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A War to End War?

Isn’t it strange that we can’t be confident yet of the deep story line in this war, can’t say just what it’s about?  Oil?  Empire? Democracy?  Most days it feels to me like the first chapter of the end of the world.  On television today it seemed to be about Peter Arnett.  Or: The Pentagon Against Itself.  Rummy Run Amok.  The Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh observed in a long interview yesterday for our radio program  www.thewholewideworld.net) that the war will punctuate the end of the 300-year history of the Anglophone Empire.  See also his piece in the current New Yorker.

Into the confusion I throw out the perhaps insanely cheerful thought that this could be the war to end war.  Meaning that the neo-con adventurers have decisively lost the world’s vote on the war and will lose the peace, no matter how long or brutal the battle of Baghdad.  More particularly: that the sole superpower has met its adversary for the future in the stubborn, unintimidated, and close to universal peace movement that has found its medium on the Web.

The question, paraphrasing Stalin on the Pope, is: how many divisions has the Internet?  More and more every day clearly. The most provocative elaboration of the answer comes from our colleague Jim Moore of the Berkman Center at Harvard Law School.  Meet “the second superpower.”

http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/jmoore/secondsuperpower.html

The revolution, as we knew, will not be televised, but it proceeds apace on-line.  Neither will this war be clarified on TV.

My indispensable sources of war news have become:

http://www.haaretzdaily.com/

http://www.independent.co.uk/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/

http://www.nytimes.com/

One of the most interesting commentaries, because he is himself so uncertain about the developing story, is posted almost daily by the Iraqi exile Kanan Makiya.  On our program he commented a month ago, from Salahuddin in Northern Iraq, “well Chris, let me put it this way, I think this could be a war about democracy in the middle east, that’s  why I am here. I say it could be, I don’t know that it is going to be that, but it could be..”  


Kanan Makiya’s war diary is a deeply informed and honest revaluation of what seems to me an altogether reckless bet.  

Check it out:  http://www.tnr.com/iraq/index.mhtml

{ 13 } Comments

  1. Anonymous | April 2, 2003 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Good, good stuff! And I like your news sources. Did you see the Op-Ed in, I think, the Sunday Times that gives some heavy mention to “The Virginian”, vis a vis GWB’s misinterpretation of the cowboy ethic?

    I need about seven hours catch-up with my Daddy! Maybe this weekend, avec Miranda.

  2. Anonymous | April 2, 2003 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    I was sure that this was meant as an April fool joke but Searls seems to take it seriously. The hope that there will be no war because the neo-cons are unpopular is …. amusingly insane to be sure. “Neo-con adventurers” rolls off the tongue and probably appeals to the kind of mind that had a fondness for “running dog capitalists”. Unfortunately, since neo-cons only have existed since the early 90’s, and warfare since before agriculture, this “thought” is best served on April 1 only.

    I wonder if you understand what “losing the peace” means in reality? Won’t be good for the Iraqi’s for sure. But then you guys never meant to include peace for them anyways did you? Hoping this is an April 1 joke, if only to try keep some tiny respect for Searls.

  3. Anonymous | April 3, 2003 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been trying to suss out how it is that you liberal folks can have such bizarre notions as a near “universal peace movement.” Your “indispensable sources” provide the best clue that I’ve come across, thus far.

    Hey, try giving Instapundit a look.

  4. Anonymous | June 23, 2003 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Chris, we don’t need you. We already have Bill Moyers. But wait! We do need you, because it would be delightful to see the two of you go to war over who can denigrate Bush more.

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