4.0906 War (6/223)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Thu, 17 Jan 91 11:31:14 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 0906. Thursday, 17 Jan 1991.

(1) Date: Tue, 15 Jan 91 22:26:34 EST (20 lines)
From: Stephen Clausing <SCLAUS@YALEVM>
Subject: war

(2) Date: Wed, 16 Jan 1991 12:18:28 GMT+0300 (73 lines)
Subject: RE: 4.0888 War: Is it an Appropriate Topic for Humanist?

(3) Date: Wed, 16 Jan 91 9:01:20 EST (22 lines)
From: Lucinda S. Jassel <jassel@pilot.njin.net>
Subject: Re: 4.0896 Responses ... War

(4) Date: Wed, 16 Jan 91 10:18 EST (37 lines)
Subject: Lakoff et al.

(5) Date: Wed, 16 Jan 91 17:30:06 IST (59 lines)
From: "David M. Schaps" <F21004@BARILVM>
Subject: Betrayed Czechs and defended Poles

(6) Date: Wed, 16 Jan 91 15:29:29 EST (12 lines)
From: Randal Baier <REBX@CORNELLC>
Subject: War and relevant discussions

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Tue, 15 Jan 91 22:26:34 EST
From: Stephen Clausing <SCLAUS@YALEVM>
Subject: war

By the time you read this the United States may be at war. I happen to
be in favor of this, even though I dread the consequences. But I am not
going to try to convince anyone of my reasons. I am sure that we have
all made up our mind on this issue and frankly I don't give a damm why
people are in favor or opposed to this war. I am tired of this
continual political posturing of which the primary purpose appears to be
a boast of one's moral superiority. I also reject this idea that we
Humanists are somehow better qualified to discuss this issue than the
little people out there. I am tired of college professors and movie
stars spouting their political views as if they were somehow endowed by
virtue of their status with a divine truth. If I want someone else's
opinion, I would rather ask my neighbors. I might add that I have a
brother right now in Saudi Arabia flying planes. I have more at stake
in this than most of you. And I wish for neither support nor
condemnation. I wish for silence.

(2) --------------------------------------------------------------84----
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 1991 12:18:28 GMT+0300
Subject: RE: 4.0888 War: Is it an Appropriate Topic for Humanist? (2/65)

My views on history are somewhat Machiavellian and I usually have the
good sense to keep them to myself, but Timothy Reuter's desperate pleas
provoke a response.

It has always (i.e. for the last few months, infinity being a relative
concept) been my impression that Kuwait has very little to do with the
present crisis. Bush needs to de-activate Saddam's Iraq and Kuwait was
a convenient and altogether rather engineered pretext. The world as I
read it (very much a macroscopic view) looks as follows:

1) We are moving into a new order in which the U.S. and Russia will cooperate
and carve the globe into spheres of influence. Within those spheres of
influence, conflict is out.

2) The most pressing conflict is that in the Middle East. It has to be
resolved. Specifically, a Palestinian state has to be carved out of
somewhere, and a (probably somewhat reduced) Israel has to achieve a
state of peace with her neighbours (even if "peace" just means non-
belligerence, it has to be official).

3) The major opponent of this is Saddam. Everyone else in the region will
in the final analysis sit down and do what they're darn well told, if
both the U.S. and Russia are doing the telling together.

4) If we don't get rid of Saddam now, in 2 or 3 years he's likely to have
atomic weapons and will then be much harder to get rid of.

The problem then becomes, how to force a war on Saddam? Which Bush has
single-mindedly been doing since August. Consider this gem, I believe
from Newsweek back then: a week before the invasion of Kuwait, Iraq
secretly enquired of the U.S., what would be her policy in the event of
an invasion of Kuwait? After due deliberation, she replied that she,
the U.S., had no current policy on the subject of a hypothetical invasion
of Kuwait.

End of contribution from Newsweek (or possibly Time, I forget).

Saddam took this as a sign to go ahead, the name of the game
is appeasement; and Bush immediately came down on him like the proverbial
ton of bricks. Since when, Bush has been making sure that no compromise
would be possible, in fact it would be unthinkable for an Arab leader like
Saddam even to consider the idea.

I happen to think that Bush's logic cannot be faulted on this one (yes,
me, whose kids as I type this are sitting at home instead of at school
because they've closed the schools, watching the TV and wondering if
they'll need to get the gas masks out of the closet). But don't fool
yourselves that the U.S. is committing itself to a war because Saddam's
troops ripped a few hundred Kuwaiti babies out of incubators etc. etc.,
or because of Kuwaiti oil. Dead babies cannot be revived by adding dead
soldiers to them, as Bush well knows. The world didn't have any trouble
buying Iraqi oil till now, nor does Saddam have a monopoly on the stuff
even if he's got Kuwait's; the world can live quite well with the border
oilfields belonging to side A rather than to side B.

I would bet you fifty-fifty (I'm a cautious type) that when this is all
over (I don't mean the war, I mean the total re-organization of the
Middle East) King Hussein will be king of a Beduin state in part of
Jordan and there will be a Palestinian state in the other part (probably
including the West Bank). Of course it'll take several years; but then
2 years ago I'd've said it'd take 50.

One request: anyone who wants to argue with me, fine; but please don't
deluge my poor little computer with protests of the "how-can-you-say-our-
politicians-don't-care-about-babies?" variety. Also, don't be surprised
if it takes me a few days to read my mail; I am after all only 8 minutes
(? I think) by missile from Iraq.

