T Nation

Terrorism Is Indefensible

I didn’t ever used to agree with Chris Hitchens, but since 9/11 he’s made the same transformation a lot of folks have in their thinking – namely, he has recognized that we really are involved in a War on Terror, even if the war isn’t the same as a traditional war against a nation state. He gets it.

Some comments I’ve seen on the Terrorism in Russia thread, and on the various Iranian threads, make me think some people still don’t get it.

Anyway, here’s Hitchens’ take – I would love to discuss why anyone disagrees. BTW, I am not meaning to imply that anyone here would agree with the Nation columnist cited below.


http://slate.msn.com/id/2106324/

Murder by Any Other Name

The rest of the world may be tiring of jihad, but The Nation isn’t.

By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2004, at 11:31 AM PT

Not to exaggerate or generalize or anything, but in the past week or so it seems to have become very slightly less OK to speak of jihad as an understandable reaction to underlying Muslim grievances. The murder of innocents in a Russian school may have been secondarily the result of a panic or a bungle by Vladimir Putin’s “special forces,” but nobody is claiming that the real responsibility lies anywhere but on the shoulders of the Muslim fanatics. And the French state’s policy of defending secularism in its schools may have been clumsily and even “insensitively” applied, but nobody says that the kidnapping and threatened murder of two French reporters is thereby justified. As for the slaughter of the Nepalese workers in Iraq ? you simply have to see the video and hear the Quranic incantations in the voice-over. (I use the words “murder” and “slaughter” by the way, and shall continue to do so, as I hope you will, too. How the New York Times can employ the term “execution” for these atrocities is beyond me.)

Even Abdulrahman al-Rashed, the general manager of Al-Arabiya television, was less euphemistic than that. In a column published under the unambiguous headline, “The Painful Truth: All the World Terrorists are Muslims!” he wrote
( http://www.opinion.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/09/05/wosse605.xml )
in the pan-Arab paper Al-Sharq al-Awsat: “Our terrorist sons are an end-product of our corrupted culture.” According to a very interesting AP report from Maggie Michael, this was part of a wider refusal and denunciation across Arab and Muslim media. It wasn’t all unambiguous?some critics said that the Chechen outrage was so bad that the Israelis must have been behind it?but it had a different tone from the usual trash about holy war and martyrdom. By the same token, nobody coerced the majority of French Muslim schoolchildren into turning up quiet and on time, almost all unveiled, on the day of the murder “deadline” set by the kidnappers in Iraq.

Often unspoken in commentary on attacks on America and Americans?and even worse, half-spoken?has been the veiled assumption that such things have a rough justice to them. The United States, with its globalizing blah-blah and its cowboy blah-blah, supposedly invites such wake-up calls. And the sorry fact is that French and Russian commentators and politicians have been noticeable for their promiscuity in this respect. It’s also true that the French and Russian record could, if you looked at it in one way, be a real cause of sacred rage. (The French authorities have backed Saddam Hussein and many other regional despots, and the conduct of Russian soldiers in Chechnya makes Abu Ghraib look like a blip on the charts.) But no serious person would ever let these considerations obscure a full-out denunciation of those who deliberately make war on civilians. So let us ponder this serious moment, of solidarity with French and Russian victims, and hope to build upon it.

Any jeering can be saved for the strictly political, in which category I would include the recent speech of the new French foreign minister, Michel Barnier. In an address to the annual conference of French ambassadors on Aug. 26, Barnier pointedly warned the assembled envoys that “France is not great when it is arrogant. France is not strong when it is alone.” He very noticeably did not mention America, or American policy, even once. All that was lacking from his address was a self-criticism for French “unilateralism” and a promise that in future he would seek to “build alliances.” Intelligent French people understand that the Bonapartist policy of the Chirac-de Villepin regime has been deeply damaging: You can see this in any French newspaper. In pledging to shape his own policy to conciliate the Elys?e Palace, in other words, John Kerry seems to have once again chosen to change ships on a falling tide.

