch with that. Yes, the Pentagon inflicts such violence, and on a scale that dwarfs the World Trade Center obliteration and the Pentagon fire. But no political lessons, even accurate ones, no talk of violence coming home to roost, should confuse the Government with the American citizens who died, or attribute to the mass murderers any goal but to harm the American hegemon symbolically by acts that are bloodily real. No political response should anaesthetise the shock of the catastrophe in all its singularity.
Two misappropriations of the trauma stand out now. One is the talk of lost American innocence, which had to do with the shock that this could happen with our planes on our soil. That sort of innocence, mirroring the all too real demon it sets out to destroy, retaliates in the all too familiar way by killing other innocents. The second misappropriation resides in the talk of Pearl Harbor and the announcement that we are now in World War Three.
It is as if the terrorist attack had given wings to the Second World War nostalgia that permeates contemporary American culture. This wish — for unity under American leadership, for a visible enemy that can be conquered once and for all, for an end not too far from the beginning it was filmed in Independence Day — brings with it, the fantasisers need to be reminded, fifty million dead, Japanese internment, genocide and Hiroshima.
More likely is a new cold war with bin Laden, the fundamentalist capitalist the US originally sponsored, as the transitional object: containment rather than once and for all massive retaliation, localised mass violence and, it is to be hoped, important moments of disunity in my American home. As the historian David Kennedy has remarked, terrorism is different from, and worse than, war.
Wars have aims that might someday be achieved, thus bringing about an end to hostilities, but terrorism has no such aims. The object of terror is terror. They will probably think that Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, and that it always will be. The idea of war and peace as alternating states may seem as irrelevant as Orwell suspected it might.
Most American intellectuals who spoke to the media about the terrorist attacks wondered anxiously whether the West would be able to put itself on a war footing without eroding the liberties of its citizens — without endangering the right to privacy and the right to dissent. But maybe it will not.
There were plenty of violations of civil liberties in Britain and America during the two world wars, but the institutions of constitutional democracy remained in place. With luck, maybe we can hang onto them. I cannot help thinking — though I greatly dislike the thought — that the chances of doing so may be a bit better in Europe than in the US. So I hope that Europe may set the US a good example by keeping civil liberties intact, even if these murderous high-tech attacks become more frequent, and take place in more and more countries. The victims of injustice — last week, unequivocally, the US — are not always, automatically, just.
In the days to come we will hear from a lot of hippie eco-freaks saying that oil and water don't mix, but I had a salad last night and if I can get oil and vinegar to mix we can get oil and water. Ah, life is good, get it while you can. They say you can't take it with you, but the way things are turning out "it" may leave before I do. Kinda sad. I expect some day just like the Keller family the world will have to find a way to control the grabby, messy and dangerous US of A.
We get our fingers into everything and when they try to stop us we scream and kick. What will it take before the world reels us in? Sorry, didn't mean to shout. I just want the gross stupidity in government and business to finally stop before all the wells blow and we live in a world with a black burning ocean.
How stupid does a human have to be to stand in front of cameras and actually claim the solution is to open up more holes in the crust and suck out more oil? I am just so ashamed of this country anymore. The oceans belong to the world, not BP. How about we review the existing off-shore rigs and evaluate for the proper process safety devices. Then require the US companies to meet the accepted world-wide process safety standards. This is what rational adults reacting to a bad situation do.
They are already in very hot water with OSHA over the Texas City refinery explosion of and the investigation that followed. Also, you all realize that vast quantities of oil lie under an Alaskan tundra — a veritable wasteland where very little wildlife thrives and an oil spill is much easier to clean up, does much less damage. Out of Sight…Did it ever really exist at all? What to do? BP public relations spin: What oil? See, the environmentalists were being alarmists again. Our Herculanian subterranean efforts have minimalized any possible undesirable effects.
Brilliant idea 1: Burn the oil at sea. Brilliant idea 2: Inject a chemical at the well head leak sight that will combine with the gushing crude causing it to sink to the Gulf floor where it can naturally decompose over time. A Green solution Brilliant idea 3: Put a condom around the light crude ejaculate spurter and then do something when the condom is full. You know I first commented in this blog when I was just so pissed off at the Wall Street bailout in That anger is pale in comparison to my outrage at this oil spill disaster.
These greedy capitalist pigs have outdone themselves this time!! This mindset of placing profit over good sense and responsibility that at best gave us our financial meltdown now at worst has given us this ecological disaster of unprecedented proportion. Thanks, you greedy shitheads.
Terrorists couldn't have fucked us better than you assholes!!! Seems we just didn't know who our enemy was Big surprise!! At some point grownup adults need to take control of this country. The children in charge now are doing a really shitty job!! There, now I feel a little better. Another one out of the ball park, Ellis! There is a person signed in as "Horrified Beyond Measure" whom you should compare notes with Just practicing my British accent for next week! Watch yourself, what are ye thinkin' practicin' a British accent when you are so wondrously Irish, my boy?
