Thursday, July 07, 2005

The War, Again

Fascists have bombed London. I think Ken Livingstone put it well:
I want to say one thing: This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty or the powerful, it is not aimed at presidents or prime ministers, it was aimed at ordinary working-class Londoners...That isn't an ideology, it isn't even a perverted faith, it's mass murder.
The thugs who did this want to kill all of us---those of us who find George Bush repulsive at least as much as those who think he belongs on Mt. Rushmore---and they will still want to kill all of us long after the last US forces leave Iraq. They would have wanted to kill all of us if no US forces had entered Iraq. Which is why George Galloway is so full of shit:
We have worked without rest to remove the causes of such violence from our world. We argued, as did the Security Services in this country, that the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq would increase the threat of terrorist attack in Britain. Tragically Londoners have now paid the price of the government ignoring such warnings.
Precisely whom does Galloway think started the fight in Afghanistan? This Andrew Sullivan reader has the right idea:
One thing I've got to disagree with you on is that there will be a push for policy change but not for the reason Galloway and others suggest. Brits will demand that we hand over the calm south to Iraqis and move troops (in particular SAS) to Afghanistan. There are some people in the mountains that we need to settle a score with.

MORE: Something else to keep in mind, before the apologetics come out. This is how the attacks were orchestrated, via Oxblog:
I'm quite struck by the strategic cynicism of attacking public transportation, and then after an interval, the crowded bus lines once commuters had been diverted to them. But several friends I spoke with this morning who have lived in Israel say that this pattern - an initial attack, followed by a staggered attack on emergency services once they'd arrived - isn't at all uncommon [emphasis mine].
That's evil compounded, and evil is the right word.


At 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

London blasts underscore the need for the Patriot Act

At 7:50 PM, Blogger the actual rod said...

Because they scare people?

At 11:33 PM, Anonymous Mahgawd said...

I think British Muslims did this attack...International Jihadists have an internal agreement not to attack London.

At 4:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What great insights are we to gain by criticizing a marginal political figure like George Galloway? Is there any question that the Socialist Worker is, even by its own measures, a journal of propaganda? It strikes me that so often in these debates about terrorism and the war in Iraq, the critical voices we hear castigated the most are always the least relevant: those woefully obsolete Marxists, those self-indulgent postmodernists, those pathetically naive liberals--or whatever other vulgar straw man you want to conjure up.

At 5:48 PM, Blogger the actual rod said...

By the way, I thought you were at least marginally wise, Finn...when you kill people in Afghanistan and Iraq, do you think their sons, brothers, etc. are going to suddenly be endeared to the United States? Noooooo....killin breeds killin, hate breeds hate. When are you uncivilized palefaces gonna understand that shit??? ( the way, the United States started the fight in Afghanistan by funding and training Islamic militants 25 years ago. Don't pick and choose history to fit your own alarmist mindset, lest you come to deserve the f-word yourself...)

It's terribly disappointing to me that you are just another fool beating the war drums. I thought you knew better. Galloway, however "marginal" his voice, is right: the root causes of Islamic fundementalism/terrorism will never be attacked with bombs and bloodshed--they will only be strengthened by such violence. Your rhetoric betrays your own fear and misunderstanding of the situation, and I hope that one day you wake up and realize you're digging your own grave.

You are no liberal.

At 3:29 AM, Anonymous a friend of london said...

It is because of politically correct liberals like you, actual rod, that we cannot do what really needs to be done: Wage war against Muslim Extremism by destroying radically Islamic schools, media outlets, and places of worship. What we should really do is set up internment camps for as many radically Muslim parents as we can capture before they poison their childrens' worldviews forever. Teaching fundementalist Islam to a kid should be punishable by life inprisonment.

At 3:38 AM, Anonymous a friend of london said...


god bless you. Don't let a gunshy intellectual coward like actual rod try to tell you that you can't be agressively anti-terrorism and liberal. That's like a punk crack somker telling a cool little dude around the block that he's an uncle tom because he won't rape a girl or join a gang. You can be anti bush (at large), anti war (unless it's absolutely necessary like WWII and like the war on terror), pro-choice, anti social security privatization, pro health care and pro education and yet still believe that we must hunt down international terrorists.

At 9:30 AM, Blogger the actual rod said...

First off...I speak not just as a liberal, whatever it's come to mean--I speak as an Iranian.

The point is that 'hunting down' terrorists doesn't end terrorism, and hasn't been proven to work...if you were interested in that, however, you wouldn't be looking to terrorize others yourself.

It did not take a mastermind to carry out these atrocities, just a small group (perhaps even one individual) that was so disillusioned by something (I can't pretend to know what) that the option of ending innocent human life didn't seem unjust.

"Hunting down international terrorists" will not end the possibility for such disillusionment in the future. Go ahead and stick your head in an echo chamber; keep thinking that the only route to take in this situation is the one laid out by PNAC years before 9/11. Be led like a pathetic cow to your own fucking slaughter, and feel free to call me an 'intellectual coward' for not joining in your alarmist cries for revenge on someone, or really anyone with dark enough skin or a different enough culture. The real intellectual cowardice lies precisely there, in those who can't open their eyes long enough to see that their meatheaded lust for violence serves nothing but to temporarily dissolve their own latent fears.

