For some reason, I recall a contest in New York magazine 31 years ago asking
for Predictable Headlines of 1976, and the one that made me laugh was
"Ghetto Residents Apathetic about Bicentennial". I thought of this recently
when I saw a headline "Doctor Accused in Glasgow Attack Described as Loner
Angry about Iraq War." Isn't it pathetic that what strikes us as utterly
predictable still eludes President Daydream Believer?
A common right-wing talking point is that we weren't in Iraq on 9/11 and they
still attacked us. Yes, but this "war" is a numbers game: before we invaded
Iraq, how many young Muslim men were ready to join up for a suicide mission
against the west? Some, but my guess is, not very many. But now? My guess is
very many. The exact opposite of what the president says is true: because
we're there, this shit is going to follow us home. You could probably make
up a chart with incidents and images on one side, and the number of
terrorist recruits on the other. The abuses at Abu Ghraib: 25,478 Muslim men
decide to strap on the suicide belt. Pictures of Saddam getting probed after
he was captured: 962 vow jihad on America. Haditha: 6,089 more. Of course,
I'm making these numbers up, and we'll never know what the real numbers are,
but every time I see on the news pictures of our "surge" -- that is, pictures
of American troops knocking some Iraqi's door in, women wailing, men
blindfolded on the ground while an infidel writes on their neck in magic
marker -- I think, yep, there's another X amount of really, really pissed off
Muslims who are going to do something about it.
The other thing I hear on the news -- that I realized I wasn't really
hearing, and which most of us I think do not hear -- is the names we give to
the people we're fighting over there. You hear that American troops killed
so many "terrorists" or "insurgents" or "gunmen," or sometimes, just "the
enemy." But in Anbar, for example, we're now fighting alongside Sunnis who
recently were trying to kill us. So they were "terrorists" or "insurgents"
or the "enemy", but now I guess they're not. Whew.
What a mindless clusterfuck. Hard to believe someone could make this funny.
But I will, Saturday night, on my new live stand up special on HBO at 10
eastern. I know that's a shameless plug, but what other kind is there?