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OfflineEchoVortex
(hard) member
Registered: 02/06/02
Posts: 859
Last seen: 8 years, 2 months
Columbia disaster a bad omen?
    #1289219 - 02/07/03 04:56 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

A pretty daffy position to take, but who knows? Maybe she's on to something. Only time will tell.

The rest of the article (see link) offers a thoughful, and rational, argument for why invading is a bad idea.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2003/02/07/paglia/index.html

The Salon Interview: Camille Paglia
Bad omen: Why the Columbia disaster should make Bush think twice about rushing to war with Iraq.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By David Talbot



Feb. 7, 2003 | Camille Paglia is a rarity in the increasingly polarized world of public intellectuals, a high-profile thinker and writer who is not readily identified with any political camp or party line. She burst onto the scene in 1990 following the publication of her book, "Sexual Personae." Paglia was a rough-trade feminist not afraid to challenge the orthodoxy of the women's movement or its reigning sisterhood; a professor from a small college with no qualms about torching the Parisian academic trends then enthralling Ivy League humanities departments; a self-proclaimed "Democratic libertarian" who voted twice for Bill Clinton and then loudly denounced him for bringing shame to his office.

Given Paglia's originality and unpredictability, we had no idea what to expect when we phoned her earlier this week for her opinions on the Bush administration's looming war with Iraq. Paglia proudly describes herself as a Dionysian child of the '60s, a generation not known for its martial spirit. And yet, during her long run as a Salon columnist, she developed an enthusiastic following among conservatives, including retired and active military personnel, for her eloquent tributes to family, tradition, country and uniformed service, as well as her stop-your-blubbering take on modern American life.

Paglia retired her Salon column last year to focus on teaching -- she is university professor of humanities and media studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia - and to finish her fifth book, a study of poetry that will be published by Pantheon Books. She returns in the Salon Interview to reveal her opinions on Iraq for the first time. "The foreign press has asked me repeatedly to comment on Iraq, and I've said I don't think it's right as an American citizen to do that. I said I should reserve my criticisms of the administration for home consumption," said Paglia. "That's why I'm talking to you now."

What is your position on the increasingly likely U.S. invasion of Iraq?

Well, first of all, I'm on the record as being pro-military and in insisting that military matters and international affairs were neglected throughout the period of the Clinton administration -- which partly led to the present dilemma. The first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 should have been a wake-up call for everyone. However, I'm extremely upset about our rush to war at the present moment. If there truly were an authentic international coalition that had been carefully built, and if the administration had demonstrated sensitivity to the fragility of international relations, I'd be 100 percent in favor of an allied military expedition to go into Iraq and find and dispose of all weapons of mass destruction.

But most members of the current administration seem to have little sense that there's an enormous, complex world beyond our borders. The president himself has never traveled much in his life. They seem to think the universe consists of America and then everyone else -- small-potatoes people who can be steamrolled. And I'm absolutely appalled at the lack of acknowledgment of the cost to ordinary Iraqi citizens of any incursion by us, especially aerial bombardment. Most of the Iraqi armed forces are pathetically unprepared to respond to a military confrontation with us. These are mostly poor people who have a profession and a dignity within their country, and they're not necessarily totally behind Saddam Hussein's ambition to dominate his region. There's just no way that Saddam's threat is equal to that of Hitler leading up to World War II. Hitler had amassed an enormous military machine and was actively seeking world domination. We don't need to invade Iraq. Saddam can be bottled up with aggressive surveillance and pinpoint airstrikes on military installations.

As we speak, I have a terrible sense of foreboding, because last weekend a stunning omen occurred in this country. Anyone who thinks symbolically had to be shocked by the explosion of the Columbia shuttle, disintegrating in the air and strewing its parts and human remains over Texas -- the president's home state! So many times in antiquity, the emperors of Persia or other proud empires went to the oracles to ask for advice about going to war. Roman generals summoned soothsayers to read the entrails before a battle. If there was ever a sign for a president and his administration to rethink what they're doing, this was it. I mean, no sooner had Bush announced that the war was "weeks, not months" away and gone off for a peaceful weekend at Camp David than this catastrophe occurred in the skies over Texas.

From the point of view of the Muslim streets, surely it looks like the hand of Allah has intervened, as with the attack on the World Trade Center. No one in the Western world would have believed that those mighty towers could fall within an hour and a half -- two of the proudest constructions in American history. And neither would anyone have predicted this eerie coincidence -- that the president's own state would become the burial ground for the Columbia mission.

Including one small town where the debris fell called Palestine, Texas.

Yes, exactly! What weird irony with an Israeli astronaut onboard who had bombed Iraq 20 years ago. To me this dreadful accident is a graphic illustration of the limitations of modern technology -- of the smallest detail that can go wrong and end up thwarting the most fail-safe plan. So I think that history will look back on this as a key moment. Kings throughout history have been shaken by signals like this from beyond: Think twice about what you're doing. If a Roman general tripped on the threshold before a battle, he'd call it off.



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Offlinehongomon
old hand
Registered: 04/14/02
Posts: 910
Loc: comin' at ya
Last seen: 12 years, 7 months
Re: Columbia disaster a bad omen? [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1289375 - 02/07/03 05:59 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

Even if superstition's not your thing, you have to appreciate her analysis. This part in particular--

But most members of the current administration seem to have little sense that there's an enormous, complex world beyond our borders. The president himself has never traveled much in his life. They seem to think the universe consists of America and then everyone else -- small-potatoes people who can be steamrolled. And I'm absolutely appalled at the lack of acknowledgment of the cost to ordinary Iraqi citizens of any incursion by us, especially aerial bombardment. Most of the Iraqi armed forces are pathetically unprepared to respond to a military confrontation with us. These are mostly poor people who have a profession and a dignity within their country, and they're not necessarily totally behind Saddam Hussein's ambition to dominate his region. There's just no way that Saddam's threat is equal to that of Hitler leading up to World War II. Hitler had amassed an enormous military machine and was actively seeking world domination. We don't need to invade Iraq. Saddam can be bottled up with aggressive surveillance and pinpoint airstrikes on military installations.

I agree on several points--our leaders operate on shallow, unchallenged worldviews; our leaders are very NONhumanitarian; and the Hitler-Hussein comparison is ridiculous.


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