[...]The pathologies of Iraq are hard to pin down and most people in the West have long given up trying. One bomb follows another; British and American troops are killed at an increasing rate; suicide bombers are able to penetrate the Green Zone in Baghdad and there are signs that the Shia death squads are returning. Even when the bombers struck the capital last week with five separate attacks, the largest of which killed 140 people, the Western media devoted the majority of their attention to the killings at Virginia Tech.
We turn away, taking a perhaps rather odd refuge in the certainty that this is all the fault of the neoconservatives, of the arrogance of Bush and Blair and what is strangely called a policy of 'liberal intervention'. A majority were against the war in 2003 and almost everyone is now.
But this carries you just so far. It is certainly true that none of this would be happening if, in the first place, the invasion had not gone ahead and if, in the second, the Pentagon had not decommissioned the agencies, police force and military units of Saddam's state. But let us just remember a few points before switching channel.
If the number of attacks diminished, the Americans and British troops would leave Iraq far faster than seems likely at the present. The situation, therefore, can no longer be taken for a classic resistance of an occupying force. Nor can it be entirely seen as the opposite, that is to say a guerrilla war that is maintained by Islamist, Shia and Ba'athists groups for the sole purpose of engaging the American and British military.
The proof of this lies in the fact that the great majority of casualties are caused by Arabs killing Arabs, Muslims slaughtering Muslims.
This brings us back to the chlorine bombs being built by al-Qaeda to terrorise and kill their Muslim brothers, who, we must remember, were so recently oppressed by the atheistic regime of Saddam Hussein. It is as if Protestant and Catholic groups in the French Resistance used the Nazi occupation to blow up each other's churches and market places and slaughter each other's children. Actually, it is weirder in Iraq because the Sunni extremists of al-Qaeda are killing and torturing more Sunnis than Shia, let alone US soldiers.
The thought process is psychopathic: it has the same logic we heard in the ravings of the gunman at Virginia Tech. There is a similarity of exhibitionism, too, a need for attention that must escalate the horror to maintain some kind of foothold in the Western news bulletins. These monsters in Iraq must have felt a mite frustrated by the events on an American campus last week, especially as a double attack on a university campus in Baghdad in January killed twice as many students but rated a mere day's coverage in the West.
So we are talking about civil war and the convergence in Iraq of a number of opportunistic death cults, the most crazed and narcissistic of which is probably al-Qaeda, though the Shia death/torture squads fielded by Muqtada al-Sadr run a pretty close second. Is this Bush and Blair's fault? Ultimately, yes because they opened the fissure that released the superheated gases of Islamist fanaticism.
But we cannot leave it at that. Somewhere in Iraq, for example, there is an individual who allowed two young children to travel into Baghdad as passengers in the back seat of car that was loaded with explosives. Naturally enough, the children's presence lowered suspicion at the checkpoints. The car entered the city, the adults hopped out and detonated the bomb with the children still inside.
That is badness of a high order and you would expect it to have offended every loving parent across Islam. You would certainly expect to hear some stern religious voices in Middle East calling for the cessation of such barbarity in the name of one or other sect or tribe or, indeed, Allah. There are murmurs of disquiet, even horror, but in a way, the Americans and British have become everyone's alibi or at least plea of mitigation. [...]
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Henry Porter asks "When will Islam damn the chlorine bombers?" which isn't a bad question. Another implied question is "When will the left damn the chlorine bombers?" A further question would be whether the left is going to join the battle against what the chlorine bombers represent: