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DIARY: 2002
11 entries (# 93-103)
(ARCHIVE)

Section Index


  1. Net Birthday
  2. Site Census January 2002
  3. Inactivity
  4. Unruhe
  5. Ides of March
  6. Sharon's Cry for War
  7. The Victims of the Hardliners
  8. Depressivity
  9. Double Talk Politics
  10. Preemptive Strike against Iraq
  11. Ceterum Censeo...

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Entry # 93: Jan 8 resp. 11 - (Net) Birthday

Some things get better with age. Some, however, deteriorate. Some things stay the same. Well, actually, nothing really stays the same on the concrete level, on the abstract maybe, but on the concrete, rarely. Or at least it better shouldn't. What stays the same, doesn't change, doesn't act, react, adapt, resist, whatever, cannot be said to be truly alive.

Standstill is stagnation is death; growth is the paradigm to follow. This is not a capitalist primer, it's rather one central truth about the nature of things, about nature itself in fact: Progress is the drive of evolution. This is not a Marxist primer either.

Progress, however, comes two-fold: Physically and spiritually. A person can stay the same outside and change within, or vice versa. But with time progressing, you better grow up spiritually, prepare for the things to come. This journey is about action, not about sitting in a corner crying your guts out and putting an end to your misery - it's about doing something, about standing up and saying, this is who I am, deal with it. It is also about respecting the rights of others to do so, and it is about doing both things together, everybody. If followed by everybody, all the pain and suffering will be gone. No more distancing from yourself or from others. No more coldness. No more pain.

Yes, I am naïve saying that. I'm a stupid little idealist saying that. What about it. Deal with it. That's the only way I'm gonna survive - the only way this life makes sense. Distance yourself from the distancing. Get involved where you deem it necessary. Shut up when you realize you're wasting your time. It's your life, and your responsibility to make it through the best you can. And what was valid for Shakespeare is valid still and will be for ever: "Thine own self be true."

This web site, to address the first occasion of this diary entry, enters its fifth year now. It has undergone major changes in the past, has been about experimenting and discovering. Now, it is about refining and adding new stuff: 1998 was the year of its creation as a site about television and essays, 1999 the year of changing it into philjohn.com and adding my poetry, the year 2000 brought my poetry to what I still consider its Climax, 2001 was all about finding myself as a photographer. All that happened additively: No new element eliminated an old one, with the exception of some old texts being opened up and expanded, but the basis stayed the same and will do so in the future. Everything grows atop of the other, the new and the old coexist and further themselves, they depend upon each other. Content is always something originating from negotiations and re-negotiations. This site is both constructed, reconstructed and deconstructed all the time.

I, to address the second occasion, am entering my 26th year, thereby coming closer to 30 than to 20. I still don't know whether that's a good thing, but I guess that, not being in the possession of a time machine or an anti-aging agent, there's no choice for me but to accept and embrace it and just go on. What's puzzling though is that, unlike foolishly expected when I was younger, it is not the certainties that grow but the uncertainties. The more you see the less you know, the more experience you get the less experienced you are, the more versed in language you get the more you lose it.

And still, I should know that, because there is still a little physicist in me which I disallowed once from pursuing his interests: This is entropy. You cannot stop entropy. Everything, in the end, moves towards disorder. You only end up fighting windmills, no matter what you do. Either realize that, or live in a dreamworld. Look for truth elsewhere, look for meaning elsewhere. Or you possibly already have it, inside of you: What's without is within; what's within is without.

What are my plans for 2002? To continue the previous threads, obviously, and polish some hidden orders of chaos and doom lurking in half-cooked thoughts and spelling mistakes made throughout the years (my god, I'm insane managing that large a web site... years! it's years! all work and no play... I bet I'm just fighting horror vacui here...). Also, this site's got a parent and a sister site, pjkx.com and philjohn.de (now defunct, 2015). New playgrounds. What else? Some more writing, maybe painting. And yes, how about a relationship. But I guess, that cannot be planned on the drawing board. So I'll stick with transforming all that loneliness and desperation and sexual frustration and fear of mortality into this web site and what surrounds and encompasses it. What elese is there to do? Better build your own prison than be encaged by somebody or something else. And yes, keep the key. You might need it someday...

