The Coming Second Holocaust
return to dispatch
Reader Comments (19)
I am allergic to amoxicillin. You're not?
What? No soya-cheese on the pizza?
What is it with you people? I reel off the most incendiary screed I've published in years, and all people react to is the drugs and grub . . . Hilarious, really. I suppose I'll take your silence (regarding imminent Jew murder and pre-emptive cruise missile attacks and whatnot) as assent. ;^)
It continues to amuse me to type the word "scrotum".
You put the picture of the pizza at the end.
It was the blog equivilent of the free buffet after a conference or lecture.
I read your blog just before lunch.
It was inevitable.
Life Imitates Heublein:
"US contingency plans for air strikes on Iran extend beyond
nuclear sites and include most of the country's military
infrastructure, the BBC has learned."
Swear I've been too delirious even to read the news for many days. (Yet somehow have been coherent enough to write long essays . . . which, then again, might explain the 'coherence' of the essays.)
I don't understand this; if you think you know the answers then why aren't you doing something about it? why are you pontificating on a web page? your writing is full of anger and friction, but you are not moving.
Ah, well, regrettably, I seem to have misplaced my launch codes for the Tomahawks. You twat.
Writing about it IS doing something about it. I'm trying to shape public opinion, apply political pressure - and, most importantly, do a tiny bit to buck up the societal will to do the very difficult and the very necessary. Read some goddamned Orwell. Or Thomas Paine's "Common Sense". Or Mark Twain (in glorious, incandescent political protest) or Thoreau or Peter Singer or even Chomsky. Any of our heroic dissident writers. (Not by any means to try and place myself in their company. Just to point out an important category of which you are obviously egregiously ignorant.)
And at the risk of descending into a spiral of you-ness - the only person who's doing less than me is you. You're not even debating the issues.
I'd delete your post if I could be bothered to do it by hand. But, lamentably, I never got around to building a 'Delete Posts by Anonymous Twats' web tool.
What's that Anonymous Bastard's ip address?
I read your essay earlier this evening and, up to the bombing talk (which if I weren't such a lefty and also gave myself more time to think about, I might get over my emotional response to and actually consider), decided that I agree with a lot of what you have to say. I was however also strangely reminded of the 'controversial' article by John Ridley that I read a few weeks ago (at the above link). Ridley's article, while on an unrelated topic, is like yours in that he piles incendiary language on top of a whole lot of personal anger in suggesting that, given the evidence, there is only one defensible choice for those interested for those who support a new black america (and given the evidence, though not necessarily his, who wouldnt be for it?). Though he does not address it as the tired class issue that it is, his entire article is premised on his personal choice to look upon a certain other group of people with hatred, disgust and disdain. While I understand that yours has a very different structure and purpose, I think that what your piece has in common with Ridley's is an extreme amount of anger, a willingness to hold people who have different ideas on the same topic in utter contempt, and a similar aversion to discussing the source of the anger and fear. Using the word holocaust or nigger references both but does not qualify as a real approach.
This was my overwhelming response to your essay. I think its interesting too that few people have responded to the substance of your article and wanted to think about why that is. Like ridley's piece, which I was asked by a friend to read and discuss, it took me a few moments to realize that behind the interesting sounding 'controversial' ideas was simply a lot of anger - which can at times be great and politically motivating - but which for me is also not interesting or new - and which moreover, many people have learned through experience is not a productive sentiment with which to engage in discussion.
I think that while essays like this one of yours and Ridleys may not seem shy, in fact the language does not inspire real conversation. They (as you say, and maybe this is exactly what you want) just encourage people to pick sides. It seems like simple politics to me - which, in my experience, inspires mostly apathy. The issues are complicated and a complicated, not simple 'bomb them' response to them is in order.
As you know, I have a liberal and academic background which may well be showing its ugly head very clearly right now (esp given that just bomb them is a reality right now). But honestly, when you wrote that did really want to have a conversation?