Judy Koren
(3) --------------------------------------------------------------33----
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 91 9:01:20 EST
From: Lucinda S. Jassel <jassel@pilot.njin.net>
Subject: Re: 4.0896 Responses Part II: Humanist, War, and Metaphor (10/183)

On the question of whether HUMANIST should be used for a forum on the
issues of war and peace currently confronting the world, I must add
my voice to that of others who have expressed support for the discussion
of this issue on HUMANIST. Surely those of us whose professional lives
have been devoted to understanding what it means to be human have a
real contribution to make to a discussion of whether human lives should
be put at risk.

I must also say that I am shocked to see that several of my colleagues
on HUMANIST seem to feel the need to preserve segmented compartments of
academic specialties. I know that we live in an age of specialization,
but I have always thought (perhaps hoped is more precise) that those
of us in the humanities had avoided the compartmentalization of
thought and knowledge. Perhaps not.

Lucinda S. Jassel
Stockton State College
Pomona, New Jersey
(4) --------------------------------------------------------------47----
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 91 10:18 EST
Subject: Lakoff et al.

One of the best features of HUMANIST is that it is not highly
specialized or restricted in matters which it addresses. Its very name
suggests its scope. Indeed, nothing which is human should be alien to
it. And what, alas, more human than war? It would be unfortunate if the
discussion given impetus by the Lakoff article were to remain at the
level of the appropriateness of such subject matter rather than
proceeding to the subject matter itself. I am pleased to see the
discussion broadening to the question of the war itself.

I am an inveterate listener to talk radio and have noticed in the last
few days more and more support developing for war--and the sooner the
better. Much of the support is couched in terms of our having to
support our troops in Saudi Arabia as if somehow they could not be
brought home without having fought.

Why must we fight? Of course, I don't expect an easy answer. But I
refuse to accept the notion that the issues are so complex that we
ordinary folks cannot understand them. Instead of an explanation we are
given phrases that are meaningless or whose meaning shifts periodically.

I cannot help but think that a major part of our desire for
confrontation comes from a determination to remain a national power in
an increasingly international community. We seem to display a
conviction that if we are not the world (remember the Marcos party?), we
are certainly going to control a large part of it. And, of course, the
way to do that is by force. The 1st and 2nd Puny wars under Reagan and
Bush made the world safe for medical students and almost rid the world
of a Panamanian dope. Now it's time for bigger things.

John Dorenkamp

(5) --------------------------------------------------------------157---
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 91 17:30:06 IST
From: "David M. Schaps" <F21004@BARILVM>
Subject: Betrayed Czechs and defended Poles

Timothy Reuter writes:

>A.J.P.Taylor's point on
>1938 and 1939 is also worth making again (I quote from memory): "In
>1938 Czechoslovakia was betrayed; in 1939 we went to the defence of
>Poland. In World War II, a quarter of a million Czecho-Slovaks died;
>more than six million Poles were killed. Was it better to be a saved
>Pole than a betrayed Czech? I do not know".

This cannot go unchallenged, for two reasons.

(a) It is not true that six million "Poles" were killed. Some
three million of them were Jews, practically the entire Jewish
population of pre-war Poland; they were killed with the collaboration,
broadly based and well-documented, of the Poles themselves. They
were killed in cold blood and rarely defended themselves; in fact,
the SS located its extermination camps in Poland and went to the trouble
of shipping the rest of Europe's Jews there precisely because
they could do so without offending the local population (the other
Jews exterminated in Poland are not included in the figure of three
million). One reason why fewer "Czechs" were killed was that far
fewer of them were Jews.

(b) Britain and France did not go to war to defend Poland; they
had no possibility of doing so in September 1939, and made no effort
to do so; nor did they have any part in the eventual liberation of
Poland. They "betrayed" (Taylor's term) Czechoslovakia in the hope
of preserving peace for the rest of Europe; they went to war over
Poland when it became clear that they could not preserve themselves
by such a policy, and that since they would have to go to war
eventually, it was better done before Germany's continuing growth
made their own survival more precarious. Perhaps a stronger policy
in 1936, or perhaps in 1933, could have saved Poland and Czechoslovkia;
by 1939 neither was a possibility.

I do not make the points idly, for in the current conflict my country
observes as the Poles and the Czechs might have observed German
rearmament, the remilitarization of the Rhineland, the Anschluss. We
are not a party, and pray not to be; but the experience of our dead
fathers and mothers and sisters and brothers in Poland can hardly
suggest to us that non-resistance holds any promise as a way of
preserving our lives. Saddam Hussein has made no secret of what he
plans to do with us, nor should the behaviour of his troops in Kuwait
leave any illusions; and these are Arabs dealing with Arabs, not Arabs
dealing with Jews. I, too, am fond of the "humanistic values" that have
been spoken of on the network; they are not, unfortunately, universally,
or even widely, held. I pray that those who are strong enough to defend
them will be willing to do so, and to do so before we share the fate of
our "defended" brothers and sisters.

David Schaps
Department of Classics
Bar Ilan University
Ramat Gan, Israel
(6) --------------------------------------------------------------20----
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 91 15:29:29 EST
From: Randal Baier <REBX@CORNELLC>
Subject: War and relevant discussions

It just seems so odd to me that Homer might be relevant in the original
Greek while a discussion about present war in the Middle East is deemed

Is not the blood spilled just as human in both cases?

Randal Baier
Cornell University