The reactions to the London bombings are pretty much what you'd expect, and if you read this humble blog, then I'm sure that you've seen what others are saying at the larger sites. Most are picking through the debris for something sharp to throw at their enemies. My post from yesterday was no different, I confess. I was and remain sickened by the carnage unleashed on London's working people and their children, but I'm also sickened by the Swivelchair Commandos who are flapping their arms about "resolve" and screeching for more violence, so long, of course, that they are out of harm's way.
Some liberal commentators like Kevin Drum and one of my faves Billmon called for a brief ceasefire in the online polemical war out of respect for the dead and dying. This is a noble gesture and I'm sure it's genuine, but it is ultimately meaningless, esp now. I agree with Max Sawicky -- we need to keep talking, debating and trying to find some political answers to this madness. And yes, fights will and should break out. Part of the process in such a blood-soaked time as ours. No one I know of called for a moment of silence after the razing of Fallujah, or when the realities of our torture policy emerged. Iraqis and Afghans are dying everyday from a variety of sources, and that hasn't kept bloggers from speaking out. But when we in the West get hit, everything must stop. Is it me, or do even our better minds fall victim to Western exceptionalism?
And man, am I sick and fucking tired of the "fighting fascism" pose adopted by so many lib hawks and their reactionary cousins. If you want to slam anyone for not taking the present madness seriously, then slam them for this childish maneuver, because it has no real meaning save to feed some gladitorial fantasy. If we are indeed engaged with a fascist enemy, then we have ourselves to blame for it. I know that at times like this historical context is frowned upon when not simply spat at, but it cannot be denied and anyone who's read about the region's history knows it to be true: we in the West enabled these retail fascists and gave them the traction they needed to operate. The very people who we now fear and despise were once called "freedom fighters" by none other than Ronald Reagan and his followers. These clerical thugs were financed and encouraged to rip apart the emerging secular society in Afghanistan, and the only people who protested this at the time were fringe communist groups like the Spartacist League and assorted others. I recall in a Mother Jones profile of David Horowitz (one of the first pieces to examine his turn to the hard right) a photo of Horowitz wearing a t-shirt that showed a mujahideen guerrilla waving a rifle. I would love to find that photo now and send it all over the Web. It speaks volumes about what was the "patriotic" position during that period. It also shows us how disposable such positions are when the needs of power, and thus those who worship it, change.
Amazingly, but not surprisingly, Horowitz today tracks the London bombings back to the Iranian revolution of 1979. Apart from the fact that that was a Shi'a power grab (and no one I've seen is suggesting that the Shi'a were behind the latest terror attacks), note that Horowitz completely ignores Afghanistan and Western support for the likes of Bin Laden. To do so would mean that Horowitz would have to answer for his previous pro-Bin Laden stance, and that ain't gonna happen, not while Scaife is footing his bill. Horowitz has airbrushed that part of his history from existence. If anyone out there has access to that Mother Jones photo, let me know or put it up yourself. I think that David needs some reminding.
I have seen former-Bin Laden fans acknowledge their older position, and usually without apology. Just after 9/11, on Canadian TV, Charles Krauthammer, in a debate with Tariq Ali, admitted that he did indeed support the murderous and backward mujahideen. Of course, given that Krauthammer wrote a lot at the time in defense of Bin Ladenist forces under the title "Reagan Doctrine," this would now be nearly-impossible to deny. But Krauthammer would not criticize his earlier position. He said it was the act of an American patriot fighting the Soviet Union. He then threw some anti-Castro crack at Ali who immediately responded that he'd rather be friends with Castro than with Osama bin Laden. Krauthammer had no comeback to that.
On on on it goes. So, what do we do now? Jesus, there's so much to deal with at so many levels. I'll try to do my small part in the coming days and weeks, for the madness won't be ending anytime soon. For the moment, though, continue to mourn the dead in London, Afghanistan and Iraq, and attempt to keep the vile animals from dragging their bodies across the Web in an effort to whip up more insanity. That can't be done in silence.