Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Why Ask Why? - Terrorist attacks aren't caused by any policy except that of the bombers themselves. By Christopher Hitchens

Why Ask Why? - Terrorist attacks aren't caused by any policy except that of the bombers themselves. By Christopher Hitchens

Do not forget that on Aug. 19, 2003, a gigantic explosion leveled the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, which then served as the Iraq headquarters of the United Nations. The materials used to do this were of a high military grade not available to any random "insurgent" and certainly came from the arsenals of the fallen regime. The main target—and principal victim—was Sergio Vieira de Mello, the dashing Brazilian who had been sent by Kofi Annan to reanimate the U.N. presence in Iraq. De Mello had been the most devoted and humane of the world body's civil servants and had won himself golden opinions in Cambodia, Lebanon, Sudan, and the Balkans. But it was his role as U.N. supervisor of the transition in East Timor that marked him for death. A communiqué from al-Qaida gloated over the end of "the personal representative of America's criminal slave, Kofi Annan, the diseased Sergio de Mello, criminal Bush's friend." It went on to ask, "Why cry over a heretic? Sergio Vieira de Mello is the one who tried to embellish the image of America, the crusaders and the Jews in Lebanon and Kosovo, and now in Iraq. He is America's first man where he was nominated by Bush to be in charge of the UN after Kofi Annan, the criminal and slave of America, and he is the crusader that extracted a part of the Islamic land [East Timor]."

Consider this, look again at the awful carnage in Bali, and shudder if you ever said, or thought, that the bombs in London in July, or the bombs in Baghdad every day, or the bombs in Bali last Friday, are caused by any "policy" but that of the bombers themselves. Note the following:

1) East Timor was for many years, and quite rightly, a signature cause of the Noam Chomsky "left." The near-genocide of its people is an eternal stain on Indonesia and on the Western states that were complicit or silent. Yet Bin Ladenism wants not less of this killing and repression but more. Its demand to re-establish the caliphate is a pro-imperialist demand, not an anti-imperialist one.

2) Random bombings are not a protest against poverty and unemployment. They are a cause of poverty and unemployment and of wider economic dislocation.

3) Hinduism is considered by Bin Ladenists to be a worse heresy even than Christianity or Judaism or Shiism, and its adherents, whether in Bali or Kashmir, are fit only for the edge of the sword. So, it is absurd to think of jihadism—which murders the poor and the brown without compunction—as a movement against the rich and the "white."

So, what did Indonesia do to deserve this, or bring it on itself? How will the slaughter in Bali improve the lot of the Palestinians? Those who look for the connection will be doomed to ask increasingly stupid questions and to be content with increasingly wicked answers.

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