Thursday, May 23, 2013

What Do We Bicker About, When We Bicker About Terrorism?

I've got less time on my hands for internet bickering than I used to, but I am a seasoned veteran.  If you're reading this, you're probably a bit handy at the internet bickering yourself.

So let's skip straight to the main course - what do we bicker about, when we bicker about terrorism?  More or less everything except terrorism, is my suspicion. 

A few observations about the responses I've seen to yesterday's bloodcurdling horror in Woolwich, starting with 

When a guy who has just beheaded a man while shouting about Allah is shown explaining that he did it because of violence perpetrated by British soldiers in "Our lands", it's probably okay to call him a Jihadist or an Islamist terrorist-wannabe. 

You'd think this would be uncontroversial, given that beheading-while-shouting-about-God is one of the Jihadi's favourite pastimes, and that publicly justifying yourself with standard Jihadi boo-hoo can reasonably be described as "Jihadist behaviour". 

But you'd be wrong.  

Now, our legal system and its presumption of innocence is one of the things that makes this country great, but we aren't all lawyers in court, so we can draw conclusions as we see fit.  

I expect it's possible that these arseholes were crazy* wannabe-Glorious Warriors of God, but we all know that the sole requirement for being a Jihadi is saying that you are one.  That is, after all, the whole point of Al-Qaeda and its offshoots - anyone can join in the fun, by declaring that you want to do so**.

There are times when it's appropriate to reserve judgement; there are times when the best course is quiet reflection until all the facts emerge. 

And then, there are times when a man bloodily decapitates another in the street while shouting Jihadist slogans.  At moments like this, a rush to judgement is probably justifiable.  If anything, it's reasons to doubt Jihadomentalist lunacy that may need backing up in this scenario. 


While it's certainly true that 99.99% of Muslims are not bloodthirsty Jihadi arseholes, it is also necessary to point out that a sufficiently worrying number are.  

It's great to see how many people are at pains to note that most Muslims are no happier with psycho-murderers than any section of the the UK's populace.  Go on folks - there are plenty who need to be reminded of facts like this, and reminded often. 

Nonetheless, I do have to point out that Jihadi arseholes are a conspicuous and alarming problem whose ability to sow hatred and discord is wildly disproportionate to their meagre numbers, and that this has to be discussed with clear eyes and no illusions.  

Going apeshit every time anybody mentions the loony, supremacist Islamist theories popular among most who commit these very specific murderous acts isn't helping the situation and is probably helping those who want to inflame it.

Yes, there are "media narratives" and people looking to exploit this or that, but neither I nor the public at large are much worried that "the media" are going to set off nailbombs in our cities.

Yes, there are other forms of terrorism, and "terrorism" is a much-abused word.

Nonetheless, back when Anders Breivik quoted Melanie Phillips and her cohort of pant-shitting imitators in his loopy theories about imminent Marxo-Jihadical genocide, we all thought it was hilarious when the lot of them started backpedalling away from their own whiffy theories like roid-raging cyclists while screeching about censorship. 

Still though, I think it's worth noting that when Breivik said he was prompted to action by his favourite doom-mongering race theorists, he may just have been telling the truth, much as David Copeland probably was a Nazi scumbag.

Which brings us to... 

When lots of criminals keep telling you their crimes were motivated by (x), then their crimes are more likely to have been motivated by (x) than by whatever theory you have just pulled out of your arse. 

We've seen this one before - some twatty little gimp stands up in court and says that yes, he committed acts of terrorism because yes, he's a Soldier of God in a war that encompasses Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

And folk stand around stroking their chins wondering what he can possibly have meant by such a statement.  
Well, look.  I'm aware that Islamism didn't spring into being fully-formed from nowhere; I'm also aware that it barely needs grievances to justify whatever bugfuck nuts acts of mayhem and destruction it wants to commit.  I'm also aware that it won't go away if we would only tickle its ears and give it a saucer of milk.

But I have to say that, when folk insist on continuing to kill themselves and other people and then justifying it by calling it revenge for this or that disastrous foreign policy catastrofuck, they probably mean that they're angry enough about our foreign policy to kill and die over it.

This is one of the great unsayables, for much of this country's pundit class.  To note it is to attract accusations that you're saying that you deserve to be killed, and so on.  Sadly for fannies of this ilk, this issue is totally impervious to our feelings about it.  

Or, in shorter form - just because a man's statements are highly inconvenient for your personal foreign policy preferences, doesn't mean they aren't true

And lastly, a favourite topic of mine... 

What the fuck are we still doing in Afghanistan?

Let's play devil's advocate and accept the standard hawkish boilerplate.  Let's assume that a vast section of the world's Muslims are deranged with lunatic, murderous psychopathy. 

Well then, what? Do we intend to make war upon a billion people and if so, what proportion of that population are we going to have to splatterate in order to make the remainder see sense? 

And if you can put an exact deaths-to-revelation ratio on this then how, exactly, is a temporary occupation of the arse-end of the Islamic world meant to remedy that situation? 

And of course, it won't.  But then few of our bickerings have really had much to do with reality anyway, this last ten years or so.

*And it actually is okay to use the word "insane" to describe the behaviour of people who do things that we think are insane, even if we don't think that those people are literally insane.  

**This is the point, often made, that had pundits twiddling fingers at their temples when Adam Curtis raised it but not, curiously, when Jason Burke does likewise.


ejh said...

neither I nor the public at large are much worried that "the media" are going to set off nailbombs in our cities.

You borrowed this gag off Chris Rock and I claim my five pounds.

flyingrodent said...

I do not "borrow" Justin, I "steal shamelessly".

ejh said...

Personally I am, in some small way, worried that some of the media might go out of their way to set off people who might set off nailbombs in our cities.

darjeeling said...

I'm also aware that it won't go away if we would only tickle its ears and give it a saucer of milk.
But it might help if we didn't fund and train the fuckers,as in
Afghanistan,Bosnia,Kosovo,Iraq,Libya,Chinese Turkestan,Mali,Syria.
Yes,I did say 'Iraq'.It's pretty fucking pobvious that those death squads that went around killing anyone who opposed the American occupation were in fact being directed by the Americans.
Don't be such a naive fuckin milksop Rodent.And don't call me a fuckin conspiraloon.Do some reading about Frank Kitson and his pseudogangs,exactly how they were used in Northern Ireland and Kenya.fascinating stuff,but remember to not draw any conclusions,you don't want to upset those rightwing blowhards you are trying to curry favour with.
Oh,and by the way-when Steve Bell responds to spurious allegations in a forcefull manner,he is not being a bit of a dick about it or whatever turn of phrase you used.He is responding to a completely spurious but still potentially career ruining campaign in the only way possible.
Sometimes it's not 6 of one and half a dozen of the other.

flyingrodent said...


darjeeling said...

Thanks geyser.

Henry said...

ejh, flying rodent:

What about petrol bombs?