“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

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Geneology of suicide bombing

Usually, the history of suicide bombing draws a straight line between kamikazes and Palestinians with bombs strapped to their belt. What this skips is the defense postures of the U.S. and the U.S.S.R in the pre-intercontinental period. Watching Fail Safe last week, it struck me that the whole posture depended on delivering bombs from aircraft manned by soldiers who accepted the fact that bomb delivery would be equivalent to suicide. In other words, suicide bombers.

These were the avant garde. After the development of long range missiles, they were replaced by suicide populations. One assumes that the posture died – but it is amazing what can be carried forward, all unconsciously – history is, after all, in Marx’s image, and Kafka’s, and Bataille’s, the great burrowing mole, operating under our feet. The commitment to suicide was tied by a thousand economic incentives to the commitment to prosperity. Live longer through suicide – the motto of the twentieth century.


kmort said...

After skimming a few more of your epistles on bellum iraqi, I have decided that you are mostly right (not entirely) regarding US recruits and prospective soldiers and their ethical status; perhaps some academic philosophe types--including even, osiris forbid, preachers or priests--would become involved, force their birkenstock into the recruiter's door, more or less, and administer some assessment test or character screening. They be informed of the possible consequences of their acts and should sign off, something like "are you willing to follow any orders without questioning from COs, and kill people, including civilians, maybe hundreds or thousands (as a bombadier perhaps) as a US soldier?" They should also have to pass a test on the history of the US military. Ignorantia lex non excusat raht? I think the young grunt should be required to decide themselves given some evidence whether the US military acts in 'Nam were justified. No? A mere enlisted status should not excuse people of actions; if some objective panel had enough evidence to show say the bombing of Fallujah was a war crime then not only the officers but those who followed the orders are guilty.

roger said...

kmort, I know that you are just trying to give me a heart attack. You actually agree with me about something!

I'll have to lie down now.
Oh, and incidentally, I do agree with you about Fallujah. Have you ever read that book by Christopher Browning -- what was the name of it? Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland? He traced the evolution of the equivalent of an American reserve unit in Poland in wwii. Here's a link: http://www.rrz.uni-hamburg.de/rz3a035/police101.html.

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