9/11: Hitchens on “chickens coming home to roost”

September 10, 2011 at 10:47 pm (anti-fascism, Chomsky, hitchens, intellectuals, Jim D, terror, Troothers, United States)

You don’t have to agree with Christopher Hitchens on everything (certainly, I don’t on the Iraq war) to recognise him as a very serious and principled commentator, whose defence of basic principles of democracy, free speech and anti-racism is in marked contrast to much of the so-called “left” and the so-called “anti-imperialist” so-called “left” in particular. This was never more clearly illustrated than in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. In his 2010 autobiography, ‘Hitch-22′, he describes his reaction to being told by a student at Whitman College, Washington State, a day or so after the attack, that “You know what my friends are saying? They are saying it’s the chickens coming home to roost.”

I have always had a dislike for that rather fatuous and folkish expression, and this dislike now came welling up in me with an almost tidal force. (What bloody “chickens”? Come to think of it, whose bloody “home”? And, for Christ’s sake, what sort of “roost”?) And I could suddenly visualise, with an awful sickening certainty, what we were going to be getting by way of comment from Noam Chomsky and his co-thinkers in the coming days. This realisation helped me considerably in sorting out the discrepant and even discordant discussions that were taking place in my interior, and I soon enough sat down to write my regular column for The Nation. I titled it “Against Rationalisation.” I did not intend to be told, I said, that the people of the United States – who included those toiling in the Pentagon as well as all those, citizens and non-citizens, who had been immolated in Manhatten – had in any sense deserved this or brought it upon themselves. I also tried to give a name to the mirthless, medieval, death-obsessed barbarism that had so brazenly unmasked itself. It was, I said “fascism with an Islamic Face.” In this I attempted to annex Alexander Dubcek’s phrase about Czechoslovakia adopting “Socialism with a Human Face,” and also to echo Susan Sontag’s later ironic re-working, following the military coup in Poland, of the idea of Communism going the other way and degenerating into “Fascism with a Human Face.” Obviously, this concept is too baggy to be used every time, so I am occasionally “credited” with coining the unsatisfactory term “Islamofascism” instead.

Anyway, I didn’t have long to wait for my worst fears about the Left to prove correct. Comparing Al Quaeda’s use of stolen airplanes with President Clinton’s certainly atrocious use of cruise missiles against Sudan three years before (which were at least ostensibly directed at Al Quaeda targets), Noam Chomsky found the moral balance to be approximately even, with the United States at perhaps a slight disadvantage. he also described the potential civilian casualties of an American counterstroke in Afghanistan as amounting to “a silent genocide.” As time had elapsed, I had gradually been made aware that there was a deep division between Noam and myself. Highly critical as we both were of American foreign policy, the difference came down to this. Regarding almost everything since Columbus as having been one continuous succession of genocides and land-thefts, he did not really believe that the United States of America was a good idea to begin with. Whereas I has slowly come to appreciate that it most certainly was, and was beginning to feel less and less shy about saying so. We commenced a duel, conducted largely in cyberspace, in which I began by pointing out the difference between unmanned cruise missiles on the one hand and crowded civilian airliners rammed into heavily populated buildings on the other. We more or less went from there.

Gore Vidal also, could hardly wait to go slumming. he took the earliest opportunity of claiming that, while Osama bin Laden had not been proved to be the evil genius of the attacks, it was by no means too early to allege that the Bush administration had played a hidden hand in them. Ot at least, if it had not actually instigated the assault, it had (as with Roosevelt at Pearl Harbor!) seen it coming and welcomed it as a pretext for engorging the defense budget and seizing the oilfields of the southern Caucasus. His articles featured half-baked citations from the most dismal, ignorant paranoids. President Bush had evidently forewarned himself of the air piracy in order that he he should seize the chance to look like a craven, whey-faced ignoramous on worldwide TV. Vidal’s old antagonist Norman Mailer was largely at one with him on this, jauntily alleging that endless war was the only way to vindicate the drooping virility of the traditional white American male. Thus did the nation’s intelligensia, and a part of the mental universe of the New York Review of Books, show its readiness in a crisis. I thought I had to say a word for the fortitude that the rest of society was manifesting.

I had another motive that is perhaps plainer to me now than it was then. I could not bear the idea that anything I had written or said mayself had contributed to this mood of cynicism and defeatism, not to mention moral imbecility, on the Left. I did not want that young lady at Whitman College to waste her time  drawing facile and masochistic conclusions. I had said all I could about American policy in South Africa and Chile (Salvadore Allende had been overthrown and murdered on another 11 September twenty-eight years before) but as I asked an audience in Georgetown in a later debate with Tariq Ali, could anyone imagine Mandela or Allende ordering their supporters to use civilian airliners to slaughter more civilians? Any comparison of that kind, or any extension of it to Vietnam, was –  quite apart from anything else – viley insulting to the causes and struggles with which it was being compared.

More sound stuff on 9/11 from C. Hitchens, here

82 Comments

  1. Redscribe said,

    Maybe for psuedo-supporters of the Arab revolutions, who in reality support imperialism and Zionism, events in Eygpt with the Israel embassy are also an example of ‘chickens coming home to roost’?

  2. Jim Denham said,

    Go away and read some Marx and Lenin, you imbecile. Or maybe start with Jack and Jill, then move forward to Noddy.

  3. flyingrodent said,

    Well, look. Very obviously indeed, the Americans were attacked because of their role in Middle Eastern politics, especially in Saudi Arabia. Also obviously, any attempt to deny that is ridiculous, since Al Qaeda actually said so after they’d attacked America. Equally obvious, this doesn’t mean that the Americans “deserved” to be attacked.

  4. Jim Denham said,

    I think the level of your analysis, Rodent, is summed up by your willingness to accept uncritically and at face value Al Qaeda’s *own* explanation/justification: “any attempt to deny that is ridiculous, since Al Qaeda actually said so…”

    Such an ‘explanation’ actually proves very little, if anything. Lots of people object to America’s role in the Middle East and some of them hate America as a result: very few, however, have attempted mass murder of civilians as a result. Therefore, even if Al Qaeda’s ‘explanation’ was sincere, it (and the virtually identical ‘blow back’ argument taken up by the likes of Galloway and various Guardian columnists as though it’s the height of of sophistication and those who reject it are either stupid or ‘in denial’) provides an ‘explanation’ only in the most banal and minimal sense. In other words, it isn’t an explanation at all.

  5. Clive said,

    Zawahiri’s account of al Qaeda’s actions prominently includes a desire to win ‘the youth’, who they felt were losing interest in Bin Laden-style politics, through a dramatic gesture.

    Which partly helps explain, which is obviously an important thing to explain, why *this* kind of attack? People rightly are reminding us right now that there was another 9/11, in Chile in 1973. That coup was backed by the US in a very direct sense. But none of the organisations whose members and sympathisers were killed in Santiago stadium; none of the people who survived torture and escaped – none of them thought to hijack passenger planes and plough them into buildings full of people.

    That wasn’t just lack of imagination; it never would have occurred to them. It occurred to al Qaeda because they are a fundamentally different kind of movement. To explain them – al Qaeda etc – you have to explain *them*, not what they claim to be reacting to.

  6. flyingrodent said,

    In other words, it isn’t an explanation at all.

    Jim, you appear to be saying that you know better why terrorists commit atrocities than the terrorists themselves do. I mean, I’m inclined to take their stated reasons at face value, myself, rather than search for hidden motivations.

    Put it this way – if you hear the sound of approaching hoofbeats, do you think “Hey, here comes a zebra”? Because most people would probably be looking out for a horse.

  7. Clive said,

    Ha ha. And if George Bush says the reason he’s invading Iraq is to bring democracy to that country, that’s all we need to know, too. And someone, you know, suspicious, is just having zebra fantasies.