Another small but interesting development has occurred among my former comrades at The Nation magazine. In its “GOP Convention Issue” dated Sept. 13, the editors decided to run a piece by Naomi Klein titled “Bring Najaf to New York.” If you think this sounds suspiciously like an endorsement of Muqtada Sadr and his black-masked clerical bandits, you are not mistaken. The article, indeed, went somewhat further, and lower, than the headline did. Ms. Klein is known as a salient figure in the so-called antiglobalization movement, and for a book proclaiming her hostility to logos and other forms of oppression: She’s not marginal to what remains of the left. Her nasty, stupid article has evoked two excellent blog responses from two pillars of the Nation family: Marc Cooper in Los Angeles and Doug Ireland in New York. What gives, they want to know, with a supposed socialist-feminist offering swooning support to theocratic fascists? It’s a good question, and I understand that it’s ignited quite a debate among the magazine’s staff and periphery.

When I quit writing my column for The Nation a couple of years ago, I wrote semi-sarcastically that it had become an echo chamber for those who were more afraid of John Ashcroft than Osama Bin Laden. I honestly did not then expect to find it publishing actual endorsements of jihad. But, as Marxism taught me, the logic of history and politics is a pitiless one. The antiwar isolationist “left” started by being merely “status quo”: opposing regime change and hinting at moral equivalence between Bush’s “terrorism” and the other sort. This conservative position didn’t take very long to metastasize into a flat-out reactionary one, with Michael Moore saying that the Iraqi “resistance” was the equivalent of the Revolutionary Minutemen, Tariq Ali calling for solidarity with the “insurgents,” and now Ms. Klein, among many others, wanting to bring the war home because any kind of anti-Americanism is better than none at all. These fellow-travelers with fascism are also changing ships on a falling tide: Their applause for the holy warriors comes at a time when wide swathes of the Arab and Muslim world are sickening of the mindless blasphemy and the sectarian bigotry. It took an effort for American pseudo-radicals to be outflanked on the left by Ayatollah Sistani, but they managed it somehow.


Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair and a regular contributor to Slate. His most recent book, Blood, Class and Empire: The Enduring Anglo-American Relationship, is out in paperback.

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:

http://slate.msn.com/id/2106324/

Murder by Any Other Name

The rest of the world may be tiring of jihad, but The Nation isn’t.

By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2004, at 11:31 AM PT

Any jeering can be saved for the strictly political, in which category I would include the recent speech of the new French foreign minister, Michel Barnier. In an address to the annual conference of French ambassadors on Aug. 26, Barnier pointedly warned the assembled envoys that “France is not great when it is arrogant. France is not strong when it is alone.” He very noticeably did not mention America, or American policy, even once. All that was lacking from his address was a self-criticism for French “unilateralism” and a promise that in future he would seek to “build alliances.” Intelligent French people understand that the Bonapartist policy of the Chirac-de Villepin regime has been deeply damaging: You can see this in any French newspaper. In pledging to shape his own policy to conciliate the Elys?e Palace, in other words, John Kerry seems to have once again chosen to change ships on a falling tide.

[/quote]

I see a pattern here of people starting to wake up and smell the truth. I knew there were people in France who weren’t blind; you just rarely hear from them.

I happen to think terrorism is defensible and I think the defense is knowledge and awareness.

Using a different viewpoint, what most people aren’t aware of is that most terrorism has more to do with propaganda used as a tool to rally public support for questionable government actions rather than stuff like “they hate our freedom”. The consequence of those actions then happens to be real terrorism as an only means of defense.

If more people studied history they might realize this is nothing new as these 60 year old quotes point out:

“Naturally the common people don’t want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
– Reich Marshal Hermann Goering

“An evil exists that threatens every man, woman, and child of this great nation. We must take steps to ensure our domestic security and protect our homeland.”
– Adolf Hitler, proposing the creation of the Gestapo.

Ask yourself what logical advantage is it for these small “terror” qroups to kill innocent women and children and then make it known to the world they did it? How does it help their cause? More likely it would hurt their cause and create huge outrage across the globe, that people so evil could slaughter innocent women and children. They should be hunted down like dogs and brought to justice and every man woman and child should do they’re part to rid the world of EVIL…see how that works.

Like I said in another post, do a Google search on “Israeli spies”…things aren’t always as they seem.

There hasen’t been a terrorist attack since 9/11, right? Yeah it is defensible, you just have to take the fight to them and keep them on their heels and focusing on defending themselves. RLTW

rangertab75

[quote]JustTheFacts wrote:
I happen to think terrorism is defensible and I think the defense is knowledge and awareness.

