Feb 18, 2008

Suicidin' Retards

When I heard the story about two female retards being fitted up with suicide bombs and sent to visit the Baghdad pet market, I had to laugh.

Who's directing this war--Mel Brooks? You can just see Dom DeLuise as the local Mahdi, telling Madeleine Kahn as a drooling bag lady, "You're gonna see the nice puppies, yes yes yes, pretty kitties, yes yes yes, just hold still a moment, Uncle Ahmed needs to adjust your new cummerbund!" Like snotty film buffs love to say, "It works on so many levels."

Starting with the bomb level. These two crazy ladies managed to kill about 100 pet fanciers, a huge total for pedestrian bombs.

They must have had these two Mongoloid gals wearing explosive mumus like my fat aunt used to have, big floral burquas with plenty of room for the lady who's retaining water, or, say, plastic explosive.

They may have been mentally retarded, but they must've been on the Stairmaster for months to pack that much kaboom. Dom must have told them, "Now when you see a puppy or a kitty you really really like, just pull this little string and before you can say 'ow!' you'll be in heaven with 72 puppies, or 64 kitties, or as many goldfish as you want. Now scoot down there, you differently-abled martyr, you!"

I'm sorry, I just can't stop. Just the language they're using on the news accounts--like, when it's some Special Olympics star who wins a gold medal for finishing the 100-yard dash in under six minutes, nobody'd ever say "retarded." He's "special." But interfere with all the upbeat "surge working" stories and you're just a dead retard.

Then there's the matter of like, how do they know? I mean, "retarded" compared to who--the average suicide bomber? If this proves that Al Q. is "scraping the bottom of the barrel" for recruits, does that mean they had aptitude tests till now? "We are sorry, Rashid, but your SAT scores do not qualify you to wear a vest and pull a string."

Until a few years ago, most healthy, normal mainstream journalists would have said that just putting on one of those vests is prima facie evidence that you're cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. Does this mean we're saying all those other suicide bombers were perfectly normal dudes?

Because, it so happens, that's what I've been saying all along. Until now, mainstream types have been screaming that these suicide bombers prove that every Muslim is insane. Total crap, of course, unless you're also willing to say that the Alamo proved every Texan was insane or the kamikazes prove that every Japanese is wacko.

Don't get me wrong, it so happens that MOST Texans and Japs ARE crazy; but it's not being willing to sacrifice your life for the cause that makes them crazy.

I've said lots of times that it's not that hard to get kids to die for the tribe or God or Marx or for that matter, 134th Street if that's their local gang turf. We're the crazy ones, so out of touch with all our own glorious military dead that we think there's something crazy about wanting to go out in a blaze of glory.

It actually scares me when people at coffee break in my office say they "juuuuust caaaaan't understaaaaaaaaaand" the "mentality" of a suicide bomber. I mean, didn't they cheer at that scene in Independence Day when Randy Quaid aims his plane up the ass of the alien ship just as it's about to fire the city-killing beam? Wasn't that supposed to be heroic?

Take a less ridiculous case: since the USAF was totally unprepared to defend the continental US against attack on 9/11, the fighters they scrambled to deal with possible further attacks were sent up with no air-to-air munitions at all. That's a fact. And you can see where it leads. The brass was going to order those pilots to crash their fighters into any commercial jet they concluded might be piloted by a guy with a Koran and a Stanley knife. That would have been a pure suicide mission. And I would have expected the pilots to do it without hesitation. Pilots are ego-crazy, but they're tough. They understand that the job involves dying sometimes.

The real reason we understand missions like that but not the average Iraqi pop-rock is that we just don't see why anybody would care enough about Sunni or Shia enough to die for it. But for that matter, it's not easy to see why some Cholo is willing to die for 134th Street either--not if you live in a comfy house in the hills. But if you lived on 134th Street it'd make perfect sense. You have to remember (for the millionth time): not everybody thinks like you. The people in the next house don't even think like you, let alone slum kids in Baghdad.

My point here is that "crazy" doesn't mean much in wartime. It's usually a compliment, if anything. If it turns out that these two ladies had Down's Syndrome, that's different; that's a real birth defect, one you can check on and prove or disprove. But even then, if you know much military history you know that most armies are filled up with any scum the recruiting gangs could scoop up from the alleys.

Even the greatest armies--take the Army of the Potomac--had to fill the ranks with professional recruiting-bounty con men, not to mention the usual psychos and crims running from hometown lynch mobs. And they didn't have IQ tests in those days either. If you could stand up in a uniform and march all day, you'd do fine. You can bet there were plenty of mongoloids (they weren't so squeamish about words back then) who proudly wore their country's uniform, even if they couldn't have named their country even on a multiple choice format.

Normal military service in a 19th-century army at war was pretty close to wearing a suicide vest anyway. Fredericksburg, if you were a Federal; Pickett's Charge, if you were a Reb; those were pretty much suicide missions. And the death you could expect was a million times scarier than the one a modern suicide bomber gets.