PJK
January 8th/11th/18th, 2002







Entry # 94: January 18 - Site Census #3, January 2002

No big redesign lately, this layout has to stay, the size of this site makes any other attempt futile or foolish and too time-consuming. So just the basics, the phallic approach, the report about the size.

The visitor statistics went up throughout 2001. Year 2000 ended with approx. 3000 visitors per month, 2001 left me with approx. 7000; thanks to all who stayed with me and welcome to the newbies. Keep it up. I need feedback, and such kind of numerical confirmation especially. And now for the mere silly numbers (including pjkx.com and philjohn.de (now defunct, 2015)):

To date, this site contains

  • 626 HTML text files,
  • 558 images for navigation and layout,
  • 1534 photographs with their
  • 1534 thumbnail images, plus
  • 2 sound files;

making a total of 4254 files or 154 MB of data. Compared to the last "census" of April 5th 2001, approx. 9 months ago, this more than doubles the number of files, and more than triples the storage area necessary (which, funnily, is roughly the same pair of ratios I discovered last time. That's frightening).

PJK
January 18th, 2002







Entry # 95: January 28 - Inactivity

Normally, you'd think relaxing would be a good thing. Just sitting back, watching some movies, some tv, reading the newspaper, staying up till 4 AM, getting up around noon, being able to fit all work activities into that schedule; and even, after getting up, having the time to sit down, actually have a breakfast and study the newspaper; without a big hurry; what's that called, isn't that what you're supposed to crave for?

This web site of mine has always been sort of an indicator of activity. When it's up and running smoothly, lots of new additions coming in every week, that's a hot phase of work. But somehow, if you get some distance, if you allow that to happen, some strange inactivity doesn't really seem to bother or affect me lately, does it.

Somehow, I've managed to keep things low lately. Less courses, after an almost insane work pensum throughout the recent semesters. Quit going to church and quit all church-related activities, which I now recognize as being the best decision in my life so far, as the church for me only brought standstill and false polarization. Less pressure thus, on both those counts. Relative inactivity. And still, why the frell can't I just be happy with it?

PJK
January 28th, 2002







Entry # 96: January 28 - Unruhe

Unrest, that may be the answer. Is that a built-in drive? You know, in those old Star Trek episodes, stagnation was always the marker for an ill society. Is this just ideology? A follow-up on the sort-of Marxist interpretation of "capitalism" and a theory of progress, following a Hegelian teleological understanding of history? Or is this biological, evolutional, an in-built drive against inactivity? Standstill is going back, only progress is bringing you further? Further where?

Maybe, "going on" is the only valid course for life. Going on, trying to improve yourself and those around you. Not accepting any hindrances, not accepting what you've accomplished so far as a false sign of closure. There is no closure here, we have to keep looking and re-invent everything and look under every single pebble to find something, to find another missing piece of a puzzle whose shape we don't know, and once we've found it, we have to find yet another and another, and replace old ones, because learning never ends.

This journey may have social components, and not too few ones. But in the end, it's the journey of one. And how this one interacted with the others. But what we carry with us, where we carry it to, that is our sole responsibility: We must not rely on the sole input of others to bring us further. That won't help. That's not what we have a brain for, or a heart. The brain brings us further, the heart, however, cares about those we ourselves can assist in the same goal; and it is this combination, and not just one of them, that'll bring us home. But whether the unrest is just transformed into inactivity then, well, you know, the whole is in the parts already. We shouldn't expect the rules to be any different then - every single moment carries the entire truth already, and all we can do is to approach it. We may never find it, but we can get closer and closer. Truth is like the gravity of a black hole. You can try to escape it, try to avoid it. But once you're in its grasp, you're caught, you cannot flee, you will for ever be coming nearer to it while reaching it only in the form of a mathematical equation approaching a limit in infinity. And maybe, and hopefully, there is peace in this constant unrest.

