Friday, April 07, 2006

Surprisingly Vicious

Shit. The other day I speculated as to whether al Qaida types might be holding off on attacks on Iraqi Shiites until the new government was formed. Looks like I was wrong.

The hope must be that Iraqi Shiites will be able to see this for what it is and react with suitable restraint. It is, I'm afraid, a long shot.

To some, the belief that Shiites might respond to this attack with violence against Sunnis is predicated on closet racism. "You assume that Iraqis with respond like unthinking little children" some might say. They are missing the point.

Shiites know that some Sunnis are carrying out these attacks. They also know that some Sunnis actively cooperate without directly taking part. They also know that some Sunnis do not actively cooperate but allow these operations to continue by staying silent.

Now consider that a bomb had just gone off in your neighbourhood and that it was only the last in a long series of similar attacks. Consider that this bomb had killed 40 people just like you and destroyed a building of great symbolic value to your community. Consider standing looking at the dead bodies and the bits of bodies and the red and black mulch which is all that remains of what were once living breathing human beings. You might well think "that could have been me or my child". You might spot the charred remains of a friend or neighbour. Consider that you know that the attack was launched by some people from another neighbourhood. And consider that you know that the security forces have been unable to do anything to stop these attacks.

How do you think you'd react? Calmly, rationally and with restraint? Or with anger and vengance as the driving force? Now add in the mob mentality (which is the same the world over). What's going to happen? For sure, not everyone will react violently. But the mob will.

To expect a violent response to this attack is not racism. Unless you've got leaders of extraordinary ability, intellect, charisma and clear headedness, it'd happen in your neighbourhood too.

For a much larger perspective on this, you could go from here to here to here. The third is a prime example of an al Qaida provoked indiscriminate attack which exploited their enemy's inability to distinguish between those who are actually attacking them and the wider community in which they operate. A successful terrorist is a puppeteer who's puppets can't see the strings. Al Qaida, sadly, are very good at it.

The title of this post, just to be clear, is a reference to Jack Straw's moronic assertion that the government "underestimated the scale of the viciousness of the terrorism against ordinary Iraqis" when making plans for post-invasion Iraq.

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