  8. flyingrodent said,

    Well, hell. The accusation, as I understand it, has always been that Tha Left pulled a false and contrived explanation for mass murder out of its collective arse. It’s a bit of a cheek to angrily denounce people for that on the one hand, while simultaneously pulling a more convenient explanation out of your own backside.

  9. maxdunbar said,

    Rodent

    What are your thoughts on another point Hitch makes in that book – that Mandela or Allende would never even have considered doing what the hijackers did on that day?

  10. flyingrodent said,

    What are your thoughts on another point Hitch makes in that book?

    It’s entirely accurate, isn’t it? I’ve never seen anyone actively endorsing the attacks on the WTC who wasn’t basically a lunatic and/or a shithead.

    On the other hand, there’s a very large distance between “Al Qaeda crazies attacked the US on 11th September, rather than China, Australia or Mozambique, because it objected to the Americans’ actions in the Middle East” and “9/11 was awesome, terrorism FTW!”.

    It seems to me that quite a few people have spent quite a lot of time and effort on the pretence that the former, factual statement is identical to the latter, barking one. Since that’s obviously not the case, it’s probably right to be a bit suspicious of people who insist otherwise, as they’re probably Up To No Good.

  11. Clive said,

    “The accusation, as I understand it, has always been that Tha Left pulled a false and contrived explanation for mass murder out of its collective arse. It’s a bit of a cheek to angrily denounce people for that on the one hand, while simultaneously pulling a more convenient explanation out of your own backside.”

    The ‘accusation’ – and the New Statesman article seems quite chemically pure – is that the Left thought pointing to Bad Things America Does was sufficient explanation for the attacks. (And indeed, a la Milne in the Guardian, that there was something heroic about this claim). The – my, anyway – complaint against this is that it reduces the actions of, eg, al Qaeda to merely a reaction to ‘Imperialism’, without identifying anything specific to it, and – worse – conflates the actions of al Qaeda with general sentiment among people who have experienced Bad Things America Does, and want to oppose it, but not by flying planeloads of passengers into buildings, etc.

    By making the latter conflation it does, necessarily, excuse or apologise for al Qaeda, etc – because one kind of opposition to America (and other powerful countries) is justifiable, reasonable, and deserving of sympathy, but the other is not.

  12. Babs said,

    Wot Clive Said.

    Al-Qaeda affiliates have also attacked India. Islamists have also set off bombs across Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iraq, Afghanistan, and targetted Egyptian Christians, Kenyans, Tanzanians,and Russians, with another attack in Sweden. The default response to whenever an assault of this “ah, yes, *well*, its because of…. (pause as memory banks are rifled for details of historical interactions with assorted caliphates/Muslim-oriented issues)… actually” (pause to stroke chin and give baleful look).

    And the real problem is, once you start excusing/explaining away A-Q as rational, you leave the door open to other extremists to mete out similar atrocities against those you claim A-Q are legitimately ‘articulating’ the viewpoints of. “Ah, well , Anders Brevik was retaliating against Muslim attacks on western ideology wasn’t he?, hmmmm (baleful look)”

    c. 2002 Bin Laden issued another one of his rants that was dribbling on about the historical injustices against the Chaldeans that must be atoned for by the west/unbelievers. Given that these events occurred before Islam even existed you might wish to re-assess really how closely any sackcloth and ashes strategy might actually go to sate Al-Qaeda.

  13. Guy Spoons said,

    i really don’t know why you lot are even trying to educate the thgick cunt rodent. he is a thick wibberwull who has not a fuckking clue.

    but fuck it i will also do so as a deposit here because you lot are not doing a very good fuckking job anyway.

    rodent shows his utter inability to apply even a basic level of materialist understanding to the world, history and ‘meaning’ whatsoever. An utterly thick and repugnant tosser.

    The jihadists choose their methods because they are jihadists, not because any ‘political goals’ dictate or demand such methods. The methods they adopt demonstrate their ordering of priorities on an entirely non-political basis. There’s no real calculation of interests (however those interests may be defined), no room for compromise or negotiation, nothing that resembles a basic understanding of politics as contestation among a variety of groups over the distribution of power and resources – an understanding that is common to conservatives, liberals and socialists and fuckking communists alike, in every culture everywhere, marking off serious political engagement from mere dabbling in wishful thinking, or worse.

    Jihadists are idealists in the very worst sense of that word, and their fantasies have nothing in common, either, with sane political thinking and calculation, or with materialist crtique of the conditions for such thinking and calculation.

    Nevertheless, the apologists for the jihadists (fuckface Rodent example) portray their Islamism as somehow having ‘rational political goals’ or a reaction or as ‘blowback’. This downplays the role of ideology as an explanation for the anti-human, nihilistic momentum of jihadist actions and serves to aim at pinning the blame elsewhere.

    Why should the cuntS do this? So that they can place ‘blame’ at the feet of the ‘evil’ western powers, repackaging the apolitical fantasies of the jihadists in the equally depoliticised and idealistic abstraction that they presume to call ‘imperialism’, even though their moralistic, quasi-religious depiction of this Great Satan is far removed from the materialist critique of concrete imperialism initiated by radical liberals and taken up by Lenin, Luxemburg and others.

    Jihadist acts are not pragmatic responses to prevailing conditions, which can be understood or explained, and can be subject to rational assent or rejection. What the Islamists have in fact established is a framework for the legitimation of their acts through mystification, a framework that contains so many newly formulated postulates, methods and institutions that it can be viewed as a unique and distinctive ideology, aping Islam but having no authentic grounding within it, and displaying instead many of the facets of the European fascisms that in fact inspired the jihadists’ brand of Islamism (as well as Ba’athism and certain other varieties of Arab nationalism). The jihadist movements are not tools that western pseudo-leftists – with their unstated but blatant contempt for theor own – can exploit for their own ends. They are the latest dreadful expression of the lasting damage that was done to non-western societies by the western empires, and one of their goals is to exploit the pseudo-leftists, who are all too stupid enough to be deceived. Neither the jihadists, with their bombs and their swords, nor the pseudo-leftists, with their textbooks and their leaflets, have anything to contribute to any pragmatic attempt to stop the theorising, stop the killing and get on with repairing that damage.

    RODENT’sshittness fails because it sees acts exclusively as serving rational social functions or expressing rational political goals, and cannot account for acts that are irrational, anti-human and anti-political. For rodent there can only be conditioning by interests, hidden or otherwise, so they focus on the conditions for thought and action rather than the content of thought and action. This helps him to divert attention from concrete facts (multiple murder, intimidation, attempts to seize total power) to useless abstractions (free-floating ideas expressed as “-isms” without any “-ists”). By refraining from a critique of the content of Islamist ideology, they remain indifferent to it, and render themselves incapable of doing anything but envying the jihadists for doing what they, not so very secretly, would like to do: giving up on the whole time-consuming, complicated, often disappointing and inadequate project of seeking social change through democratic political contestation, in favour of attempting an immediate, simple, satisfying leap into a new world run by a new elite (themselves), by way of the spectacular and overwelmingly violent destruction of the present world – including, if they happen to find it “necessary”, the deaths of bus and Tube passengers, schoolchildren, unemployed men seeking work, teenagers in bars and nightclubs, and anyone else who fails to share their vicious ideas.

    The jihadists are cynical nihilists who live in a fantasy world of their own creation. So too are their pseudo-leftist and wibberwull apologists like riodenTT cuernT.

  14. flyingrodent said,

    RODENT’sshittness fails because it sees acts exclusively as serving rational social functions or expressing rational political goals, and cannot account for acts that are irrational, anti-human and anti-political.

    Aye Will, this crowbarring in of “rational” motivations is just as sly when you do it as it is when the Saucers do likewise. It’s a dodge, aimed at avoiding the question, not answering it.

