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July 18, 2005

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Alain

Jodi

This is a great post. I think you are absolutely right that "we" are the victims now, and that the war on terror relies on this for its continued support. The irony that it is a right-wing promotion of victimhood is often overlooked.

But I wonder if you could not take this one step further. Not only is the United States now the victim, angry and scorned by the Iraqis, but most Americans seem to largely ignore the human cost to the Iraqis civilian population. The fact that we are not even able to protect them, the fact that over 100 civilians died this weekend aone in suicide bombings, gets mostly a shrug and "aren't those terrorists awful" as a response.

Jodi

Alain, thanks--your remarks on the Iraqi victims are provocative. They made me think that insofar as 'everyone is a victim' and the Iraqis don't count/aren't counted that they aren't even
'bare life.' That they don't register as living or having lived or as a form of life. So, 'we' Americans remain the victims and somehow American lives are what is at stake.

Alain

Jodi

That is exactly right. We always hear about how many Americans have died (though we are not allowed to see the coffins) but the United States insists that it does not keep count of civilian casualties (though I have read that they do but choose not to release it). So it is left to foreign new outlets, NGO's, etc to estimate to Iraqi loss of life (128,000 was posted at Matt's site). It just disgusts me. And I understand that many of the casualties are produced by the insurgency, but the fact is the United States is responsible for the situation, we created it. And it seems we are unable or unwilling to do more to stop it.

Jodi

Unable or unwilling? Unable because unwilling? Unwilling because unable? Unable and unwilling? I think the last one, probably. We created a horrible mess. If we leave, will it get better for the people who live there or will there be even more violence and civil war? I now get a better sense as to why Bush said he wasn't interested in nation building: his focus is on destruction. Shock and awe.

R.Mutt

To me this post reads as a variation on a theme from Badiou's Ethics (on which Zizek may have relied).

"We have seen that ethics subordinates the identification of this subject to the universal recognition of the evil that is done to him. Ethics thus defines man as a victim. It will be objected: 'No! You are forgetting the active subject, the one that intervenes against barbarism!' So let us be precise: man is the being who is capable of recognizing himself as a victim."

(To avoid confusion, Badiou of course rejects this type of "ethics".)

Alain

Jodi

Unfortunately I think it would be a blood bath if we pulled out now. But one can only wonder if it can get much worse?

Jodi

RMutt--thanks for the Badiou cite. Does seem like Z is reiterating B's theme.

Alain: it doesn't seem like we are doing any good at all, even slightly; so, I guess I'm on the side of full withdrawal.

R.Mutt

What can be more fun that fantasizing you're a victim?

"What if today's anti-war Liberals were in charge of the American government and had been since 9/11? What would that society look like in the year 2021? What would be the results of fighting "a more sensitive war on terror" and looking to the corrupt United Nations to solve all of America's problems? In Liberality For All, the reader sees a vision of that future where there is only one justified type of war... the war against Conservatives and their ideals."
http://accstudios.com/index.htm

"It is 2021, tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of 9/11. America is under oppression by ultra-liberal extremists which have yielded governing authority to the United Nations. It is up to an underground conservative group (known as F.O.I.L.) led by Sean Hannity, G. Gordon Liddy and Oliver North to thwart Ambassador Usama Bin Laden's plans to nuke New York City."
http://accstudios.com/f/comicpreview_page_12.htm

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