Recording information: University Of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (11/14/2001).
Editor: Matt Kelley.
Unknown Contributor Role: John Yates.
In which Biafra lays out the left's thoughtful response to the current armed conflict. Clearly, the left is always at a disadvantage in times of war; doubly so when one's country has been attacked. The tendency of a nation to rally around its leaders, unquestioningly, once troops are sent to the firing line is historic, no matter the cause. (From Greek historians like Thucydides, we know it was true in the times of Pericles-and the questioning and the sniping only tends to begin in our side begins to lose, from the Syracuse debacle 2400 years ago to Vietnam.) The first thing you notice here is Biafra's more measured tones, particularly compared to his virulent opposition to the Gulf War a decade ago, one this writer shared; which is appropriate, as one detects in it a measure of respect for the thousands slaughtered in New York and Washington D.C. that clearly demands an appropriate response.
What Biafra concentrates on, then, is just what response is best. Like an aural copy of the better British media outlets The Economist (right) and The Guardian (left), he fills in the blanks the should give the typical war feverists pause. He hits the points where our own past evil doings, so well-known and despised throughout the Islamic middle-east region, but somehow so barely understood here (thank you, crap U.S. media more interested in Jennifer Lopez's ass), helped lead us to this mess. I.E., how our overriding anathema to communism made us get into bed with extremist groups actually far worse in the long run (Afghanistan, which found us aligned with Mujahadeen guerrillas, the eventual Taliban warlords). Or how our insane and shamefully undemocratic coddling of brutal dictators loyal to our geopolitical and business interests, like in Cuba, is what led to their violent overthrow by much worse radicals. (Biafra is correct when he points out that our C.I.A.'s malfeasance in propping up the Shah in Iran in the 1950s is what gave us the far worse Ayatollah and that regime's hostage taking and burning of our flag). In a nutshell, this history is of great importance, as our current war in that region is clearly at risk of stirring up more abhorrent fundamentalist Islam radicalism, in the children and grandchildren of those we pursue now, and those who sympathize with them. Which could leads to even more blatantly irrational, deplorable suicide-for-Allah men, women, and children giving their brainwashed lives just to kill the non-believers who have historically meddled in their political and economic lives for the great god oil!
Unlike Biafra, I'm not sure this war is a wrong one, if it is remains limited to the well-funded and now global Al Qaeda organization (not a certainly), given the reality of what happened only a puny mile from me and can happen here again at any time. But I agree that we need to change our thinking, to be more historically aware of what has happened in that region we find ourselves so suddenly entrenched in, and the consequences of just inflaming the situation so much worse we just create more terrorists. How to deal with irrational religious zealots who hate for us for vaguely rational reasons is a tricky one. More importantly, his final point is one no one can argue with: It's time we cured ourselves of the great god fossil fuel. Not only to get ourselves out of terrible alliances with the corrupt royal families of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia that our dependence on oil requires, making us the bogeyman to the Osama set and more secular thugs like Hussein, but from a purely ecological standpoint, it's just far, far overdue. The hole in that ozone and the global warming demands it.
And I like his idea of a bullet-speed train system so we don't have to fly as much. Don't you? ~ Jack Rabid