[Marxism] Admire Colin Powell - Hell No!!!
andromeda246 at hetnet.nl
Tue Nov 16 08:06:46 MST 2004
Thanks Rachel for reminding me. Actually, the material from
Underthesamesun.org is taken from
As cited, the Central American Human Rights commission [CODEHUCA] estimated
the number of non-combatants killed in the Panama invasion between 2,200 and
4,000. Oddly, US Physicians for Human Rights estimated in its report made at
around the same time "at least 300" Panamanian civilians died due to the
invasion, and that at least 3,000 Panamanian civilians received physical
injuries sufficiently serious to require emergency treatment at hospitals or
the US military's field medical units during the invasion and its violent
Whatever the exact numbers, Powell's facility for defending the indefensible
is remarkable, just as the pattern of US imperialist intervention is clear.
The salient concept here is that of "minimizing civilian casualties", also
known as minimizing "collateral damage", a notion which is touted in the
media at times. Ideologically, this concept already implies that civilian
casualties are inevitable in military warfare, an idea which runs counter to
the Geneva convention.
I'm sure Wesley Clark would argue that it is impossible to avoid civilian
deaths and wounded in modern warfare, in part because it heavily relies on
aerial bombardments (i.e. killing from a remote distance) and because
guerilla warfare often makes it impossible to tell combatants from
Interestingly the NYT also notes Powell had a "moderating influence" in
world affairs. If that influence was "moderating", just imagine what awaits
the world with his successors.
NYT casts him "good soldier Powell", recalling Jaroslav Hasek's novel "The
Good Soldier Svejk". This novel if you don't know it, tells the story of
the Czech veteran Josef Svejk who, after being drafted back into the
Austro-Hungarian empire's army as cannon fodder to die for an Emperor he
despises, tries to undermine military efforts in world war 1 by "svejking".
"Svejkárna" is the method he has for surviving in a situation of systemic
absurdity - one has to "svejk" to survive, and remain untouched by the
surrounding craziness. Berthold Brecht subsequently wrote a play as sequel
of Hasek's novel.
I confess I still struggle to understand Powell's human motivations (the
mind boggles), though of course it could of course be argued that those
motivations also changed over time. Many questions still remain unanswered,
including why the US army used depleted uranium shells in the attack on
Baghdad, if indeed the aim was to minimize civilian casualties.
But anyway, have to get back to work.
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