    Obviously, people who believe that God wants them to commit mass murder for a variety of idiotic religious and political reasons are not rational. Al Qaeda’s motivations are a crazed mix of retarded, medieval lunacies, not a logical framework based on meticulously-gathered evidence.

    And yet. Al Qaeda’s reasons for attacking America were crazed, retarded, medieval and lunatic, but they were committed because this terrorist group objected to American policies and military presence in the Middle East. We know this, not least because Osama Bin Laden said so himself at very great length and in very blunt terms, both before and after the attack.

    Do bash on, though. No doubt, another 14,000 characters of word salad reinterpretation will prove that the attacks didn’t mean what they clearly meant because of, like, Hitchens said so, and so duh, will settle the issue once and for all.

    By refraining from a critique of the content of Islamist ideology, they remain indifferent to it, and render themselves incapable of doing anything but envying the jihadists for doing what they, not so very secretly, would like to do: giving up on the whole time-consuming, complicated, often disappointing and inadequate project of seeking social change through democratic political contestation, in favour of attempting an immediate, simple, satisfying leap into a new world run by a new elite (themselves), by way of the spectacular and overwelmingly violent destruction of the present world

    See when you were typing that Will, did you not stop and think “Wait a minute, this statement makes me look like a berserk and hysterical kind of person?”. Because it does, quite starkly.

  15. Jim Denham said,

    Rodent, I see you’re sticking to your line that because bin Laden said someting, it must therefore be true. As Clive points out, it’s rather strange that you don’t have the same level of faith in the truth of George Bush’s pronouncements.

    As some of us have tried to explain, your version of the standard New Statesman/ Grauniad/ Soc Worker/STWC “explanation” is simply banal, and explains nothing. Of course, it’s true up to a point that Islamist organisers use genuine grievances against The West and Israel as a way to groom and recruit. But this does not explain mass murder: you seem to regard Islamism as a form of nationalism or anti-colonialism. In fact, it is something different and insofar as it has a coherent programme it is not about this or that grievance (the Palestinians, the Afghan war, western support for the Saudis, etc), but about restoring the Caliphate, instituting sharia law, punishing apostates, etc etc. As Clive has pointed out elsewhere, it’s also very important to note that al Qaeda and the other most extreme Islamist groups are death cults.

    Actually, I think Jason Burke is much more helpful on this than the likes of Milne, Galloway or Peter Wilbey (or yourself, Rodent); below (second article down, after Fukuyama:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/sep/11/legacy-twin-towers-fukuyama-burke

  16. flyingrodent said,

    I see you’re sticking to your line that because bin Laden said someting, it must therefore be true.

    I’ll stick to it until there’s some convincing reason to reject it, yes. After all, Bin Laden started arsing on about how Al Qaeda was at war with the US in the mid-nineties, with precisely the roll call of jihadist complaints you’d expect – chief among them, for a Saudi with an terrorist organisation jam-packed with Saudis, was the demand that US armed forces quit his patch of supposedly holy sand.

    It’s not that I don’t get your point – yes, Al Qaeda are religious loonies with all kinds of bugbears, and they are prone to latching onto whatever general grievances are expedient to explain their murderous behaviour. A death cult, sharia enthusiasts, head-choppers and nutters.

    Still. Let’s note that the quickest, simplest and most accurate way to describe the motivations for the September 11th attacks is “Al Qaeda attacked the WTC because its members were pissed off about American policies and its military presence in the Middle East”. That’s a fact, one that can be backed up with any amount of official pronouncements from AQ, regardless of whatever other wacky goals they have…

    …And yet, Hitch et al regard this simple, provable fact as being not merely wrong, but actually tantamount to treason – a heresy that must be destroyed utterly, wherever it’s found. Tell me, who exactly are the truth-seekers of the Enlightenment here? Who is it who’s calling it like it is, and who’s inventing a series of yes, but arguments aimed at muddying the water?

    I think it’s pretty hilarious that you have the sheer nerve to lecture anyone else for distorting reality here, to be honest. It’s not like the Hamburg cell’s motivations make what they did any more justifiable or acceptable, or that it gives their bosses any legitimacy at all. AQ’s motivations haven’t hampered our warmaking capabilities in the slightest. Quite why you feel the need to adhere to this weird, angry form of political correctness is beyond me.

  17. Jim Denham said,

    I still don’t understand, and you Mr Rodent, have noticeably failed to explain, why you’re so willing to take bin Laden’s word as gospel…but not Bush’s or Blair’s???

    As for the “motivation(s)” for the attack on the WTC being a “simple, provable fact”…well a lot of people (see for instance the Jason Burke article I linked to in my last comment) don’t agree. But let’s see that “proof”, eh, Rodent.

    As I and others (notably Cive) have already argued, your (and bin Laden’s ) “explanation” makes sense only at the most banal level.You still haven’t addressed the central point: if it’s true that anger at US foreign policy was the “reason” for 9/11 and other Islamist outrages against civilians, then how do you explain all those other people who are *also* angry at US policies but *don’t* resort to mass murder? Are the Islamists just the same as them, but merely more imaginative and/or better organised and/or more militant? Or are we (as I and others would suggest) talking about a fundamentally different sort of movement? One, in fact, that has more in common with fascism than with traditional nationalism or anti-colonialism? I repeat: your (and bin Laden’s) “expanation”/justification in reality explains *nothing* of any value, usefulness, specificity or political worth. It is so simplistic as to be worthless for any practical and/or political purpose.

    BUT… the inescapable logic of your “explanation” is to ask us to have sympathy with Islamist mass murder, and shift the blame to the US and/or British government.

  18. Clive said,

    Like all analogies, a very rough one: you could ‘explain’ the rise of the Nazis with reference to all sorts of terrible things done by the victorious imperialist powers after 1918. But from a socialist point of view, this kind of explanation is inextricably linked to the idea of *fighting* them. This sense, that the Islamists are our *enemies* – even if they are the enemies of other enemies – is missing from much leftist commentary about and since 9/11.

  19. Pinkie said,

    Clive said:

    “This sense, that the Islamists are our *enemies* – even if they are the enemies of other enemies – is missing from much leftist commentary about and since 9/11.”

    Maybe so, maybe not and who knows what ‘much’ means here?

    Is there the possibility that you are trying to distinguish yourself from an enemy that doesn’t exist other than for your own convenience?

  20. Clive said,

    I don’t know about you, love, but my life is far too short to go around ‘distinguishing’ myself from anybody for the sake of it. I would be delighted to learn that in fact the rest of the left share my view on Islamism. Sadly, they plainly do not. Therefore the distinction I am describing is, I think, a real one, whether you recognise it or not.

  21. sid@yahoo.co.uk said,

    robert pape is a world expert on sucide terror…..

    pape’s Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism (2005) contradicts many widely held beliefs about suicide terrorism. Based on an analysis of every known case of suicide terrorism from 1980 to 2003 (315 attacks as part of 18 campaigns), he concludes that there is “little connection between suicide terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism, or any one of the world’s religions… . Rather, what nearly all suicide terrorist attacks have in common is a specific secular and strategic goal: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from territory that the terrorists consider to be their homeland” (p. 4)

    the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) report Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction – Intelligence and Assessments published in September 2003 [3], Paragraphs 125-128 of which are concerned with terrorism. On 10 February 2003, the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) produced an assessment entitled International Terrorism: War with Iraq, in which, according to the ISC report, it

    “assessed that al-Qaida and associated groups continued to represent by far the greatest terrorist threat to Western interests, and that threat would be heightened by military action against Iraq.”

    The JIC also“assessed that any collapse of the Iraqi regime would increase the risk of chemical and biological warfare technology or agents finding their way into the hands of terrorists, not necessarily al-Qaida.”

    Blair didn’t tell the House of Commons about either of these warnings on 18 March 2003, lest their enthusiasm for military action against Iraq be dampened.