Using a different viewpoint, what most people aren’t aware of is that most terrorism has more to do with propaganda used as a tool to rally public support for questionable government actions rather than stuff like “they hate our freedom”. The consequence of those actions then happens to be real terrorism as an only means of defense.

If more people studied history they might realize this is nothing new as these 60 year old quotes point out:

“Naturally the common people don’t want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
– Reich Marshal Hermann Goering

“An evil exists that threatens every man, woman, and child of this great nation. We must take steps to ensure our domestic security and protect our homeland.”
– Adolf Hitler, proposing the creation of the Gestapo.

Ask yourself what logical advantage is it for these small “terror” qroups to kill innocent women and children and then make it known to the world they did it? How does it help their cause? More likely it would hurt their cause and create huge outrage across the globe, that people so evil could slaughter innocent women and children. They should be hunted down like dogs and brought to justice and every man woman and child should do they’re part to rid the world of EVIL…see how that works.

Like I said in another post, do a Google search on “Israeli spies”…things aren’t always as they seem.[/quote]

You’re not seriously suggesting that the Russians killed their own people, or that the U.S. crashed the jets into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, are you?

You’re not seriously suggesting that every government in the world that suffers from terrorism, from the Phillipines to India to Great Britain to the U.S. to Russia to Spain to Israel to all the others, fakes terrorist attacks and kills its own people for propaganda value? Because that would be absolutely insane.

rangertab:

I meant morally indefensible.

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
You’re not seriously suggesting that the Russians killed their own people, or that the U.S. crashed the jets into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, are you?

You’re not seriously suggesting that every government in the world that suffers from terrorism, from the Phillipines to India to Great Britain to the U.S. to Russia to Spain to Israel to all the others, fakes terrorist attacks and kills its own people for propaganda value? Because that would be absolutely insane.[/quote]

Your right, it sounds insane and is insane…but we’re not talking about normal people . If you read any of that PNAC report, a 9/11 type event as a catylast to further their agenda is hardly a big deal for them when the report itself is a blueprint for WORLD DOMINATION.

I’m not saying all terrorism is propaganda but you need to look at the facts especially surrounding 9/11 and decide for yourself. Believe me, I always thought it was a bunch of crap myself until I actually started checking it out myself. Here is a link to a book called “The New Pearl Harbor” -it’s actually an online version of the book. It’s a very good place to start.
http://vancouver.indymedia.org/print.php?id=141355

If you have any doubts that it’s even plausible, look up “Operation Northwoods”:
Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban immigrants, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities.

The plans were developed as ways to trick the American public and the international community into supporting a war to oust Cuba’s then new leader, communist Fidel Castro.

America’s top military brass even contemplated causing U.S. military casualties, writing: “We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba,” and, "casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation.

The Joint Chiefs even proposed using the potential death of astronaut John Glenn during the first attempt to put an American into orbit as a false pretext for war with Cuba, the documents show.

Should the rocket explode and kill Glenn, they wrote, "the objective is to provide irrevocable proof ? that the fault lies with the Communists in Cuba.

http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/DailyNews/jointchiefs_010501.html

In the Los Angeles Times, the military analyst William Arkin describes a secret army set up by Donald Rumsfeld, similar to those run by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger and which Congress outlawed. This “super-intelligence support activity” will bring together the “CIA and military covert action, information warfare, and deception”. According to a classified document prepared for Rumsfeld, the new organisation, known by its Orwellian moniker as the Proactive Pre-emptive Operations Group, or P2OG, will provoke terrorist attacks which would then require “counter-attack” by the United States on countries “harbouring the terrorists”.

In other words, innocent people will be killed by the United States. This is reminiscent of Operation Northwoods, the plan put to President Kennedy by his military chiefs for a phoney terrorist campaign - complete with bombings, hijackings, plane crashes and dead Americans - as justification for an invasion of Cuba.
http://pilger.carlton.com/print/124759

Your damn right it’s insane…

JusttheFacts:

Please see my post on Lumpy’s “Sign up for Iraq”, which applies even more so here.

