Monday, March 31, 2003

Iraq – a US “failure” already?

Suicide bombers have finally, irrefutably unmasked themselves – or more accurately, their tactics – as the proverbial smoking gun connecting Saddam Hussein with Al Qaeda. Not that anyone has taken too much notice of this – media coverage on this point has been overwhelmingly negative, with the usual line being the war having entered “a dangerous new phase”, or some such.

Like, derr. Unless this war was, and is, the bloody-minded act of a psychopathic country, with money and armaments to burn, and needing no provocation to fire the first shot, then terrorism (/guerrilla warfare, /”unexpected resistance” – call it what you like) was bound to rear its ugly head. Suicide bombing is always terrorism – and never, say, an act of defence, born out of desperation – because it so cheapens life – most of all, that of the suicide bomber himself.

Unlike, say, highly-trained wartime kamikaze pilots, a suicide bomber does what any “loaded” dog could do (and often a dog could have done it better, with “it” of course being the maximum number of casualties, period). The reason that non-human bomb-delivery vehicles (/animals) are not used instead, despite the compelling sense that this would seem to make, is simple – the mastermind's aim is to lose the war in the vaguest, most-face saving way possible; that is by making the war as broad as it is thin.

Thus (in case you still really do not get it), Islamo-fascist terrorism is a war about nothing, with the whole world being its battleground. If Iraqis really believed what they say they believe about USA-as-the-evil-empire, then they would be fighting for their country – truly, madly, deeply. By instead opting to fight for, and against nothing of any reality, they are not fighting at all.

(below is a post from two months ago, about suicide bombers, that I’ve re-posted coz its dropped off the bottom)


Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Iraq is already the West’s new Vietnam – opinions in the street and at the dinner table are deeply polarized, but both sides are following agendas no deeper than about five dot points; all of which everyone has already heard (and on both sides), ad infinitum.

So here’s my take.

The “five dot points deep” syndrome is fed and sustained by an asymmetry of rogues. The enemy is variously personal (Saddam) and also a nation, variously unfinished Gulf War business and also the post September 11 new-Realpolitik, variously a proxy war to test and tame another country (Saudi Arabia) and also an annihilation by proxy of just one human being (Bin Laden).

I could go on – not least by going through the gallery of innocents, just as asymmetric as that of the rogues. Ultimately though, it doesn’t matter, because they are inseparable – rogues and innocents, individual nutcases and whole countries. Both sides of dot pointers are nonetheless right, if only because they share the same defect of rationality, done to a high school debate lukewarmness.

Try instead to get inside the head of a suicide bomber - It’s not a pretty picture – nor is it even a clear picture. It’s not much to do with leaders (Saddam, Bin Laden) nor ideology and nationalism. It’s intellectually soft – soft as its targets – and as easily spread and mass-marketed as any other brand of pop-nihilism. Use of videotape by suicide bombers places them simultaneously at the crassest outlier of reality TV, and yet crowns them as maker-connoisseurs of sophisticated cinematic irony, a la Network (1976; Dir. Sidney Lumet, Wr. Paddy Chayefsky).

Just one referent somewhat grounds all this explosive, uncontrollable periphery – family. In an appropriately asymmetric gesture, Saddam/Iraq (as well as the other usual suspects) give a large sum of money to the families of dead suicide bombers. This makes him/them variously a go-getter production company of admirable flint-hardness, and also – just – a weeping spiral of pathos and self-righteous hypocrisy. Ah, family!

There may be no “smoking gun” in Iraq, then, but there sure are smoking nostrils - everywhere.

- Paul Watson 3:02 PM


Peter Arnett's pronouncements have got him sacked from both his American media gigs:

Whether these sackings were for simple mediocre journalism (calling the race well before anyone has reached the finish line),
or something more serious, is now probably a moot point. In true baby boomer fashion (albeit Arnett is 68), his career stalled for
a gold-card-trembling-in the-wallet five hours or so, at which point he was picked up by a pommy tabloid:

Thus, my quip:
Q. What's a one-word definition for the time a baby boomer may spend unemployed?
A. Lunch

Onto other matters to do with baby boomers and suicide bombers, Paul Sheehan goes too far with his
"those crazy Arabs"-type thesis:

As I say above, Islamo-fascist enmity is spread thinly, rather than running too deep, as Sheehan claims. If he had a clue as to the generational gulf that divides Gen X and older generations – in the Arab world and elsewhere – he would recognise that the problem starts, and currently rests, mostly with him and his generation. Osama is just a typical, two-bit baby boomer – a deputiser par excellence, operator of a shelf-company that employs young men to work in sub-standard conditions and be paid on a whim and deceit basis.

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