As anyone who reads blogs has likely seen by now, there are lots of people having a (justified) fit over an open letter by Martin Kozloff, a professor at University of North Carolina (Wilmington). Prof. Kozloff advocates a number of interesting political positions:
I've worked hard all my adult life to provide for my family, to be useful, and not go out of my way to injure anyone. Like most Americans, I knew little about arab-muslim culture and believed that the developed nations were partly responsible for the poverty and authoritarian regimes that infest the middle east.
Things changed on 9/11/01 when you ruined the lives of at least 10,000 Americans.
These people instantly became my countrymen and you became my mortal enemy.
Ordinary Americans are arming themselves for war with you. I and many of my friends have closets full of handguns, rifles, shotguns and thousands of cartridges. If we had enough ammunition and time, we would kill every last one of you.
One day soon, our planes and missiles will begin turning your mosques, your madrasses, your hotels, your government offices, your hideouts, and your neighborhoods into rubble. And then our soldiers will enter your cities and begin the work of killing you, roaches, as you crawl from the debris.
We will burn your mosques.
We will invade the offices of pro-arab-muslim organizations, destroy them, and drag their officers outside.
We will tell the chancellors of universities either to muzzle or remove anti American professors, whose hatred for their own country we have tolerated only because we place a higher value on freedom of speech. But we will no longer tolerate treason. We will muzzle and remove them.
We will transport arab-muslims to our deserts, where they can pray to scorpions under the blazing sun. You have fucked with the wrong people. We will rid the world of your foul breath. Your caliphate will be your grave.
Boy, I'll bet he's fun at parties. There has been lots written on other blogs to point out the boundless issues and problems with Prof. Kozloff's language and ideas. Go and read them. Given the original insanity of Kozloff's letter, it almost makes one heartened about the state of dissent in this country (almost).
I'll only pick out one point to harp on. Perhaps it is not a trait only of Americans, but I continue to be amazed at the number of people who do not credit people from other cultures and states as capable of having the same feelings and responses as we do. Kozloff reflects the vast well of anger that American's feel at an (undefined) "them" that have done us harm on September 11th. And, as Americans, we want to lash out and destroy or damage "them", and we seem relatively unimpressed and indifferent to the collateral damage and civilian casualties that amount over time (as many as 15,000 to date in Iraq). Yet we fail to consider what effect that has on the Iraqis. Shouldn't they, like we, get angry when attacked unreasonably? Shouldn't they, like we, act on that anger and strike out against those that are responsible? Unless we want to make the argument that they, as a people, feel and think vastly differently than we do (an argument that starts down the path to a racist end), why shouldn't we expect their basic instinctive reactions to violence and chaos to be similar to ours? Is it any wonder that we see escalating violence in Iraq as our own violent attempts to subdue the insurrection go on and on?
The vast majority of Muslims, while they don't particularly like us, are not actively opposed to the US or taking up arms against us. What does Prof. Kozloff expect to happen when his suggested strategy is implemented?Posted by baltar at September 29, 2004 03:31 PM | TrackBack | Posted to Politics