    After the US/UK invasion of Iraq, the JIC produced an assessment in April 2005 entitled International Terrorism: Impact of Iraq, extracts from which were published in The Sunday Times on 2 April 2006 [4]. It said:

    “We judge that the conflict in Iraq has exacerbated the threat from international terrorism and will continue to have an impact in the long term.

    “It has reinforced the determination of terrorists who were already committed to attacking the West and motivated others who were not.

    “Iraq is likely to be an important motivating factor for some time to come in the radicalisation of British Muslims and for those extremists who view attacks against the UK as legitimate.”

    A few months after this assessment was produced by the JIC, the London bombings took place. Then, until now, despite all the evidence, Blair steadfastly refused to admit that there is a causal link between British military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq and terrorism by Muslims in Britain

  22. Rosie said,

    Here’s John Wight’s take on islamism:-

    “Al Qaeda, as I have stated, represent a distorted ideology rooted in obscurantism and medievalism. But they and it I contend were an effect, a grotesque outgrowth, of US and western foreign policy both prior to and post-9/11.”

    http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=8486#comments

    John Wight is the poor man;’s Seumas Milne. There’s no going into the aims of the organisation, or its theories, or its key thinkers or intellectual influences. You would not treat any other ideologically motivated group or person like that If, for instance, you were talking about the American Christian right, you would probably mention the Bible and Pat Buchanan and the Rapture novels and fundamental Protestantism and everything else that explains its existence. But Al Qaeda has no natural growth out of the surrounding culture and religion and similar ideologies (eg fascism). It can only be explained as outgrowth of malevolent foreign influences – rather like Gadaffi and Assad explain their protesting people as being Israeli or CIA agents.

  23. flyingrodent said,

    I still don’t understand, and you Mr Rodent, have noticeably failed to explain, why you’re so willing to take bin Laden’s word as gospel…but not Bush’s or Blair’s???

    I’ve repeatedly said over the years that I think Tony Blair is sincere about most of his war-related pronouncements. Equally, I tended to believe OBL when he said he was so pissed off about American troops in Saudi Arabia that he was willing to kill thousands of people over it because he said so repeatedly beforehand, then actually did it, and then said so again and again afterwards. George W., on the other hand – I’m not confident that dipshit even knows what day of the week it is, let alone whether his foreign policy pronouncements are true or false.

    the inescapable logic of your “explanation” is to ask us to have sympathy with Islamist mass murder, and shift the blame to the US and/or British government.

    Back to the dictionary for a long look at the definition of the word “logic” in that sentence there, I think. Let’s say I’m right, and you’re wrong. That fact in no way legitimises, justifies or excuses anything AQ have done in the past decade. How could it possibly do so, given all the horrors?

    Look. The only sympathy I can have with a turd like Osama Bin Laden is in sharing his bemusement at all these plummeting IQs in the west. Imagine how this decade must’ve gone for him – he spends years explaining and reiterating how pissed he is about the usual jihadist hate list, which includes – amongst many, many other things, but as key points – troops in Saudi, funding for Israel, all that malarkey. Then, his accomplices commit the most spectacular and horrific atrocity of the modern age live on international television, and how do we in the west respond?

    Lots of people immediately decided that 9/11 can’t have been the work of AQ, and must’ve been directed from Halliburton’s headquarters using Dick Cheney’s mind rays of pure evil; Others break their backs to pin the blame on Saddam Hussein; Still others just refuse to believe Bin Laden meant what he said, and declare that he must’ve meant something else, because his stated reasons are politically unacceptable; because, like, some people are pissed off but don’t bomb the WTC, so these motherfuckers must be some new breed of ninja super-Islamists entirely distinct from other terrorists, or because those reasons are simply “too banal”.

    I mean, I actually am aware that you lot can’t admit that OBL was really blunt about his motivations, because you think doing so would somehow undermine the wanky cottage industry of CONDEMNING! lefties for being soft on terror or for being insufficiently belligerent. I’m saying, it doesn’t and if it does, well, maybe it’s better to speak the truth than it is to build up miniture empires based on bullshit.

    It’s you lot, after all, who make such a big show of eschewing political correctness and calling things by their right name, etc. so it’s quite funny to watch all this wriggling.

  24. Jim Denham said,

    Pape’s ‘Dying to win’ is worth reading and deserves to be taken seriously, but is contradicted by the views of many (probably most) other ‘experts’ and people with in-depth experience of Islamic terrorism, including those like Ed Husain, who are themselves former Islamists. In particular, Pape fails to explain why, if all that motivates Islamist suicide murderers is a desire to force “modern democracies to withdraw military forces from territory that the terrorists consider to be their homeland”, then why do they join these murderous death cults, rather than other, nationalist movements? There have been plenty of colonial situations in the past that have engaged in armed struggle, but not civilian mass murder of this kind. So, Pape’s conclusions tell us virtually nothing of political value, even if he is superficially “correct” (which I seriously doubt).

    OF COURSE if there were no real grievances to which Islamist organisers and recruiters could point, they would not be able to recruit anybody. But that tells you absolutely nothing about the political character and ideology of the movement(s) to which these young men(and very occasionaly, women) are being recruited.

    I’ve no doubt that the 7/7 bombers were “motivated” to some degree by the Iraq war, by the plight of the Palestinians and by the racism they’d experienced here in Britian. But since the vastly greater number of people who’ve been victims of racism or outraged by imperialist wars have not chosen to become suicide bombers, this is an “explanation” that tells us next to nothing. It reduces Islamism to being merely a *reaction* to the West/”imperilaism”, etc, rather than a movement with its own distinct ideology and MO, and how that interacts with the prevailing culture within some Muslim communities and societies.

    Worse, it suggests that Islamism is in some way ‘progressive’ and that the left doesn’t need to fight it. One of the problems with the mainstream anti-war movement in Britain and elsewhere is that in (correctly) opposing the “war on terror”, it suggested that there was simply to need to oppose Islamism at all – in fact it was an ‘anti-imperialist ally. That dreadful accomodation (from the SWP to Guardian and New Statesman columnists) flowed logically from their crude, simplistic ‘blow-back’ non-explanation of Islamism.

  25. Jim Denham said,

    Keep wriggling, Rodent. Your last comment was simply sub-political. And you have still – still – utterly failed to explain why you accept bin Laden’s own words and “explanations” so readily – your admission that you also believe in the sincerity of Blair (!!) merely renders your confusion more profound: if you accept not just the sincerity of bin Laden, but the correctness of his analysis…why not Blair’s?

    Your useless and banal “understanding” of what motivates Islamist bombers gets the left nowhere, as other people have explained to you here. Far from “speaking truth to bullshit”, you’re up to your neck in it yourself, unable to explain anything, distinguish anything or propose any worthwhile course of action. All you can do is repeat your Guardian/New Statesman-level “blow-back” banalities long after they’ve been well and truly exposed as the useless rubbish they are.

  26. Jim Denham said,

    In fairness, Mr Rodent, your last comment did contain a little tiny glimmering of intelligence, but I suspect you don’t realise it:

    …”because, like, some people are pissed off but don’t bomb the WTC, so these motherfuckers must be some new breed of ninja super-Islamists entirely distinct from other terrorists,”

    Ah! Clumsily worded, but just possibly the beginings of something that might one day be wisdom…

  27. flyingrodent said,

    Mr Rodent, your last comment did contain a little tiny glimmering of intelligence, but I suspect you don’t realise it:

    Yes, that’s a sign that we’re dealing with a galactic intelligence here. I was having a chuckle at this question, from you…

    if it’s true that anger at US foreign policy was the “reason” for 9/11 and other Islamist outrages against civilians, then how do you explain all those other people who are *also* angry at US policies but *don’t* resort to mass murder?

