Thursday, June 8

Showing Your Imaginary Playmate Who's Boss

James Lileks, "Self-Loathing and the Denial of Terrorism", June 7

You're an enlightened world citizen. Your T-shirt says "9/11 was an inside job." You're pretty sure we're living in a fascist state, that President Bush taps the Dixie Chicks' phones, Christian abortion clinic bombers outnumber jihadis, and the war on "terror" is a distraction from the real threats: carbon emissions and Pat Robertson. Then you learn that 17 people were arrested in a terrorist bomb plot. How do you process the information? Let's take it step by step.

Toronto Star: Their so-called training camp turns out to have been a swath of bush near Washago, where their activities — shooting off firearms and playing paintball — were so obvious and so irritating that local residents immediately called police.

Recall the prime directive: Question Authority (unless he's a college professor). The plotters must have been impoverished olive farmers radicalized by the removal of Saddam Hussein. Why, if someone came in and toppled your president, you'd go to their country and ... well, you'd thank them. Unless they did it for the wrong reasons! Then you'd blow something up. Like an SUV dealership. At night. Anyway, you understand; you care a lot about Iraqis these days. You think about Iraq more than China, to be honest, but it's not as if you'll scrape off your "Free Tibet" bumper sticker -- unless it's to make room for "Free Darfur." Or "Hands Off Darfur," depending.

Toronto Star: These suspects, it is alleged, simply trespassed on someone's farm and, when the owner told them to leave, gave him lip.

Wait a minute: The "terrorists" were Canadian? You can understand someone blowing up trains in Spain and London. They sent troops to an illegal war cooked up by neocons who want to kill brown people for Exxon and Jesus, or something. You can understand, reluctantly, blowing up teens in an Israeli pizza parlor, because the Jews took the West Bank from the sovereign, ancient nation of Palestine. (How can a liberal socialist country behave so poorly? The world is full of mysteries.) But Canada? Isn't Michael Moore from Canada? You can get medical marijuana from married gay doctors in Canada, and no one has guns. You console yourself: Maybe they were really planning to attack the U.S.

Toronto Star: They apparently didn't realize, or perhaps didn't care, that large groups of brown-skinned urbanites dressed in camouflage are not a common sight in rural central Ontario.

But wait. You read that the suspects were not connected to al-Qaida, and you're confused for a moment. Maybe it won't be over if they get Osama bin Laden (provided he isn't really in an supersecret Idaho prison). What if the "terrorists" hate you for their own reasons? The evildoer-in-chief said "they hate our freedoms" -- as if we have freedoms, really, just try and get a bike-messenger job that has full health benefits. But what if rights and mixed-sex education and an economy based on sustainable hemp-based art installations mean nothing to them?

Toronto Star: [W]hen local resident Mike Côté came upon a group of just such men near his Ramara Township farm last December, he immediately informed police.

As he told the Star this week, the group appeared cold, wet and bedraggled. Some had fallen though the thin ice into a marsh. The leader of these alleged terrorists was so disgusted with his young charges that he complained to Côté about their incompetence.

Maybe you could convince them to hold off while you fix Amerikkka. At least you can get it down to one k. Maybe if the Democrats take the House back. A 10-seat swing won't make the imams cool down, but 20 seats, in red states? Would that be a good-faith effort?

Toronto Star: It appears that a good many knew the police were on to these suspects. Harper knew. So did Toronto Mayor David Miller. So did some of the suspects' neighbours. So did many near the ill-fated Ramara Township "training camp," who told the Star later that police asked them to keep their mouths shut.

But the alleged terrorists, it seems, remained blissfully ignorant. They let themselves get snared in an RCMP sting when one of the 17 allegedly placed an order for three tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, a substance that can be used to make bombs

You worry this will push Haditha off the front page. It's very important that everyone concentrate on the atrocities committed by U.S. troops every day. (It's such a relief not to have to pretend to support the troops anymore.) Anyway, nothing happened. Nothing blew up. If the suspects were planning something, they didn't do it, and this proves we can handle this as a law enforcement matter. Even though the police are racists.

Toronto Star: Some, it appears, chatted openly online about their paramilitary exploits at websites such as the now-dismantled , oblivious to the fact that the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service regularly troll such sites.

