Excerpts from Quaker-P

Note: some typos fixed for the web edition of these posts, italics added, some hyperlinks activated.
Otherwise unchanged. Originals archived/retrievable by listserv and/or Deja News.

Re the post below, note that NATO did not use its bases in Turkey to bomb Serbia -- mainly for
historical reasons.

Date:         Wed, 17 Mar 1999 11:30:57 -0800
From: Kirby Urner 
Subject:      [Q-P] Explaining NATO...
To: QUAKER-P@yang.earlham.edu

A young newsgroup poster was suggesting that NATO is primarily
a "Christian club" serving a Christian agenda -- a premise this
young poster went on to declaim as objectionable.

I replied with an overview of recent events designed to question
the premise and spiel out a different narrative of my own devising

Thanks to Landrum Bolling, a former president of Earlham College
with first hand experience in the Balkans, articles by Diana
Johnstone in the Winter 1999 Covert Action Quarterly, Noam Chomsky
and others for some of the threads woven together below.  The spin
is entirely my own, however, and probably does not precisely convey
the viewpoint of anyone but me.

Note:  a couple typos fixed for sharing on Quaker-P and Synergetics-L.

Relevant web pages might be:
http://members.xoom.com/Urner/afsc/ (for Quakers)
http://www.teleport.com/~pdx4d/bosnia.html (for Syn-lers)



Newsgroups: alt.politics.org.cia
Subject: Re: Just How Evil Is NATO?
Reply-To: urner@alumni.princeton.edu
Message-ID: <36f02ae9.224135187@news.teleport.com>
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 05:04:19 GMT

chowbabe@pacbell.net wrote:

>I want that Christian club disbanded.

You should provide more reasoning for your premise -- that NATO
is an armed arm of Christendom.

Consider that Turkey is a NATO member and big importer of
weapons made in the USA.  Turkey is against any idea of
Kurdistan, an idea which Israel also rejects, because it
doesn't want a "land bridge" between Iran and Syria.  The
USA doesn't want a Kurdistan either, and was glad when
Turkey grabbed that Kurdistani resistence leader guy.

Bosnia is a majority-Muslim state and the elder leader there
advocates an Islamic-based non-secular style of government.
Iran is a good example of this kind of administration and the
USA encouraged Iran to send arms to Bosnia back when the
Bosnians and Serbs were fighting. Then NATO came in, after
doing some bombing, a scenario which it would like to repeat
in Kosovo.

Kosovar Albanians tend to be Islamic as well.  So you have
Turkey (Islamic) serving as an air base for NATO bombings
against Iraq (Islamic) and Serbs (Christian). Notice how NATO
bombs irrespective of religion.  In order to maintain
equilibrium, if you bomb Muslims, you also need to bomb
Christians, as that makes it more fair.  Of course in the
Vietnam days a lot of Buddhists were bombed, but that wasn't
directly done by NATO, which is mainly concerned with the
European theater.  Of course the Jews have been targets forever
(of both Christians and Muslims) and the Hindus get to fight
the Muslims over Kashmir and stuff like that -- you really
don't get to be a major religion if you haven't fought with
some other major religion over some extremely important issue.

Basically, the USA has a similar solution for most crisis
situations these days:  bombing.  The USA really likes the new
computerized systems that keep USA casualities to a minimum, so
the only kind of military activism that's really going to fly
is aerial, with an emphasis on cruise missiles and stealth bombers.
These very expensive weapons need to justify their existence as a
tool of foreign policy, so letting them go over Iraq and maybe
Serbia soon is seen as a big win for the manufacturers, who glow
with pride every time one of their "babies" goes ballistic and
hits a hard target in some enemy territory.  NATO is one of the
essential "dispensing mechanisms" for getting these weapons to
their destinations, intact and ready for detonation.

In sum, NATO is an equal opportunity dispenser of weapons-based
solutions.  Just because you're a Christian or a Moslem doesn't
mean you're not a target, not on the hit list.  Lots of Serbs
are quite fundamentalist and would probably not seem seriously
out of place on the 700 Club, but their clinging to territories
is not earning them any friends and the embargo has put them in
a "nothing to lose" siege mentality, kind of like the Iraqis.
When you're backed into a corner with nowhere to go, you don't
always make the most rational decisions, from the point of view
of those holding all the cards.  NATO's bombings will likely
make Serbians all that much more defiant, just as USA bombings
of Iraq have helped to entrench the Iraqi regime.  Of course
lots of innocent civilians will be killed in the process, kind
of like in Vietnam.  Demonizing some other group as the
genocidal killers is a good way for the USA to feel good
about itself again, to see clearly that it is on the side of
goodness and justice against pure evil.  People in the USA need
to feel righteous and pure, and bombing evil people for a good
cause is very healthy for them, from a psychological viewpoint.