And the Lord said unto Noah, "Don't you forget my unicorn Tom et al, there is a company in France which manufactures an engine that works on compressed air. They use it on forklifts for big warehouses. They also are working on a car which will be built in India. You can go something like miles on two tanks of air and then swap out for new ones. Yet we hear pretty much nothing about it in the states, howcum?
Monday, May 03, 2010
New technology, new jobs, new culture Friends, Since Tom came to my place and left kind words, I'm here to do the same. And he's right - we made this bed, we need to lie in it. But more importantly, when we go to vote this fall, we need to let this oil spill inform our votes. We need to know who said and di what when, and then when we pull the lever, or bubble the Scan-Tron, or touch the screen, we need ot make sure that information is at the fore of our minds.
Equally importnat - we need ot make sur eour friends, neighbors, coworkers, colleagues, paper per son, Postman, Fed Ex Driver and Crossing guard all have the same information at the forefront of their minds. We in the gulf region are all just sick over this. Everyone wants to do something, but what? No matter that all the shrimp boats are out deploying booms. Does anyone believe that will keep out this huge quantity of oil? It's a really slow catastrophe that is only just beginning and we really don't know where it will end, but we know it's nowhere good.
We feel, and I think we are powerless to stop this thing. Thank you, Tom for writing about this, because nobody here has, or at least I haven't seen it. Another thought, of the three leaks down there, one has been shut off, they are about to try coning a second. Seems to me that will just put more pressure on the remaining leak and make it spew that much more, and possibly make it even more difficult. I guess we'll see. Isn't it amazing how the right-wingers could take a tragic, environmental disaster like the recent oil spill, and spin it into an anti-Obama theme.
Limbaugh, Palin and the Conserva-nazis who believe the Republican's lies would rather see hundreds of billions of American dollars flow into the Middle Eastern countries than to admit that we need to develop alternative energy sources. I hope that the beach in front of Limbaugh's mega-million dollar mansion in Boca Raton turns into a black, gooey mess. Sorry I was unable to link to the article that I mentioned. It is off in cyberspace somewhere. I have read more about Haliburton's tie-in to this tragedy of massive proportions.
I am sure you have, too. Tom, I want to wish you a safe flight over the pond. I only wish I were going too. I have mentioned your post in my blog today. You may want to take a peek. Are we all living in the same reality here?
- The Economist - 14 July 2001?
- From Guilt to Sickness, Part II: The Bite of a Dog into a Stone - Journal #43 March - e-flux;
- Noel Gallagher - qonyjeqoqano.tk.
- Metaphysics and Belief.
- Naval Strategy and Operations in Narrow Seas (Cass Series--Naval Policy and History, 5);
You guys keep screaming about wind and solar. Listen, and listen closely. Oil and gas are here to stay for a long time if you want electricity to power your compressors to fill up your compressed air cars. The deep water Gulf was not the location of choice for the oil companies.
Drove them you say? Well, not until we want to fly to England, that is. Give me a break…. It's not just hindsight in which they look silly. The justification for continuing is at here. No doubt, the ecological disaster the oil spill in the Gulf has already caused, and will continue to cause perhaps for decades, is almost unbearable.
I live 2. However, Mr. Degan, before you chastise offshore drilling, perhaps you should quantify the spills caused by oil drilling vs. This would imply that we should drill domestically so we do not have to transport oil across the ocean, don't you agree? Also, the implicatation by you and others that the horrible oil companies don't care about the environment in lieu of money is nothing but a bunch of B.
Share your thoughts and debate the big issues
Let's get real: the genie is out of the bottle. Yes, other alternative forms of energy are promising and we need to continue developing these technologies, but we are where we are. Unfortunatly we are not yet able to switch to other forms of energy. Like it or not, all of you hypocrites depend on oil, so let's not bite the hand that feeds us. By the way, W. Do you really think the energy used to compress the air doesn't create emmisions?
Only if it is powered by hydro-electic dams or windmills. Come on, think it through and get realistic; there is no magic fairy compressing this air for free. And I don't EVEN want to get into the poor efficiency of using compressed air; the amount of energy lost in compressing the air is huge vs. It's called the second law of thermodynamics. You can read it, but I doubt you will understand it. This spill was caused by drilling by a multi-billion dollar company that wouldn't spring for a K safety device.
And why wouldn't anyone think that oil companies put profits ahead of the environment? They won't take want to drill in ANWR -- anywhere regardless of environmental impact -- and their product is the major contributor to climate change. I came here from Darlene. Although I'm an Aussie I could really follow your political 'rant' and tune in to it. The phrase 'going to hell in a hand-basket' comes to mind! As an ex Pom I'm also fascinated by the circus of the UK election! I have actually read Conservatives who deny the mantra of "Drill, baby, drill.