    Let’s ignore that you know full well that I am not talking about “other Islamist outrages against civilians”, but are pretending that I am anyway. Lay aside the fact that you know full well that nobody here is saying that Al Qaeda nutters were driven beyond their will by American provocation, and yet you are intentionally pretending that this is what is being said.

    Your super-intelligent question amounts to “Why do some people commit crimes while other people don’t”?

    Thus, do we discover that Fred West couldn’t have killed all those women for the reasons that he said he did, because most people aren’t serial killers. Not covering yourself in glory today, Jimbo.

  28. Torquil Macneil said,

    Quoting Bin Laden with any level of approbation will always make you look barmy and Flying Rodent is excelling himself here. I should point out, though, that even if you think Bin Laden deserves to be taken at his word, that word is notoriously mercurial and prone to contradiction. But if we must take them at face value it is obvious that the 9/11 killers did what they did because they believed God required them to, not from any analysis of foreign policy. That is the one constant strand in all of their accounts.

  29. Clive said,

    “Thus, do we discover that Fred West couldn’t have killed all those women for the reasons that he said he did, because most people aren’t serial killers.”

    I’m not sure I know exactly what reasons Fred West gave, but I very much doubt an explanation of his actions would stop at his own account of them.

    But this is just being willfully silly. It is a very widespread contention that 9/11 and other atrocities were ‘blowback’, in other words a response in some way to American foreign policy. The point being made is that this is only true in a useless sense, and that any account of OBL has to go, shall we say, a little deeper *and explain OBL*.

    The general argument certainly is the same regarding other Islamist movements, too (ie that the growth of various kinds of Islamism in mainly Muslim countries – or, for that matter, in the UK) can simply be explained by US (or British) foreign policy. For instance, on the night of 7/7 George Galloway was on television saying it was the result of bombing Iraq. Same basic argument: it might be true that one reason the people who blew up tubes and a bus that day did so was because they opposed the bombing of Iraq. But that tells you more or less nothing at all about why they did it. I opposed the bombing of Iraq, too.

  30. Rosie said,

    Going by the drama “Appropriate Adult” Fred West gave various “reasons” for killing those poor young women – justifiable anger at his daughter’s defiance of him, affairs that had got a bit out of hand. A “reason” of that kind becomes an excuse. So this “it’s all foreign policy” sounds less like a reason and more like an excuse.

    If I was looking for one big motivation behind OBL & his like-minded followers it would be a desire to create purity – the purging of Muslim lands and Muslimhood of taints whether of western influence, slack religious observance, uppity women. It’s the classic Year Zero, purifying zeal of the ideologue.

  31. Torquil Macneil said,

    “If I was looking for one big motivation behind OBL & his like-minded followers it would be a desire to create purity – the purging of Muslim lands and Muslimhood of taints”

    This does seem to be the most consistent trend in all of Bin Laden an his follower’s message, but oddly not he one that FR (for example) wants to notice.

  32. flyingrodent said,

    This does seem to be the most consistent trend in all of Bin Laden an his follower’s message, but oddly not he one that FR (for example) wants to notice.

    I hate to interrupt the fun here, but I’d like to point out that throughout this thread, I’ve repeatedly accepted various aspects of Al Qaeda’s wacky ideology, then just repeated the fact that AQ itself also claims to be very annoyed about American policy as a central pillar of that ideology.

    Clearly, if there’s anyone here who’s minimising, underplaying or seeking to obscure politically inconvenient facets of Osama Bin Laden’s pronouncements, it isn’t me.

    Isn’t it a little bit ironic that this is the case, given all this finger-waggy tut-tut about lefties misrepresenting atrocities for political reasons?

  33. Torquil Macneil said,

    ” then just repeated the fact that AQ itself also claims to be very annoyed about American policy as a central pillar of that ideology.”

    The point is, FR, that even insofar as this is true (not very far) it has almost no explanatory power, as people keep pointing out. But how true is it? If we take Bin Laden as typical of Al Qaeda, it doesn’t seem very true at all. Bin Laden’s chief complaint was about Saudi Arabian domestic policy, that is the permission granted to the US to maintain military bases on land that Bin Laden considered holy. If we take him at his word, we should expect attacks on the Saudi institutions (an easier target too). But that didn’t happen so it is clear tat something else was at work, something you would rather not notice.

  34. Monsieur Jelly est formidable said,

    Rodent needs to update his critique. he lacks dialetics so it is problematic that he would ever be able to – update his critique. When The Clash sang “If Adolf Hitler flew in today / They’d send a limousine anyway”, they were having a go at the Right, not the Left.
    …today, yes, we are all mostly doomed.

    it’s always entertaining to see earnest, self-regarding liberals (rodent tosspoTT par excellent) waxing pompous about trivia, and it’s even more entertaining to find little rodent wax lyrical as only a thick wibberwull cunt coukld…i.e thickly

    rodent is unworldley. a very bad thing.

    werth a re-reading

    http://www.lacan.com/desertsymf.htm

  35. Monsieur Jelly est formidable said,

    “worldlessness” in fact means and implies the lack of a historical vocabulary or understanding of revolutionary potential, the inability to recognize the pregnancy of a situation with a genuine Event.

    The postmodern condition (rodent~) is a condition of worldlessness, where this “wordlessness” renders people unable to express, and therefore see a world without capitalism.

  36. sid@yahoo.co.uk said,

    so academics, terror intelligence experts and terrorists themselves are saying the same thing…..but no jim denham from the AWL knows better

  37. Jim Denham said,

    “academics, terror intelligence experts and terrorists themselves are saying the same thing”…

    …but as we’ve shown, they’re *not*, are they?

    Read former Hizb ut-Tahir member Ed Husain’s book ‘The Islamist'; follow the Jason Burke link I provided a few comments ago and also here:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2004/05/01/think_again_al_qaeda

    Most of all, take the trouble to follow the argument. It’s all there in the comments above.

  38. sid@yahoo.co.uk said,

    …but as we’ve shown, they’re *not*, are they?

    Former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer, who led the CIA’s hunt for Osama Bin Laden, states that terrorist attacks (specifically al-Qaeda attacks on America) are not motivated by a religiously inspired hatred of American culture or religion, but by the belief that U.S. foreign policy has oppressed, killed, or otherwise harmed Muslims in the Middle East, condensed in the phrase “They hate us for what we do, not who we are.” U.S. foreign policy actions Scheuer believes are fueling Islamic terror include

    Unconditional U.S. support to Israel
    U.S. troops on Muslim ‘holy ground’ in Saudi Arabia
    U.S. support for “apostate” police states in Muslim nations such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, Algeria, Morocco, and Kuwait
    The U.S.-led intervention in Afghanistan and invasion of Iraq
    U.S. support for the creation of the Christian state of East Timor from territory previously held by Muslim Indonesia
    Perceived U.S. approval or support of actions against Muslim insurgents in India, the Philippines, Chechnya, China (East Turkestan), and Palestine
    Historical justification, such as in the Crusades
    The Western world’s religious discrimination against Muslim immigrants.

    these factors act as a ‘hook’ into islamist terror..then they start with ideology…ideology alone can;t expalin why people kill themselves….

    take a real world example; the assorted lunatics and scumbags who make up hezballah….martin kramer an American scholar of the Middle East at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the Shalem Center who focuses on Islam and Arab politics states that Hezbollah initiated suicide bombings after a complex reworking of the concept of martyrdom. Kramer explains that the Israeli occupation of Lebanon raised the temperature necessary for this reinterpretation of Islam,

  39. Clive said,

    And the CIA is well known for getting things right.

    FR, I’ve just read your last comment three times, and don’t understand it.

  40. sid@yahoo.co.uk said,

    evenn the 9/11 comission report cites us foreign policy as the reason for terror….yes the official 9/11 commission

  41. Monsieur Jelly est formidable said,

    thick fuckking cunT.

