RE: virus: Propaganda and Travel

TheHermit (
Sat, 17 Apr 1999 01:35:09 -0500

Contents ruthlessly reordered and selectively addressed.


Nicely written if very inaccurate. It is worthwhile going back and rereading the history of the area if only to see how fast a meme can be created. It is well worth a little time. has a copy of a brief history I previously posted to the list.

> ...for a list devoted at least in part to a discussion of memetics,
> I've got to confess I'm a little bit apalled. Let's take a brief look
> at this whole Hitler comparison, shall we. The disputes in Kosovar go
> back hundreds of years and are based on complex interactions of
> ethnicity, religion and the territorial imperative. The comparison of
> Milosevic (sp?) to Hitler is specious and an obvious strawman,
> fostered by the military-entertainment complex to lend surface weight
> to the whole action.

Your state of "appalledness" proves exactly what? Saying that the "disputes in Kosovar go back hundreds of years etc" hardly shows why comparisons of Hitler and Milosevic are lies? To my mind, if we comparing Milosevic to Hitler in, say, March 1938, it leaves Hitler looking quite respectable by contrast. After all, at that time he had no intention of fighting a war, until at least 1942 (he said so in writing - to his generals - which makes it believable), and the "idea" of a "Final Solution" were not seriously proposed or applied until late 1941. Milosevic and his band of Nazi like criminals - have already caused four wars, over 250,000 deaths, and 3.6 million refugees. I'd say that they are progressing rapidly, and they do make Hitler look like a slow learner. After all, poor Adolf took much longer to set Europe ablaze than it has taken Milosevic. But then the Balkans have always made pretty good tinder for some pretty nasty incendiaries. So your claim that the "Hitler comparison" is invalid really has some merit, but only because Milosevic is so much more nasty than Hitler was at the same point in his carreer.

I should note that I find your use of the Turkish form of the name for Kosovar(Turkish)/Kosovo(Serb)/Kosova(Albanian) delightfully amusing especially seeing that I have deliberately been using the Serbian form of it.

> ...hmmm... how a dictatorial regime from a small central european
> country could launch a propaganda war over communications media
> developed in the land of his enemies, controlled by his enemies and
> sponsored by the industrial arm of the enemy economic system is a bit
> beyond me... care to explain?

Wherever did you borrow the idea of a "military-entertainment complex"? Watching television or in alt.politics.die.barney.die? Despite your “sudden onset cynicism”, it is not only probable; for the competent and unscrupulous operator it is ridiculously easy. Visit Jim's rather neat website try to understand more. The only reason it does not happen more often is that the unscrupulous so seldom are competent. Ultimately, ideas do not mind who owns the media they use to transition between synapses. And we humans have a great fascination with evil. And the media is frequently so fascinated by its own glory that an unscrupulous operator can

> ...let's assume this is true. Any suggestions on how we should go
> about stopping the well-documented and extensive bullyboy tactics
> employed by the United States?
> ..."the force meme"... I don''t think Yoda would approve.

Richard, simply put, while I suspect that your comments on the US may be accurate, I am certainly not sure that it is correct or desirable to want to stop them. You see, you have gone from observation to conclusion while leaving out persuasion. Woodrow Wilson's naivety was instrumental in starting this; maybe Clinton's naivety will lead (pardon the expression) willy-nilly to an ending of it. I suspect that Yoda would see physical force as one means of applying appropriate pressure to prevent the "imbalance in the force" from disseminating. The task may be unpleasant, and is certainly thankless, but it is the best, maybe the only language we seem to have figured out to prevent grown-up bullies from tearing up other people’s playgrounds.

