Saturday, July 23, 2005

This is the face of the enemy
As I said below, I've been out of the loop for the last three days. I missed the incompetent follow-up or copy-cat bombings in London as well as the frighteningly competent bombings in Sharm el-Sheik as well as three days of Roberts and Rove maneuverings. I'm still catching up on the biggest news of the day and the buzz of the blogosphere. So, please excuse me if everyone and their blogging dog has already commented on this John Gibson editorial. It was one of the first things I ran into after getting home and it so offended me that I can't go any further.

Let me see if I can reconstruct the story as I heard it. While I was driving down to Portland for Mom's surgery, another set of bombs were discovered in London. Just like the first, these were on three subways and a bus. I recall that the British authorities speculated after the first attack that the bus was a target of opportunity chosen by a bomber who was prevented from boarding the train of his first choice.

Sitting in the hospital, my attention was on Mom and not the news. All I saw were the headlines of more bombs in London. It wasn't till after noon on Friday that I discovered that the bombs were all failures. At that point, the news was all about how the London police were excited to have unexploded bombs to examine, that they had good pictures of all the bombers, that they knew where they lived, and that one had already been killed in a "shootout."

Tonight, it appears that the "shootout" between the London Metropolitan Police and the Muslim terrorist consisted of some police officers holding a legal Brazilian (Catholic) immigrant down, while other police officers pumped bullets into his head and torso. The Metropolitan Police have specifically stated that 27-year-old Jean Charles de Menezes was not connected with this week's attempted bombings on the London transit system.

My purpose here is not to criticize the London Metropolitan Police. I do not know what information they had, and I can only imagine the stress they were under. Until I know more, I will assume they operated under good faith according to their available information. That is, the unfortunate victim to them was a mad bomber on the run. At this point, the story should be a tragedy and another body to chalk up to the terrorists.

Unfortunately, the right wing in the United States can't accept the narrative of mere tragedy. To them any action in the Global War on Terror must be applauded. This brings us to the embarrassing Mr. Gibson.
No way to talk about anything but the terror bombing investigation in Great Britain. My faith has been renewed in the Brits. Even though they talk a good politically correct game out in public, evidently, behind the scenes they are as ruthless as I would expect from a civilized country under attack by bloodthirsty barbarians who have been brainwashed.

His theme throughout the entire editorial is the faux macho "in order to defeat the enemy, we must become the enemy." This theme is explicit in the third sentence. He expresses contempt for "talk[ing] a good politically correct game," by which we must assume he means rights, due process, and all that sissy liberal democracy stuff. Conservatives love a good battle of civilizations because it allows them to hide their contempt for democracy by pretending to be realistic, to be willing to do what need to be done. The people who cheered Rep. Tancredo's suggestion that we nuke Mecca and Medina justify their bloodthirstiness with that same call to "toughness."
I love the way the Brits have 10 million cameras sticking up the nose of every citizen no matter where they are, except in the loo.

He applauds the erosion of the personal right to privacy in the name of security.
I love the way they popped the pictures of those four bombers so quick. Those four bombers are now identified in public and they will be run down sometime very soon.

He applauds action in the name of action, even if it is stupid and counter-productive action.
I love the way they know where these guys live, and I love the fact that they seem to have been spying on these guys for a while already. All that is good.

Ditto the previous two comments.
What is also good is the Brit police tactics that we saw at work in the subway Friday morning. The tackle and kill team is incredible, if for no other reason than their bravery. Can you imagine the job of those cops? Tackle the guy wearing a vest bomb and hope your colleague is right behind with the gun to put five bullets in the noggin before he sets off the bomb.

He imagines that the London Metropolitan Police have something called a "tackle and kill team." He gets all goose bumpy over the idea of state sanctioned urban assassination squads unrestrained by such politically correct details as warrants, trials, and verdicts. "Kill on suspicion" is his motto.
Turns out he didn't have a bomb, and turns out he wasn't one of the four bombers Thursday. And if it turns out ultimately that he had nothing to do with anything, no doubt there will be hell to pay. But the police say he was linked to the terror probe, so let's wait and see.

I have to say, I read Gibson's editorial to Clever Wife and at this point she interrupted to ask if it was a satire. Gibson shows no concern that an innocent man might have been run down and killed in the name of--what? expedience? panic? getting tough on terrorism? His only concern is that people might come down on the Metropolitan Police and make it difficult for those nifty tackle and kill teams to work in the future. In an especially low comment, Gibson's last sentence implies that de Menezes might have been guilty of something, so let's withhold judgment till he's proven innocent beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Meantime, got to admire the cojones of those Brit cops to go after him like that. All of this trumps any of my other complaints that the Brits weren't making the right noises about fighting terror. They like to go about things a bit more quietly than us. Not my style, but okay, fine - as long as they get the five in the noggin of the right bomber boy. They do that and I'm fine.

So for the moment, alls [sic] well. Just catch the four bombers. Five in the noggin is fine. Don't complain that sounds barbaric. We're fighting barbaric.

In the past, Gibson has been tough on the British for not being macho enough to throw out all those sissy rights and stuff. Fortunately, he's man enough to admit he was wrong about that as long as the entire British nation admits he was right. And he'll be the first to point that out. Meanwhile, let's recapitulate the theme of the editorial: the ends justify the means, it is better that a thousand innocent brown people suffer than that one guilty one escape justice, and we must become the enemy to defeat the enemy.

Is Gibson a lone idiot, drooling in the wilderness? Sadly, no. He is joined by thousands--if the past election is any indication, millions--of others who would gladly sell out all of the ideal of western democracy for a few moments illusion of security.

The goal of a terrorist is not to kill or to militarily defeat the enemy state. The goal of a terrorist is to provoke a government and a people into irrational reactions that advance the terrorist cause. So far, the terrorists are winning and it is people like John Gibson who are winning the war for them.

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