PJK
January 28th, 2002







Entry # 97: March 15 - Ides of March

In most calendars, special days, mostly holidays or anniversaries, are marked with some kind of note, like the upcoming St. Patrick's Day. To see that day marked was no surprise to me. Yet imagine my astonishment to see today's date desinated as "Ides of March". As a historian, I know of the significance of that date. Yet there are other dates equally important, or even more important than that shameful day Caesar was slain by some corrupt senators who had always been his foes. Of course, you could also interpret their actions as ridding the people from a tyrant; yet this description doesn't fit the victim of that day. Anyway, I'm not gonna start an argument about that right now. Yet the mere fact that this date is still seen as having quite some significance today appears to me as a very strange, yet also revealing one: Pointing to the one man history cannot live without, not even more than two millennia after his assassination. Doesn't this say something about our legacy? Well, it just struck me as uncanny, no more words necessary here.

PJK
May 15th, 2002







Entry # 98: March 31 - Sharon's Cry for War

Disclaimer: I do no longer identify with the position outlined herein. As my diary is supposed to document my views on certain topics in the past, I will leave the original text intact. Yet after having paid more attention to Palestinian politics, and having reflected on how to criticize Israel, and for what, I would not concur with the tone of the following entry. I have fallen prey to a misguided discourse within politics and post-colonial studies that highlights Israeli "state terror" and ignores the historical circumstances of the foundation of the state of Israel. I still maintain a critical position on settlement in the occupied territories, and I do believe in the right for the Palestinian people to have a state of their own - yet not at the cost of demonizing Israel and seeing Israeli politics more critical than Palestinian politics. Israel as a state has the inviolable right to exist, it is as legitimate a state as any other nation state. Contrary to Palestine, it is a true democracy, with freedom of the press (especially also for the Israeli Palestinians) and the right to counter terrorism. It is Israel that, in the past, always opened dialog for peace and cooperation. Any solution to the conflict must respect and protect the existence of the state of Israel. Furthermore, the holocaust can not be used as a means to argue that Israel should remain in a victimized role, and there is nothing wrong about escaping from that. There is no justification for Palestinian terrorism, none at all. The text below should be read as a documentation of a view that is deeply flawed, and I leave it here as an example. (Jan 5th, 2007)


As said in his speach today (CNN), Sharon has now declared war upon Palestine, especially against his enemy of the state, Yasser Arafat. Of course, that follows a long thread of terrorist attacks, like the one lately in Netanya, timed perfectly with the Arab Peace Conference. Arafat, up to a certain point in time, did hav the power to stop terrorism, he used it only very leniently, and now, his own people, the Fatah and Al Aqsa, are committing acts of terror; yet Israel has taken power out of Arafat's hands. He is being victimized, he has basically been arrested, with tanks standing around his room, his hands are tied. Declaring him a major enemy now is not only ridiculous, it's insane, it's recalling the one reference to history which is supposed to serve as a justification for the state's existence. Yet Israel is no victim any more. The state of Israel, especially now under the maniac Sharon, has become quite capable of wreaking horror itself.

The Arab Peace Conference gives Israel all it allegedly wants, and all it rightfully has a claim on: The acceptence, finally, of Israel's existence, and the offer of normal relations with the Jewish state.

In return, what Israel is asked to do, is only a matter of justice: The entirety of the land illigally robbed and violated by Israeli occupation, the end of any occupation, the end and the reversal of Israel's illegal colonization politics. The settlements must go, all of them, Israel doesn't have a legal claim to them.

