...this blog kills fascists...

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Violence Begets Violence

I have a hard time understanding how a move such as this can meet any sort of strategic goal for the insurgents. It seems to be, put simply, not in their interests to generate a high civilian body count. Nor would it win Zarqawi any converts. The only thing such bombings could hope to accomplish is to further extenuate the chaos of the situation. Killing dozens of Iraqi civilians will not make the Americans leave. What it may do is push the new Iraqi government to actively and publicly request US military assistance to "crush" the insurgents, or terrorists.

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A suicide car bomb exploded on a busy downtown boulevard in Baqouba on Wednesday, shredding a bus full of passengers and nearby shops and killing at least 68 people - almost all Iraqi civilians - in one of the deadliest single insurgent attacks since the U.S. invasion.

Dozens of burned bodies lay strewn across the street and piled on curbsides, and vehicles, fruit stalls and shops were turned into a bloody tangle of twisted metal after the blast, which targeted Iraqis lined up outside a police recruiting station.

"These were all innocent Iraqis, there were no Americans," one angry man shouted as Iraqis tried to cover the dead with pieces of cardboard.

God help these poor people.

I can't help it. Events such as today's bombing keep bringing my mind back to The Quiet American, both the book by Graham Greene and the phenomenal film adaptation with Michael Caine. And it is when I remember these, that my sense of history for such things is stirred anew.

I highly recommend you read the book, and see the film, as each brings its own particular beauty, poignancy, and truth to the subject at hand. Warning, plot details follow here, so if you've yet to read or see, ignore the following bit (by way of Wikipedia):

The novel takes place in Saigon in the early 1950s during the end of the First Indochina War. It portrays two concurrent conflicts: a romantic triangle between the veteran British journalist Thomas Fowler, the young American Alden Pyle, and Fowler's Vietnamese girlfriend Phuong; and the political turmoil and growing American involvement that led to the Vietnam War. Fowler, who narrates the story, is involved in the war only as an observer; his experiences are partly based on Greene's own years in Vietnam. Pyle is more directly involved on a number of levels, and Greene draws parallels between Pyle's conduct and America's overall policies in Vietnam.

The turning point of the story involves an effort by the U.S. to build up a corrupt militia leader, General Thé-based on the actual Trinh Minh The-as a "Third Force" against the Viet Minh. A series of terrorist bombings in Saigon, blamed on the Communists, are used to justify Thé's takeover of the city; similar nonfictional events took place in 1952 while Greene was in Saigon. Greene believed (and it was soon confirmed) that the bombings were in fact engineered by Thé as a pretext, with the cooperation of American advisors. In the novel, Fowler's discovery of this thinly concealed plot leads him to his one political act, though his methods and motives are as questionable as Pyle's.

3 comments: to “ Violence Begets Violence

  • Anonymous
    July 28, 2004 5:25 PM  

    This attack was very logical. What the article doesn't mention is that the bomb went off in front of a police station and that most of those killed were men waiting to get jobs as policemen. In occupied France in 1943, these people would have been known as collaborators, and would have been fair game for the Maquis. As it is, this bombing sends a message to budding quislings in Iraq: Co-operate with the occupiers and their puppets at your own risk.


  • Anonymous
    July 28, 2004 6:46 PM  

    I have some difficulty to reconcile the first paragraph with the last paragraph of your post.Unless you try to let us understand that some of this bombings by so called insurgents are in fact engineered by a corrupt militia leader [Allawi ] to justify a takevor of Iraq. Could you comment on that in an update ?

  • Mitch
    July 28, 2004 9:19 PM  

    As to the haphazard linkage of the beginning and ending of this post, I suppose this could be seen as a failing, of a sort, of the blog as a medium in general. The very immediacy that is one of its greatest strengths and advantages can also encourage one to stumble.

    The bomb went off, I'd seen the film recently and the connection was made. Just like that. Anyone who's read the blog for any length of time will know I'm doubtful of Allwai's intentions and allegiences. See my subsequent post on the matter for more on that. Or this one, or this one (latter part of the post), or this one, or maybe even this one. Needless to say, I have my doubts.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment y'all. Keep on coming by.

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