"I got my gun and tomorrow in the morning I am gonna do some target practise (sic) inshAllah (God willing) hott," reads one 2003 posting. "Checked out some paintball guns today at walmart."

You find yourself almost wishing there was another real attack, so people could see the logical consequences of "fighting back" after 9/11. Yes, it would be bad, but sometimes you have to break an egg to show people the health impact of omelettes. Is it wrong to wish the Canadian terrorists might have succeeded?

Shouldn't you know the answer to that question?

Canadian Press: An alleged plot to take MPs hostage on Parliament Hill was abandoned at an early stage because the suspects — who hail from southern Ontario — knew little about Ottawa, The Canadian Press has learned.


spaghetti happens said...

"You worry this will push Haditha off the front page. It's very important that everyone concentrate on the atrocities committed by U.S. troops every day. (It's such a relief not to have to pretend to support the troops anymore.)"

Well, I guess that settles it then. If we want to know whether Marines are guilty of reprisal killings of people we are supposed to be liberating then obviously we do not support the troops. Moreover, if we suspect that military combat doctrine, on the ground and up the chain, implicitly allows reprisal killings of Iraqis, then obviously we do not support the war effort generally, which would of course be un-American and possibly treasonous. What could be clearer?

Anonymous said...

You know, I was about to say that I'm glad you read Lileks so I don't have to, but then I wondered why it was that anyone has to read Lileks. Some questions have no easy answers. But, if nothing else, you are performing a valuable duty as a lonely sentinel, keeping watch on the border of sanity.

Anonymous said...

Lileks lecturing us on cognitive dissonance and denial of reality is one of the more precious sights I've watched in months.

Couple thoughts, Jimmy, since you obviously haven't any yourself:

Michael Moore is not Canadian. Where the hell did anybody get that impression, and why is it wingnuts who think that? Not fucking Canadian. He's a fat guy in a baseball cap who dresses like a slob and makes movies. What could possibly be more American?

The people who believe 9/11 was an inside job occupy the same position among liberals as Phelps does among conservatives, which is to say: none at all. They may also be against the war and dislike Bush, but they're not much more fond of those of us on the left, either, because we mock them.

Meanwhile, the war on terror has killed a few hundred thousand people, mostly with our guys behind the gunsights, and global warming has the potential to make the planet uninhebitable to human beings, all six billion of them. So, yes, the war on terror, and, in fact, Pat Robertson, are both a distraction from things that are really important.
I invite Mr Lileks to consider the concept of millions of "environmental refugees" as relates to his fear of immigrants.

And, gosh, I'm enjoying the fuck out of this "You know you wanted Canadians to die, why don't you MARRY the terrorists if you love them so much!" argument. Goodness, how mature.

I feel sorry for Lileks, I really do. After 9/11, he needed a president who could calm his fears, could reassure him that we will survive and thrive and remain strong, who could gently lead him out from under the bed and show him how to live through his fears.

He didn't get that. He got someone who started screaming "Boo!" at him every three minutes, and now, five years later, he's basically a quivering, sleep-deprived PTSD victim with Stockholm Syndrome and an unreasoning terror of all people who are not like him.

But my sympathy for him goes only so far. He's got a soapbox, and having been exploited by the administration's fear-mongering gives him no excuse to do it to others.

Anonymous said...

After careful examination of the article in question, my tentative hypothesis is that Lileks was trying to be funny. I am not able to confirm this hypothesis, however. His column bears a superficial resemblance to other writings that are comedic in nature, but I have been unable to detect any actual humor in it. Further tests are required.

Ray Bridges said...

Hey, it's Corndog. Whassup dude? You gonna start another blog and explain to us what happened? I know that's OT, but Corndog said what I was going to say, so I needed to say something.

Anonymous said...

This is his fucking job. He gets paid to spew this blather.

This kind of shit is why I don't read the paper unless I'm looking to get pissed off.

Anonymous said...

"You find yourself almost wishing there was another real attack, so people could see the logical consequences of "fighting back" after 9/11. "

Canada did "fight back". These idiots were caught by the police. That's how some countries deal with criminals. I suppose it would have been more appropriate if Canada has sent its entire air force (no goose jokes, please) to bomb randomly selected countries in the middle east, but calling the cops just seemed cheaper. Not to mention quieter.