While Arafat seems to enjoy being martyrized more than being seen as a giver of peace and a fighter of terror, Sharon, equally masochistically, and in that they both constitute an odd couple in self-raised pain, doesn't even consider the offer as a basis for negotiations. He fully knows that the Arab solution is the only way, that's the explanation for his aggression now: He doesn't want to accept it, doesn't want to have to cope with it, focuses instead on his Arafat fetish and pulls up more tanks and more soldiers than are willing to join his crusade against Palestine. His is not the Promised Land. There is no Promised Land, never was. The myth of the Promised Land has served as an immoral justification for aggression and genocide since the days of the Bible, and also on American colonization where this phrase was used against the Indian Canaanites. There is no Promised Land. There's just land belonging to nobody and everybody, divided into a part Israeli and a part Palestinian. Both sides right now want more than they can have, yet Israel, over the course of history, has taken more than its share, and kept it past the necessary time and violated any accords by colonizing it.

Of course, Israel's course of action right now is a consequence of colonial politics, Arab aggression and the Holocaust. But Israel now has the means to defend itself. It's a nuclear power far superior to any other powers in its region. The politics that were justified in the past are not justified now. The political situation has changed, and from that change comes a certain responsibility.

Israelian democracy is in its death gasp. Sharon's cry for battle has already split the country, making honorable men and women in its army heroically defect from the terrorist state Israel has become under Sharon's rule. He can pull up tanks after tanks, he will destroy his country, he will kill many Palestinians, he will make Israel hated not only in the Arab world but also in Europe and very much also in America, but one thing he won't do is stop the terror. And at a certain point in time, and in the occupied territories anyway, Palestinian terror will become what it once has been: The struggle for the liberation of a small, poor country which is being attacked and violently colonized by a seemingly omnipotent conqueror.

Sharon has to accept the Arab Peace Initiative, he has to agree to all terms, and the International Community must make sure of that. This will not only yield the survival of the trickster Yasser Arafat, it will free the Palestine people from the terrorism wrought unto them by Sharon and Arafat, it will also free Israel. There is no other way out.

previous and continuing thread:

PJK
March 31st, 2002







Entry # 99: April 10 - The Victims of the Hardliners

Disclaimer: I do no longer identify with the position outlined herein. As my diary is supposed to document my views on certain topics in the past, I will leave the original text intact. Yet after having paid more attention to Palestinian politics, and having reflected on how to criticize Israel, and for what, I would not concur with the tone of the following entry. I have fallen prey to a misguided discourse within politics and post-colonial studies that highlights Israeli "state terror" and ignores the historical circumstances of the foundation of the state of Israel. I still maintain a critical position on settlement in the occupied territories, and I do believe in the right for the Palestinian people to have a state of their own - yet not at the cost of demonizing Israel and seeing Israeli politics more critical than Palestinian politics. Israel as a state has the inviolable right to exist, it is as legitimate a state as any other nation state. Contrary to Palestine, it is a true democracy, with freedom of the press (especially also for the Israeli Palestinians) and the right to counter terrorism. It is Israel that, in the past, always opened dialog for peace and cooperation. Any solution to the conflict must respect and protect the existence of the state of Israel. Furthermore, the holocaust can not be used as a means to argue that Israel should remain in a victimized role, and there is nothing wrong about escaping from that. There is no justification for Palestinian terrorism, none at all. The text below should be read as a documentation of a view that is deeply flawed, and I leave it here as an example. (Jan 5th, 2007)


The US, EU, UN, all together, including Germany, Germany even in a front position after Fischer's initiative, all of them joined against the war in Israel and Palestine: To end the violence on both sides. But both sides do not cease aggressing. Arafat is powerless, he now is just an old man, he isn't any more able to instruct his suicide bombers. But Israel, as a democratic country, keeps attacking the Palestinians.

Terrorism is wrong. Yet in contrast to the events of September 11, the terror in Palestine is something different. Palestinians want a state of their own, on the territory which is their own, yet Israel keeps their territory occupied, they have continued to settle in a land which doesn't belong to them. Isn't there a difference between terrorist attacks occurring against the occupying forces in your own territory, and attacks in Israel? There can be no doubt that killing innocent civilians in Israel is wrong. As much as there can be no doubt that killing innocent civilians in Palestine.

