Wednesday, September 12, 2018

sheer obfuscation

Dr. Vallicella on Jacques Derrida on 9/11. That's a painful paragraph to read. And if I recall correctly, Baudrillard was no better: he out-and-out blamed the West for 9/11. Pigfucker.

From the "Baudrillard" entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

Upon the initial publication of his response [to the 9/11 attacks in the United States] in French newspapers and its immediate translation into English and other languages, Baudrillard himself was accused of justifying terrorism when he stated in the article in Le Monde: “Because it was this insufferable superpower [i.e., the US] that gave rise both to the violence now spreading throughout the world and to the terrorist imagination that (without our knowing it) dwells within us all. That the entire world without exception had dreamed of this event, that nobody could help but dream of the destruction of so powerful a Hegemon — this fact is unacceptable to the moral conscience of the West. And yet it's a fact nevertheless, a fact that resists the emotional violence of all the rhetoric conspiring to cover it up. In the end, it was they who did it, but we who wished it.”

Baudrillard defended himself from accusations that such reflections constituted a virulent anti-Americanism or legitimation of terrorism, claiming: “I do not praise murderous attacks — that would be idiotic. Terrorism is not a contemporary form of revolution against oppression and capitalism. No ideology, no struggle for an objective, not even Islamic fundamentalism, can explain it. …I have glorified nothing, accused nobody, justified nothing. One should not confuse the messenger with his message. I have endeavored to analyze the process through which the unbounded expansion of globalization creates the conditions for its own destruction”.

Way to backpedal, there, guy.


King Baeksu said...

There's no doubt that 9/11 was blowback from US imperial meddling in the Middle East, going back at least to our support for the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

That said, French "intellectuals" like Derrida and Baudrillard are so profoundly decadent that they have largely failed to protect their own nation and culture from a hostile Islamist takeover. (Houellebecq's "Submission" foretells France's demise with a kind of self-disgusted pleasure.)

The difference between us and the frogs? We Americans will at least put up a fight as we go down, whereas the haughty French will congratulate themselves for being so "enlightened" and "sophisticated" as they suffer much the same fate.

Are you really better than everyone else if you no longer even exist?

Kevin Kim said...

Interesting. You'd think that the Wahhabi rich boys involved in 9/11 would be sympathetic with parties like the Taliban and Al Qaeda (which is Wahhabist, after all, and founded by Osama bin Laden), and that the Taliban and Al Qaeda would react to American aid by not organizing a terror campaign involving the hijacking of several airplanes. How do we go from "US aids Al Qaeda" to "Al Qaeda attacks US"? I fully admit ignorance of the history, here—or at least ignorance of the chain of causation, which I assume has as much to do with religious ideology as it does with reaction to US policies abroad.

At the same time, I've generally been against Western, and specifically US, meddling in the Middle East. We haven't taken the time to study and appreciate the history and complex dynamics in that part of the world, and our attempts at shaking things up and providing "solutions" to problems have arguably caused more problems than they've solved. So at the general level, I can easily see how there might be some form of "blowback" because of US/Western meddling in the Middle East.

That doesn't exculpate the terrorists, of course. They may rationally, and perhaps even legitimately, see themselves as having a grievance, but they have a choice in how to react to it. I've made this same point regarding why we don't see Hindu- and Sikh-perpetrated global terrorism despite the Raj and continued massive poverty in India. There's nothing necessary or inevitable about the terrorism that the West has experienced (and to be clear, I'm not implying that that's what you're saying when you speak of "blowback," which isn't the same as speaking of "just desserts"); Middle Easterners have always had the choice to take the non-violent route in expressing any resentment.

So in a nutshell, I guess my angle is: you could very well be right about 9/11's being a reaction to Western meddling in the Middle East, but I'd submit that that doesn't make the reaction legitimate. (Nor, by the way, does 9/11 make our subsequent prosecution of a war in the Middle East legitimate, with the neocon goal of creating a "democracy-quake" that was meant to radiate outward and pacify the rest of the Middle East. What a crock. For more on democracy-quakes, read the late Steven Den Beste.)

Kevin Kim said...

I see the Den Beste site can't be reached. I blogged about Den Beste's vision of the Iraq War strategy here (scroll down a bit to see Den Beste in boldface).

King Baeksu said...

In Osama Bin Laden's November 2002 "Letter to America", he explicitly stated that al-Qaeda's motives for their attacks include: Western support for attacking Muslims in Somalia, supporting Russian atrocities against Muslims in Chechnya, supporting the Indian oppression against Muslims in Kashmir, the Jewish aggression against Muslims in Lebanon, the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia, US support of Israel, and sanctions against Iraq."

After the 1991 Gulf war, the US maintained a presence of 5,000 troops stationed in Saudi Arabia. One of the responsibilities of that force was Operation Southern Watch, which enforced the no-fly zones over southern Iraq set up after 1991, and the country's oil exports through the shipping lanes of the Persian Gulf are protected by the US Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain.

Since Saudi Arabia houses the holiest sites in Islam (Mecca and Medina), many Muslims were upset at the permanent military presence. The continued presence of US troops after the Gulf War in Saudi Arabia was one of the stated motivations behind the September 11th attacks and the Khobar Towers bombing. Further, the date chosen for the 1998 United States embassy bombings (August 7) was eight years to the day that American troops were sent to Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden interpreted Muhammad as banning the "permanent presence of infidels in Arabia".

In 1996, Bin Laden issued a fatwa calling for American troops to get out of Saudi Arabia. In the 1998 fatwa, Al-Qaeda wrote: "for over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples." In the December 1999 interview with Rahimullah Yusufzai, bin Laden said he felt that Americans were "too near to Mecca" and considered this a provocation to the entire Muslim world.