Monday, April 12, 2004


Just a few quick words. As you may have noticed, the idea here is to make some sense of the current global crisis, particularly as it applies to the war in Iraq. The kind of analysis that I hope to offer depends largely on the broader historical moments rather than the ever-present news flash of casualty numbers or fire fights.

I do want to say a couple things about the current siege at Falluja. Reports are emerging that suggest that the Marine battalion laying siege to the Sunni "stronghold" claim that the over 600 dead are bodies of militants. Of course, the doctors and attendants at the local clinics claim otherwise.

I am not going to overstate the obvious here. The situation on the ground and its eventual evolution into either chaos or pacification will bear out the truth. What I would like to point out is something that Virilio has suggested in "Strategy of Deception," in the context of the Kosovo conflict. That in both cold-war conflicts and those since the collapse of the USSR, military interventions by the United States often distinguish themselves from the "traditional" idea of warfare in as much as there is a disproportion between civilian and military casualties. The amount of dead US soldiers in the Vietnam conflict rings in the ears of all who lived through those times, though rarely do we here of the 2-3 million Vietnamese civilians who lost there lives. Virilio suggests that the concept of mutually assured destruction that was inaugurated by Hiroshima and intimated at in a different way by the holocaust suggested that the Clausewitzian vision of war as an extension of politics means war against civilian populations. We are seeing this nightmare scenario played out in Iraq, magnified in the siege of Falluja, in which the people who we seek to liberate, now fall victim to the guns of the liberators. I

Some would love to suggest that the conflagration is the result of bad Pentagon planning. I would say the probably was planning any of this at all. You don't need a Pentagon meeting to understand that occupation is a bad idea. Even if you believed in spreading western democracy, only a fool would be so regressive as to put American boots on soil that had hardly cleared the footprints of the British. Falluja will come to symbolize the lesson that seems all too hard for the West to learn: Occupation is a losing venture. Forget about the fact that we are currently attempting to occupy a country in place and time that has had long enough to realize that Western powers no longer can afford or even sustain empires as they once did.

No comments:

Post a Comment