This is probably why exCIA Director Woolsey is suggesting the
"no fly zones" be extended across Iraq.  By making it
impermissable for Iraqis to fly anywhere over Iraq, the USA will
be dramatizing the illegitimacy of the current regime.  This
will cause the Iraqi people to rally around some exiled
government, which the USA will support.  In this way, the USA
will feel much better about itself than it does today (which is
already pretty good), because it will end this ambivalence
around the on-again off-again Iraqi crisis, which is leading
some people to question whether any high principles and moral
values are indeed at stake.  Unless the stakes are really high,
then the whole thing starts to look like a bad play with a poor
script and no point -- sort of like one of those existentialist
plays like 'Waiting for Godot' where nothing ever happens except
a few explosions, a lot of meaningless deaths -- and that gets
old after awhile.

The USA administration instinctively understands the need to
ignite patriotic fervor somewhere in the world, so that the USA
will feel good about itself the way it does when watching
'Saving Private Ryan'.  It would be great if a just and
positive battle against evil (using the NATO dispensing
mechanism) could be timed right along with the Academy Awards,
in which 'Saving Private Ryan' is expected to get a lot of
Oscars.  Maybe the National Security Council will get lucky and
their prayers will be answered.  It's not just Christians who
need to feel patriotic but secular people as well.

This administration needs to prove that it was holding high
moral ground behind the scenes even while the public and the
media pigged out on the Monica story.  We need to see a grand
foreign policy unveiled or some bold domestic agenda.  Otherwise
it just looks like the administration was treading water for a
year and hasn't had a coherent thought about much of anything
all this time, just like most TV viewers, who walk around in a
daze and think about whether Y2K will affect their microwave
ovens.  If the administration appears as out of touch with
reality as the couch potatoes, this will lead to a lot of
misunderstandings of the inner workings of government, which
at its core is absolutely wise and undistracted by Monica-type
stuff.  Wars prove that bold action and manly planning has been
going on behind the scenes.  So if we can have a righteous and
just war (around the time of the Academy Awards), then maybe we
can all breathe a sigh of relief, taking comfort in the fact
that wise leaders have been organizing on our behalf and still
know how to make perfect sense of this world: good versus evil
and all that rot, what?



Date:         Thu, 18 Mar 1999 10:13:48 -0800
From: Kirby Urner 
Subject:      Re: [Q-P] NATO a christian club?
To: QUAKER-P@yang.earlham.edu

At 08:54 AM 3/18/99 -0500, you wrote:
>It is interesting that the three nations recently added to NATO were the
>Roman Catholic to make the NATO v. non-NATO division equal to the old
>Roman Catholic v. Eastern Orthodox.  Of course the exception of Turkey
>is obvious.

Of course we can't count the USA as Xtian.  True, "In God We Trust"
is emblazoned on the logos, but there's no stipulation this must
be the God of Abraham -- seeing as no state religion defines the
kernel OS.

Of course I like to posit a Quaker core to USA corporatism, a
"saving grace" one might say -- but then so many Xtians consider
my liberal brand of Quakerism too unXtian for their tastes, so
back to my earlier point.



Date:         Wed, 24 Mar 1999 14:39:05 -0800
Sender: Quaker-P List 
From: Kirby Urner 
Subject:      [Q-P] Re immanent bombing of Serbia
X-cc:         Tetworld@listbot.com

From a newsgroup exchange.  For more re my AFSC-style "care
centers" and peacekeeper pods, see my personal archives at

-- Kirby


> If this is not a place where American leadership and military
> intervention is dictated there never will be one.--David Bagley

I'm all for peacekeeping and the evacuation of civilians from
nut houses wherein the criminally insane are armed to the teeth
by the moneymakers.  My AFSC-style "care centers" haven't been
getting a lot of funding though, nor our Fly's Eye "peacekeeper
pods", complete with GIS/GPS and internet access.  Hollywood
hasn't dramatized the possibilities yet, so the popular mind
remains uninspired, content to recycle yesteryear's fantasies,
like 'Saving Private Ryan'.

When all you're willing to pay for is high powered weaponry,
small wonder these are the only tools at hand when solutions
are needed.  NATO lacks credibility not because it fails to
make good on its threats, but because it procures so much
inappropriate technology.  Saying "bombs away" over the former
Yugoslavia is only going to underline this failure of the
military imagination (not everyone in the chain of command
is such a dim bulb however -- a lot have been doing their
homework (but not enough, apparently)).

