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The Case for Rage and Retribution ^ | Wednesday, Sep. 12, 2001 | LANCE MORROW

Posted on 09/10/2002 6:31:14 AM PDT by jjm2111


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  Tuesday, September 10, 2002

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Sept. 11 



The Case for Rage and Retribution

What’s needed is a unified, unifying, Pearl Harbor sort of purple American fury — a ruthless indignation that doesn’t leak away in a week or two 



Wednesday, Sep. 12, 2001

For once, let’s have no “grief counselors” standing by with banal consolations, as if the purpose, in the midst of all this, were merely to make everyone feel better as quickly as possible. We shouldn’t feel better.

For once, let’s have no fatuous rhetoric about “healing.” Healing is inappropriate now, and dangerous. There will be time later for the tears of misfortune note.

A day cannot live in infamy without the nourishment of rage. Let’s have rage. What’s needed is a unified, unifying, Pearl Harbor sort of purple American fury—a ruthless indignation that doesn’t leak away in a week or two, wandering off into Prozac-induced forgetfulness or into the next media sensation (O.J. … Elián … Chandra …) or into a corruptly thoughtful relativism (as has happened in the recent past, when, for example, you might hear someone say, “Terrible what he did, of course, but, you know, the Unabomber does have a point, doesn’t he, about modern technology?”).

Let America explore the rich reciprocal possibilities of the fatwa. A policy of focused brutality does not come easily to a self-conscious, self-indulgent, contradictory, diverse, humane nation with a short attention span. America needs to relearn a lost discipline, self-confident relentlessness—and to relearn why human nature has equipped us all with a weapon (abhorred in decent peacetime societies) called hatred.

As the bodies are counted, into the thousands and thousands, hatred will not, I think, be a difficult emotion to summon. Is the medicine too strong? Call it, rather, a wholesome and intelligent enmity—the sort that impels even such a prosperous, messily tolerant organism as America to act. Anyone who does not loathe the people who did these things, and the people who cheer them on, is too philosophical for decent company.

It’s a practical matter, anyway. In war, enemies are enemies. You find them and put them out of business, on the sound principle that that’s what they are trying to do to you. If what happened on Tuesday does not give Americans the political will needed to exterminate men like Osama bin Laden and those who conspire with them in evil mischief, then nothing ever will and we are in for a procession of black Tuesdays.

This was terrorism brought to near perfection as a dramatic form. Never has the evil business had such production values. Normally, the audience sees only the smoking aftermath

—the blown-up embassy, the ruined barracks, the ship with a blackened hole at the waterline. This time the first plane striking the first tower acted as a shill. It alerted the media, brought cameras to the scene so that they might be set up to record the vivid surreal bloom of the second strike (“Am I seeing this?”), and then—could they be such engineering geniuses, so deft at demolition?—the catastrophic collapse of the two towers, one after the other, and a sequence of panic in the streets that might have been shot for a remake of The War of the Worlds or for Independence Day. Evil possesses an instinct for theater, which is why, in an era of gaudy and gifted media, evil may vastly magnify its damage by the power of horrific images.

It is important not to be transfixed. The police screamed to the people running from the towers, “Don’t look back!”—a biblical warning against the power of the image. Terrorism is sometimes described (in a frustrated, oh-the-burdens-of-great-power tone of voice) as “asymmetrical warfare.” So what? Most of history is a pageant of asymmetries. It is mostly the asymmetries that cause history to happen—an obscure Schickelgruber nearly destroys Europe; a mere atom, artfully diddled, incinerates a city. Elegant perplexity puts too much emphasis on the “asymmetrical” side of the phrase and not enough on the fact that it is, indeed, real warfare. Asymmetry is a concept. War is, as we see, blood and death.

It is not a bad idea to repeat a line from the 19th century French anarchist thinker Pierre-Joseph Prou-dhon: “The fecundity of the unexpected far exceeds the prudence of statesmen.” America, in the spasms of a few hours, became a changed country. It turned the corner, at last, out of the 1990s. The menu of American priorities was rearranged. The presidency of George W. Bush begins now. What seemed important a few days ago (in the media, at least) became instantly trivial. If Gary Condit is mentioned once in the next six months on cable television, I will be astonished.