  42. Jim Denham said,

    As I said, Sid, follow the arguments, above and the links I’ve provided. I think you’ll find them more substantial than the vague, incoherent and hopelessly generalised rubbish you’ve come up with. No one, in fact (least of all you and Mr Rodent) have come up with anything to answer the central points raised by Clive, Torquil and myself. I suspect this is because Clive and I (I don’t know who Torquil is) approach this question from the point of view of drawing useful, practical conclusions for the left, rather than the smug, lazy, journalistic generalisations favoured by people likme Mr Rodent and the Guardian/ New Statesman “blowback” school of non-thought..

    Btw: you (following Mr Scheur – who strikes me as a bit of a nut, btw) seem to be expanding the list of “reasons” so widely that they simply amount to ‘hatred of the West and Israel.’ I’d say that amounts to “they hate us for who we are, not what we do.”

    And, seeing as you set so much store by the 9/11 commission report…the list you’ve reproduced at #38 inclusion of The Crusades and “the Western World’s religious discrimination against Muslim immigrants”, casts the net so widely, that it doesn’t really amount to anything beyond generalised hatred and a sense of grievance/victimhood.

    Add to that your quote about Hezballah (“a complex reworking of the concept of martyrdom. Kramer explains that the Israeli occupation of Lebanon raised the temperature necessary for this reinterpretation of Islam”) …

    …and you get a set of supposed “explanations/”motivations” so all-embacing, vague and incoherent as to be of absolutely no use to anyone. But I suppose you could accurately state that if Israel didn’t exist, one of the “motives”/”reasons” would disappear.

    Very useful. I don’t think.

    One final thought: funny, isn’t it, how a certain type of person goes through life denouncing “official” reports and government-commissioned inquiries as cover-ups and whitewash-jobs…until they find one whose conclusions they like…then it becomes unchallengeably authoritative.

  43. flyingrodent said,

    FR, I’ve just read your last comment three times, and don’t understand it.

    Well, lemme put it this way, one last time.

    2001 – a large group of Saudis blow a smoking hole in the side of Manhattan. The Saudi leader of their organisation, who has repeatedly and publicly stated that one of his prime motivations for attacking Americans is the presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia, takes to the airwaves, looks a grief-stricken US right in the eyes and tells it to get the Hell out of the Middle East. Hitchens et al look at this situation and ask themselves, What do these people really mean?

    Now, let’s ask ourselves – do we think Al Qaeda may have been at least partly motivated by American Middle East policy, given these facts? After all, the US took the Saudi thing seriously enough to quietly remove its troops a few years back.

    The answer is obviously “Yes”, isn’t it? To be fair to you Clive, you’ve acknowledged as much and said that while this is true, it’s a bit more complicated than that, and I entirely agree – it certainly is. That doesn’t change the original answer, though.

    What does blog-owner Jim think of this fact? the inescapable logic of your “explanation” is to ask us to have sympathy with Islamist mass murder, and shift the blame to the US and/or British government.

    Yoy. I’m not claiming that AQ attacks have a single motivation. Mass-murder isn’t in any way justified by any form of US interference, anywhere. Nor am I trying to lay out a theory of Terrorism, The Universe and Everything that Jim will find useful and practical.

    I’m talking about one simple, straightforward and undeniable fact, and noting that yer Jims and HItchens have put a lot of time and effort into pretending – not only that it isn’t true – but that mentioning it is a disgusting heresy on par with cheering for Hitler.

    So. Who needs to update their dialectic here, do we think? Whose historical vocabulary, whatever that means, is lacking?

  44. Jim Denham said,

    And lemme me put it this way, Mr Rodent, one last time: banalities like “Al Qaeda may have been at least partly motivated by American Middle East policy” don’t tell us *anything*, or explain *anything* useful about either the political or the personal motives of the 9/11 killers or other Islamist mass muderers.

    It’s just banal, useless “blow-back” posturing at best. And at worst (eg in the case of the SWP, Milne and the STWC) a pretext for sympathy with Islamism.

    And Rodent: don’t try to pretend that you even understand what a dialectic is.

    Yoy (whatever that means), you’re “not claiming that AQ attacks have a single motivation”… sorry, I thought that’s exactly what you *were* claiming; in your first comment on this thread you stated: “Very obviously indeed, the Americans were attacked because of their role in Middle Eastern politics, especially in Saudi Arabia.” That sounds pretty clear to me. If you’re now backing away from that statement, that’s good. The trouble is that in doing so you merely expose your own *reductio ad absurdum*.

  45. flyingrodent said,

    Rodent: don’t try to pretend that you even understand what a dialectic is.

    Well, at least that part is spot on.

  46. holy joe said,

    so if i have got this straight, the Marxist position is that the actions of the 9/11 hijackers can be explained by a religious ideology existing in their heads, and the petty bourgeois anti-Marxist position espoused by the Rodent involves seeking an explanation based at least in part on material conditions existing in the real world?

  47. Monsieur Jelly est formidable said,

    thick cunt

  48. holy joe said,

    Yes, Mr Jelly, I think we can all get along without knowing the pet name you have for your inflatable doll.

  49. Monsieur Jelly est formidable said,

    thick cunt

    The enema of my enemy is my friend, Here is a reply to some character who calles himself holee Joe. Douchebags can be useful it seems. holy joe is a real bore and creates more confusion which we then have to deal with. cUnTs like Joe the Holey One have still not understood what took place in yankland 2001. They in fact still live in 1901. Ghastly stuff. Troglodytes one and all.

  50. Clive said,

    Why is ‘US foreign policy’ more of a material reality than (a particular) religious ideology? Unless you think some of us imagine this ideology pops into their heads from nothing, or from God, I suppose, what’s your point? Either way there’s something to *explain*. The point being made is that ‘US foreign policy’ explains about as much as ‘they’re Muslims’ would explain. ie, fuck all.

  51. Monsieur Jelly est formidable said,

    To help promote a deeper level of interpretation that is also useful to all, i am going to mention NAZIS — some causative factors are assembled below, but not in order of importance, and certainly not from the perspective of a paid specialist.

    1. The failure of the bourgeois revolution in Germany in 1848, which was too nationalist to succeed.
    2. The aggressively competitive, capitalist countries that fomented the 1914-18 War.
    3. The punishing repercussions of the Treaty of Versailles for German civilians that implicates the allies in the rise of the Nazis.
    4. The destruction of the German workers’ council movement in 1918-19, including the murder of people like Rosa Luxemburg.
    5. 1929 financial crash that resulted in millions of unemployed Germans.
    6. The decapitation of organised workers’ opposition to the rise of the Nazis.
    7. The lack of support from the allies for the Spanish revolution, or even the popular opposition to Franco, in 1936-37 when Spain became a test-bed for all the barbaric tactics of Fascists from Germany, Italy and Spain, and elsewhere.
    8. The failure to acknowledge that the capitalist system can accommodate industrialised murder and the brutalisation of civilians as part of its business plan. (200 years ago child labour in Britain had already demonstrated that the capitalist system is amoral and without ethics.)
    9. The reign of terror under the Nazis effectively isolated opposition from the likes of Bonhôfer, Stauffenberg or the White Rose movement in Munich.
    10. The concentration camps pointed to a human flaw rather than a specifically German one. The large numbers of collaborators is relevant here.

    none of which *explains* why the nazis *did* what they did.

  52. holy joe said,

    “Why is ‘US foreign policy’ more of a material reality than (a particular) religious ideology”
    So you think the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia or US aid to Mubarak’s Egypt or to Israel is no more of a material reality than the theory of transubstantiation or the science of Dianetics? If your point is that “Marxism” of the type on offer here explains fuck all, i quite agree. And thanks for sharing your A level history notes, Mr Jelly, good luck with the retakes!