I see nothing glorious in joining the melee and resent the
squandering of lives (including those of close relatives)
which this incurs.  But of course waiting for this to become
a major crisis was the only way to get the public to respond to
a fait accompli -- and by then the response is always the
same: hit 'em and hit 'em hard.

To head off any number of future scenarios of this kind, we'll
need to do a lot more to counter nutso nationalism.  Your
style of rhetoric is no help in this regard -- sounds old and
scratchy to my ears, nothing to get swelled up about.

Hot war is for losers. My company of USAers (we too say "we")
is not behind this sorry misadventure, which is the work of
wannabe stars on the world stage, vain rhetoriticians who
think it matters more because this is Europe we're talking
about, and not Sierra Leone.



Newsgroups: alt.politics.org.cia
Subject: NYT forum:  responding to Safire editorial
Date: Thu, 25 Mar 1999 09:04:24 GMT

William Safire:


If the repressing country is powerful, the sovereignty 
does not change; too bad for now, Tibet. 

If its leadership is savagely dictatorial but vulnerable, 
as in Iraq, repression is restricted from outside: We'll 
enforce your autonomy, you Kurds, but no independent 
Kurdistan lest your compatriots in Turkey and Iran 
get ideas. 

If the villainous sovereign is relatively weak and 
the potential bloodshed is horrendous, then in we go 
(with bombs, not troops) to save the Kosovars. 

Consistent and principled? Not quite. But the trend 
at century's end is toward self-determination, propelled 
by a world audience humanely averse to seeing casualties 
up close. 



pdx4d - 02:30am Mar 25, 1999 EST (#4284 of 4284) 

Safire got it right about self-determination being in 
vogue in the 21st century, but doesn't state the obvious, 
which is that high tech obviates the need to organize 
your "state" around some dirt clod of continguous land 
area. Since when did IBM need a plot the size of Kosovo 
to conduct a "corporate culture" with assets and resources 
several times bigger? If your goal is freedom and 
idependence for friends and family, you can think of 
better ways of getting this than backing 1800s-minded 
oblivious numbskulls with guns. This isn't to trivialize 
the challenge in getting access to the relevant goods 
and services. The technology isn't that easy to come 
by (yet). But if business wants profits to keep rolling 
in, it'll find it easy to push solutions which give 
people more freedoms (to travel, to get away from hot 
spots where gun runners have stolen the peace). We have 
ways to give the Kosovars and East Timorese cultural 
continuity, as long as all concerned are willing to 
acclimate to world maps which show no nations at all 
-- because the networks have gotten too complicated 
and overlapping to make these neat little jigsaw puzzles 
out of national identities any more -- anyone who's 
lived in New York City for awhile should know that 
without needing to be told. 


Date: Thu, 25 Mar 1999 09:28:20 -0800
To: synergetics-l@telelists.com
From: Kirby Urner 
Subject: AFSC: more re assisting Kosovars
Cc: Tetworld@listbot.com

Tetworld Peace Through Development Project - http://members.tripod.com/~Tetworld/+index.html

Another Quaker-minded post to newsgroups hawking my AFSC-
style "care centers" for the Balkans.  One typo fixed.
To be posted at 'Synergetics on the Web', linked from


Newsgroups: alt.politics.org.cia
Subject: Mobilizing to assist Kosovars (go FEMA!!)
Date: Thu, 25 Mar 1999 17:20:16 GMT

I'm glad to hear a great many civilian families have 
escaped from the looney bin and have flooded to safe
havens elsewhere. 

The real story here is what happens next to these 
homeless refugees in need of logistical support and
supplies.  Their plight is far more interesting and
important to me than what these military pundits have
to say, including these jerk-offs with scale models 
of their favorite warplanes (cite the PBS News Hour).

We have the technology to cover tent cities with hard
shell geodesic structures -- cheaper to heat and keep
out the weather.  We should also be taking oral 
histories, and getting as many who want to be enrolled
logged in database files, to start some schooling for 
the kids (cultural continuity important). Getting lots 
of NGOs and assistence agencies involved makes plenty 
of sense.  Macedonia could be a staging ground, 
Albania too.  Lots of internet websites with live 
webcams needed pronto.  Please post URLs to this 
newsgroup (FEMA, how about by next week?).

I'll be scanning the web and news for stories about 
high technology solutions to the plight of civilians.
The day is over when we can treat civilians as "extras"
and hog the limelight for the weapons engineers.
Their job is difficult, and deserves press, sure, 
but not exclusively.  Civilians are not "backdrop",
not "collateral", not "irrelevant".  I didn't see 
many Congressional resolutions about protecting 
Kosovar families from harm.  Shame.  That's what 
our brave armed forces are over there risking their
lives to protect, according to the commander in 
chief.  Doesn't anyone believe this?  Is cynicism 
really that deep?

