4.0919 Responses: On War, Protest, and News from Israel (3/101)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Tue, 22 Jan 91 17:39:32 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 0919. Tuesday, 22 Jan 1991.

(1) Date: Tuesday, 22 Jan 1991 12:09:31 EST (58 lines)
From: "Patrick J. O'Donnell" <U1095@WVNVM>
Subject: Protesting War

(2) Date: Tue, 22 Jan 91 09:56:12 PST (23 lines)
Subject: Re: 4.0908 News from Israel

(3) Date: Mon, 21 Jan 91 07:53:26 EST (20 lines)
From: Germaine Warkentin <WARKENT@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: Demonstrations and the Gulf War

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Tuesday, 22 Jan 1991 12:09:31 EST
From: "Patrick J. O'Donnell" <U1095@WVNVM>
Subject: Protesting War

Bob Werman's descriptions of life in Israel under Saddam Hussein's
missile attacks is certainly deeply moving and deeply disturbing:
no one in the right mind can be but appalled at them, as no one in
his/her right mind can be but appalled at Saddam. Those who protest
against the war, however, are not by their protest saying that they
condone the attacks on Israel; rather, they are suggesting that Israel
would not have been put in this position in the first place (nor in
the incredible position of being pressured not to respond) had the
Allies sought other alternatives rather than war. Many here are not
convinced that all other alternatives have been exhausted; some,
like myself, think that war is never the final alternative, but
that it is simply an unacceptable alternative. Hussein is evil or
mad or both, but it is a little hard for some in this country to
swallow all the moralizing rhetoric that goes along with the war
(and rhetoric does kill, just as metaphors for war can lead to real
bombs) when officials int his country, in the Soviet Union, France,
Germany, etc., have known that Hussein is evil or mad or both for
many years, and have armed him to the teeth anyway. To my mind, this
war is more the result of one of the most misguided foreign policies
in the history of the world than it is the case of fascistic madman
rising to power: he never would have assembled the fourth largest
military in the world had we (and by we I mean all of the countries
listed above and more) not provided to him in the first place--yes,
in exchange for oil, which is exactly what the slogan no blood for
oil refers to. We are now in the horribly ironic position of
trying to destroy, as it were, our own Frankenstein, but we, the
producers of the world's weapons, provided him with the power that
he has to threaten Kuwait, Turkey, Iran, and Israel. Those who
support the war want to forget all that and think of it only in the
current context, a context that is fatalistic and irreversible,
But before there was Hussein the madman, the middle-East Hitler,
there was the Soviet Union selling him scuds and Germany providing
him with the technology to get them to go as far as Israel; there
was France selling him Mirage jets and the United States selling
him weaponary so that the Iran/Iraq war could be brought to a
stalemate, a policy arising out of our fears about Iran, not Iraq,
becoming the bully of the Middle East. Well, we see where that
policy has led us, and now that we helped to create the monster, we
are compelled to destroy him. Hence, I, like many, are in the
terribly ambivalent position of one who protests strongly against
the war and the foreign policy that has led up to it, yet who hopes
that it can be brought to a conclusion quickly--there seems to be
no other way out of the corner we've painted ourselves into at this
point in history. Will we learn to conduct our foreign policy
differently as a result of this harsh lession? I fear not, for
arms is money, and building up arms inevitably means war and the
justification of war. In all of this, I think it can be also said that
everyone sympathizes with the position Israel has been put into, and
fervently hopes that no physical harm will come its way; the
psychological damage has already been inflicted, as it will continue
to be to any country involved in this.

Patrick O'Donnell
English/West Virginia University
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------34----
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 91 09:56:12 PST
Subject: Re: 4.0908 News from Israel

Mr. Werner, I am horrified at what you and the families are around you
are undergoing. But how can that horror be any less for the Iraqi
family being bombed, for the Kuwaiti family being bombed? So many
people can justify the bombing in so many ways, yet I cannot accept
the justification. There are bombs used in so many parts of the world,
and although I do not live in an unstable region, many people here
prosper by the production and sales of weapons which have no purpose
but to inflict more damage. I do not support Saddam Hussein or any other
dictator, but I will continue to protest, Mr. Werner, in support of
people like you all over the world who cannot sleep for fear of being
bombed, because I am disgusted at the horror.

David S. Graber
Humanities and Arts Computing Center
University of Washington
(206) 543-4218
(3) --------------------------------------------------------------27----
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 91 07:53:26 EST
From: Germaine Warkentin <WARKENT@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: Demonstrations and the Gulf War

Bob Werman's report from the front was very valuable, and there must be
few of us who do not understand and sympathize with the tension and
anger he displays. I don't know how much news is getting through to
him, but he will be glad to know that yes, there certainly are
"pro-Israeli" demonstrations here. The difficulty is that there are
demonstrations everywhere, of every shade of opinion. It's not hard to
guess the views of demonstrators who want to blast Saddam off the map,
or of those (and they demonstrate too) who want to see Israel wiped out.
Much harder to convey is the real concern of those who say simply and
persistently that "war is not the way to solve this problem." Those of
us who do might be accused of commenting from a very safe position,
except that a surprising number of veterans of the Viet Nam War appear
to have taken the same position, and no one, I think, would question
their credentials.