Thanks very much for that. I suppose I'd expect nothing less substantive and thoughtful from you, but I appreciate you taking the time to post it nonetheless. Just a couple of responses:
Did I really want to have a conversation? No. I'm very happy to discuss the issues (or, to an admittedly lesser extent, the meta-issues). But that wasn't my goal in writing the piece. I was trying to put together a compelling case about what I consider a terrifyingly important issue. Moreover, it's my sense - perhaps not all that accurate - that quite a lot of the thinking and public discourse on this is very fuzzy-headed, and hasn't recourse to a lot of the facts of the matter, and doesn't quite appreciate the unspeakably parlous implications of the whole situation. Again, I could be wrong, and maybe most people do get it. But, in any case, my primary goal was not to start a conversation - though, again, I'm happy to have one - but to set off a klaxon.
I also wanted to get out into play what seems to me this extraordinarily clever and powerful idea of how we could forestall the Iranian regime's ability to murder all the Israeli Jews - without so much as a single death on either side, and without getting into another situation of taking responsibility for managing an entire dysfunctional country. As St. Barnabas has pointed out, 'To take apart a civilian infrastructure is to humiliate a people and breed greater and greater hatreds.' Yep. And in the space of terrible options we're facing, I believe that one shines brilliantly as an enormous winner. This is the world we live in. And I hoped to urge us down that road - by showing it to be much the best of very bad options; by showing to be unacceptable the costs and risks of doing nothing; and by incrementally bucking up our will to do the right and the necessary, however difficult - the will without which we can't prevail in this struggle, whatever our military advantages.
As regards anger, contempt, disdain - basically matters of the style and tone of the piece:
. Perhaps inevitably, perhaps not, something like this is going to be personal. For starters, it's on a vanity web site. It's moderated in no way, by no one but me. It also happens to be the case that I enjoy the exercise of polemics. There's a tradition there. It has its conventions. To hazard the personal, I happen to be at a point in my life where I don't seem to care about too much of anything - so I certainly wasn't going to care if I came off as a firebrand, used naughty words, or offended somebody. But, mainly, it's just something I feel very strongly about. I think 'fear' might actually be the dominant emotion - fear of what might happen. Though, there's certainly also anger as well - at people whose imaginary God tells them to turn this world into a Hell. And at people whose politics, which I perforce believe to be very bad politics, might allow it to come to pass.
It latterly occurred to me that while I've pointed out that A) on one end of Israel's history was the murder of all the European Jews by the German Nazis; and B) on this end is the clearly stated plan of the Iranian mullahs to murder the remaining Jews in the Middle East; I failed to underscore how, at nearly all points in between, Israel's Muslim neighbours have shown no lack of initiative in actually
to murder them all, on a variety of occasions.
Various combinations of Egypt, Syria, Transjordan/Jordan, Lebanon, and the Palestinians (with support from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Sudan, Algeria, Yemen, Morocco, Libya, Pakistan, and Tunisia) have undertaken to invade and kill all the Jews in:
1948 - War of Independence
1967 - Six Day War
1973 - Yom Kippur War
They lacked not the genocidal intent, but simply the wherewithal - and got their arses (ultimately) handed back to them on platters by Jewish citizen soldiers fighting to save their families from annihilation.
All along the way, of course, a wide variety of more or less freelance Islamic groups - such as Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Hezbollah, Fatah, Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, and the Muslim Brotherhood - have been diligently and patiently murdering Jews in their tens and hundreds - in Israel, in the Occupied Territories, all around the world, wherever they could find them.
I add all this in to underscore further why letting Middle Eastern Muslims develop the ability to kill millions of Israeli Jews in a single second might not be very prudent. It's very, very, very difficult to make a case that they wouldn't do it.
"I declare a holy war, my Moslem brothers! Murder the Jews! Murder them all!"
- the Mufti of Jerusalem, during the 1948 Israeli War of Independence
"The objective will be Israel's destruction."
- Egyptian President Nasser before the Six Day War
After the electricity has gone out, and the bridges have gone, it wouldn't take long for the food and supplies to stop arriving in shops and markets. Then the looting would start, and pretty soon they would be killing each other.
