[eDebate] No Lentils...Please!!!

Richard A. Garner ragarner
Sat Jul 12 14:05:19 CDT 2008


On Fri, Jul 11, 2008 at 11:25 AM, Clay Webb <webb767 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Don't tell me it can't be done. They extradited one terrorist. 1
> GUY......you can widdle the case down to nothing....but you won't have a
> link to a disad . Not hating on wake....bravo...... Your generics won't
> link.....why....because no one gives a shit about Lebanon Terrorist guy or
> large chickpeas....
>

Does this mean everyone doesn't carry extra copies of this card around in
their backpacks? =)

Link: Dead or Alive


*Shapiro*, Professor of Political Science at the University of Hawaii, *2002
* [Michael J., ""Wanted, Dead or Alive," *Theory & Event* 5:4, project muse]

*"Wanted, Dead or Alive"*

5:4 | (c) 2002 Michael J. Shapiro [Contents] [Search] [Muse]

*What kind of State is that which is able to nip terrorism in the bud and
eliminate it...? Does it not have to equip itself with its own terrorism and
in doing so simply generalize terror at all levels? What is the real price
for such security and are we all seriously dreaming about this?*

Jean Baudrillard[1]

Introduction: "I don't like this movie" (a remark by a U.S. Marine during
the Vietnam War, reported in Michael Herr's Dispatches)

1. A body falling through the air from over 90 stories up; a doomed worker,
hopelessly waiving a white flag from a window near the top; the two towers
imploding with thousands still trapped inside! It was like a disaster movie
without a touch of redemption. I wanted to see it as the worst film I has
ever seen. But it happened, and, to borrow one of Don DeLillo's expressions,
it was like "an aberration in the heartland of the real." And now perhaps
the worst is yet to come.

2. *When George Dubya initially reacted to the events of September 11, he
appeared to be hankering for a "Wild West" solution. He wanted to -- here I
use the venerable yet paradoxical phrase* -- *"bring to justice"* *Osama Bin
Laden.* Of course, as Richard Slotkin has pointed out, *in one of our
dominant collective imaginaries, we are a "gunfighter nation."* *Pointing to
Western films as the genre within which the territorial extension of Euro
American national culture (the westward moving frontier of violence) has
been mythologized and legitimated throughout the twentieth century, Slotkin
dismisses the more pacific, contractual models of the evolution of American
nationhood.*[2]

3. Certainly the imagery has found its way into popular as well as official
culture. When I heard Bush's remark, I thought of an episode of the HBO
production, The Sopranos. Tony Soprano's Uncle Junior says to his head hit
man, who is thirsting for violent revenge against some of Tony's overly
exuberant minions, "Take it easy, we're not making a Western here." And,
while pondering the western scenario that the President (and Junior) evoked,
I recalled the revenge-happy antics that emerged throughout the U.S. in
America's Centennial Year, right after General Custer and his cavalry
regiment were wiped out by Crazy Horse and his Sioux warriors. Evan
Connell's remarks, in his account of the events *following the Battle of
Little Big Horn*, fit our current situation:

Reaction throughout *the country was no different in 1876 than it is today
upon receipt of similar news: shock, followed by disbelief, fury, and a
slavering appetite for revenge.*[3]

4. In the1876 episode, "volunteers popped up like daisies in April" (in "of
all places," Sioux City and in Salt Lake City, Springfield Illinois, and
throughout several states, including Arkansas, Nevada, Tennessee, and
Texas), egged on by a revenge-lusting media. Among the more incendiary
statements in the press was an editorial in the Chicago Tribune: "In every
case where an inoffensive citizen is slain, let 100 of these red brutes feel
the power of a rope properly adjusted under their chins." And in an
articulation reminiscent of President Bush's, "a group of schoolboys [in
Custer's birthplace of New Rumsley, Ohio] took an oath -- 'each with his
right hand upraised over a McGuffey First Reader' -- to kill Sitting Bull on
sight."[4]

5. Connell notes that "a few reflective people could be heard among those of
letter writers, volunteers, and schoolboys in knickers, but not many."[5] *At
least in this respect, the current situation is not as grim. More than a few
"self-reflective people" can be heard.* *But* *at the level of official
decision-making, and in mainstream media, revenge, strategy and logistics
monopolize the agenda.* *Although, unlike the situation in 1876, the prime
adversaries are not easy to locate, and although, as the Secretary of
Defense put it, Afghanistan lacks "high value targets," the U. S., U. K. and
some others are proceeding* (as I write)* with a military assault on
Afghanistan, having decided that they must punish the country within which
the alleged mastermind resides.*

6. *So perhaps, as regards the present war fervor, we are making a
western.*At the same time, we appear to be making a modern film as
well as a classic,
a global version of Wim Wenders's The End of Violence (1997). The Wenders
film presents a Los Angeles that is a prey to a secret FBI project to
surveil and ultimately eliminate street crime, through the use of a network
of cameras monitored by a NASA-trained surveillance expert. The surveillance
expert is, himself, under surveillance, through the collaboration of a
suborned Central American woman (a victim of government violence), who
cleans his office, has an affair with him, and reports on those of his
activities that may risk exposing the FBI's top secret project. Leaving
aside the complications of a plot that weaves together lives within and
outside of Los Angeles, the film narrative makes it evident that the only
way comprehensively to eliminate violence "as we know it," is to perpetrate
an even more insidious and pervasive violence.

7. *In the present case, we are looking at much more territorially extended
project to end -- in this case -- terroristic violence* (as we know it).
People die in Wenders's film. *The bodies that are to be eliminated are
those connected directly or indirectly* (e.g. a film producer of
state-of-the-art violent thrillers in the case of the latter) *to "crime."*
*In the current Bush/Blair scenario, the count of the bodies-that-count will
doubtless climb, as, increasingly, the activities of surveillance and
punishment produce more tangentially connected but nevertheless dangerous
bodies.* *To treat the rationale for what can perhaps be best described as
sovereign violence (enacted to end violence),* *we must ponder the new
biopolitics of global governance.* *Back in 1876, the biopolitics providing
the context for the post Little Big Horn revenge scenario was already in
place, having emerged from the Euro American nation building project. An
American ethnogenesis had already largely disqualified the political
eligibility of Native American nations. Whether lamented as a "vanishing
race" or abjured as impediments to a commercial model of land use, the
"savage" bodies were either dangers to be eliminated or problems for the
Euro American "Indian policy." In contrast,* *the main contemporary
biopolitical conceits are post nation building ones. They reflect a
genealogy of security problematics.* *Inasmuch as the process of ending
terroristic violence is at an early stage, I want to make some observations
about the biopolitics of* *the new forms of sovereignty-as-enactment as the
"allied forces" determine which bodies are to be targeted.*

_____________________________________

p.s. Let's also say, for the record, that a) my recollections of said
affirmative are, errr, hazy at best, but b) I did in fact watch it.
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