May 23, 2013

The Monster in the Mirror

Ah, my friends. I never thought I would live to see it: the day when most of humanity agrees that needless, brutal, non-defensive murder is monstrously evil and utterly unforgivable. But I was directed to a post offering the front pages of U.K. newspapers today -- and I feel entirely justified in heralding the glorious beginning of a new era for civilization. We finally may be able to use the word "civilization" with accuracy, and even with pride.

One front page carries the words:
You will never be safe, we will not stop fighting
Another states:
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. We won't stop fighting until you leave us alone
Be sure to understand: these declarations from murderers who are proud of their killing and who refuse to apologize for it are universally condemned. Accompanying these headlines are photos of George W. Bush, Barack Obama and other key figures who had led and continue to lead the West's, and more particularly the U.S.'s, wars of annihilation and murder on a monumental scale. But most people now recognize the evil of these men and all who had supported them.

The newspapers point to the genocide in Iraq, a campaign of murder on a world-historical scale. They also mention the ongoing campaigns of slaughter in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and numerous other countries. The newspapers all emphasize that these ungraspably horrifying exercises in brutality and slaughter have dismembered babies and young children, they have disemboweled women and male civilians, they have killed innocent human beings by the tens of thousands.

One front page screams:
Blood on his hands, hatred in his eyes
I needn't tell you the identity of the man whose photograph accompanies these words; this particular front page has already become known across the world. Who would have believed that a major newspaper would describe a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in this manner? I am proud to think I might have provided a model for coverage of this kind.

Yes, it is a wondrous day. This particular murder, described by one political leader as an "extremist assault," is condemned even though the murderers on this occasion -- in stark contrast to so many occasions in the past, and continuing into the present -- had selected as their victim a man who actually was a soldier. We are now all agreed that because this soldier was not engaged in combat of any kind, it was hideously unjust to kill him in this way.

Wait a moment. A friend has just informed me that I glanced too quickly at these images. My friend suggests that perhaps I had forgotten to put my glasses on. Let me take another look.

Oh. Oh dear. Oh my. It's not what I had thought at all. It appears we haven't progressed in any respect. I'm deeply sorry, more sorry than I can say. I am desolate to have been so grievously mistaken.

The NYT reports that one of the soldier's murderers offered this explanation for his actions:
“I apologize that women had to see this today, but in our lands women have to see the same thing,” he says. “You people will never be safe. Remove your governments! They don’t care about you."

He then refers to what appears to be a motive for the attack, saying it was carried out “because of what’s going on in our own countries."
This theme of retaliation is identical to the justification offered by Bush, Obama and many others throughout recent years. Notably, the apology reveals more awareness and understanding than Bush, Obama and the others have ever offered.

Of course, the West's leaders condemn such explanations out of hand:
Mayor Boris Johnson of London rejected that argument, saying it was wrong to link the killing with British foreign policy or the actions of Britain’s military, which has been closely allied with the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“The fault lies wholly and exclusively in the warped and deluded mind-set of the people who did it,” he said.
Neither Johnson nor any other leader will ever apply that standard to themselves or to the murders they support. So it would appear that "terrorism" simply refers to "murders we don't like." I'm relieved to see that subtlety and complex argumentation have not been sacrificed to the gods of war.

David Cameron was not to be outdone:
“The people who did this were trying to divide us,” Mr. Cameron told reporters outside 10 Downing Street after a meeting of the high-level Cobra national security committee. “They should know something like this will only bring us together and make us stronger.”

"This view is shared by every community in our country. This was not just an attack on Britain and on the British way of life, it was also a betrayal of Islam and of the Muslim communities who give so much to our country."
This is where we came in. Not only have we failed to progress by even a single, faltering step; we have probably regressed. It is inconceivable to Cameron, just as it is inconceivable to any U.S. leader, that the nations brutalized and destroyed by the West have their own "way of life." Cameron's statement regarding "betrayal" implies that the slaughters and mayhem perpetrated by the U.S. and Britain have betrayed nothing at all -- and on that point, Cameron is certainly correct. Countries determined to dominate the world, as the U.S. and its junior partner are, have and will always turn to wide-scale murder and destruction when other avenues fail to deliver the desired outcome.

Some will argue that the West's reaction to murders like the one yesterday reveals a double standard. That's not quite accurate. There would seem to be but a single standard: whatever the U.S. and its allies do is right; whoever resists them, in whatever form, for whatever reason, is wrong. If necessary, those who resist must be destroyed.

So it is not a new day in any manner. It's the same goddamned, bloody, sickening day all over again.

Fucking bastards. And I emphatically do not refer to the soldier's murderers. I will not join the bloodthirsty mob until and unless all those who condemn them with such blind enthusiasm condemn those who murder on a much broader scale in far stronger terms, as their staggering crimes demand. Yesterday's killers were amateurs. Bush, Obama, and all the other political leaders of the U.S. and Britain are professional killers. They will never apologize for their murders. They are proud of them, and the mob cheers their killings. And they have repeatedly declared that they have no intention of stopping.

It is not the monster who commits the single crime who demands our attention. It is the monster for whom crime and murder are a systematic mode of behavior, for whom slaughter and devastation are chosen instruments of policy in pursuit of hideous ends.

There is only one monster we must stop: the monster in the mirror.