Eric Gordy | September 10, 2002
Just about exactly a year ago, right after the attacks on 11 September, we had a meeting here on the same topic. At that meeting, I said that any movement against war and against the kinds of responses that the US government was planning then would not get far if it did not find a way of taking into account the concerns of the people who are on the other side. The people on the other side were then, and still are a majority.
Recognizing the people on the other side does not just mean making gestures in their direction. In the last several days, and over the next few days, there will be plenty of that in the commercial media — formalistic, maudlin or exploitative gestures of commemoration, different ways of using the fear and confusion that people feel. This does not address what needs to be addressed. It is formulaic, and people recognize that.
Anybody who wants to present an alternative to the policy of the administration has to go farther. Not just to demonstrate that they know what other people are feeling, but to show that something other than what the government is doing will address their concerns. Anti-war people cannot afford to congratulate themselves on their moral superiority, or to insult the intelligence of the public. People know when they are being talked down to, and for good reason they usually only listen to someone who they think will also listen to them.
The main concern is a concern about security. But what do we mean when we talk about security? It is a term on which we usually think that the Right has a monopoly—in the sense that it makes its way into phrases like "national security," "homeland security" (though this seems to be losing some favor) and so on. This can change a bit when we think about it in slightly different terms. The jargon that is coming more and more into fashion in academic and political circles is "human security," and here are two assumptions behind it: 1) the security of large-scale constructions like states and regions depends in a large measure on the kind of security that is available to people in their everyday lives, and 2) any kind of consensus for defense relies on there being a consensus that there is something worth defending.
It would be easy to use these categories in a negative way, to show that replacing the top level of the government in Afghanistan did not contribute very much to security, that the new powers that the Justice Department wants to claim for itself do not contribute to security, and that an invasion of Iraq with the purpose of replacing the government there would not contribute to security. It would be especially easy to argue that the Administrationís tendency to act unilaterally does not contribute to security — it puts the United States in greater isolation, and undercuts the sympathy we get from other countries while giving more impulses for resentment. I think that not to drag this on too long, the concept of human can be used in a lot of instances to criticize what our political leadership is doing.
But nobody can get far by criticizing from the sidelines. It will never be enough to be only against. An anti-war movement that does not offer some plausible alternatives is not a political movement but a political reflex. My challenge to the people here is: what can we offer as ways of contributing to security that would involve things that people who are interested in peace and justice can support?
I have two suggestions that I can elaborate on further if anybody wants. These have to do with 1) using the tools of international law, especially the International Criminal Court, to really function as international institutions and build a consensus on how to approach terrorism as a criminal act, and 2) trying to alter some of the conditions that lead to terrorism by paying greater attention to the social consequences of the kind of globalization that is taking shape. But here it is probably best to offer to answer questions about this if anybody has any, and also to invite suggestions from everybody else.
1) Bush at War, by Bob Woodward, Simon & Schuster, 2002.
3) The Neoconservative Persuasion, by Irving Kristol, Weekly Standard, August 25, 2003.
5) We'll Win This War, by Michael A. Ledeen, The American Enterprise Online.
6) The Future of War and the American Military, by Stephen P. Rosen, Harvard Magazine, May-June 2002, vol 104, no 5.
7) Michael A. Ledeen, quoted by Jonah Goldberg in Baghdad Delenda Est, Part Two, National Review, April 23, 2002.
8) Beware of Bolton, by Ian Williams, May 30, 2002.
9) America's Imperial Ambition, by John Ikenberry, Foreign Affairs, 2002.
10) Should We Evict the UN? by Patrick Buchanan, New York Post, December 27, 1997, page 15.
11) Washington Post, January 31, 2003.
12) The Guardian, March 21, 2003.
13) Why America Still Needs the United Nations, by Shashi Tharoor, Foreign Affairs, Sept/Oct 2003
14) The End of the American Era: US Foreign Policy and the Geopolitics of the Twenty-first Century, by Charles A. Kupchan, Knopf, October 29, 2002.
15) The Real Crisis Over the Atlantic, by Dominique Moisi, Foreign Affairs, July/August 2001.