  53. Monsieur Jelly est formidable said,

    thick fuckkin~GgG cunt

  54. holy joe said,

    I can’t say I hold out much hope for you if you are taking English, though.

  55. This is yet another guest post from ble4rg commetnaryarer said,

    gRAmsCI: “Material forces are the content and ideologies are the form, though the distinction between form and content has purely ‘didactic’ value, since the material forces would be inconceivable historically without form and the ideologies would be individual fancies without the material forces”

  56. This is yet another guest post from ble4rg commetnaryarer said,

    Hannah Arendt argues that in the world of human activities “the things that owe their existence exclusively to man nevertheless constantly condition their human makers”. She continues “Whatever touches or enters into a sustained relationship with human life immediately assumes the character of a condition of human existence… [w]hatever enters the human world of its own accord or is drawn into it by human effort becomes part of the human condition”

  57. Clive said,

    “So you think the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia or US aid to Mubarak’s Egypt or to Israel is no more of a material reality than the theory of transubstantiation or the science of Dianetics?”

    If a particular version of the ‘science’ of Dianetics was motivating people to blow other people up it might be of some interest. But nobody is suggesting that the ideology doesn’t require a materialist explanation in itself.

    The point being made, wearily, and I make it again, is that ‘the presence of US troops in SA or US aid to Egypt’ do not *explain* al Qaeda or 9/11, or a great deal else, but many on the left seem to think it does. (Or if there are other levels of explanation they are entirely subordinated to this ‘material’ fact).

    There is plenty of material reality at play in the formation of jihadi etc ideology.

  58. flyingrodent said,

    The point being made, wearily, and I make it again, is that ‘the presence of US troops in SA or US aid to Egypt’ do not *explain* al Qaeda or 9/11, or a great deal else, but many on the left seem to think it does.

    Dull as it is to have to point this out, but “many on the left” also think it might be relevant in some way. Others – yourselves, for instance – go a bit daft when presented with some fairly straightforward facts, and start havering about more or less anything else instead, as should be clear from this thread.

  59. Jim Denham said,

    The thickoes come and go, each succeeded by another even thicker than their predecessor…like baseball: from Rodent to Sid to Holy Joe…

  60. Jim Denham said,

    …oh! And back to Rodent…but still nothing of value to add…and still no explanatioin as to why he has such faith in the word of OBN…

  61. SteveH said,

    Is the argument here that the USA has done nothing to incur the ire of anyone? That would be some accomplishment for an empire to achieve. I remember reading a book on ancient Rome that talked about a perpetual reciprocal cycle of state terrorism and revolutionary terrorism.

    I agree with Rodent here, 9/11 happened not because crazed loonies who are just, like, evil decided to attack some random symbol of freedom and decadence (they would have gone Dutch if that were the case) but because the empire were up to no good in their backyard. Empire’s provoke reaction.

    Some total idiot asked why don’t all those angry at US actions resort to violence. Well we may ask why all slaves didn’t follow the Spartacus route to raising a slave army to take on Rome or why all those that didn’t like slavery didn’t decide to follow the example of Spartacus.

    George Bush and Tony “weapons of mass destruction” Blair clearly lied about Iraq but given they had to sell this plan to a sceptical public they had no choice but to dress the whole filthy affair up in enlightenment language. They calculated that there were enough idiots who would swallow this shit.I also take the Zizek idea that no one can say out loud what their real motives are – keeping up appearances if you like. This time the appearance of decency.

    Bin Laden didn’t have to lie to his supporters because they were already converted to the cause. The lie by Bin Laden wasn’t the US have done bad things in our region but the whole you will be great martyrs stuff.

    So to sum up all empires have it coming to them one way or another. The trick is to recognise the truely progressive foe, Bin Laden obviously didn’t fall into that category. Those that fall into that category will be those that challenge the empires equation that Freedom = Wage slavery.

  62. holy joe said,

    “nobody is suggesting that the ideology doesn’t require a materialist explanation in itself”
    what might that material explanation be? Might it involve positing that people might be attracted to extremist anti-American religious ideologies by practical experience of the consequences of “US foreign policy” in the Middle East? But if you were to posit that wouldn’t it make you an apologist for Islamism too, albeit in a more distanced manner? As Schopenhauer puts it, the law of causation is not a taxi cab to be dismissed upon arriving at one’s desired destination.

  63. holy joe said,

    And Jim, perhaps you might wish to reflect on why, by your own admission, your blog attracts so many thickoes.

  64. Jim Denham said,

    SteveH: “Is the argument here that the USA has done nothing to incur the ire of anyone? Errrr…no…please just take the trouble to read what’s already been written; eg: me at #4:
    “Lots of people object to America’s role in the Middle East and some of them hate America as a result..”

    Or Clive at #5: “People rightly are reminding us right now that there was another 9/11, in Chile in 1973. That coup was backed by the US in a very direct sense. But none of the organisations whose members and sympathisers were killed in Santiago stadium; none of the people who survived torture and escaped – none of them thought to hijack passenger planes and plough them into buildings full of people.”

    …actually, the fact that lots of people *do* dislike/hate the US is central to the argument that Clive, myself and others are making.

    Can you follow a logical train of thought, SteveH? Or read? Or think?

  65. Jim Denham said,

    “you might wish to reflect on why, by your own admission, your blog attracts so many thickoes”: I like to think, Joe, that the thickoes are disproportinately represented amongst the commenters. The intelligent readers tend to keep themselves to themselves.

  66. SteveH said,

    “The intelligent readers tend to keep themselves to themselves.”

    Is that an unknown Known?

    The points Rodent makes are valid though.

    Many people in the world don’t like dictators but only a few governments decided to bomb Libya to bits. Some supported this bombing and revelled in the violence.

    Your last comment re Bin Laden and Chile bordered on the moralistic and given your excitement at the violence in Libya quite hypocritical. Now given that a number of the rebels in Libya were tortured by Gaddafi’s regime at the behest of the USA and Britain it is little wonder they decided to resort to quite barbaric violence. Wonder why they reacted differently to the Chileans? Circumstances I guess. Many Latin American organisations have resorted to violence against US interests. Some are on the US terror list. Cuba the nation is on the list of states that sponsor terrorism!

    But again to sum up: Empires have it coming to them, they provoke reactions, often violent ones and chickens do sometimes come home to roost even to the seemingly all powerful. And if some privileged useless talking head like Chris ‘Hitch’ Hitchens doesn’t know what those chickens are then that shows his complete arrogant ignorance come apologism.

    And to repeat the foe of the empire we should be looking for is the one that challenges the empires equation of Freedom = Wage slavery. An equation that Hitch, this site and its supporters all too easily embrace if you ask me.

  67. Jim Denham said,

    SteveH: your last comment makes no sense and is completely incoherent: It’s not so much that I disagree with it (though I’m sure I do) as the fact that no normal person can make head nor tail of what you’re trying to say. I think I’m going to put you out of your misery now. I’m sure you’ll thank me for doing so, eventually.

  68. Monsieur Jelly est formidable said,

    Rodent and his thicko fuckking pish is a marvel to BehoLDd. Utterly without merit yet he believes he is a ‘teacher’, though it is quite obvious, for all to see here, he cannot even grasp basic Marxist concepts and analytical tools. A class ‘A’ wanker and cracKKPoTT. I suggest the remedy could be appying himself to some serious study (not that there is any evidence that that would work mind – probably needs a very cold shower and electric-shock therapy on a daily basis in conjunction with any ‘study’).

    PS – read the fuckking Zizek link I supplied earlier dipshit

    • flyingrodent said,

      thicko fuckking pish… Utterly without merit… A class A wanker and cracKKPoTT… needs electric shock therapy

      So Will, that must mean that Al Qaeda didn’t make the statements that I said they did; or that if they did, those claims must be utterly irrelevant. We’re dealing with a yes/no proposition here, after all, and not one that requires forty years of education in Marxist theory on the blah-blah of whatever to adjudicate.

