File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0110, message 29

Date: Fri, 5 Oct 2001 13:03:39 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Different approach to terrorist threat

On Fri, 5 Oct 2001, hbone wrote:
> Democratic debate in a burning town hall is impossible.

The town hall has been burning for some time. Perhaps it has been
long-burned (and, in large part, by the only government we have.) I
suspect the latter is the case, and that nothing will finally address the
terrorist threat except acknowledging that more than our sense of security
has been disrupted, and more than just buildings and new lives have been
destroyed - and by more than just foreign terrorists. 

> Two decades of terroist  disasters, from the failure of Carter, the lives
> lost in Beirut by an inept  Reagan Administration, civilians killed in
> hi-jacked planes, kidnapped hostages held for years in the mid-east, and the
> documented disasters under Clinton,  were insuffcient to arouse the public
> to demand action.

As we have been indifferent to the consequences of our policies,
interventions, support of low-intensity warfare, etc, all over the
world. As we are still indifferent to the re-militarization of Chiapas,

It's not clear, in any event, how much the actions being taken arise from
public demand, and how much public anger and frustration has simply been
channelled into our own form of holy war. 

> One hour on September 11 changed the equation.
> The public demands prevention now.  Changing the U.S. global presence and
> long-term policy in the manner intimated by Ms. Sontag will have to wait.

"Prevention" now, without democratic debate, will mean tremendous losses
in civil liberties, criminalization of dissent. Failure to speak up now
against the simplistic picture of terrorism being fed to us only
intensifies the initimidating power of the virtual consensus being
insisted upon in the media and the talk of government officials. Perhaps
we'll trade up to the kinder, gentler terror of a heightened surveillance
society. It doesn't seem like much of a gain to me. 

> Her courageous advocacy against the State terrorism of Milosevic was timely
> and contributed to a solution.

I'm not sure anything was "solved" in that case, though, arguably, some
things were improved. 

> September 11 commenced a new conflict, absolute conviction of vulnerability,
> a terrible urgency.  The government we have is our only weapon, we must
> support it.

The terrible urgency is something that people who really care about the
loss of human life should have had a long time ago. The government we have
has not been on the side of human life. Its policies have frequently aimed
at increasing - past the point of bearing - the vulnerability of ordinary
people here and abroad, if that served state interests. All of the targets
that we seem terribly urgent to attack are old allies, threats we helped
build, but didn't expect to have to face. They are the results of
solutions now, rather than thinking about the future. They are,
critically, the results of undemocratic action.

One thing is clear, the government is a weapon, and seeks to be more of
one. And if we don't support it, it is likely to turn on us. That's
probably why i can only support people, whatever their citizenship or
location, and oppose a government increasingly emboldened to demand my
support - or else. 

-shawn (practical, and unabashed, anarchist)

Shawn P. Wilbur  |  |         

> Hugh Bone>


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