Dear Phillip et al at LNL,
Again, well done. LNL is a drop of sanity in an ocean of madness, or at least profound and wilful stupidity.
Whilst listening to Wednesday’s programme, and particularly to Prof. Steinburg’s ardent views, a number of thoughts occurred to me.
The first was that I would not like to be dependent on the good prof. S. to resolve any conflict that I was involved in.
The second thought concerned the notion of “innocent victim(s)”. This designation has been employed extensively of late, in a range of contexts. Its main purpose would seem to be to provoke an emotional response to a dramatic event. The political and moral force of such a label, and the frequency of its use, cries out for closer scrutiny. If LNL has not already done so ( I am only able to listen spasmodically), perhaps it is a subject you might consider.
In particular, it would seem that whilst women and children are invariably innocent, men are much less often seen as such, even when their gender is the only factor to distinguish them from the innocents. This distinction was very evident in statements pertaining to some rather controversial boating parties held recently in Australian waters. One is reminded of the deserving and undeserving poor.
Somewhat more problematic is the innocence of the victims of the terrorist attacks in the US. My thesis here is inherently controversial and fraught with danger and is intended very much as a polemic. It is essentially this: one nation’s innocent victim is another’s collateral damage.
If people working voluntarily, in presumably well paid jobs at the Pentagon are innocent victims, what of the teenage conscripts in the Iraqi army who were slaughtered in their thousands by US high explosives during the Gulf War. What exactly were they guilty of, apart from perhaps choosing their gender and /or their dictator unwisely. The same applies of course to recipients of US ordnance in many exotic locations: South East Asia, Lebanon, Tripoli, and Central America. Perhaps all victims are innocent but some are more innocent than others.
The concomitant of innocence is of course guilt. Whilst the perpetrators of these current outrages are quite rightly universally condemned, the sanctimonious demonising of those who employ violence to further political aims is nauseating. The USA has sponsored terrorists and proxy wars. It has subverted democratically elected governments (including our own) and supported vicious dictators. It has made vast amounts of money through the arms trade and it presides over a rapacious economic system that condemns billions of people to poverty and even death. If my memory serves me, the current president’s father was responsible for the bombing of a suburb in Panama City in order to arrest an alleged drug dealer. I have read estimates of the death toll as high as 3000 “innocent” people. The US had of course declared war on drugs, so that would make those victims merely collateral damage.
Now I am just a simple farmer, but it does seem a little odd to me that the most powerful military machine in history can engage in a major conflict in another country for a decade without declaring war, but at the drop of a hat declare war on an arbitrary selection of pharmaceuticals, a small number of unidentified individuals and a political strategy consistently applied by itself. It is definitely time the White House invested in a dictionary. The words war, terrorist and innocent could definitely use a little brushing up.
Your fellow inmate in this sick sad world,