Israel, unlike Palestine, is a democratic state, it has to be judged on a different standard, it has to be judged more critical, as much as any other democratic state. Everybody now knows that Arafat has participated in the terror attacks against Israeli civilians. But it's a different thing if Sharon now seems to be bound to eliminate the, as he calls it, infrastructure of terror. There's no such thing. Eliminating the reason for terror, in Sharon's eyes, means to eliminate Palestine. He does so by strengthening the occupation, by arresting, torturing, killing Palestinians. He adds injustice to injustice, he keeps strengthening Israel's hold on foreign territory and on a foreign people. So, what exactly are Palestinians supposed to be doing? Don't get me wrong here. Killing innocents is wrong. But Palestine isn't the rogue here. It has for long been victimized by the Israeli occupation and illegal settlement.

There's another victim. Israel itself, and the opinion of Israel and - consequently - the Israelis: Victimized not by Palestine but by hardliners in the government who have been reinforcing every single antagonism that has victimized Jews in the past. Of course, Israel has been defending itself in the Six Day's War. The occupation of foreign territory, as a short-term measure, may have been justified. But not in the long run. The end of colonization is over; but the government keeps pushing forward. Every new terrorist attack by Palestinian fanatics, who do not represent the entire Palestinian population but are loners fostered by fanatic bands like Jihad, Hamas, Hezbollah and Al-Aqsa, is seen as a justification for a military attack, the military being the official instrument of the legitimate Israeli government. There is a grave dissimilarity here, isn't there.

Today Netanyahu, the man who, like Sharon now, has done his best in the past to worsen the situation, plays the dirtiest card possible: He accuses Germany of ignoring its historical responsibility. He draws a direct analogy between Hitler Germany and Palestine. He accuses Germany of, once again, wanting to wage war against Jews. He ignores the guilt Israel has in this conflict, he shifts the blame somewhere else. Can he really be that cynical? Maybe I, as a German, am not free to speak here, though Nazi-Germany died 57 years ago, and I, being 26, have had nothing to do with the Nazis, and do not share any responsibility for what those devils did. The same holds true for Germany and most Germans today as well; so who is Netanyahu to publicly say what he said? Maybe this reveals his intentions: By making the analogy between Nazi Germany and Palestine, he and the ones he speaks for, including Sharon, are revealed as not wanting to have peace with Palestine, but Palestine itself. Not only Arafat has been revealed as playing a double game; the right-wing have as well.

previous and continuing thread:

PJK
April 10th, 2002







Entry # 100: May 6 - Depressivity

Depressivity is a strange thing. It does have its reasons, but normally, I'm used to dealing with those rationally. I should be able to deal with them, to accept the reasons for what they are, to accept that what I want is not what I'm about to get, and that's it. And on some level, I even have accepted that, on the conscious and thinking level. I know what I have to know to make the pain stop, yet it ain't working. Thinking only gets you so far.

Depressivity seems to be a night-borne creature, and a home-bound one. As soon as I come home, the feeling's there. No distractions, no circumventing the loneliness inside. In a work or study situation, everything's different; I have something else to do, I lead another life. The public is a different arena, it can provide for some different sort of ersatz satisfaction; whereas at home, in the private, or even in the private made public, like this web site, everything depends on my own initiative. Initiative, however, isn't thinking, it's guts, it's emotional energy transferred into action. I don't have that energy any more, not the way I used to have it. Every single action becomes an immense workload, every single word to type is a novel in itself; it's like living with the wind blowing against you at the speed of a hurricane, or being sucked into a tornado - unless, in my case, it doesn't lead me unto the Yellow Brick Road but only thwarts me deeper and deeper into a sickening psyche that cannot be perfectly controled by my mind; thinking becomes feeling, and the feeling is utterly disturbed.

