Archive for the ‘9/11’ Category

Honey, I Created a Jihad

If you’re interested in how a century of British and American (and generally Western) involvement in the Middle East led to the mess there we now face see Barry Lando’s excellent book Web of Deceit (and ses also his blog: http://barrylando.com). No Hitch and Sullivan, it’s not “islamofascism”; rather, it’s about oil and colonial history and the CIA. The West could not have more meticulously created today’s predicament if that were its primary goal. (Lots of interesting and surprising facts, including employment of a young and murderous Saddam Hussein by the CIA, Kissinger’s well-documented indifference to mass casualties, France’s promiscuous arms industry, and the list goes on).


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This mirror of “What Went Wrong” wouldn’t be a story on the same scale, but it has the main theme in common. It would be about Westerners who had their reality bubble pricked by people from an alien culture, and spent the next couple of years stumbling about like idiots, unable to deal rationally with this new reality that had forced itself on them. Egging each other on, they predicted, interpreted, and labeled – and legislated and invaded. They saw clearly, through beautiful ideas. And they were wrong.

And then there are alien pricks (sorry) that are (in psychoanalytic parlance) “restitutional” symptoms: Schizophrenia, according to one theory, revives the world as an intrusion (hallucinations or paranoia that, however painful, balance the more troubled state of complete withdrawal from the world). This is not to say anything about desert: the point is that isolationism and paranoid meddling in the affairs of other countries are not inconsistent. “Stay away from me, I know nothing about you, but I am a realist and there will be cash and arms for the regimes that keep things tidy”.

It’s really fundamentally anti-imperialist and the more dangerous because of it. For a while there is isolation, and then the visuals come: 9\11 is half real, half American invention — Hollywood has been writing these scripts for years. When conspiracy theorists obsess over made-up (and really uninteresting) theories about Bush administration involvement, they are in touch with the deeper sense in which the United States forced itself into contact with the world in the worst possible way. That is, helped bring the most maniacal elements of the “other” to its shores — let them slip through its security apparatus, paid no attention to the hornet’s nest it had been stirring, took no real precautions to protect itself, all despite the veneer of realism.

This is a brute fact, not a lesson about desert.

These comments may be mistaken for an argument about what people deserve and what America deserves: it goes without saying that such things are never deserved, and why should I have to do homage to the people who tell us we’re not allowed to think about 9/11? (And on a personal note, I was near enough to the South Tower to be covered in its remains, and I nursed my anger and feelings of vengeance for long enough). No, we don’t have to keep chanting “evil, evil, evil” in order to reassure ourselves that 9/11 was undeserved, or to avoid reconciling ourselves to the worst human possibilities, or to reassure fellow citizens that we’re on their side.

Sometimes mere solidarity can be deadly.

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