In any case, difficult though it may be to a Television viewer, you should not forget that while the US is contributing most of the aircraft, this is a NATO action, not a US action (nor even a UN action). In any case, I recommend that you give up looking for equity or "fairness" in any national policy especially on the part of the US. That is a dreadful admission of naivety. The US has of course apparently specialized in creating monsters for themselves. In recent history, the role played by the US in persuading both Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic that they could go ahead with whatever plans they had, without worrying about US reactions as the US would not intervene in regional affairs, was not entirely insignificant. This is not a new phenomenon. People who listen to overmuch Western propaganda forget that the West is no less competent than the Eastern block at destabilization and propaganda. The US has no ethical standards in foreign affairs, and no discernable foreign policy. Only foreign interests. This may be “unethical”, is not per se wrong. It is the unprincipled principle underlying the relationships between nations and memorialized in International law. Yes, I agree that it is very hypocritical to claim that some other decision-making principles are being used but it seems to make people feel better. Of course, most Americans are too ignorant to realize that they are being hypocritical. Most Americans are also unaware that the UN has used similar language to describe the UK and USA’s involvements in the Turkish "Ethnic cleansing" of the Kurds, as the US has been using recently to describe what has happened in Kosovo. On the other hand, the many American's buying into Slobodan Milosevic's propaganda parade are probably too poorly educated on European history or geography to know better. And Milosevic knows this and takes advantage of their credulity.

A really serious problem I see is that the US is not that far from Europe in either an economic or in a social sense. Economic trouble in Europe invariably impacts the US economy, and social upheaval tends to be exacerbated in the USA, the last cesspit of religious extremism outside of the 3rd world. I think that everyone here knows my opinion, the tragedy is not that NATO moved into Kosova, but that it took so long to do it and now that it is there, it seems uncertain as to how to proceed. Think about it, Slobodan Milosevic's "Final Solution" for the Muslims and Catholics of Kosovo is already better than 50% accomplished. In a crime of monstrous proportion, a million Kosovars have been slaughtered, robbed, raped and driven like animals from their burning homes by Serbs, then treated like human garbage by the government of Macedonia. And NATO and many Americans are wringing their collective angst out, over some "collateral" kills. Even when it is called a "police action", a war generally involves the use of weapons that are designed to kill people. That is what armies are for. Shit happens, die with it...

The inept, irresolute Bill Clinton must bear a lot of the blame for this bloody fiasco. He has had a massive role in the delay and for NATO's wimpish and belated response to date. Any buck private could have told NATO's civilian masters that air attacks alone couldn't and wouldn't prevent Serb ethnic warfare. The failure to mass ground troops around Serbia before air attacks began was an act of military, diplomatic and political idiocy. So is NATO's repeated insistence that ground forces won't be sent, signaling Serbia would not be invaded and could keep its tanks and guns hidden from air attack instead of deploying them to repel a NATO assault. Serb forces in Kosovo are now using Albanians as human shields and hostages against air attack. This war by committee has been half-hearted, half-witted and wholly inept. NATO's “massive air campaign” took a full 16 days to deliver the same number of strikes, as did the U.S. on a single day of the 1991 Gulf war against Iraq. Only 15% of aircraft launched carry war loads; the rest fly support. If NATO can't signally and rapidly defeat a mere 7 million poorly commanded Serbs, while holding complete air superiority, then what can it do?

NATO has launched another intense diplomatic effort to end the war, which it plainly cannot win without ground troops. In yet another act of folly, the Clinton administration is pleading with Russia to make the Serbs back off, proposing that Russian troops might be sent to Kosovo - without NATO oversight. There is a certain delicious irony, that, after the US has struggled for 50 years to oust the Russians from Eastern Europe, Clinton is now inviting them back. Hardliners in Moscow are delighted! Russia is using its long-time ally Serbia, to reassert influence in the Balkans, and to confront the West. Iraq, whose air defenses and air force are supported by Serb advisers, is laughing all the way to the bank.

Joe, this has to be the sound byte of the week. Its beautiful. "The only way to deal with bullies is to royally and regally kick their ever-luvin' asses, for the force meme is the only one which will sway them."