Actually, there's something good to that also. Emotion as the core of thinking isn't the worst choice after all, and it also allows me to further my attempts at understanding the subconscious. And the subconscious it supposedly has to be that tells me I'm alone at night, that causes some kind of phantom feeling of lacking someone beside me at night; where should that feeling come from, you can only consciously lack what you once had. So, how does it come to pass that something which you never really had can make you sick to the stomach, can suck out all your energy, can make you lead a life that is bright and shiny when looked at it from the outside, and utterly dark and desperate when seen from the inside. This inside is what I am facing, to quote the great Pacino in 'Scent of the Woman', "I'm sitting in the dark here" - almost literally. For I seem not to see the things that make others go on.

Or what if the contrary would be the case? What if I see too much, see precisely what's out there, see it and from that am enabled to draw the conclusion that I just don't want any more of it, that what's there isn't what you dreamt of, that what's there is just a simulacrum indeed, a false pretension getting me nowhere, and slowly? The things you dream of as a child, the things you deemed possible, the things you still hope to be out there, somewhere, are they real, do they exist in the "real world", or are they just a dream turning into a nightmare? What are those things? Truth, for once. Love, for sure, and not just romantic love, most of all, the acceptance of what the other person is about, respect, and a productive will to understand everything, not just the other, but also oneself, out of truthful interest, a love for existence and essense. Freedom, true freedom, a consequence from the two preceding principles, and not just a set of completely natural civil liberties. Humanity, as the one thing holding the previous ones together, forming a natural set of coordinates, and an inherent doctrine of behavior.

Depressivity is when you lie in bed at night not being able to sleep for quite some time, thinking about death. Not necessarily in a suicidal way, but in the shape of having a death wish. That may be healthy after all. Death is a fact of life, and not even necessarily the end of it. Accepting death is something you have to do anyway. Maybe I'm moving towards something like a Buddhist perspective: Reaching, somehow and somewhen, a point where I want life as much as death, as much as I don't want life as much as I don't want death. Equidistance to anything, mediating my stand in between, following a truly narrow but - in the end - hopefully rewarding and productive path.

PJK
May 6th - May 21st, 2002







Entry # 101: June 4th - Double Talk Politics

There's a politician in Germany who's said that he sees the Palestinian fight against Israeli occupation as a justified means to a justified ends, and he'd do the same in the same situation. As the fight consists basically of criminal suicide/homicide attacks, he has indeed justified terror undertaken in the name of the Palestinian people. And though I, as you've seen with my previous scribblings on the topic, am thoroughly opposed to the Isralian politics of occupation and settlement, I in no way condone or justify the way the fight is undertaken; terror is terror is terror; not resistance [see my added disclaimer to the two previous posts, which makes this point more clearly]. Terror does not create solutions, only problems; and it obscures the problem and a political solution in a thick cloud of gunsmoke.

He, Jürgen W. Möllemann, has further allowed a man named Karsli into his party, a man who frequently has stated that a "zionist lobby" would control the political discourse, thus playing directly into the common anti-semitic stereotype. Furthermore, there's a talk show anchor with a pretty aggressive style of talking by the name of Michel Friedman, deputy director of the Jewish Central Council for Germany. That Möllemann accused both Friedman and Sharon of fostering anti-semitic stereotypes; the "Jews" again are made responsible for anti-semitism itself. Möllemann has denied any kind of excuse or retreat in any aspect, and the party leader of the so-called Liberals, the FDP, seems to have condoned that ugly and criminal game, trying to get some more votes from the right-wing extremist pool of white trash idiots. With that charade, the FDP has left the democratic consensus.

Yet it fits. There are right-wing sentiments surging throughout Europe. Haider's party and Berlusconi are already in power in Austria resp. Italy. Le Pen gained a terrible victory in French elections, which led to yet some more years of Chirac. In Holland, Fortuyn's party gained after that right-wing populist was made a martyr by some lone assassin. Right-wing extremist propaganda is becoming dangerously popular, and the FDP just made a big step in that direction. Those people cannibalize on the fear of the people, and they hide their anti-semitist sentiments behind overblown criticism of Israel.

