Monday, April 22, 2013

What the Hell...

…is Chuck Hagel talking about? He apparently said Israel has a right to attack Iran whenever it wants to do so. This is outrageous! What “right” does Israel have to attack anyone that has not attacked them? Is this the same “right” Bush/Cheney exercised to attack Iraq? No nation has a right to attack another unless they are under some immediate threat from it, and imaginary paranoid existential threats don’t count. Netanyahu and his henchmen have been trying to get us to attack Iran for them for years, claiming year after year Iran is going to have a nuclear bomb soon, a bomb that has never materialized and quite likely never will. And even if it did the Iranians would no more use it on Israel than they would on Antarctica. Israel wants the world to believe Iranians are just a bunch of stupid, insane, Arabs, who cannot be trusted. As they are not stupid, insane, or Arabs, most of the world recognizes the Israelis are stupid, insane, non-Arabs up to no good; all of the world, that is, except for the United States, which believes Israeli criminality should be defended and rewarded no matter how outrageous. Iran is not the problem, this should be obvious by now, but apparently not to Obama and Hagel, and certainly not to our stupid, insane, Armageddon-obsessed Congress.  Our foreign policy in the Middle East remains a disaster and will continue to be until the Palestinians and Iranians are seen to be just as deserving of respect and human rights as anyone else in this apparently completely irrational world.
But speaking of irrationality, let us return to Boston for a moment. It is being reported that the surviving bomber is responding to questions and apparently cooperating. He is reported to have said they (the two brothers) had no ties to any outside groups. I wonder if that means they never had any such ties or if they did not have direct ties at the moment. Anyway, of more interest is his claim that they acted out of “religious fervor.” If he believes this, and means it, it leaves what seems to me an obvious question: What religion, philosophy, or belief system has ever promoted the idea that humanicide (the completely random killing of large numbers of generic human beings) was the means to accomplish anything? Perhaps I am wrong, perhaps I have missed something, but I can think of no precedent for such acts of random violence. There is a suggestion they did not kill their carjacking victim because he was not an American, indicating that maybe they wanted to kill Americans. But the crowds at the Boston marathon almost certainly would have contained non-Americans. Similarly, if they wanted to kill Christians there almost certainly were many non-Christians in the crowd, including Muslims. The distinguishing feature of what I think of as humanicide is that those who are targeted do not constitute any particular group of people: children, adults, Christians, Americans, Whites, Blacks, Latinos, American Indians, East Indians, Gays, Lesbians, Democrats, Republicans, Gypsies, Bohemians, Communists, Socialists, Anarchists, whatever. Humanicide kills indiscriminately, and as such, makes no sense whatsoever.
I cannot remember anything like humanicide previously. Sure, there were mass murders, genocides, ethnic cleansings, and what-have-you, but they all had specifically targeted groups, Jews, Gypsies, the handicapped, Gays, Armenians, Indians, and so forth. There is no precedent for humanicide although there are hints of it beginning with the bombings of Guernica, Dresden, and Nagasaki  (not truly acts of humanicide). It seems to me that humanicide is a recent phenomenon. It has something to do with the complete absence of morality or beliefs about the value of human life. It is as if it is an attack on the human species itself by members of that very same species. This is not to say there have not been many attacks on humans by other humans, obviously these have been more common than not, but never  before with no apparent or obvious target in mind. Those guilty of humanicides either do not think about what they are doing at all or completely disvalue human life in general as what they do makes no sense and accomplishes nothing. This is true no matter what they offer as an excuse or reason including terrorism. Is this an example of the increasing dehumanization that comes with capitalism and technology, the abandonment of long-standing religious strictures, the culmination of the frustration-aggression complex, alienation, hopelessness, poverty, discrimination, an increase in the means of doing it, some kind of genetic mutation, or just plain dissatisfaction with life in the modern world? I do not know, but I’ll wager humanicide will increase in the near and distant future rather than decrease and disappear.    

Friedrich Nietzsche

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