During World War II, John Kennedy wrote home to his parents from the Pacific. He remarked that Americans are at their best during very good times or very bad times; the in-between periods, he thought, cause them trouble. I’m not sure that is true. Good times sometimes have a tendency to make Americans squalid. The worst times, as we see, separate the civilized of the world from the uncivilized. This is the moment of clarity. Let the civilized toughen up, and let the uncivilized take their chances in the game they started.

TOPICS: Editorial; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
What was said the day after 911 (by TIME no less) needs to be said again.
1 posted on 09/10/2002 6:31:14 AM PDT by jjm2111
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To: jjm2111
I still feel that way. We haven't killed nearly enough of them yet. I want to see the bodies of mullahs and killers and sympathizers stacked like cordwood from the Horn of Africa to the Steppes of Russia. I want the Middle East awash in their blood. I want their cities levelled, and their fields plowed with salt.

I want them to understand that the death of an American requires a price beyond their ability to comprehend.
2 posted on 09/10/2002 7:23:20 AM PDT by LouD
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To: jjm2111
... but it's not a REAL war. It's something different.
3 posted on 09/10/2002 7:43:13 AM PDT by packrat01
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To: packrat01
but it's not a REAL war. It's something different.

WOW. That article is well-worth reading, saving, and digesting. Thanks for the link!

4 posted on 09/10/2002 10:21:43 AM PDT by TomSmedley
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To: packrat01
I don't think that's what that guy said at all. His conclusion is such:

"There is one decisive advantage to the “evildoer” metaphor, and it is this: Combat with evildoers is not Clausewitzian war. You do not make treaties with evildoers or try to adjust your conduct to make them like you. You do not try to see the world from the evildoers’ point of view. You do not try to appease them, or persuade them, or reason with them. You try, on the contrary, to outwit them, to vanquish them, to kill them. You behave with them in the same manner that you would deal with a fatal epidemic — you try to wipe it out."

Wipe out Al Qaeda and all who support it. I feel we will be embroiled in a full-blown war against most Muslims in the middle-east.

5 posted on 09/10/2002 10:23:46 AM PDT by jjm2111
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To: jjm2111
BUMP. We need a lot more dead Islamists. A LOT MORE. We havent even scratched the surface yet. Let's invade Western Pakistan right after we squish sadam like the vile bug he is.
6 posted on 09/10/2002 10:56:02 AM PDT by mercy
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To: mercy
I agree, the WTC was just the opening battle in a war that will not end soon. We must never forget. Keep the rage burning!
7 posted on 09/10/2002 3:04:41 PM PDT by tom paine 2
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To: TomSmedley
any time

spread the "truth"
8 posted on 09/11/2002 10:30:51 AM PDT by packrat01
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To: jjm2111
as long as we don't treat it like a rat-shoot; and leave a male and a female for "next year".

just because they don't wage Clausewitzian war, doesn't mean we shouldn't; or can't.

9 posted on 09/11/2002 10:35:24 AM PDT by packrat01
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To: packrat01
An interesting (and IMHO, mostly correct) premise on the basic motivations of these vermin.

Sadly, for me, anyway, is the realization that we will not get it until we have been hit again a few more times. The other sad thing about this analysis is the effort that will need to be extended to discredit the ideology as much as Italian Fascism was discredited.

We won't win until wacko muslim clerics are being killed by their own people, and hung upside down in a town square to be pelted with garbage, a la Mussolini. I'm not sure that this country, which is still engaged in foolishness 1 year later, has the will needed to face reality and then do the job as ruthlessly as the job was being done in 1944.

And, even if we do, will our nation have a political system left that would be recognizable to, say, my grandfather? (He passed away in 1997.)
10 posted on 09/11/2002 10:56:55 AM PDT by L,TOWM
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Sorry to hear about your Grandpa. Both mine are long gone, too.

Would he recognize the government of even today.

"Department of Homeland Security" leaves one looking for a Reichstag(sp?) fire...

11 posted on 09/15/2002 12:09:17 PM PDT by packrat01
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