Thursday, September 09, 2004

Not just random violence

A New Statesman editorial (link goes to this story for the next week only) on the fact that the Beslan hostage-takers, like the Abu Ghraib guards, took pictures of their victims:

Once, the instincts of people who did terrible things were to destroy the evidence; even the Nazis tried to cover up the Holocaust. Now, depravity shows its face proudly to the world, partly as a kind of existential statement, partly as another branch of the public relations industry. My grievance must be greater than yours, people seem to say, because I will go to greater lengths in pursuit of it. Just as other sections of the media industry resort to ever greater sensation to command attention - bigger newspaper headlines, more violent films, more pornographic advertisements, more intimate reality TV - so now do terrorists.
Colin Powell declares Darfur to be genocide. This might be a good time to point out, as I like to do every so often, that in 1969 Powell did the first “investigation” of My Lai, and declared that no massacre had taken place, and that the relations between US troops and local Vietnamese were excellent. Just sayin’. This time, though, he actually investigated before issuing his findings.

Sudan is not happy, and says foreigners should not “put oil on the fire.” Oil, you say... Now you’re speaking the Bush administration’s language.

Powell says, “This was a coordinated effort, not just random violence.” Just? JUST?!?

Treasury Secretary John Snow was in Florida today, talking about all the sanctions we’ve got on Cuba, and the new ones they’re adding. I’m pretty sure they’re more rigorous than the sanctions Powell is talking about putting on Sudan for, you know, genocide.

Naomi Klein writes that after 9/11, Bush looked for a political philosophy (stick with me, it gets more plausible), and found it in Sharon’s Likud party:
In the three years since, the Bush White House has applied this logic with chilling consistency to its global war on terror - complete with the pathologising of the “Muslim mind”. It was the guiding philosophy in Afghanistan and Iraq, and may well extend to Iran and Syria. It’s not simply that Bush sees America’s role as protecting Israel from a hostile Arab world. It’s that he has cast the US in the same role in which Israel casts itself, facing the same threat. In this narrative, the US is fighting a never-ending battle for its survival against irrational forces that seek its total extermination.
And now, she adds, Russia is also adopting the “Likudization narrative.”

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