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Yusuf. View Drop Down
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    Posted: 29 July 2005 at 4:24pm
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-makdisi 29jul29,0,5509950.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions

Brutality that boomerangs

By Saree Makdisi
Saree Makdisi, a professor of English literature at UCLA, is teaching in London for the summer.

July 29, 2005



Iam angered and sickened by the bombings here in London on July 7, but I am equally angered by the unthinking reactions in the United States and Britain to those disgusting attacks.

The usual self-congratulatory contrast between "our" civilization and "their" barbarism has set the stage for a cycle of moralistic inquiries into the motivations of suicide bombers and the supposed duty of "good" Muslims to restrain "bad" ones.

Few have noticed that suicide bombing is merely a tactic used by those who lack other means of delivering explosives. Fewer still seem to notice that what happened in London is what occurs every time a U.S. or British warplane unloads its bombs on an Iraqi village.

But, you may say, our forces don't deliberately target civilians. Perhaps not. But they have consistently shown themselves to be indifferent to the civilian casualties produced by their operations.

"Collateral damage" is the inevitable result of choosing to go to war. By making the choice to go to war in Iraq, we made the choice to kill tens of thousands of civilians. It does not matter to bereaved parents whether their child was killed deliberately, as the result of a utilitarian calculation of "the greater good," or of the callous indifference of officials from a distant power.

American and British media have devoted hours to wondering what would drive a seemingly normal young Muslim to destroy himself and others. No one has paused to ask what would cause a seemingly normal young Christian or Jew to strap himself into a warplane and drop bombs on a village, knowing full well his bombs will inevitably kill civilians (and, of course, soldiers).

Because "our" way of killing is dressed up in smart uniforms and shiny weapons and cloaked in the language of grand causes, we place it on a different moral plane than "theirs."

I read an article about a Marine sniper who was given a medal at a California ceremony for having shot dead 32 Iraqis during the battle for Fallouja last year — young men who were defending their city from an invading army. A nod to their deaths was made by the sniper and a chaplain, but these are the sentiments that struck me:

"He didn't kill 32 people," said a sergeant major. "He saved numerous lives…. That's how Marines look at it." And his mother said, "It's difficult. You send off your little boy and he comes back a man who has protected everyone."

Clearly, "our" lives are all that matter and "their" lives literally don't count.

And are we really expected to believe that such brutal indifference to other people's lives has nothing to do with what happened in London three weeks ago?

"It is by distortedly exalting some men, that others are distortedly debased," the Anglo American revolutionary Thomas Paine warned two centuries ago. As a result, he added, "a vast mass of humankind are degradedly thrown into the background of the human picture." His point was that if people are treated inhumanly, they will cease to act humanly.

Our governments dismiss out of hand any connection between the London bombings and the war in Iraq. Such attacks, they say, predate 2003. But Iraq was first invaded in 1991, not 2003. Then a decade of sanctions against that country killed a million Iraqis, including 500,000 children. Over the same period, unwavering support for Israel has resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent Palestinians and the total paralysis of an entire people. Tens of thousands have been slaughtered by U.S. and British forces in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001.

At no point has peaceful protest, persuasion, demonstration, negotiation or remonstration made so much as a dent in the single-minded U.S. and British policy. If all legitimate forms of dissent go unheeded, illegitimate forms will be turned to instead. Some will resort to violence, which does not produce the desired result but may, by way of unthinking reaction, give vent to the inhumanity with which they have been treated for so long. Paine was right: People who are treated brutally will finally turn into brutes.

This is not a war between "civilization" and "barbarism" but a war between one form of zealotry and another, one form of ignorance and another, one form of barbarism and another. More of the same, underwritten by ignorance, will not yield solutions. The time has come to be human, and — motivated by sympathy, actuated by reason — to think and act as human beings, not unthinking brutes.

Yusuf
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote b95000 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 July 2005 at 5:03pm
Few have noticed that suicide bombing is merely a tactic used by those who lack other means of delivering explosives. Fewer still seem to notice that what happened in London is what occurs every time a U.S. or British warplane unloads its bombs on an Iraqi village.

=================

This is classic hyperbole...the MNF has taken great care to minimize civilian involvement in the battle fronts...it is the terrorists who shield themselves among the innocent families and even hurtle themselves into groups of children and blow themselves up - how in the world can this be compared with targeting military targets or even collateral (unintentional) deaths?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote b95000 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 July 2005 at 5:07pm
Originally posted by b95000 b95000 wrote:

Few have noticed that suicide bombing is merely a tactic used by those who lack other means of delivering explosives. Fewer still seem to notice that what happened in London is what occurs every time a U.S. or British warplane unloads its bombs on an Iraqi village.

