Sunday, November 27, 2005


Is it unfair to suggest that the antiwar left genuinely admires Iraq's suicide bombers? It's one thing to understand that the left and its affiliates in the media sympathize with and share the goals of the Iraqi insurgency, namely the defeat and humiliation of the U.S. That's one level of despicability. Enjoying their atrocious methods is several levels of despicablilty beyond that.

I considered this when I saw the terminology in an AP story from last week that talked about

a wave of spectacular suicide operations that have killed more than 160 Iraqis since Friday

Is it too much to ask for the press to describe the deliberate murder of women and children at hospitals and mosques as...I dunno...horrific? appalling? grisly? Somehow, to me, the term spectacular has overtones of admiration if not open approval. Even giving the AP the benefit of the doubt, the mutilation, decapitation, and exsanguination of entirely innocent civilians isn't and should never be viewed as a "spectacle"; it isn't entertainment, even if the AP may think it is.

I thought about it some more when I read the interview with Kurt Vonnegut in The Australian:

...Vonnegut said it was "sweet and honourable" to die for what you believe in, and rejected the idea that terrorists were motivated by twisted religious beliefs.

"They are dying for their own self-respect," he said. "It's a terrible thing to deprive someone of their self-respect. It's like your culture is nothing, your race is nothing, you're nothing."

Asked if he thought of terrorists as soldiers, Vonnegut, a decorated World War II veteran, said: "I regard them as very brave people, yes."

He equated the actions of suicide bombers with US president Harry Truman's 1945 decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

On the Iraq war, he said: "What George Bush and his gang did not realise was that people fight back."

Vonnegut suggested suicide bombers must feel an "amazing high". He said: "You would know death is going to be painless, so the anticipation - it must be an amazing high."

I don't even know where to begin, except to wonder when exactly Vonnegut was considered an important voice. Because clearly he's gone so far past stupid to evil that he arrives all the way at stupid again. Vonnegut seems to not understand the most elementary thing about Muslim suicide bombers: that they aren't noble, or "honorable," or even "high." They're simply horny.

"So ubiquitous are the religious cassette shops [in Saudi Arabia, the source of most of the suicide bombers in Iraq] that they are outnumbered only by groceries… The bulk of cassettes sold in these stalls are motivational. On closer scrutiny, you will realize that their contents are confined to a system of thought that serves to prepare youth to accept its ideas, yield to them, and adopt its Jihad program....

"The Jihad cassette describes the path that must be followed in order to win martyrdom and deserve the Hoor Al-Een--fair females with wide, lovely eyes. It reduces the lofty objective of spiritual martyrdom to mere lust and a selfish search for sexual pleasure, regardless of what martyrdom can achieve for the public interest or for upholding Allah's word.

"In their call for giving up this world in preparation for the hereafter, and through their description of the martyr's reward - they are trying to program the mind to accept as principle the idea of committing suicide by blowing up oneself. Whoever is convinced of the reward of lust awaiting him will not hesitate to commit suicide: He will seek death with no fear, focused on the pleasures of the hereafter as compensation for the worldly pleasures abandoned.

"The sweetest thing for a teenager, especially in a conservative society like ours, is sex, and the discourse of the religious cassettes is directed toward these very youngsters in their sexual peak of life."

And that's why Kurt Vonnegut is so pathetic. Spectacularly pathetic.

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