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The Indefinite Article.

Friday, March 21, 2003

paulmercado1: i can get past the "war is terrible thing"
paulmercado1: i just cant get past the
paulmercado1: climate that this crisis has caused
paulmercado1: it has agited everyone and unified no one

I think that the people who are agitated are the people who have been itching to be agitated. Having worked customer service a bit, I have grown to notice people who seem to be just waiting for something to complain about at length. The French political structure has been waiting for something like this to come up to be able to make a stand against the "hyperpower" boogie-man they've been talking up for some time.

Conflict rarely unifies people. It would seem that this is the basic nature of conflict (as in people are disagreeing about something) and it would be dumb to expect that this one is any different. For more than a decade, the US along with the rest of the world has been engaged in a conflict with Iraq. We set out some conditions for the closure of that conflict and after the liberation of Kuwait changed our stance from military conflict to an economic and political conflict.

For over ten years this has been ineffective. Iraq hasn't fulfilled its end of the bargain. As a result, the economic conflict has inflicted great hardships on the people of Iraq. The US change in stance from economic and political conflict to military conflict reflects the sense of urgency we have in eradicating the sources of threats that before September 11, 2001 didn't seem like such a big deal.

This change in perspective on the part of the US has become a source of conflict within the "we" that has been in conflict with Iraq. It seems that a lot of people see the world with the same perspective that they did before the terrorist attack on New York City and Washington, DC. That's fine, they have a different perspective, and don't have the sense of urgency that the US government does. As a result, when the US government indicates the source of their urgency, people with a different perspective think "Stupid Americans, don't they know that the hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, not Iraq?"

The sense of urgency in confronting the Iraqi threat doesn't come from direct links to the present-day asymetrical military conflict known as terrorism. It comes from acting against what's next and completing old unfinished business. Despite ricin in French subways, it seems like the French gonvernment still thinks there is plenty of time, that countries like Iraq are not credible future sources of asymetrical military conflict. If people are agitated about this, about the state of conflict between the US and countries like France, well then it seems like they are pretty easily agitated.

At a personal level, I'm curious about the thought process of people who are against the Iraq military conflict. It is pretty much agreed that the sanctions have made life pretty crappy for the average Iraqi. In fact, it is so bad that people are saying that the sanctions are killing people. Despite the economic sanctions, the government of Iraq has the resources to build a bunch of "Presidential Palaces" even as people can't get food and medicine. As bad as military conflict is, the economic and political conflict have hurt more for longer. Wouldn't it be in the interest of the Iraqis, humanity, and peace to have it over with than drag it out?

Things in the US are normal, as much as the media makes of it, nobody really cares about the naming of French Fries or anything else French. To say that nobody really cares about what anyone in France thinks would be an unfriendly ad hominem. However, it would be folly on the part of any French person to think that their world perspective has much relevance to America.


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