Excellent article found… A little long but going to point to some of th emany key paragraphs in it:

What Makes a Terrorist?James Q. Wilson

“…Until the nineteenth century, religion was usually the only acceptable justification of terror. It is not hard to understand why: religion gives its true believers an account of the good life and a way of recognizing evil; if you believe that evil in the form of wrong beliefs and mistaken customs weakens or corrupts a life ordained by God, you are under a profound obligation to combat that evil. If you enjoy the companionship of like-minded believers, combating that evil can require that you commit violent, even suicidal, acts…”

“…Of course, most religious people have nothing to do with terror, and in the past many important instances of suicide attacks, such as the Kamikaze aircraft sent by the Japanese against American warships, had no religious impulse. Terrorists among the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka were not driven by religion. Today, however, religious belief, and especially a certain interpretation of the Muslim religion, has come to dominate the motives of suicide terrorists, even when religious aspirations do not govern the organizations that recruit them. Some Middle Eastern terrorist groups, such as Fatah, are secular, and some people join even fundamentalist terrorist organizations for non-religious reasons.
Ideological terrorists offer up no clear view of the world they are trying to create. They speak vaguely about bringing people into some new relationship with one another but never tell us what that relationship might be. Their goal is destruction, not creation. To the extent they are Marxists, this vagueness is hardly surprising, since Marx himself never described the world he hoped to create, except with a few glittering but empty generalities…”

“…I am not entirely certain why this difference should exist. One possibility is that right-wing terrorist organizations are looking backward at a world they think has been lost, whereas left-wing ones are looking ahead at a world they hope will arrive. Higher education is useful to those who wish to imagine a future but of little value to those who think they know the past. Leftists get from books and professors a glimpse of the future, and they struggle to create it. Right-wingers base their discontent on a sense of the past, and they work to restore it. To join the Ku Klux Klan or the Aryan Nation, it is only necessary that members suppose that it is good to oppress blacks or Catholics or Jews; to join the Weather Underground, somebody had to teach recruits that bourgeois society is decadent and oppressive…”

“…By contrast, nationalistic and religious terrorists are a very different matter. The fragmentary research that has been done on them makes clear that they are rarely in conflict with their parents; on the contrary, they seek to carry out in extreme ways ideas learned at home. Moreover, they usually have a very good idea of the kind of world they wish to create: it is the world given to them by their religious or nationalistic leaders. These leaders, of course, may completely misrepresent the doctrines they espouse, but the misrepresentation acquires a commanding power…”

“…The appeal of al-Qaida was that the group provided a social community that helped them define and resist the decadent values of the West. The appeal of that community seems to have been especially strong to the men who had been sent abroad to study and found themselves alone and underemployed…”

“…That terrorists themselves are reasonably well-off does not by itself disprove the argument that terrorism springs from poverty and ignorance. Terrorists might simply be a self-selected elite, who hope to serve the needs of an impoverished and despondent populace?in which case, providing money and education to the masses would be the best way to prevent terrorism…”

“…The central fact about terrorists is not that they are deranged, but that they are not alone. Among Palestinians, they are recruited by Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, among others. In Singapore, their recruitment begins with attendance at religious schools. If ardent and compliant, they are drawn into Jemaah Islamiyah, where they associate with others like themselves. Being in the group gives each member a sense of special esteem and exclusivity, reinforced by the use of secrecy, code names, and specialized training. Then they are offered the chance to be martyrs if they die in a jihad. Everywhere, leaders strengthen the bombers? commitment by isolating them in safe houses and by asking them to draft last testaments and make videotapes for their families, in which they say farewell…”

But Islamic terrorism poses a much more difficult challenge. These terrorists live and work among people sympathetic to their cause. Those arrested will be replaced; those killed will be honored. Opinion polls in many Islamic nations show great support for anti-Israeli and anti-American terrorists. Terrorists live in a hospitable river. We may have to cope with the river.

The relentless vilification of Jews, Israel, and Zionism by much of the Muslim press and in many Muslim schools has produced a level of support for terrorism that vastly exceeds the backing that American or European terrorists ever enjoyed. Over 75 percent of all Palestinians support the current intifada and endorse the 2003 bombing of Maxim, a restaurant in Haifa. With suicide bombers regarded as martyrs, the number of new recruits has apparently increased. The river of support for anti-Israel terror is much wider and deeper than what the Baader-Meinhof gang received…"

Joe

JTF, a lot of proposals are drafted in the clandestine corridors of government. The vast majority of them are crazy, and we know they’re crazy, and we’re not going to be using them.

So just because there existed a proposal to accomplish a goal by blowing up Yankee Stadium doesn’t mean anyone of any importance ever seriously considered this as an option.