The Daily Bork

April 05, 2005

What is the difference between a duck?

Mr Tanczos, steadfast member of the NZ Green party, has a website where he posts various mutterings. A few days ago he put up one on the ubiquitous "terrorism" topic. It begins, somewhat tautologically...

Any discussion about terrorism immediately begs the question: What is a terrorist?

This is followed by a rather sophistical paragraph.

There is a distinction between alleged Al Qaeda operatives flying a jet-liner into a building and the US Army flying cruise missiles into a city's suburbs; between a suicide bomber immolating themselves along with their target, and a helicopter gunship rocketing a car of militants on a crowded Palestinian street; between beheading a mercenary or soldier in a back room and shooting a journalist or travelling family at an army checkpoint. The real distinction is the monopoly that nation-states reserve for themselves over the legitimate use of violence.

There is a distinction, yes, but not that of the "monopolisation of legitimate violence by nation-states". The distinctions he fails to draw are, blindingly obvious to most readers, those of the respective targets of violence. Airliner into building => thousands of dead workers. Cruise missile into "city suburbs" => destruction of command, control and coordination located in those suburbs. Suicide bomber (presumably Palestinian from the comparison) => commuter busses full of workers, school children etc. Helicopter missile into car of militants => the murderous organisers of suicide attacks. The final comparison is bogus, beheading a mercenary or soldier but no mention of journalists or Nepalese workers or Iraqi election officials, in addition to being a deliberate acts, deliberately filmed whereas the shooting at a journalist (travelling erratically and secretly towards checkpoint perhaps?) and families (?) are not deliberate attempts to kill innocents.

Then play the Mandela card...

Of course, it is not always as simple as that. I don't condone terrorism, although I was a supporter of the ANC and its armed struggle against apartheid. I cheered when Nelson Mandela, offered a release from prison on the condition that he renounced violence, refused, saying that he would renounce violence if the regime did likewise. I have always been a little suspicious of the view that opponents of state terror must remain pacifist if they want our sympathy and support. I am opposed to the use of violence in general.

"I am opposed to the use of violence in general." But...

When a young man or woman blows themselves up with a nail bomb in a crowded bus or shopping centre, they are not doing it for a laugh. Such extreme measures tell us that these are desperate people, who see no other way of making their voice heard. I think it unlikely that more repression, causing more desperation, will ever bring an end to this kind of terrorism.

Again, what were the targets of Nelson Mandela? Did he seek to murder busloads of everyday people? No. Targetting the regime was the order of the day. Why? Because Mandela at least knew that afterwards he would have to live with the everyday people once the regime was gone. "Such extreme measures tell us", in fact, that the "desperate people" are not interested in peace or making their voices heard. They are interested only in death and violence with no bound, they are part of a cult of death. Associating more principled seekers of freedom with such soulless murderers is nothing more than political opportunism at the cost of the struggles the likes of Mandela went through. More than that, it means that any thug with a divine call to death is legitimised in his actions.

Curiously he ascribes repression as the cause of terrorism. Repression causes civil unrest and revolution, to be sure. But terrorism? That is a very long bow to draw. How has bin Laden been repressed in his life of luxury, or his relatively comfortable western-educated accomplices who carried out the deeds? Why are North Koreans, arguably the most repressed people, not blowing each other up left, right and center? Why not discuss these? Because they don't fit the cookie-cutter response of the intellectual Marxist.

But never fear! We come directly to the purpose of the conflation of ways and means and of the use of such sophistry...

My fear is that ending terrorism is not actually the main objective of those who hold power in the USA and its closest allies. By launching a 'permanent war' against 'terrorism and rogue states', within the context of a new crusade, the USA has solved what seemed like an intractable problem.

Ah yes. "Those who hold power in the USA" are the root cause. What is this intractable problem?

The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet empire was hailed as proof of the superiority of capitalism over other forms of economic organisation, yet it appeared as an enormous blow to the power of the military industrial complex. If the sweet run that it was enjoying was to be preserved, it had to find a new threat. Intelligence agencies started focussing on internal surveillance of 'economic saboteurs' (e.g. unions, anti free-trade activists, animal rights activists, indigenous rights activists) but that was never going to legitimise spending billions of dollars on war toys.

Well, the end of the Cold War hailed freedom over tyranny despite those who wished to negotiate and coexist with those who made life on earth a living hell for untold millions of people for decades and slaughtered millions more. The conspiracy theorist wet-dreams over intelligence agencies and the mighty military-industrial complex, both so quickly rundown at the end of the cold war to the detriment of all, are little more than you'd expect from Mr Tanczos who is mired in his worn Marxist ideoligies of class struggle and oppression. If all your only tools are a hammer and sickle, then every problem looks like a class enemy who needs his legs sliced off and his skull bashed in.

So-called Islamic terrorists offered a solution. They formed a highly decentralised global network, justifying intrusive domestic and international intelligence and policing powers, with links to nations with significant military presence. Although, as during the Cold War, the actual fighting need only be done with militarily-weakened nations such as Iraq. Best of all, it played into psychologically powerful mythologies about the Crusades.

So-called Islamic terrorists indeed. After all, everyone overlooks those Baptists and Shintoists who boarded the planes on 9-11. It never ceases to amaze how someone can turn a situation completely backwards to contort reality into the shape of their ideology.

You see, despite the fact that Mr bin Laden (who is really just this decade's Mandela) has the stated intent of destroying the West, re-establishing the Caliphate that almost destroyed the West and conquered large swathes of Africa, Europe and the East, it is actually American imperialism that is the problem. Construction of empires by colored people is just natural, they should be left alone to get on with it, gas their populations etc etc. They should only be challenged when they have reached the point where taking them on has become a 50-50 proposition, it's just not a challenge otherwise.

The likes of Mr Tanczos have no interest in freedom, despite their protestations to the contrary. They cannot deal, in their tiny world view, with the fact that not every "freedom fighter" is a Nelson Mandela in the waiting. They cannot believe that murderers who behead Nepalese workers in Iraq are not Minutemen fighting for freedom. They cannot see that they are, quite clearly, precisely the opposite. The ideologies of people like Mr Tanczos have been tested and found wanting, by the millions of people murdered at the hands of those who led these movements. But rather than admit the mistake and see murderous terrorists for what they are, they move further into the realm of the unreal, contorting their ideologies to fit.

Thus Osama bin Laden is Nelson Mandela and an American marine is a terrorist. Moral relativism is the only way to do this, Marxism and all its bastard children are abject failures but must be rescued somehow. Admitting to it would be far too ego crushing to the generations of the 60's and 70's who could never quite bring themselves to admit that every form of leftist ideology from the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany to the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda led to the death of untold millions. The only way to explain it all away is to project the problem onto those who must fight it. In so doing they actively seek to have the horrors happen again and again, until, one bright and sunny day, the utopia they seek magically springs from the gulags and gas chambers.


  • "Such extreme measures tell us that these are desperate people, who see no other way of making their voice heard."

    Yeah right.. Like those Iraqi jihadis that used a 19 year old boy with down syndrome to do their 'suicide' bombing.

    By Blogger Sered, at 3:22 pm  

  • I've been presented the Mandela defense before, by a correspondant with a Palestinian husband. When I replied with the contents of a fifteen minute Google search that was unable to produce a single documented act of terrorist-like violence on the past of the ANC (other than against other black Africans in opposition parties) and asked for specifics her only reply was "how do you know so much about the ANC?"

    By Blogger submandave, at 7:31 pm  

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