Terrorism cannot be bombed out of existence--but it can be made obsolete.

At 11:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's exactly the way of talking that A Friend of London employs that prohibits any meaningful debate about terrorism and war. This sense that anyone who even vaguely opposes violence in politics is "gunshy" and "intellectually cowardly" isn't an argument, or even an assertion; it's a demand--that we simply act and drop all questions and criticisms, assuming that if we still claim to be liberal (to support this or that policy), our actions will conform to those ideals. This mode of speaking is dishonest and destructive; it claims to stand up for ideals, but in actuality asks us to defer those ideals. The intellectual cowardice lies not in the failure to stand up and fight for principles, but in the failure to imagine political solutions to problems in which those principles are at stake.

At 11:11 AM, Anonymous Ashish George said...

Daniel, what should we do with such outrage? Should the upshot be more bombs, bullets, and McCarthyite accusations at home? I realize you've built him a comfy residence on Mount Olympus, but if someone like Andrew Sullivan had his way, I suspect what we would eventually end up with is the "meta-nationalism" you've associated in the past with James Burnham from decades ago.

There generally seem to be two approaches to things after such attacks. On the one hand you have posturing New Republic style tough guys who think American exceptionalism and the resolve, bravery, etc. of Americans needs to be manifested in a new crusade for the West (though they wouldn't use the c-word). On the other hand you have people who talk of sissy nonsense like root causes and the idea that, you know, maybe in some cases America should do less--less peacekeeping, less doling out of military aid to states like Israel which do not merit support, etc.

Revenge is what the first group ones. Justice is the aim of the second. Don't let your rhetoric betray what you might truly desire. Leave the bilious, bloodthirsty clarion calls to the less reflective among us.

At 1:32 AM, Anonymous Gouverneur Morris said...

A-rod, we're entrenched in the quagmire of our times, and you're busy playing the race card like a third-rate Iranian Johnnie Cochran. Spare me. It isn't about brown skin. It's about murderous religious ideology. Wake up and be a pragmatist. America is fucked up and dysfunctional and hypocritical and ill-led domestically and in Iraq but it's also the safest, strongest, most fortunate place in the world to live your brief life. It is essential that we do everything within our power to keep it that way.

Of course Bush is a moron and Iraq is a disaster and the Patriot Act is revolting, but it's also been almost 5 years since 9/11 and the strategies behind the "War on Terror," have, no matter how much you hate Bush or war or violence or not dealing with the root causes of terrorism, given us nothing but tranquility at home. 5 years without a single domestic attack. A remarkable feat. The definition of success.

All of your masturbatory abstraction about the mechanics of fear is pathetic. Marilyn Manson said the same shit in Bowling for Columbine. Time for you to update your shtick. Time for you to speak with candor and admit that while "Bringing the war to the terrorists" is not the final or the best or the only solution, it's the path we're headed down right now and so far it's working. Sure, some amazing, brilliant, godly, fair-minded obliteration of poverty, middle-east strife, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, bitterness, racism and religious hatred would be dandy. But, dude, we're fucking human beings. And Americans at that.

Every four years we choose our national direction by picking between two guys who promise two things: that they believe in Iron Age mythology and that they won't rock the boat--won't try anything too creative or humane in domestic or international affairs. Current policy may be utterly imperfect, but name one cunt-bag politician with the potential to be elected president who would do any better. The miasma that is politics and the reality that is human nature render any dramatically enlightened solution impossible.

You are a spoiled little fuck incapable of realizing your immense fortune. You live in a relatively great country which guarantees you fundamental freedoms, including the freedom to sit on your ass and post your hackneyed bullshit and reveal your intellectual naiveté to the world while a massive under-class risks their lives everyday to protect your rights. It's fucked-up. But it's a pretty sweet deal you got. So stop fucking complaining.

At 1:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

amen. a fucking men.

At 1:46 AM, Anonymous Gouverneur Morris said...

4 years after 9/11, not five. my bad.

At 2:58 PM, Anonymous Ashish George said...

Can we cut the crap about American soldiers risking their lives to "protect our rights"? They are doing no such thing, no matter how many ad hominem volleys people who harbor a clap-for-Tinkerbell fervor about this point may fire. No American soldier has really died protecting our rights in a war since John Bull tangled with Uncle Sam in 1812. Instead, what we have had is our leaders thundering at us that they and the American military have, at various times, taken the war to the villains du jour for our protection. Oddly, these Great Patriotic Wars for the Fatherland also invariably coincide with massive government expansion and a greater government claim on the affairs of civilians. So no, our current policy has not given us "nothing but tranquility at home." What it has given us is a government trying to use fear of threats from abroad to justify things like a disregard for due process, greater access to the financial records of citizens, and the revival of the old stab-in-the-back canard governments have always used to excuse disastrous wars (if you goddamn hippies/pacifists/spoiled college kids/elite liberal journalists just wouldn't criticize government so much we could have blown people up better!).

Bottom line: If you want to claim that the current policy is working, it is incumbent upon you to elaborate how. Causal relationships can't be posited so casually. And lay off the love-it-or-leave it subtext if you want to have a rational discussion. Or keep it if smarmy jeremiads are more your cup of tea.


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