Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 5, No. 6, 2006
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Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Mark Goldfarb
  Contributing Editors
Bernard Dubé
Diane Gordon
Robert Rotondo
Dan Stefik
Marissa Consiglieri de Chackal
  Music Editors
Emanuel Pordes
Serge Gamache
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Emanuel Pordes
  Past Contributors
  Noam Chomsky
Mark Kingwell
Naomi Klein
Arundhati Roy
Evelyn Lau
Stephen Lewis
Robert Fisk
Margaret Somverville
David Solway
Michael Moore
Julius Grey
Irshad Manji
Richard Rodriguez
Pico Iyer
Edward Said
Jean Baudrillard
Bill Moyers
Barbara Ehrenreich
Leon Wieseltier
Charles Lewis
John Lavery
Tariq Ali
Michael Albert
Rochelle Gurstein
Alex Waterhouse-Hayward



from Mark Goldfarb
By my reckoning the Age of Terror has been upon us for the last 10,000 years. It will still be upon us when my body turns to dust.You say the terrorist goal is to remake the world in their own image. I don’t disagree. But from where I stand the West’s goal is precisely the same and will leave nothing in its wake but Westies as it runs rampant all over the world. While Iraqi, Afghani, Yugoslavian and East Indian tribes beat the crap out of each other, as they’ve traditionally done for millenia, McDonald’s, Exxon and Shell Tribes, Gap, Levis, Wal-Mart and Altria Tribes all move in. The name of this movie depends on the country presenting it – Pilgrim’s Progress, Fighting for Democracy, The War Against Terrorism, Shock and Awe – but it’s the same movie everywhere and it’s playing in virtually every theatre on the planet. This is not the kind of history they teach in schools. But it’s true. Give me back my Walden Pond. (Walden Pond is now a tourist attraction in Massachusetts)

from David Lischinsky
nice article insofar as stating the situation goes.
I'm not sure what you propose as a remedy -- just ignoring them?

i think the thought on everybody's mind now is that the 2,000 casualties per year is just the beginning -- how are we going to react when a suitcase atom bomb is floated into the san francisco bay and fries half a million people and makes the bay area unlivable for decades.

also the mere 2000 deaths is small to a large extent because of the security measures that we do take. some are stupid to be sure, but would you like to get on an airplane where the passengers are routinely not screened at all?

from David Solway
It's a well-written editorial, and rhetorically very persuasive. And it does, within the limits you've accepted in which to pursue your argument, make a valid point. But there is a problem--or several problems--you haven't addressed. In Israel, for example, which has a worse highway record comparatively speaking than the U.S., terrorism has pretty well paralyzed an entire country. In 'proportional terms' with respect to the U.S., 50,000 civilians have already died and 300,000 have been maimed; if not for the Shin Bet, the ratio would be much higher. Now in the last year, only eight people in Sderot have died from Gaza-launched kassams, but the entire town is under siege and schoolchildren are often bussed elsewhere for classes--the effect of these kassams and these eight deaths are far more disruptive than traffic-related or alcohol-related deaths. You could live in Sderot without worrying about cars or booze and make it through the day as we do everywhere else in the West, but in the current state of affairs you would be constantly looking over your shoulder for the next incoming rocket or worrying whether your kids are going to be home for supper--ever again. You see the difference? And don't think for a moment that "it can't happen here."

Then there is the "nuclear file." I'm not referring only to Rafsanjani's and Ahmadinejad's threat to wipe out Israel by "a single storm" or to the fact that the Iranians are now developing rockets that can reach Paris and Berlin, but to the real likelihood of their arming their proxies with thermonuclear weapons. And you know as well as I do that more than half of the disposed Russian arsenal is unaccounted for--there is reliable speculation that some of these weapons are in the hands of terrorist organizations. Even a small dirty bomb set off in New York or London of wherever will cause thousands of fatalities, infect many thousands of others with slow radiation poisoning, strike the next generation in its very genes and seal off portions of the city for 60 years. The damage that can be done by one such bomb is frankly incalculable--and we're not even thinking of the worldwide economic meltdown that would ensue. And this is definitely going to happen--in six months, a year, two years, or five years max, unless we act fast and decisively. If we don't, immensely more harm will be done than the effect of our eroding liberties. It's not that you'll have to leave your contact lens fluid at the counter before you board the plane, but that there will be few planes to board in the first place. We need to get real here.

In the light of the above, the traffic and alcohol arguments you make are, to put it candidly, insignificant. We are in the midst of experiencing a phase change in our political thinking respecting a geopolitical situation which is unprecedented--unlike the Cold War when Mutual Deterrence actually worked. But Mutual Deterrence is now an obsolete paradigm and clearly doesn't work when you're dealing with religious and ideological shahids or leaders of regimes who actually believe in the imminent parousia of the Twelfth Imam.

What we call our "way of life" will collapse far more rapidly and drastically and 'irreversibly' under these circumstances than anything that the scene you are painting will even remotely bring about. You are writing about a world we may have lived in once, but it's not the world we're living in now. = shared webhosting, dedicated servers, development/consulting, no down time/top security, exceptional prices
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