The semiotics of Political Shock and Awe

From: rakeshb@STANFORD.EDU
Date: Sat Apr 19 2003 - 15:22:31 EDT

Let me quote a bit from former US secty of defence, CIA director
and secty of energy James Schlesinger's column on the
*meaning* of the US war in case anyone did not apprehend it.

From a column "Now It's POLITICAL Shock and Awe" in the WSJ,

"Yet the longer-run strategic meaning transcends the essentially 3
week war itself. The outcome will alter the strategic--and
psychological map--of the Middle East.

"The war has most dramatically conveyed the following realities:

1.) The US is a very powerful country
2.) It is ill advised to arouse the nation by attacking or repeatedly
provoking it--or by providing support to terrorism; and
3.) Regularly to so means a price will be likely paid. Far less
credence will now be placed in the preachments of Osama bin
Laden regarding America's weakness, its unwillingness to accept
burdens, and the ease of damaging its vulnerable economy, etc....

"All that has now changed...There is a notable diminution of the
earlier braggadocio."

This seems to supports Cyrus' idea that this was not a war over
Iraqi oil  or the ("chump change") profits and rents therefrom;
rather it was a "statement" war meant to provide the US  the
bases, training and psychological advantage that it needs  to deal
with wayward regimes and insurgent movements both in the Arab
world and elsewhere in its reactionary bid for renewed global

Schlesinger seems unduly optimistic.  He also seems to have
forgotten that Aschcroft and company intended to convey a fourth
meaning from this war to US workers and dissidents.

Yours, Rakesh

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