[lit-ideas] Re: Strong Stuff

  • From: John McCreery <mccreery@xxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 10:12:18 +0900

On 2004/05/10, at 2:44, Stan Spiegel wrote:

> John - Do you really think Lauri King-Irani's comparison of America's 
> bad
> behavior in Iraq with Israel's treatment of Palestinians holds water?

Yes, as a matter of fact, I do. I am perfectly willing to concede the 
differences. There is no denying that Israel has been under constant 
attack and is a small democratic country surrounded by larger, mainly 
nasty dictatorial enemies, while the USA is the world's only superpower 
and was, at most, hypothetically threatened by the Hussein regime in 
Iraq.

There is also no denying

* the close similarities of the policies of the Sharon and Bush regimes 
and the perceptions of the Arab enemy as inhuman or sub-human that  
inform those policies.
* the images from the region in question that show one side equipped 
with tanks, bulldozers, helicopters, jet fighters, flak jackets, kevlar 
helmets.... all of the conveniences of modern warfare crashing around 
in urban areas like a bull in a China shop, while confronted with more 
lightly armed, largely un-uniformed antagonists, both being examples of 
nasty and inconclusive urban guerilla warfare in which the better-armed 
cry foul when there antagonists do guerilla-warfare/terrorist 
(depending on whose ox is gored) things while apologizing with what 
look increasingly like crocodile tears when their own crashings around 
result in what is euphemistically called "collateral damage."

Given, moreover,

* that the demonization and dehumanization of "the enemy" is a 
commonplace of warfare all around the world
* that using the mailed fist to attack the tar baby of urban guerilla 
warfare is an incredibly frustrating exercise, and
* that there are plenty of stereotypes of the usual racist variety 
available to articulate that frustration,

it would be incredibly surprising if the fundamental point that drives 
Laurie King-Irani's argument--that the Arabs are seen and treated in 
ways nicely captured by terms like, "ragheads," "sand niggers," or just 
plain "animals" were not true.


John L. McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd.
55-13-202 Miyagaya, Nishi-ku
Yokohama, Japan 220-0006

Tel 81-45-314-9324
Email mccreery@xxxxxxx

"Making Symbols is Our Business"

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