Thought Experiment

Fox News Anchor:  “And we interrupt this episode of XFactorUSA to bring you some breaking news…Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, has been hit by a series of bomb blasts.   There are scores of casualties, both military and civilian.  Responsibility for the attacks has been claimed by an insurgent group whose leadership are known to operate out of the remote tribal regions of northwest Pakistan.  A spokesman for the group has issued a statement in the last hour describing the bombings as an act of, quote, “self-defence”.  Annnd, I understand we’re able to cut straight to the White House, where the President is taking questions from the press…”

Journalist1:  “Mr President, Mr President?  I understand the perpetrators have claimed this was an act of “self-defence”.  How do you respond to that?”

President:  “Well, clearly that’s nonsense.  This was a despicable act of TERRORISM  – plain and simple.”

Journalist2:  “But don’t we offer the same justification for drone strikes in Pakistan, Mr President?”

President: [glancing anxiously at Press Secretary] “Uhhh… well, yes.  But, uh, clearly that’s a different situation.  And it would be wrong to draw any kind of equivalence between what our brave servicemen and women are doing in Pakistan and what these TERRORISTS have perpetrated here today.

Journalist2:  “Oh sure, sure.  Although… the drones are actually operated remotely from Creech, right…?”

Press Secretary: [interjecting] “…Ok, I think we’ve had enough of this line of questioning.  We’ll take one from somebody else now please…  Uhh, yes, how about you over there draped in the Star Spangled Banner?

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5 thoughts on “Thought Experiment

    • Discredited, fair Duchess? Don’t think so…

      “…the term “terrorism” is commonly used as a term of abuse, not accurate description. There are official definitions of “terrorism”, for example, those of the US and British governments, which are quite similar. But they are not used, because they do not distinguish between good and bad varieties of terrorism. That distinction is determined by the agent of the crime, not its character. It is close to a historical universal that our terrorism against them is right and just (whoever “we” happen to be), while their terrorism against us is an outrage. As long as that practice is adopted, discussion of terrorism is not serious. It is no more than a form of propaganda and apologetics.”

      Noam Chomsky, in interview with Sabahattin Atas, 2003

      • No such thing as good and bad terrorism – striking terror to frighten/demotivate opposition.

        Same as ‘God’ being on the side of the righteous in war – it all depends on whose side you are and what cause you support.

        No absolutes in this – only relative perceptions – The decadent West – the US and its allies are the Great Satan to some and the Great Liberator to others. Just what this situation would have been if the Taliban were to take Pakistan and Afghanistan over – regardless of definitions and perceived morality – whose side would you be on? Would you want a world ruled by a re-born Islamic Caliphate and Shariya Law? Islam was the super-power during Europe’s dark and middle-ages.

      • Thanks, Bonkim. That’s exactly the point Chomsky was making – as in “good” and “bad”, defined according to the agent carrying out the act, rather than the nature of the act itself. Thus, by definition, the “good” kind is carried out by “us”, and the “bad” kind by “them”.

        Would I want a “world ruled by a re-born Islamic Caliphate”? That wouldn’t be my cup of tea, no. But then the question’s hardly fair, is it, since the implication – that we are fighting a war against the Taliban to prevent the imposition of shariya over the rest of humanity – is not even remotely credible. Nope… Islamism (= terror) is the new bogeyman. And while the bogeyman may have changed (before it was communism), the imperial desire to dominate the globe, and keep wealth flowing in the “right” direction, has stayed constant.

  1. Imperialists change with time – given a chance the oppressed of today oppress others when they gain power – man is a competitive animal and propensity to dominate when/where groups of humans can – dominant groups are formed and disbanded depending on circumstances. Empires are formed and collapse. The Nation State is a feature of the last century.

    Those having power and material/social/economic structures to safeguard what they have will use their power – what is new or right/wrong in that? Some of the worst oppressors are those within the so called oppressed people – just look at the world trouble spots – not all some dark conspiracies by the CIA or Western Powers.

    A huge race to corner scarce resources are in progress under the veneer of civilized international Laws and economic development; most people are busy satisfying their immediate needs and the blanket of economic/political systems that have evolved in the 19th and 20th centuries. These systems are now past their sell-by dates and becoming irrelevant in the changing world of fast depleting resources, and exploding populations. Repeat – no black and white – right or wrong – history evolving fast.

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