      Let me chuck in a proposition here, just for hypothetical consideration – the point I’ve been making about Al Qaeda citing US policy as a motivation for this particular atrocity is accurate, but Hitchens and his fans would rather eat a truckload of babboon shit than admit it…

      …Because admitting it – even if admitting to it in no way invalidated any action of the US or in any way justified any act of terrorism – would concede to the possibility that massive military campaigns in the Middle East may be counter-productive, increasing rather than decreasing radicalisation and extremism.

      That conclusion, if accepted by enough citizens, could possibly decrease support for further massive military campaigns in the Middle East, and thus hamper further MMCs in the ME. Anything that hampers MMCs in the ME is inherently evil and thus must be destroyed, regardless of its merits .

      Thus, a thread filled will seemingly intelligent people who not only refuse to admit the accuracy of undeniable facts, but who also respond with hilarious ferocity them, at incredible length.

      • Monsieur Jelly est formidable said,

        thicko cunTjerb – here is some knowledge bomb for yi yi dozy prick

        Comrade Postone

        “Let me elaborate by frst turning briey to the ways in which many liberals andprogressives responded to the attack o September 11. The most general argumentmade was that the action, as horrible as it may have been, had to be understoodas a reaction to American policies, especially in the Middle East.

        While it is thecase that terrorist violence should be understood as political (and not simply as an irrational act), the understanding of the politics of violence expressed by such arguments is, nevertheless, utterly inadequate. Such violence is understood as a
        reaction of the insulted, injured, and downtrodden, not as an
        action. While theviolence itself is not necessarily affrmed, the politics of the specifc form of violence committed are rarely interrogated. Instead, the violence is explained (andat times implicitly justifed) as a response.

        Within this schema, there is only one actor in the world: the United States.This sort of argument focuses on the grievances of those who carry out such actions without engaging the framework of meaning within which those grievances are expressed. The actions that flow from those meanings are taken simply as expressions of anger, however unfortunate.

        Such arguments neither interrogate the understanding of the world that motivated this violence nor critically analyze the sort of politics implied by violence directed intentionally against civilians. Consequently, such arguments can become implicitly apologetic rather than political; they make little attempt to understand the strategic calculations involved — not so much of the bombers as of their handlers — and ignore issues of ideology. It is aserious error, for example, to interpret the felt grievances underlying a movement like al-Qaeda in narrow terms, as an immediate reaction to American policies and Israeli policies. This ignores too many other dimensions of the new jihadism. For example, when Osama bin Laden speaks of the blow inficted on the Muslims eighty years ago, he is not referring to the founding of the state of Israel but to the abolition of the caliphate (and, hence, of the purported unity of the Muslim world) by Ataturk in 1924 — long before the United States was involved in theMiddle East and before Israel was established. It is noteworthy that the vision he expresses is more global than local, which is one of the salient features of the new jihadism, in terms of both the struggles it supports (transforming them into manifestations of a single struggle) and its driving ideology. And an important aspect of the global character of that ideology has been anti-Semitism.”

  69. Jim Denham said,

    One useful result of Mr Rodent’s contributions here, so far, is the breakthrough that juries are not really needed in murder trials: we should just accept the murderer’s own explanation (or, presumably, denial):

    “Thus, do we discover that Fred West couldn’t have killed all those women for the reasons that he said he did, because most people aren’t serial killers.”

    Mr Rodent, #27, above.

    That’ll save the government a lot of money.

  70. Mike without the Mechanics said,

    If a murderer admits to his crimes (whatever the explanations) then a jury trial us not necessary in English law.

  71. holy joe said,

    “The intelligent readers tend to keep themselves to themselves”
    I see. Intelligence for the purposes of this blog is not defined by the usual parameters, but in terms of agreeing with Jim and keeping quiet. Such a course of action would undoubtedly be intelligent in a world run by the AWL, where there would be no need for jury trial as people could be convicted not on the basis of anything they had said and done, but on the basis of whatever Jim deemed to be the “objective” implications of their thoughts or actions.

    • Monsieur Jelly est formidable said,

      thick cunRT

  72. flyingrodent said,

    thicko cunTjerb – here is some knowledge bomb for yi yi dozy prick

    I agree with Postone, although I’ll note that I’ve never met anyone in the flesh who subscribes to the wacky 9/11 = 100% reaction to the west, and that’s it theory. Only online do I meet such people.

    So, lots of nutters with silly beliefs about 9/11? Yes, loads. Al Qaeda – medievalists with international ambitions; historical fantasists with an agenda that precedes US involvement in the region; crazy antisemites? Yes, yes, yes! All true, very true.

    AND YET. It’s a matter of historical fact that OBL and other AQ figures have repeatedly stated that US policy in the Middle East is a big no-no for them and a major motivation in their war with the US. There are many reasons to believe that they are serious about this, not least the fact that they have said it until they are blue in the fucking face, despite certain people’s determination to ignore it.

    How many times? This is just a fucking fact, isn’t it? It doesn’t matter whether they get the rest of their motivation and ideology from Qutb or from David Icke. It doesn’t change this basic fact one little bit.

    Now, I repeat – Hitchens fans cannot possibly admit to this fact because it could imply that American military larks in the Middle East might be counterproductive. The idea that US military larks are counterproductive is so unacceptable, in fact, must be eradicated, exterminated, wiped from existence, regardless of whether or not it is true.

    Thus, the endless philosophy lessons, which have fuck-all to do with enlightenment and everything to do with denying the obvious, for political reasons.

  73. charliethechulo said,

    “This is just a fucking fact, isn’t it? ”

    That they say it? Or that it’s true? Or, even if true as far as it goes, helpful in any way?

    I realise these are complex and probably “dialectical” questions, for which I apologise in advance to Mr Rodent, who likes statements of the bleedin’ obvious rendered as profound as possible.

  74. Monsieur Jelly est formidable said,

    i am done withn roDent the thicko swampmiesster. another ignorant piece of shit to be trodden on or ignored, or ironically, dialectically trodden on underfoot.

    Just watched this fillum tonight

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/09/la-rafle-film-france-war

    could not recoomend more highly. Of course it will be denounced as Zionazi propaganda and shit – that’s the reason to wotCH the fuckkER!!!

  75. Monsieur Jelly est formidable said,

    jeesass – have just actuallry read rodent last comment instead of just ignoring it. fuck. and that cunt has the nerve to call other people demented and shit!!!!!!! what a fuckking arsehole. you rodent are an anti-intellectual cunT. and as we all know…

  76. Monsieur Jelly est formidable said,

    “This is just a fucking fact, isn’t it? ”

    a taxi driver told me so it must be true.

  77. Monsieur Jelly est formidable said,

    What rodent does is engage in dumb sociological analysis and not materialist critique. His sociologigicaL non-analysis fails because:

    * It only sees acts as serving a social function (political goals)
    * Most importantly, it refrains from a critique of the content of islamist ideology itself,remaining indifferent toward it

    THAT IS a Fact. a taxi driver told me. So true. also the taxi driver werked for the CIA so even more true cos CIA know what they talk about. iNNITT.

  78. Monsieur Jelly est formidable said,

    Thomas Mann used to say that Hitler didn’t land on German ground like a meteor, and so Germany, as a result, could never simply rid itself of Nazism. He added, however, that he too was Germany. Rather than trying to sweet-talk fanatics with dishonorable pieties about The Other and respecting The Other, it is incumbent upon us to affirm unceasing solidarity with all the Thomas Manns of the Muslim world.

  79. Monsieur Jelly est formidable said,

    just did a search of rodent cunt blergg`H using terms “ideology’. all you get is comedy arse trumpet shit, pie charts and that. wot a joke,

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