What's the saying? 48 hours from anarchy?
Whilst I agree with the underlying point you are trying to make about preventing anihilation, you are talking about destabilising a nation that is right next to another nation (iraq) currently in turmoil. In my opinion that could lead to destabilising the whole region. Terrorists have enough places to hide as it is.
I don't have a better idea though, and unfortunately "bomb them" seems to be the route in these times.
Glynn - Good points. You're thinking further than I am. I suppose one hopes the looters head down to the Supreme Leader's Office and take their country back. I'm sure we'll very quickly welcome back an Iran that wasn't committed to mega-murder. Knowing the U.S. and U.K., we'll spend billions of our own money to help them rebuild.
I disagree, though, that destabilization of the Arab Middle East is a bad thing. It's the whole point, really. We've had 40 years of stability - authoritarian, oligarchical, freedomless, economic opportunity-less, Western-oil-addiction-abetted stability. As Mark Steyn put it, 'the lesson of 9/11 is that "stability" is profoundly unstable. The unreal realpolitik of the previous 40 years had given the region a stability unique in the non-democratic world, and in return they exported their toxins, both as manpower (on 9/11) and as ideology.' See
for elaboration of that rather key (in my view) idea.
Otherwise, it seems you're thinking through the ramifications of military intervention in Iran - which we could enormously have benefitted from if we'd done before going into Iraq.
That's a heckuva dispatch, Boss. I'm going to try to summarize it a bit for myself, and correct me if I'm misinterpreting what you said...
Argument I - The Problem:
Given that the President of Iran has said over and over again he wants to make Israel disappear, and that Iran is trying to develop a nuclear bomb that could do that fairly effectively and instantaneously, we need to do something to stop Iran from getting a nuke as soon as possible. To not do so will lead to millions of deaths.
Argument II - The Solution:
Given that the U.N. is incapable of being a moral force in the world, and that getting U.S./U.K. troops blown up is Not Cool, the best course of action is to remotely bomb Iran into submission in a way that kills as few Iranians as possible . Specifically, we should target their roads and power grid. This is based on the assumption that destroying Iran's infrastructure will either make the government cave, the Iranian people rebel, or both.
So I find myself in a similar position to Leslie. It's hard to disagree with Argument I. No one should have nukes, and nut jobs who blindly hate whole groups of people shouldn't even have rocks. Something urgently needs to be done to change the situation in the Middle East.
I think where you lose me is in the proposed solution. I have to agree with Glynn that disabling Iran's infrastructure by turning it into a fine powder won't lead to the bloodless capitulation you're hoping for. Glynn mentions that no electricity will lead to looting, and looting will lead to killings. But more than deaths from indirect carnage, I find it ludicrous to assume that no one will die in the bombings. Sometimes computers malfunction. Sometimes maps are old. Sometimes intelligence is faulty. Sometimes shrapnel travels across the street. One could counter that killing even a few thousand bystanders is a lesser evil than losing an entire country to a mushroom cloud. And that's true. I just want to point out that you are painting an unrealistically rosy view of the process of crippling a country.
You then argue that destroying the infrastructure will cause the Iranian government to just give up, and even if they don't the people will rise up and depose them. This also seems overly optimistic. Just a week ago you were telling me how the English people pulled together under Churchill during the Blitz. Hitler figured they'd break when he bombed the crap out of London, and instead it made them more resolute. When someone's shrapnel kills your Aunt Edna, you don't get pissed off at your government. You get pissed off at the fuckers that dropped the bomb on the power station across the street - objective view of the global conflict be damned. While it's possible your scenario will work out, it's more likely that the people of Iran will rally behind their leaders, shore them up, and hate Israel and America even more. You may be right that you can't build a nuke by candlelight, but when the electricity comes back on 10 years later, there's going to be a country of people even MORE determined to annihilate those bastards that killed dear old Aunt Edna. Assuming they just wait in Iran for the power to come back on.
So, I guess my main points in that first part of my rebuttal to Argument II are: A) Dude, no way no one is gonna die. B) People don't like getting bombed. They do, however, enjoy vengeance quite a bit.