An Iraqi "martyr" can count on instant, painless death. They usually find the bomber's head totally popped off the body--that's how they ID the bomber. So it's basically death by beheading, and it's worth remembering that beheading used to be a privilege in Europe, the honorable death they reserved for VIPs. (Ordinary scum got hanged, a way more embarrassing way to go--that terminal boner sticking out for your neighbors to laugh at--and likely to involve a lot of dangling and gurgling if the hangman got his math wrong.)
Compare that with the suicide mission of walking in formation up Mary's Heights at Fredericksburg, or strolling across the fences into cannon fire at Gettysburg. Or fast-forward to the grimmest war at all for a frontline soldier: 1914, the Western Front. Now that was a suicide mission, going over the top. After a few months they all knew it was totally pointless, too--machine guns beat charging infantry every single time, but the gung-ho officers refused to admit it.

Take a machine gun bullet in the belly out there and you were going to die all right. But not by nice quick beheading. You were going to (a) die of peritonitis if you were lucky enough to be dragged back to your lines; (b) be forgotten in No-Man's land and bleed out, which means freezing to death as your circulatory system loses the power to keep your body warm; (c) be eaten alive, or half-alive, by the rats that swarmed between the trenches; or (d) lie there until the next bombardment sent a shell--just as likely your own side's as the enemy's--to plow up the blood/mud mush one more time and just by accident blow your infected mess of a body into vapor.

When you compare that death to the one the average Iraqi suicide bomber gets, well my God, even a retard could figure out which is better. The WW I dead were totally anonymous, a little name on long, long lists; you'll be a hero in your Baghdad neighborhood, celebrated for decades. The WW I soldiers died slow, horrible deaths; you'll go instantly, without pain. Most important of all, they died in what they knew, absolutely perfectly well knew, were stupid, pointless charges.

You, the supposedly retarded Baghdad bomber, are going to trade your one lousy slum life for the lives of dozens of the enemy tribe, and you're going to make the international press in the process and embarrass the Hell out of the Americans.

They don't sound so stupid to me.


steve said...

A lucid, logical, and thereby totally forbidden piece of blasphemy, the likes of which cannot be spoken in polite society... though I've had similar thoughts myself.

Such statements can never be uttered seriously in the main stream media without immediate condemnation as sheer madness. Such a peak under the edge of our edifice of moral hypocrisy, if left in place long enough to be considered thoughtfully, would reveal a structure of "common wisdom" concerning "terrorism" built on a foundation of thin air.

M1 said...


How be ye?

I doubt not that this piece will be misinterpreted. The intent isn't to trivialize or engage in facetious relativisms: suicide hits against civilian population clusters r horrible acts - but to be prophylactic about such acts of indiscriminate mayhem & bloodshed one might consider leaving the vernacular of sticks 'n stones behind and instead get into the strewn shoes of head-poppin' other. Someone said, "know your turf" in the context of COIN. The turf is more often the spacescape of minds - not that of geographic parcels.

Adrian said...

Isn't it a terrifying thought? That we are not so unlike them?

Like Steve I've had similar thoughts and once dared express them in class - but we were all so disturbed already from talking about suicide terrorism for two hours, we couldn't be more disturbed. And of course I couldn't say it with this flair.

Adrian said...

Another reminder that we're not so different from them:


Ninja Pirate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adrian said...

Ninja Pirate - if you cannot shake your comfortable belief that suicide bombers are irrational, that they're just crazy nutters, etc., I invite you to read a few articles:

Wintrobe, Ronald. “Extremism, Suicide Terror, and Authoritarianism.” Public Choice 128 (July 2006). (link

Hard Targets:
Theory and Evidence on Suicide Attacks*
Eli Berman and David D. Laitin. In Eva Meyersson Milgrom, ed. - "Suicide Bombing from an Interdisciplinary
Perspective". (link)

Larry Iannacone, Market for Martyrs.

These articles look at suicide terrorism from an economic perspective - i.e., they show how "Homo Economicus" could rationally choose suicide terrorism.

M1 said...

Head-poppin' links, A

What happened to Ninja-gurl - she went 'ka-poof'

Anonymous said...

M1, great post ! You have again out guessed the mainstream thinkers, and even beat the BBC to the story 8-)


"Iraqi security forces have been ordered to detain beggars and mentally ill people found on Baghdad's streets who could be exploited by militants."

Heh ! Wait for it !

"Those detained will be sent to mental institutions or back to their families."

What makes those folks thing they want their challenged family members back ?

God, I wished I started life as a shrink...imagine the cash I'd be making now with frustrated postal workers in Iraq LMFAO

Cheers from the Wet Swan, Superglide !

Jay@Soob said...

Turns out, friends, that these women might not at all have been afflicted by Downs Syndrom at all. They'd likely been schitzophrenic.

But I agree with M's analysis. Relegating those that decimate their bodies in most explosive and inclusive of others fashion to the easy realm of "Crazy" is a mistake.

theBhc said...

When I first saw the preposterous claim that those women were Downs syndrome, I thought "how the hell could you possibly tell?" Apparently, the heads were intact, though blown off whatever remains there were. But, c'mon, you're going to make a snap judgement about Downs from looking at a head that was just blown off of its now shredded body? Now, that's retarded.

M1 said...

Right or wrong, it felt darn fine to say, "Retard". Sweet release.

I've got lots of other un-pc words in pregnant wait.