That sort of forces me to clarify something: I do criticize Israel. But I do also criticize Arafat, and I condemn the suicide/homicide bombings as much as I condemn the Israeli politics of occupation. My interest in criticizing Israel is that I fear for the democratic society in Israel as much as I fear for the fate of the Palestinian people; both fates are linked. And I feel you're right to criticize Israeli politics once you don't sanctify the Palestinian position, which I have never done. The situation is pretty much complex, the blame goes to both sides; yet as Israel has the bigger firepower, it does need to tolerate and hear some criticism too.

The double-talk politics of the right-wingers and so-called liberals have just one aim: To blame one side only, to recur to one very old stereotype in order to find a scapegoat for all the problems in their respective countries. They have no interest in resolving the issues, they obscure the fact that Israel's aggressivity in the matter is due to the trauma of the Holocaust inflicted upon the Jewish people and others by Germans. German politics is able and has the duty to criticize Israel when it's wrong, but there exists a fine line of what you should say and what not, and that line is there for a reason. The stereotype still exists, feeding it is an act of utmost criminal intent and should not go unnoticed or unpunished.

previous and continuing thread:

PJK
June 4th, 2002







Entry # 102: September 5th - Preemptive Strike against Iraq

The current campaign of U.S. hawks led by Bush and Cheney aims at ousting Saddam Hussein. They claim it's necessary to remove the Iraqi dictator from power because he would be dangerous for the region. Maybe that's true even. There cannot really be any doubt about his aggression against Kuwait back then, but this is not about the last war. That one's over. He is a dictator, which is bad. But there are countless dictators around the world letting their people suffer, most prominently Robert Mugabe. He may have weapons of mass destruction, but so have countless other countries. He has been aggressive in the past, but so have others. There may be links to Al-Qaeda, but as it seems, Al-Qaeda is quite international, and other countries are much more responsible for harboring or supporting terrorists than Iraq, Saudi Arabia being a very prominent case.

Something just doesn't add up. Is Saddam suddenly a threat? Or is he just a potential threat? He uses bad language aimed against the U.S. and Israel? He's not unique in that. I won't play the oil card, nor the Bush father / Bush son argument here. It's not necessary.

The Bush/Cheney government and some hawk factions claim a preemptive strike against Iraq to be necessary. Preemptive strike? That's not the language of law-abiding democracies. You don't just attack somebody because he might be a danger to someone else (and not even yourself). True, it's painful to wait and see. It's difficult to not know whether someone may just prove dangerous. But that's the law: innocent until proven guilty. Iraq has paid for its former transgressions. Saddam was kept in power deliberately, sanctions were imposed, he's still there. Sanctions don't work, see the Castro example. Sanctions just increase ill will within the suffering population against the sanctioner, they may actually prolong the life of a regime.

The situation's utterly complex. Saddam, like the Taliban, were once sponsored by the U.S. against a common enemy. They turned against the hand that fed them, that's the curse of interventionist politics. You cannot predict the future, and you cannot invent it by sponsoring some thugs who may just by accident be better than other thugs. The only way to turn rogue regimes into democratic and lawful ones is to prove to them that friendship is better than inimity. Continuing colonizationist politics and rhetoric is not the way to go.

Iraq is part of an Arab world that's growing together slowly. Saddam Hussein may be despised by other Arab nations, but when push comes to shove, it's still innocent Arab civilians who will be killed by a war against Iraq. Back then, there had been a reason to attack Iraq: Countering Saddam's aggression against Kuwait. But now, there's no imminent threat nor obvious wrongdoing by Saddam on the international scale. There's no justification. There might be if he didn't allow weapons inspectors in the country, but the current rhetoric doesn't quite support that option either, in fact, Cheney has declared he doesn't even care about inspections. Is that the rule of law? Gambling with the fate of an entire region by risking the break-up of Iraq doesn't fit the role of a leading nation.