All right, I have serious reservations about bombing. And I am certainly against putting more troops on the ground. So that leaves the international community. I agree that the U.N. is slow to act in many situations, but your assertion that it is structurally incapable of exercising moral authority because every wacko-despot gets the same vote as Sweden seems faulty. The essence of democracy is that everyone gets a vote, whether they're a wacko-redneck-gay-bashing zealot or a wacko-commie-pinko-baby-killing zealot. If the U.N. is morally impotent because each country gets a vote no matter what they stand for, then so is the representative democracy of the United States, and then neither entity has any business trying to fight moral fights anywhere. If, however, the U.S. can decide as a nation to do what's right even if a nutty minority objects, then so can the U.N.
(Maybe I misinterpreted your comments and you meant that the U.N.'s entry requirements are too lax. We do keep convicted felons from voting in the U.S., after all. If so, good point, but let's fix it instead of abandoning it).
At any rate, I concede that the U.N. works extremely slowly, that the Security Council voting method is nutty, and I can't counter your argument that in this case, we may not have enough time to wait for them. I just don't think it's wise to give up on the notion of a moral, good, planet-wide government. Maybe that's just the Star Trek fan in me talking.
Right. Well. So I pretty much just pointed out my objections to your solution and didn't present one of my own. Neener neener. You've said your goal with this piece was to sound the alarm, not start a conversation, and in that I think you've succeeded. You've certainly got me worried, and more importantly, got me thinking about what we should do. Kudos.
Leslie also talked about the anger in your words, and I want to make a related point. There's a lot of right vs. left, blue vs. red static in all the major debates in the U.S. these days. If you want people to take this warning seriously, think about it, and act on it, keep the punches above the belt. I know many people who wouldn't have heard anything you had to say past your jab at the intellectual left, and most of the rest would have rolled their eyes, closed the browser, and never thought twice about your words just because you took a parting shot at Hillary Clinton. If the issue is as urgent and world-changing as you suggest, then you need to get as many people on board as possible, red vs. blue be damned.
Nice one, Skeet.
The only beef I have with it is your U.N. General Assembly = U.S. representative democracy analogy. I think this trope is faulty on a lot of levels, but pointing out one important fault will suffice: the U.N. was created to prevent land wars amongst nation states, so it has this pretty iron-clad notion of national sovereignty. Doesn't matter if you're the world's longest-running republican democracy with multi-party elections, an independant judiciary, strong protections for civil rights, etc.; or the Colonel of the First Paramilitary Republican Guard of ShitFuckistan who drove his tanks into the Parliament Building last week, shot the last President in the head, closed down the newspapers, and consolidated power by machine gunning the protestors out in Freedom Square. Doesn't matter. You're a sovereign nation, and you can't be messed with.
For your analogy to hold, it would have to be as if, in the U.S., if some alcoholic ex-con were beating the shit out of his wife and children with a tire iron in the double-wide, before the police could go in and stop him, everyone in the country - including the drunken red-neck neighbors in the trailer park, including the ex-con's buddies back in Cell Block 6 - all had to vote to agree to do it. If you were the Sheriff out on the doorstep waiting to try and get the rapist regional caucus in Cell Block 6 onboard with the project of stopping this guy - as, for instance, the U.S. is trying to get, say, Mugabe onboard to agree to let us do something about stopping the mass murder in Darfur - you can see where you'd end up with a lot of dead wives and children. A lot of dead all kinds of people.
Or, put another way, it's as if a bunch of Hell's Angels, on their way to Bike Week in Myrtle Beach, veered off and took over Hilton Head Island, killing all the officials, and moving into City Hall - and then got to send a Representative to Congress.
And THEN, there was a prison break on Cape Cod, and the escaped prisoners started systematically raping babies, and if you wanted to send in the National Guard, you had to get the Gentleman from Hell's Angels Upon Hilton Head to sign off on it, because he'd just rotated in as Chairman of the House Committee on Baby Raping.