You sure said a mouthful in that short letter. I was steeling myself to try to write some more history, planning on concentrating on the 1920 to 1990 era and the immense difficulty experienced in ousting entrenched dictators, when you saved me the trouble. My thanks. All I could do would be to add nuances, and perhaps attempt to dissipate some of the very effective nastiness creeping out of Yugoslavia.

Serb leader Milosevic's strategy is to ride out the bombing, dig in - he and the war criminals around him have nowhere, save Russia, to go - wait for NATO to splinter, and make "peace" after completing what even UN chief Kofi Annan now terms “genocide”. He must not be allowed to do so. Serbia's crimes have negated its claims to Kosovo, and as I have pointed out before, the best of their claims were never terribly strong. Belgrade must be forced to pay for rebuilding all the burned villages and towns. NATO should march into Belgrade, arrest Slobodan Milosevic and his henchmen - try them for war crimes, hang them and end, hopefully for good, this ongoing Balkan nightmare.

> ...technically, the sword of Damocles hands above, not ahead, but I
> digress. Your metaphor is apt, but ill-applied - the lesson of the
> swordof Damocles is that a wise ruler must carefully balance a range
> of competing interests and agendas while maintaining a functional
> environment.

I think you failed to grasp the sword. You certainly missed the allusion. It is the element of arbitrary randomness, which makes the sword of Damocles the efficient mind-killer that it is

The way to do this is not by selectively targeting
> atrocities inimical to governmental interests while pointedly
> ignoring others.

Why not? Everything has a cost, and the art of politics is the art of the might have been. It would seem as if the US has decided that "the best" of leaders, have been tried and been found wanting, and that they are now trying the worst. The current theory seems to be that "character" is unimportant, and your lines imply that you would like to think otherwise. I too might once have argued as you do, but seeing the quintessence of sleaze, which the US’s elected representatives believed an adequate enough president to retain him in office, it seems that this is a minority view. As to the rest, sporadic and unpredictable acts of seemingly meaningless gratuitous violence are probably the best deterrent around. Nobody else wants to emulate this repulsive behavior or become the next victim of Clinton’s need for distraction.

Although as I have argued before, NATO has a legitimate interest in European stability, as does the US. Which also is a member of NATO. So the US has two reasons for being there. Now if they had a president that was able to learn that deploying troops rapidly and effectively is the best way to stop violence with minimum bloodshed it would also be good.

> Balance requires a clear and consistent application
> of principle, not a cynical application of force to serve selfish
> interests.

Explain what evidence you have to indicate that this is true. If you succeed, please try to show that it is desirable. Then, attempt to explain how it is possible?

> Sure, the medicine's bitter,
> > in terms of lives lost and money spent, but we'll feel much better
> > when the global body politic is free of this fascist disease
> ...granted that fascism is a current affliction of the "global body
> politic" (which is itself an artificial memetic construction designed
> to grant certain powerful bodies a facile means of excusing their
> self-serving actions). Bombs do not, have not and probably never will
> serve as an effective antidote. Fascism is not a physical complex, it
> is an ideological complex.

There seems to be rather a lot of assertions in this porridge. I couldn't help but notice the absence of any supporting evidence, and in fact thought of any number of contrary facts. Fascism like any meme, is very persistent, but rapidly goes into hiding when circumstances make it unpopular. For example, perhaps some of the bombs dropped on Europe during the 1940’s might explain its unpopularity in most of Europe even today. Would you like to explain your thinking some more? For the moment I agree totally with Joe on this one.

TheHermit <snip snapping away while replying in a random and unprincipled fashion!>

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Richard Aynesworthy []
> Sent: Friday, April 16, 1999 9:51 AM
> To:
> Subject: Re: virus: Propaganda and Travel


>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: joe dees []
>> Sent: Friday, April 16, 1999 3:15 AM
>> To:
>> Subject: Re: virus: Propaganda and Travel