“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Friday, September 03, 2004


Perhaps there is something grimly apposite about the fact that the day the Republican Rapture winds down, hundreds of children apparently die in the storming of a school in Ossetia by Russian troops. There’s an odd parallel between Russian and American history – bombs go off in Moscow, in 99, and planes are driven into the WTC in 2001; Chechnya is made a living grave for political reasons in 95, and again in 99, and Iraq is being made into a democracy without democracy in 2004 with the U.S. using Grozny tactics in Falluja and Najaf.

So is this the future?

According to the Post story, the militia group that took the school was a mix of Chechens and others – including Chechen women with the bombs strapped to their body. We know these tactics, since they preceded the other Chechen wars. In 95 and 99, there was a sinister convergence between the interests of the Yeltsen and Putin cliques and the Chechen 'warriors'. Russia's political oligarchy, pursuing policies of self-enrichment and legalized banditry, was as unpopular as any government in Russia's history. So they took a leaf from Stalin's book, re the Patriotic War of 1941-1945, and made themselves a mini-Patriotic war.

That convergence has now been broken. The pieces from those other Devil's pacts are now running free. Chechnya was the original victim -- and now any area can be the victim, any group.

The close connection between the war in Chechnya and Al Qaeda’s operation, first in Afghanistan and now in Pakistan, still seems to escape most American commentators. A Chechen faction that saw itself as performing two tasks: destroying the Sufi heresy that predominated in Chechnya, and destroying Russian hegemony in Chechnya, has consistently innovated strategies that are taken up elsewhere by Al Qaeda and its associate groups. The Russians, meanwhile, have reverted, in their war against Chechnya, to the standard of military operation perfected by the Nazis. The destruction of Grozny, unprotested by the world, has left a deep impression on certain groups in the Moslem world.

As for a counter-strategy? How about this?

“I have been insulted! I have been hurt! I have been beaten! I have been robbed! Anger does not cease in those who harbour this sort of thought. 3

I have been insulted! I have been hurt! I have been beaten! I have been robbed! Anger ceases in those who do not harbour this sort of thought. 4

Occasions of hatred are certainly never settled by hatred. They are settled by freedom from hatred. This is the eternal law.”

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