I Will Not Be Your Terror Monkey

John Rogers has a beautiful rant about how we should react to the recent capture of terrorists in London rather than the way we are acting:

I am just not going to wet my pants every time some guys get arrested in a terror plot. I will do my best to stay informed. I will support the necessary law enforcement agencies. I will take whatever reasonable precautions seem, um, reasonable. But I will not be terrorized. I assume that the terror-ists would like me to be terror-ized, as that is what is says on their nametag, rather than, say, wanting me to surrender to ennui or negative body image, and they’re just coming the long way around.

Osama Bin Laden got everything on his Christmas list after 9/11 — US out of Saudi Arabia; the greatest military in the world over-extended, pinned down and distracted; the greatest proponent of democracy suddenly alienated from its allies; a US culture verily eager to destroy freedoms that little scumfuck could never even dream to touch himself — I would like to deny him the last little check on the clipboard, i.e. constant terror. I panic, they win. To coin a phrase, Osama Bin Laden can suck my insouciance.
There are a million factors in this New World of Terror. You weigh ’em, you process, and then you move on.

[…] You move on, building a better international society so that luddite fundamentalist criminal gangs/cults of personality are further and further marginalized.

Or, if you don’t understand 4th Generation Warfare at all, you move on, bombing the shit out of nation-states and handing your opponents massive PR victories. Either way, you move the fuck on.

Maybe it’s just, I cast my eyes back on the last century …

FDR: Oh, I’m sorry, was wiping out our entire Pacific fleet supposed to intimidate us? We have nothing to fear but fear itself, and right now we’re coming to kick your ass with brand new destroyers riveted by waitresses. How’s that going to feel?

CHURCHILL: Yeah, you keep bombing us. We’ll be in the pub, flipping you off. I’m slapping Rolls-Royce engines into untested flying coffins to knock you out of the skies, and then I’m sending angry Welshmen to burn your country from the Rhine to the Polish border.

US. NOW: BE AFRAID!! Oh God, the Brown Bad people could strike any moment! They could strike … NOW!! AHHHH. Okay, how about .. NOW!! AAGAGAHAHAHHAG! Quick, do whatever we tell you, and believe whatever we tell you, or YOU WILL BE KILLED BY BROWN PEOPLE!! PUT DOWN THAT SIPPY CUP!!

… and I’m just a little tired of being on the wrong side of that historical arc.

To “fill morgues of the future that have not yet been built”

The great Terry Jones has taken a stand for Armageddon:

Those of us who have long been supporters of Armageddon have naturally been greatly cheered by way the president of the United States has been embracing our cause. Our desire to bring chaos, death and destruction to a greater swathe of humanity has, in the past, often been frustrated by peacemakers and do-gooders of all shades of the political spectrum.

For too long, our aspirations have been derided and criticised. In fact, to be blunt, for more than two millennia we have had to put up with opprobrium and vilification, but now all that will be a thing of the past, for in George Bush we have found an ally – indeed, we have found a leader. A man who is prepared to place himself at the head of the forces of destruction and misery, and who is unafraid of the opinion of the rest of the world.

George Bush has finally put Armageddon firmly on the political agenda, and it is likely to stay there for the foreseeable future.

This means that we Armageddonists need keep to the shadows no longer. Bush and his colleagues in the White House have given us credibility and respectability. They have made our goal their goal, and death, disease, war and famine are now the most likely fate for more people in the Middle East than we Armageddonists had ever dared to hope for.

Hat tip to Bob Harris.

Shrapnal Sandwhich, Hold the Blood

Anthony Bourdain, my all time favorite food writer, was in Beirut when the bombs started falling:

Anthony Bourdain, chef, author and host of Travel Channel’s “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations,” and his four-person crew were trapped in Beirut while filming the series. After a week of laying low, Bourdain and his production crew landed back in the states on Friday, July 14, after an exhausting journey that included time on a military landing craft and the USS Nashville.

Bourdain was online Wednesday, July 26, at 11 a.m. ET to discuss his time in the international city and his thoughts about what was once a burgeoning hotspot for international travelers.

[…] Darnestown, Md.: In your writing and program you use food and travel as media to communicate an informed world view and philosophy. How has the experience of the past week or so informed or impacted these?

Anthony Bourdain: Great question. I don’t know yet. I suspect the answer to be a depressing one. Where once I believed that the meal was a leveling experience, a thing that could make a difference, that over food and drink in some small way people could make a difference … I’m not so sure anymore. It seems now that whatever we eat, however proud we may be, good and bad alike are crushed under the same wheel. Obviously, I’m feeling a little pessimistic about the world these days.