=================

This is classic hyperbole...the MNF has taken great care to minimize civilian involvement in the battle fronts...it is the terrorists who shield themselves among the innocent families and even hurtle themselves into groups of children and blow themselves up - how in the world can this be compared with targeting military targets or even collateral (unintentional) deaths?

The question becomes at what point will ME moderates separate themselves from ME radicals and take the reigns - to help usher in freedom and peace...the MNF has handed over sovereignty in Afghanistan and Iraq...

At what point will the terrorist/political killings be attributed not on the remover of the tyrant murderer Saddam but on Saddam, his vestiges and the radical hijackers of Islamic theology that worship death.  I know of no Australian, Italian or American troops that would deliberately kill children - and yet the so-called insurgency in Irag would do this!

At what point are we going to make proper and reasonable distinctions!?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tony_Manc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 July 2005 at 7:16pm

It truly saddens me when I read a post such as the one above by b95000. His statement is typical of someone in the US trying to sanitise what they, and the UK have done in Iraq.

When you say collateral damage, and then put 'unintentional'  in brackets, do you really think that excuses it?

American forces are nothing short of brutal in their dealings with the Iraqi people. The same is sadly true of UK forces (not all on both sides by any stretch)

How can you even say the word terrorist when the US has colluded with the IRA for years? The Americans chose to call them 'freedom fighters' without, typically, really understanding what was going on.

Are the bombings in London a direct result of our involvement in the Iraqi invasion? Probably. Are they (the bombers) any worse than say, the french resistance during the 2nd world war? Probably not, it's just their means of revenge that repulses us.

Well rightly so, but is it any more repulsive than the Iraqi civilians being killed, and injured by napalm? What the hell are you doing using napalm in Iraq?!

Just because you believe that the avengers methods are more repugnant than the invaders, does not make your methods any more palatable.

It all makes me ashamed to be English, and glad I'm not American.

 



Edited by Tony_Manc
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jibreel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 July 2005 at 10:44pm
Peace

this is because democracy works like this;

Ariel Sharon: "We control America" "Every time we do something you tell
me America will do this and will do that . . . I want to tell you something
very clear: Don't worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish
people, control America, and the Americans know it."

- Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, October 3, 2001.








Edited by jibreel
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Yusuf. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 July 2005 at 11:51am
Originally posted by Tony_Manc Tony_Manc wrote:

It truly saddens me when I read a post such as the one above by b95000. His statement is typical of someone in the US trying to sanitise what they, and the UK have done in Iraq.

When you say collateral damage, and then put 'unintentional'  in brackets, do you really think that excuses it?

American forces are nothing short of brutal in their dealings with the Iraqi people. The same is sadly true of UK forces (not all on both sides by any stretch)

How can you even say the word terrorist when the US has colluded with the IRA for years? The Americans chose to call them 'freedom fighters' without, typically, really understanding what was going on.

Are the bombings in London a direct result of our involvement in the Iraqi invasion? Probably. Are they (the bombers) any worse than say, the french resistance during the 2nd world war? Probably not, it's just their means of revenge that repulses us.

Well rightly so, but is it any more repulsive than the Iraqi civilians being killed, and injured by napalm? What the hell are you doing using napalm in Iraq?!

Just because you believe that the avengers methods are more repugnant than the invaders, does not make your methods any more palatable.

It all makes me ashamed to be English, and glad I'm not American.

 

Good post Tony. I don't waste my time reading B's posts, but from I have seen in the past he clearly operates under the theory the columnist states as American philosophy towards murder: "Clearly, "our" lives are all that matter and "their" lives literally don't count."



Edited by Yusuf.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nico Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 July 2005 at 12:15pm

Tony_Manc

Do you believe that revenge is a justified means for a Muslim yes or no?

Do you believe that Suicide bombing is a halal?

Tony its equally pathetic to use the Iraq war to attack innocent civilians in London?



Edited by nico
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jibreel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 July 2005 at 1:31pm
Peace all

If you all want peace, stop attacking Islam.
How do you expect people to protect themselves when the media is the way
they have been getting away with this, simply by hiding information from
the public.

Retaliation is what happened in London.

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