The president should make no mistake about it. The current U.S. rhetoric is utterly poisonous, it's not skeptical allies creating a split between America and the world, it is the U.S. government itself. There must not be a preemptive strike, such an action would be a negation of everything America and Western democracy are standing for.

PJK
September 5th, 2002







Entry # 103: October 29th - Ceterum Censeo ...

The incessant insistence of the Bush government to insist on military action against Iraq must remain a major cause for concern. The question asked by Bush may appear justified when he asks (rhetorically) whether it would be Saddam who constitutes the current threat, or the U.S. government. To him, the answer is Saddam Hussein. And indeed, if we just take into account the history of that dictator, and the possibility that he may indeed be able to attack another country in the future, there needs be agreement that Saddam could indeed be a threat. But the entire issue is much more complicated.

Saddam being a threat doesn't eliminate the option that Bush could be a threat too. Of course, there's no need for concern that America would suddenly start to militarily conquer the whole world. Nor do I want to follow the line of argument describing American aspirations to global hegemony, for now. America is less interested in global domination than in preserving its interests, it's basically centered around itself. That's the key problem, however.

Globalization is something that cannot be prevented, as it is taking place already, it has become a reality. The task now is to negotiate the future direction of an ongoing process furthering globalization; creating equal oppportunities and (an amazingly naïve yet not less important aim) justice for all. This cannot be achieved by one big player dominating all others. It can only be achieved through a union comprising all members. That union has to be the United Nations. Of course, the UN is not in the least a perfect institution. It is reigned by the chief colonial powers of the past (England, France) and present (Russia), plus China, a dictatorship descending into absolute corruption and radical capitalism, and the U.S., the chief military, economic and cultural power today. Amongst the nations bonded together, those who can truly claim to be somehow democratic are in the utter minority. But still, it may be a bad choice for world government on many levels, but it's the only one available that can guarantee some consensus. There is no alternative to the United Nations.

What Bush is doing right now is an outright attack on the legitimacy of the UN, following the ages-old traditions of American isolationism, exceptionalism, interventionism, protectionism, and Christian Fundamentalism. Let's not forget where key players of the current government, like Bush and Ashcroft, are coming from. America first, internationalism only if it serves American economic interests. The current agitation against Iraq and the related attack on the United Nations follows a straight line from Bush's retreat from the Kyoto agreement (which in itself is a good idea gone awry, but still, it's the only agreement we have) and the rejection of the International Criminal Court (thus blocking any attempts at global legal standards).

Iraq is a current and rather minor issue compared to the larger picture of Republican attacks against the United Nations. Even when Saddam will be gone one day, the consequences of the current anti-UN politics exemplified by the Bush regime will still be seen. Most revealing, of course, is the way Bush has ignored the German chancellor during the previous weeks, as Schroeder dared to oppose the wishes of someone who not anymore poses as an ally but rather as a commanding officer. Blair is playing along due to the "special relationship" between the UK and the U.S., the only thing special for the UK since the collapse of the Empire and its continuing ambiguity towards the EU.

If someone would choose to be so foolish as to regard all those arguments as anti-Americanisms, please, don't hesitate to indulge in such fantasies. I consider myself more of an American than a German, my criticism of the Bush government and certain politics doesn't mean an attack on America herself. If, however, the U.S. continue to follow that line of politics, if they continue to elect such people into public offices, and support their politics, this will be yet another falling from grace after the atrocities of its (ongoing) Indian politics and the Viet Nam war, leading to a corruption of what still makes the idea of America a universally embraced one. We don't need people calling others rogues and evil (while themselves shouting war cries and insisting on the death penalty), we don't need yet another breed of reactionary conservatives of the likes of Cato, uttering with each sentence war cries like ceterum censeo [whatever] delendam esse.

PJK
October 29th, 2002





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