TwitterFacebook

Den Beste on Fallujah

• Views: 881

Steven Den Beste makes some good points (and one with which I will take issue below) in this essay on what happened in Fallujah and what our response should be.

Now, in Falluja, we have seen another operation consistent with the doctrine of terrorism, only this time the US was the target. Four American civilians driving through that city were killed, and their bodies were desecrated by an exultant crowd. Foreign cameramen captured it all.

The Baathist insurgency thought that ongoing attacks would cause American demoralization and retreat. That didn’t work, because they monumentally misjudged the American character. But the goal of this attack is to inspire American fury. What they hope is that the Americans will be blinded by hatred and will do something extremely stupid: to punish the Sunnis collectively for the actions of the terrorist group.

Remember, that’s the basic theory behind terrorism; that’s the core of the doctrine of terrorism as a form of violent warfare. It is not the terrorist act itself which helps advance the political goals of the terrorist group; it is rather the reprisal. Terrorism is a form of jiu-jitsu, a way of using an enemy’s strength against himself. (In jiu-jitsu, you don’t throw an opponent. You aid him in throwing himself.)

If there are broad reprisals against the uncommitted friendly population because of the acts of the terrorists, that population will become motivated and polarized in favor of the position held by the terrorists. If the American response is viewed by the Sunnis as being directed broadly at all Sunnis, rather than being targeted specifically at those responsible for this outrage, then there’s every likelihood that the Sunnis will begin to wonder whether the US is actually genuine in its attempts to include the Sunnis as equal partners in the new government of Iraq. That would be a major victory for al Qaeda.

This terrorist attack was an application of violence intended to derail the American effort to set up a liberal democracy in Iraq, by attempting to provoke an American reprisal which would lead to Sunni suspicion and reduce Sunni participation in that democracy.

However, I think he’s incorrect when he says the attack was planned to inspire American fury. I think this horrible incident began as many others have; the mujahideen saw a chance to attack an easy, unprotected target, and they took it. They may or may not have been tipped off about the security people’s travel plans.

But what happened afterward was something different. In the video of the event, you can see quite clearly that this was a psychotically enraged mob. No one planned for those poor people to be torn apart like that. It was an expression of inhuman savagery, that broke loose not by design but by sheer opportunity; a perfect example of the tribal honor-shame dynamic at work, where any act, no matter how evil or debased, is allowed if it serves to restore honor.

So while I do accept Steven’s point that the response must be measured (and lethal), I can’t agree that the purpose of the attack and desecration was some sort of special provocation.

^ back to top ^

TwitterFacebook

Turn off all ads for a full year by subscribing!
For about 33 cents a day (per month) or 22 cents a day (per year), our subscription option turns off all advertisements at LGF!
Read more...

► LGF Headlines

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Articles

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Pages

  • Loading...

► Top 10 Comments

  • Loading...

► Bottom Comments

  • Loading...

► Recent Comments

  • Loading...

► Tools/Info

► Tag Cloud

► Contact

You must have Javascript enabled to use the contact form.
Your email:

Subject:

Message:


Messages may be published unless you request otherwise.
Tech Note:
Using the Contact Form
LGF Pages

This button leads to the main index of LGF Pages, our user-submitted articles. You can post your own LGF Pages simply by registering a free account with us.

Create a Page

This is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.

Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.

Last updated: 2014-03-07 2:19 pm PST

LGF User's Guide
Recent Pages
Skip Intro
Florida Website Aimed at the Uninsured Draws Little Interest
Good plan there. Offer pet insurance that doesn't cover anything either. TALLAHASSEE -- Last year, legislators allocated $900,000 to help Floridians find affordable health care through a new state-backed website. At the same time, they refused to expand Medicaid or ...

2 minutes ago
Views: 2 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
Randall Gross
Purported Cure-All Juice Maker Must Face Suit
A recidivist scammer must face a class action alleging it falsely advertises a pricey "super juice" as a cure for cancer, Alzheimer's and heart disease, a federal judge ruled. Lisa Pontrelli filed a putative class action against MonaVie Inc. ...

3 hours ago
Views: 81 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
The War TARDIS
Doctor Who “Into the Dalek” Open Thread
This episode will echo old Dalek episodes, both with a bit of a twist. Also, Clara will be finding someone, as she seems to be moving from her feelings of the 11th. But, this for talking.

3 hours, 36 minutes ago
Views: 56 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
FemNaziBitch
Roger Goodell: ‘I Didn’t Get It Right.’ -NFL TAKES A NEW STANCE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admits he was wrong on the Ray Rice decision, and Goodell took an important step Thursday towards showing the league is serious about cracking down on domestic violence as well as sexual assault. In a ...

1 day, 9 hours ago
Views: 159 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 3
sagehen
Doctor Who Spoiler Thread
For those who want to post immediately... live... without having to hide spoilers behind the button.

6 days, 23 hours ago
Views: 639 • Comments: 99
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 6
EiMitch
Escapist: Maniac Cop
escapistmagazine.com Link broken? The gist is that this is an impressively sarcastic review of an old slasher flick based on the "unrealistic" premise of a cop abusing his power to murder people.

1 week ago
Views: 461 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
Hyped Up On Ganja
Hunt for German neo-Nazis was ‘complete disaster’
BERLIN (AP) -- Police and security services in Germany's eastern state of Thuringia bungled the hunt for three neo-Nazis, who years later turned out to be the main suspects in a far-right murder spree. Story

1 week, 1 day ago
Views: 673 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 4
Rightwingconspirator
A Lizard’s Regenerating Tail
Don't ya hate it when that happens? You feel so short for a month. Anoles are curious little lizards capable of ditching their tails when they feel threatened. This self-amputation, called autotomy, takes about 25 days for the tail to ...

1 week, 2 days ago
Views: 480 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 5
CriticalDragon1177
Io9 - Everything You Need To Know About Lemuria, The Lost Continent Of Lemurs
Esther Inglis-Arkell talks about the weirdest lost continent myth, I've ever heard. Its the only one I know of that ever included giant telepathic lemurs. No seriously! In 1858 a young zoologist, playing around with an idea, came up with ...

1 week, 2 days ago
Views: 653 • Comments: 4
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 7
Laughing Gas
Scumbag “HBD believer” claims Michael Brown charged officer
WARNING: LINK TO HATE SITE He links to some ijreview, a right wing site: This guy makes me sick.

1 week, 5 days ago
Views: 1,503 • Comments: 6
Tweets: 1 • Rating: 1
 Frank says:

Drop out of school before your mind rots from exposure to our mundane educational system. Forget about the Senior Prom and go to the library and *educate yourself* if you've got any guts. Some of you like *pep rallies* and plastic robots who tell you what to read. Forget I mentioned it. *This song has no message.* Rise for the flag salute. -- Liner notes for "Hungry Freaks, Daddy" on "Freak Out!"