There's this common misapprehension that the UN has some kind of moral authority just because it's made up of reps of all the nations (which is not nearly the same as reps of all the people). The reality is that the people it is made up have their own agendas. Some of those agendas are merely selfish and venal - like France's and Russia's oil contracts with the now-deposed Hussein regime (which made it seem like a pretty good deal to them to let Uday keep feeding people into human shredders for another few decades). Some are incontravertibly evil - like Serbian mass-murder of Muslims in Kosovo. The Kosovo intervention, you'll recall, was not UN-mandated (and thus illegal under international law), in part because we could never get Russia onboard, because they had their own interests, which did not overlap with the interests of the Kosovar Muslims.
There's more, and worse, but that will do.
Don't even get started on darfur MSF, i just, well, i don't know where to start. My cheeks burn with horror that it still happens.
Can i just point out that sanctions and talking, and mere threat do sometimes payout - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6356481.stm
- don't get me wrong, I'm not gonna hold my breath on it, but it's a start of a possible end. Yes the sabre rattling has gone on for years, but you have to hope.
I'll admit that i will always argue against any form of military movement, because there is no such thing as a soft target. Remember this, From what we've been told folks in iran don't have our level of world media access. Just say those cruise missiles (much better than nukes agreed without question) were going to strike on a facility somewhere, Yes, like you say, they get prior warning, but consider if they DON'T tell anyone. What happens when that bridge is taken out, or that stretch of road, or that big industry complex, and not a single civilian is told.
I will concede - as the others have, to your point. The idea in itself i can't argue with. IF the people that were given warnings did something about it. But if you were "them" and a strike was going to happen, what would be your best media/political action? well, as horrible as it might be, to let a whole bunch of civilians die and claim that you weren't prepared. Who really looks bad then.
I can't knock your logic, you're right, but from a practical point of view you are being as niave as I often am in my views, no, maybe not niave, just optimistic. The thought that a conflict could be resolved by force without anyone getting hurt is dreams beyond dreams. Damn I wish i could say "yes that would work", because I wish it could.
But theres a picture on the web, I'm not going to link to it, deliberately, because it's not somethign you want to look at, I certainyl wouldn;t if i didn't know it was there. I stumbled on it just searching for news about a friend of mine who was serving in the conflict at the start. It's one of a few pictures of the aftermath of an air stike that happened during the initial stages of the iraq invasion. It was a strike upon a supposed military compound. The picture I saw was of a baby, and it haunts me. There are no soft targets.
"A man is too apt to forget that in this world," said H. Mathews, "he cannot have everything. A choice is all that is left him." You don't like Darfur, get used to the odd baby. This is our world.
"I don't want to get emotional about it, but for Christ's sake, man, is NEVER AGAIN just a bumper sticker?"
- U.S. Marine captain, guarding a refugee camp in Albania
Ok, I concede on the U.N. analogy. My point was more that to give up on the international community as a concept because of a flawed voting and admission structure (my "no felons" exception in the original comparison) is - in my mind - to give up hope that someday most of this war bullshit could be behind us. I'm not gonna do that. I want my United Federation of Planets, damnit!
You can argue that the U.N. is ineffective in a lot of situations, but I don't think that's enough of a reason to disregard the whole idea of an international community. As I said in my original post, let's work to fix it instead of abandoning it. Go it alone if you absolutely have to, but at least keep trying to get everyone on board. Who knows, maybe some of them will help out.
Though I have to admit that "Hell's Angels Upon Hilton Head" has a nice ring to it. Do they have a working holiday visa program?
I'll never be used to it, and I'm glad of that. Never being able to desensitize is a curse I'm happy to have.
(If it wasn't for that curse I'd still be eating steak and bacon rolls.)
Oh and yes, I agree about the U.N. thing, what should be an awesome power is a bunch of fools chattering at each other, and then finally sending in the troops to pickup the mess AFTER. I agree with skeet about not giving up on the international community, but I also agree with you that what we currently have isn't that much help. I do sometimes wonder where we would be now if the afghanistan and iraq situations had been left to the U.N.
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