Who was the greater war criminal – Bin Laden, Bush, Blair and so on? We do not generally consider Moses a war criminal, but he clearly is in Numbers 31. Wars, of course, often progressed through killing the men and taking the women and ‘other’ livestock. Later Western conquests have often been through disease. We seem broadly incapable, across the globe, of accurate history. I know of no country teaching such a syllabus.
It takes an idiot to make glory of the past and want to be a medieval warrior. I suspect they were shits to a man, outside of fiction and myth. Terrorists fade into heroic freedom fighters. More will die as misguided souls pay tribute to Bin Laden the martyr. I shed tears in advance for the victims.
‘Saudi Arabia’ (a fairly recent invention) has been the ideological base for ‘Muslim terrorism’ for a century and a half. British suppression of this in India was brutal and involved the hanging of whole families of men. We have a sorry colonial record along with many other countries. Ours is more recent than Mogul, Russian, Indian, Mogul, Shaka Zulu and so on. The current empire is American, and not short on squalor (the Philippine War and so on). One might ask what the world would look like now, had British, French and Russian forces bundled into the US in 1861, as intended. We probably owe a considerable amount of the progress in what democracy we have to the USA.
It was an alliance of nations made up of Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States that invaded China around 1900 for imperialist trade purposes. These countries were soon fighting each other in largely imperialist world wars. My guess is we have as little clue now of what is brewing up. I suspect Bin Laden and ‘international terrorism’ is a convenient cover-up of what we should really be discussing in public scrutiny.
The key question is what is between us and world peace. This question is mostly dismissed as only for idealistic fools who know nothing of ‘real world politics’. Some of the ‘answers’, of course, fit this bill. Pulling down all our institutions in the hope of ‘truth lying in the main destruction’ (anarchist sloganising), and people being thus freed to live good, natural lives. Those so crudely ‘natural’ should watch Japanese hornets beheading thousand upon thousand bees, like ancient warriors using short swords on the losers of mass battles. Marxist ideology can be quite beautiful in its emancipatory form (see Terry Eagleton), but we have seen it only corrupted in the hands of power. Even to think of society as the free individual writ large soon collapses to an exemplar of the ‘tragedy of the commons’, or if a team on bandits form. The Athenian Democracy was almost always at war, imperialist, not for slaves and committed genocides – only escaping this fate itself on account of Spartan tolerance.
That we should be looking for real world peace, rather than Western dominance arises as much in technical progress as anything spiritual. The potential for mass destruction may be becoming stronger, perhaps to the level of very few people and resources being needed to produce something like nuclear weaponry in destructive power. The madmen may as well be Texan as Iranian or members of the Scottish Liberation Army. Being at the top of a power hegemony may no longer be enough, something those of us living under the American umbrella should ponder on. It is common in the Middle East to think of suicide bombers as ‘our F-16s’. Much worse could be dreamed into practice. Bin Laden pales against ‘Dr. No’.
We have to suspect we are being lined-up for a big war and who may be doing this and why. We have to think why clowns like Bin Laden are revered, and why so many of us unwittingly rejoice at his death, through chants at Ground Zero to idiot newspaper headlines on his ‘cowardice’. I am quite sure we want a world without Bin Ladens; yet we also need one without corrupt banking, money almost unrelated to work value and effort and so on.