Mother of All Pretexts
Avnery's "The Mother of All Pretexts" is carefully and subtly wrought,
by a mind alive with the history of the region and its deeper nuances.
Two points might
The idea of a
"clash of civilizations" is not a new idea, but rooted in the study
of the Fourth Century A.D., when the Roman Empire opened the century pagan and
Diocletianic and closed it Theodosian and putatively Christian.
its application to some new crusade against Islam by the "West," what
the Germans called Kulturkampf and what was analyzed in the ancient world
by Arnaldo Momigliano quite brilliantly, is not otherwise empty of significance
in that context.
enough, in the context of Islam itself, Oswald Spengler quite rightly implies
that Islam and Arabic culture are, through the medium of "Magian Man,"
more "western" than "eastern."
In fact, in that
context, what is unveiled is a conflict between different versions of the same
prophetic religion, as Arthur Darby Nock phrased it.
The other point
is more contemporary.
All Pretexts" is obviously rooted in Saddam Hussein's "Mother of All
Battles," and works quite nicely as a title in that context.
however, which he applied to the first Gulf War, was generally misunderstood
in the West, and particularly by Americans, surely under the influence of American
The gist in Arabic
was not merely "a big battle" but also "a battle that would give
birth to many other battles."
Which indeed it
Thanks again to
Mr. Avnery for a superb piece of contemporary analysis and intellectual history.
~ Eugene Costa
Hitchens and Genocide
article on Christopher Hitchens and his genocidal warmongering. As an atheist
and a noninterventionist libertarian, I find Hitchens very frustrating. Many
of his points about religion are, in my opinion, correct, but then he goes off
on tangents, away from philosophical meandering to advocating violence and promoting
prejudice against an entire group of people.
This just makes
atheists look foolish, if not dangerous. Hitchens is NOT a typical atheist!
(I know you know this. I'm just stating the obvious.) All of the atheists I
know want to settle the philosophical differences through discussion, debate
and scientific advancement, not violence – and certainly not genocide!
What scares me,
is that I suspect that many neocons share his view on this. I am very upset
by Hitchens' rantings, but I am equally bothered by the ultra-religious who
look forward to the end of the world and seem to want a kind of anti-Muslim
crusade, even if they are not explicitly stating that goal as Hitchens has done.
If the U.S. bombs
Iran, it won't be an atheist who gave the order.
~ Scott Frost,
Learned – Or Not
want to address bizarre and contradictory statements Gordon Prather has advanced
in his latest column. He states in part:
"At this point
it is worth noting that the NPT does not prohibit Iran from producing subject
to IAEA Safeguards weapons-grade uranium or plutonium. Nor does the NPT prohibit
Iran from producing or otherwise acquiring ballistic missiles capable of delivering
small, sophisticated nuclear weapons to Israel."
go against basically everything Dr. Prather has written in his columns for the
past year. Also, it is somewhat odd that supposedly producing weapons grade
uranium and plutonium is not "furthering a military purpose."
Through his columns,
I have come to respect Dr. Prather as a good and decent man devoted to accuracy
and truth, telling it like it is often in opposition to the MSM. But in this
last column it appears Gordon is laying the groundwork for an apologetic defense
of supposed weapons grade nuclear materials production. Should it come to light
and be proven that Iran has enriched uranium to 90%+, instead of 5% then this
would confirm the worst suspicions.
of the goal-posts is troubling for a man I have come to respect.
is nothing "contradictory" in my statements. First, Bush-Cheney-Bolton to the
contrary, there is nothing in the NPT about missiles. Nothing! Nada! Zip! Second,
the NPT not only allows a non-weapons state to produce – subject to IAEA
Safeguards, of course – almost pure Uranium-235 (which many reactors, including
those in our nuclear powered submarines, run on) and/or Plutonium-239 (which
is produced by many research reactors, such as the one the North Koreans "unfroze"
as a result of Bush unilaterally abrogating the Agreed Framework) but Article
V requires "each party to the treaty" (Bush) to ensure that "potential
benefits from any peaceful applications of nuclear explosives will be made available"
to non-nuclear-weapons states (Iran) on "a nondiscriminatory basis."
not already having nukes – such as Iran – are required to enter into
a Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA for the "exclusive" purpose of verifying
to other NPT-signatories that no "source or special nuclear materials" are used
in furtherance of any military purpose. The NPT is all about the peaceful use
of special nuclear materials.
Anon is apparently
thinking of the proposed Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, which would prohibit
even nuke-weapons states and states outside the NPT – such as Israel and
India – from producing any more almost pure Uranium-235, Uranium-233 or
Plutonium-239. As I noted in "Another
Coalition of the Willing?," Iran is a strong advocate of such a treaty,
but obviously George Bush, Israel and India oppose it.
What a 'Safe' Cluster Bomb Did
you very much for Rebecca Murray's article "Lebanon : What a 'Safe' Cluster
Bomb Did." May I please draw your readers' attention to a petition we have
placed on Downing Street Petitions Online. The
petition calls for the UK to honor its commitment to the Oslo Agreement
and to ban the use of the M85 cluster bomb. As members of the Cluster Munition
Coalition, we are also hosting a Global Day of Action Against Cluster Bombs
on 5 November. Details of the event will be published on our Web site very soon.
Some time ago
I criticized you for bias in favor of Serbs in writing on Balkan troubles. I
have no regrets for doing so on that occasion. However, your articles have become
really excellent, with more balance and the right amount of venom for those
who serve the would-be empire. My occasional small donation
to Antiwar.com is my support for an outstanding team.
~ Goran Vukovic