Lets pick a sampling of Kosovars and follow them in 
detail over the next 10 to 20 years.  Lots of useful
sociological findings could flow from such studies.
Every TV news hour should devote at least as much 
time to Kosovar refugees as to Pentagon strut and
puffers, posing for the cameras in front of their 
silly maps (as if we don't already have access to
10x more accurate ones, updated in real time).

Given the whole point of these NATO bombings is to 
improve the quality of life for Kosovars on the ground,
it's extremely important that DC walk its talk and 
provide a lot of health and recreation facilities 
for displaced Kosovars.  As a rule of thumb, I suggest
we look at each head of household as at least GS-7, 
with plenty of GS-13s scattered throughout.  Kosovars
should have commisary privileges, and full access to 
travel agents for relocating to more auspicious 
surroundings, with a very generous baggage allocation
(say 400 lbs per family member, minimum).  All this 
needs to be paid for by the governments who say this
is an humanitarian cause -- otherwise their hypocrisy
will be just too unbearable and ridiculous, turn them
into laughing stocks.

I hope we see plenty of Congress people tending to the
needs and demands of the Kosovar refugees ASAP.  A visit
by Hillary certainly wouldn't hurt.  Corporate sponsors,
including ADM "supermarket to the world" now have a 
golden opportunity to assist these people who have 
suffered enough.  I maintain a long list of geodesic 
dome vendors at my website and would hope that at least
some experimental use of these for protecting disaster
relief sites against the elements would be tried.  FEMA
personnel should be in on this scenario.  I'll be looking
forward to the TV segments on this.

Russia Desk

PS:  for my list of dome manufacturers:

PPS: certainly this would be a useful venue in which to 
include more Russians on the ground, in parallel efforts
to assist Serb civilians whose lives will inevitably be
impacted by ongoing bombing campaigns against vital 
infrastructure throughout Serbia.  The same geodesic 
dome technology is available to all non-combatants in
this scenario.  Showing that this really is a humantarian
endeavour, and not some cynical duping of the American 
people by parasitical powers using our public-owned
frequencies to promulgate real politik with no thought
for our American Heritage, is very much in the national
interest.  The Russians would be much heartened by such
a display.  Otherwise, it's clear that the USA really 
has very little to do with this LAWCAP-directed show 
of military might, meaning the full faith and credit of
the American people is not behind any of it.  If the 
war against Serbia is really just a shallow puppeting 
of the USA by Eurocentric powers, then we'll know this
soon.  Only lots of geodesic domes in this movie might
save it from disaster.  Otherwise it's just more Burger
King (big USA flag for show, but LAWCAP-corporate to 
the core and not at all reflective of our hard won 
freedoms to do and see things differently from those 
Brits who chose to stay behind).
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Date:         Thu, 25 Mar 1999 20:42:16 -0800
Sender: Quaker-P List 
From: Kirby Urner 
Subject:      [Q-P] NATO: logistical support for civilians

Posting to CNN message board (copy):

Kirby Urner - Thursday, 03/25/99, 11:34:08pm (#25968 of 25968)


I'm very keen to see how much forethought and planning has gone
into logistical support for inevitable mass exodus of civilians
from Kosovo.  Since the NATO line is this is an humanitarian
effort, if civilians are neglected, left to fend for themselves
as nameless, faceless refugees, this will prove hypocrisy on
NATO's part.  The USA needs to back its rhetoric with massive
on the ground support for civilian refugees flooding into
Macedonia and offer similar assistance in Albania.  I'm not
talking about NATO troops but about well organized, high tech,
humanitarian assistance -- medical, shelter and so on.  I
suggest FEMA should have a role to play.

If we don't see action of this kind immediately, then we know
the rhetoric is empty, that NATO is just trying to show the
Russians who is boss in the post Cold War era.  USAers should
not allow DC to drive so incompetently and recklessly in the
name of the American people, breaking laws and flaunting the
fragile infrastructure of groundrules such as many hard-working
diplomats have been able to agree on via the UN and other
international institutions.  Or does this president still have
trouble realizing that the same laws apply to him as to
ordinary mortals?

NATO: either do exactly what you say you're doing (helping the
civilians of Kosovo, big time) or come clean about your true
motives.  Don't expect the American people to cynically play
along when the rhetoric is so blatantly a ruse.  Going up
against the Russians with lies and ruses is not going to work.
Period.  I remain glued to my TV looking for evidence of
forethought on the part of USAers behind these latest moves.
Surely we'll be seeing some evidence that the plight of
civilians is top priority, vs. a lot of empty hype about how
thrilling it is to ride in the cockpit of a B2.