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Moscow Metro Bombings and the American Right

April 6, 2010

The blogs have been alight over the Moscow Metro bombings from last week. I’ll admit, right off the bat, I have nothing new to add in terms of political commentary here as many others have brilliantly covered the fallout over the attacks in Russia, the West, and in-between, so I thought I’d simply recount what they’ve put together.

Mark Adomanis, over at True/Slant, wrote a great entry “In which American conservatives talk about the root causes of terrorism,” on the painful hypocrisy of the American right’s reaction to the bombings. Oh so very eager to contribute every bad thing that happens on the European continent to the evil machinations of the karate champion himself, Putin, neo-conservative bastions like the fucking National Review have blog posts that contain the words “root causes of terror” and Forbes magazine apparently thinks dropping the G-bomb is necessary here (genocide, people – I swear this word gets used more in hyperbolic political discourse than Plan B during spring break in Cancun). There are many more such thoughtful engagements with the meaning of terror from the right one could repost, I’m sure.

Adomanis sums up the whole situation well here:

The sort of cognitive dissonance displayed by conservatives with regards to Russia and terrorism is really quite remarkable. As conservatives would have it, when Islamic terrorists target American civilians they do so only because they hate our “freedom.” Nothing America has done, is doing, or will do could possibly justify terrorism against its civilians, and anyone who tries to divine any minimally coherent rationale for jihadists is on a fool’s errand (or might just be a terrorist themselves). Yet when Islamic terrorists target Russian civilians there are, of course, not motivated by simple psychotic hatred (I mean, how could the terrorists hate the Russians for being “free” when the Russians themselves hate freedom???) but by a wide litany of intelligible justifications. In fact, if you go way out in neocon cloud cuckoo land, you can even find people who straightforwardly sympathize with the Chechens. The creepy neocon association with Chechen rebels, who are about a violent, sadistic, and depraved a bunch of killers as one can possibly imagine, is simply the 10,000,000th piece of evidence that, for all their endless babbling about “morality,” neocons are and have always been motivated solely by power.

Yea, Chechen terrorists and neocons sitting in a tree…Matthew Yglesias also has a great little post, “The Blame Russia First Crowd,” commenting on an amazing exchange between two great humanitarians, Bill Bennet and William “the Bloody” Kristol. Of course, terrorism has deep roots and of course, Russia does bad things in Chechnya, but you’d think these folks were all for stomping out terrorism with an iron first given say the last decade of the US war on nouns, I mean, terror.

In the end, what is obvious is two things: one, these people aren’t stupid, they’re at least capable of mimicking intelligent thought and understanding the world in a more complex way then they lead on, they just choose to do so only when it’s convenient for them and two, they possess not a sliver of humanity. It’s one thing to care about preventing terrorism, think about its causes, and engage in a dialogue that transcends national borders and addresses deeper questions about who we are as human beings and it’s another to fake giving a shit just because you get off by reliving some outdated Cold War theatre that only exists in your warped mind. They don’t care about the fate of Chechnya, just like they didn’t care about Georgia or Afghanistan or Iraq – they care about naked, brutal US power – that’s all.

Lastly, Sean has a great rundown of the all the news on the bombings here and here. Sean ends his analysis by using a powerful quote from Frantz Fanon that is worth repeating:

[The colonized] of whom [the colonizer] have never stopped saying that the only language he understands is that of force, decides to give utterance by force. In fact, as always, the settler has shown him the way he should take if he is to become free. The argument the native chooses has been furnished by the settler, and by an ironic turning of the tables it is the native who now affirms that the colonialist understands nothing but force.

Update: This by the way – does not create terrorism. I’m sure Kristol and company would agree.

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