16) Propaganda Isn't the Way: Soft Power, by Joseph S. Nye Jr., The International Herald Tribune, January 10, 2003.
17) Wolfowitz Stands Fast Amid the Antiwarriors, by Eric Schmitt, The New York Times, September 22, 2003.
18) Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, June 2003.
19) The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, The White House, September 17, 2002.
20) But What's the Legal Case for Preemption? by Bruce Ackerman, Washington Post, August 18, 2002.
21) The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, The White House, September 17, 2002.
22) Law unto Themselves, by Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, March 14, 2003.
23) UN Resolution 1441, The Security Council, November 8, 2002.
24) Selective Intelligence, by Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker, May 5, 2003.
25) The Economist, October 4, 2003.
26) A deafening silence, by Gideon Levy, Ha'aretz, October 6, 2002.
27) Bush's Unreliable Intelligence, by David Corn, The Nation, November 12, 2003.
28) Rice: Iraq trained al Qaeda in chemical weapons, CNN, September 26, 2002.
29) President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat, by George W. Bush, Cincinnati, October 7, 2002.
30) Saddam Hussein and the Sept. 11 Attacks, Washington Post Poll, September 6, 2003.
31) We're Taking Him Out, CNN, May 6, 2002.
32) May 9, 2003 interview of Paul Wolfowitz by Sam Tannenbaus, published in Vanity Fair, July 2003.
33) Iraq Said to Have Tried to Reach Last-Minute Deal to Avert War, by James Risen, The New York Times, November 6, 2003. Original article.
34) Stumbling into War, by James P. Rubin, Foreign Affairs, September/October 2003.
35) Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History, by George Crile, Atlantic Monthly Press, April 2003.
36) Bush's Faustian Deal With the Taliban, by Robert Scheer, Los Angeles Times, May 22, 2001.
37) Iraqi Democracy Is a Pipe Dream, by Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times, October 19, 2002.
38) UN Resolution 1441, The Security Council, November 8, 2002.
39) Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, July 7, 1991.
40) A War for Oil?, by Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, January 5, 2003.
41) US Diplomatic and Commercial Relationships with Iraq, 1980 - 2 August 1990.
42) US Support for Iraq in the 1980s, Center for Cooperative Research.
43) The Ghosts of 1991, by Peter W. Galbraith, Washington Post, Saturday, April 12, 2003.
44) Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, June 2003.
45) Making of a Monster: How the US Helped Build Iraq's War Machine, by William P. Hoar, The New American, September 1992.
46) A Hard Look at Iraq Sanctions, by David Cortright, The Nation, December 3, 2001.
47) Iraq surveys show 'humanitarian emergency, Unicef Information Newsline, August 12, 1999.
48) Columbia News Video, by Prof. Richard Garfield, March 03, 2000.
49) Cool War, by Joy Gordon, Harper's Magazine, November 2002.
50) Squeezed to death, by John Pilger The Guardian, Saturday March 4, 2000.
51) Cool War, by Joy Gordon, Harper's Magazine, November 2002.
52) Iraq 'smart sanctions' derailed by Russia, by Anton La Guardia, telegraph.co.uk, April 7, 2001.
53) Pew's Global Attitudes Project, June 2003.
54) Andrew Kohut's Senate Testimony, February 27, 2003.
55) Jihad: Expansion et declin de l'Islamisme, by Gilles Kepel, Gallimard, 2003.
56) Terror and Liberalism, by Paul Berman, Norton, 2003.
57) Jerry Falwell, September 13, 2001.
58) General William Boykin, 2002-2003.
59) State of the Union Address to Congress, by President Carter, January 21, 1980.
60) Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, May 4, 2003.
61) Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power, by Niall Ferguson, Basic Books, 2003. Critics of US policy are racist, says Rice, by David Rennie, telegraph.co.uk, September 8, 2003.
62) Iraqi Democracy Is a Pipe Dream, by Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times, October 19, 2002.
63) Critics of US policy are racist, says Rice, by David Rennie, telegraph.co.uk, September 8, 2003.
64) A World Transformed, by Brent Scowcroft and George H. W. Bush, Knopf, September 1998.