It’s a very informative Q & A and provides a unique perspective on this whole mess, something we need lest we forget that there are actually people involved in this, not just abstract nouns like Hezbulah and Israel.

Donkeys, Lions and How To Tell the Difference

John Rogers has a fantastic essay up, just ripe for Memorial Day reading:

The point is by the broadest, most easily agreed-upon standards our side of the covenant with the troops is not being upheld. We are culpable, we are responsible, were are in fact guilty if we do not rectify this situation. And the only way to rectify this situation, in our form of government, is to go chew the shit out of the guys whose job it is to execute our will.

The problem is, these yahoos have managed an ugly trick. They have turned criticism of the policies of Bastards in Suits into criticism of The People in Uniform Getting Shot At. This, of course, is completely wrong, as one can easily tell the difference between the Bastards in Suits and The People in Uniform Getting Shot At. One group is in Suits, and Not Getting Shot At, while another is in Uniform, and Getting Shot At. Please, try to grasp this. Not the same.

There is a flip side. Some people confuse supporting the Bastards in Suits for supporting The People in Uniform Getting Shot At. This is, again, ridiculous. If the history of modern warfare has taught us anything, it’s that the Bastards in Suits spend an awful lot of time working the kinks out of plans involving The People in Uniform dying unpleasantly. They often screw that up. When they do screw up, it is incumbent upon Bastards in Suits to suffer criticism and fix the situation, as by comparison The People in Uniform are suffering shattered skulls, missing limbs and death. Which is, on my scale, exponentially more traumatic than criticism.

read the whole thing, which should be chiseled in marble somewhere.

Another Children’s Crusade

Today, I catalogued a glorious thing, a first edition of Slaughterhouse-Five. Being a bookish sort (a bookish Librarian? Do I repeat myself?) I couldn’t help read the first page or twenty. What struck me was the profound sense that here, in my hands, was a book that I was sure George W. Bush has never read. I’ll bet money on it. Seriously. If you can tell me honestly and truthfully that the Codpiece Killer has read this book and still thinks War in general and the bloody heap of the one in Iraq in particular is worth anything, fifty bucks is yours.

I’ve read Slaughterhouse-Five before. It’s one of my favorite books, one of those that has had a profound effect on me and my life, not just my writing. Every time I read it, I’m reminded of the madness and death that Kurt Vonnegut and millions of people have seen and are seeing, right now. And it hurts. You read Slaughterhuse-Five and if you have, you know what I’m talking about: that raw exposed nerve that you can’t help but fondle, gently at times, other times, you bash it like a drunk dentist with a rusty hook. You don’t read Slaughterhouse-Five and come away with a good opinion of war. Maybe that raw pain fades and you no longer feel nauseous at the idea of killing people. Fine. You’re less human for it, but hay, the world needs robots, apparently.

Somewhere, very likely in the vicinity of Fox News Channel or the White House (again, do I repeat myself?) there is someone right now who has accepted in their heart the idea that some human being has the power to wage a peaceful war, one in which no one gets hurt. This ignoramus has accepted George W. Bush as their personal savior. They have renounced reality in all its multiform beauty and tragedy and embraced a cult of personality the likes of which this country has never seen before. And they have not read Slaughterhouse-Five. How could they? If they had, they’d know that Bush has an asshole just like everyone. Only, he has a rare condition where his asshole is in the lower middle half of his face rather than nestled between his buttocks. That’s why he always looks like he’s just smelled something bad.

These same people of faith claim that I and others like me who are opposed to War as a general principle and the Iraq War in particular are defective humans. That we somehow aren’t right in the head because we think that mauling other people and turning them into rotting meat is a bad thing. They don’t understand how we can find the idea of burning someone’s flesh off with chemicals a nauseating prospect. This is because they’ve smelled what comes out of the hole beneath Bush’s nose for so long, they can no longer tell when something stinks.

Because once you accept George W. Bush as your personal savior, you no longer have to put up with the burden of compassion or empathy. You also get to ignore people with different opinions, people who still can think for themselves and feel familiarity with other, different humans. These people scare me because they are loud, obnoxious, vote and have never read Slaughterhouse-Five, or anything. They’re probably planning on banning it from the Public Library so that their junior ADHD brat won’t accidentally skim a few pages and have a thought or two.