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June 11, 2006

Other Ways They Are Waging Asymmetrical Warfare Against Us

Duncan C. emailed me to point out that, as the three recent suicides at Guantanamo have shown, our enemy is even more devious and ruthless than we supposed:

Military officials on Saturday suggested that the three suicides were a form of a coordinated protest.

"They are smart, they are creative, they are committed," Admiral Harris said. "They have no regard for life, neither ours nor their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us."

But this doesn't exhaust the asymmetric tactics they've adopted. Reliable sources indicate our terrorist foes are also using these even more appalling methods to attack us:

1. Crying

2. Begging for Mercy

3. Getting Tuberculosis

4. Forcing Us To Torture Them

5. Not Being A Terrorist

6. Being Four Years Old

Posted at June 11, 2006 06:43 PM | TrackBack

Your [terrorist] has no regard for human life, not even his own. And for this reason, men, I want to impress upon you the need for extreme watchfulness. The enemy may come individually, or he may come in strength. He may even come in the uniform of our own troops. But however he comes, we must stop him.

Posted by: General Jack D. Ripper at June 11, 2006 07:32 PM

I'm getting so used to the government's spin. And yet this story stood out. The utter gall of that reponse, in the face of the facts that these men had been held four years without charge.

I buried my head in my hands.

Posted by: Halfmad at June 11, 2006 08:16 PM

According to our govenrment, Ghandi was a terrorist engaged in asymmetrical warfare.

Posted by: Paul -V- at June 11, 2006 10:20 PM

i'd have to say that the united states is the coolest country in the world. you can get away with saying and doing anything there, you can be out of your bloody mind, have no clue how people outside of your own home manage their affairs without you telling them how to do it, kill black folks and run for office, get mad at someone for bleeding on you after you've just slit their throat, say you're for small government and vote republican, get mad (again) at people for wanting from you what you steal from them. it's so fantastic, and the only catch is you need to have the biggest damn gun in the universe.

and yet, even after knowing all of this, harris' assessment still made me shout "what the FAAAAAAAACK!!!" (seriously, three exclamation marks!!!) out my window when i heard this news.

i keep saying it, and i keep hearing people saying it, but really, what does it take for the remaining 35 percent to recognize that their leaders have lost it, completely?

if this were another country, well except canada...and britain...well, and maybe a couple of other countries...people would already have taken up arms and removed these jokers. but no, 'two more years', they say. 'then we'll show'em. we'll vote democrat, ha! and then we'll see sensible leadership.' and the rest of the world (except for canada...and britain) will shake their heads and begin plotting the overthrow of the empire.

Posted by: pointdexterhaslefthebuilding at June 11, 2006 11:23 PM

it's interesting that Paul V should mention Gandhi, because I was going to post about this at HZ and discuss how ruthlessly Gandhi attacked his assassin's gun with his body and robe, forcing the gun to use the only defence it had, a bullet.

Then, being the pedantic sort that I often am, I looked up the wiki info about Gandhi's assassin and found out that he was pissed, ironically, at Gandhi because ole Mohandas had
gone on a hunger strike
to pressure the Indian gov't to live up to their part of the India/Pakistan partition bargain(a large payment to Pak.).

But you beat me to it, you rascally Schwarz. You have no regard for satirical ideas that might be floating around in my noggin, even patently obvious ones.

Posted by: Jonathan Versen at June 12, 2006 12:05 AM

I have heard some asinine asymmetric remarks in my time but this is a bit much. And these remarks come from people who are in charge of things. Of course look who the ultimate person in charge is. To think that these are the people that are representing us to the rest of the world makes me sick to my core.

Regarding all of this including the Haditha murder spree one could say we are all responsible for this. All of this is a direct result of whom we vote into office and that makes us all guilty. People think elections are a joke. They stay home on election night and whine about how they don't like the candidates because they are not liberal or moderate or conservative enough. Well here you go, to all those that don't vote, here is your stinking little war, your stinking little prez, your stinking little torture chamber, and your dead children, and your stinking supreme court. Next time there is an election go vote, it might take you all of ten minutes.

Posted by: rob payne at June 12, 2006 12:54 AM

The reasons people don't vote run to lot more sensible than that caricature and are you forgetting just how badly fucked the voting process is? Try waiting in bad weather for hours only to be told the polls are closed. Try voting on a Diebold machine. Try to convince yourself that the other pro-war candidate offers a better deal and motivate yourself with that. The assumption of collective guilt is fine if you're referring to people who voted for one of the pro-war candidates. May they feel free to learn from their stupidity. It's insufferable sanctimony in reference to people who tried for something better, were fucked out of their vote or failed to see the charms of a better managed war, a better managed security state and neoliberalism sold by better wonks.

Posted by: J. Alva Scruggs at June 12, 2006 01:16 AM

Yes I understand that voting conditions are not the same everywhere but I think many of the things you mention would have much less impact if everyone voted. There is also the absentee ballot which anyone can use. Yes there is voter fraud but that is all the more reason why more people should vote. Take a look at the supreme court who put Bush in office, there is one reason why people should vote if for no other reason, the supreme court affects us all. Bush just squeaked by on both occasions simply because people did not vote, and that is what allowed the voter fraud to work, it can only really work in close elections. Democrats are notorious for not voting because they are either lazy or whine about their candidates and it is why we keep losing. It is our government whether we like it or not and having a democracy means everyone needs to be involved at some level. The only thing that is sanctimonious is blaming the marines because the fact remains we put them there because it is our government and our responsibility. I could say because I live in California my vote does not count because elections are won or lost before Californians even get a chance to vote but that would just be another excuse and it won’t wash.

Posted by: rob payne at June 12, 2006 02:25 AM

'I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.'

yep, what nerve --- now they're killing themselves at US.

Posted by: rimone at June 12, 2006 05:02 AM

it should be as difficult for a prisoner to commit
suicide as it is for a prisoner to murder a guard - in theory, as it should be in practice,
there is total control of the incarcerated - that
minimum standards for a psychiatric hospital are not followed at Gitmo is shown by previous suicide
attempts in which prisoners were able to accumulate psychoactive meds and then swallow a
bunch in their cells - in a psych hospital there
is a careful check of the oral cavity after
supervised dispensing of the meds - breathtaking
incompetence leads to breathtaking suicides

Posted by: Lieutenant Breakfast at June 12, 2006 08:33 AM

J. Alva,

I have to agree with Rob on this one.

Another point: why aren't Americans taking to the streets in the hundreds of thousands, peacefully shutting down American "business as usual"? Not only in support of immigrant rights but against this immoral and horrific war in Iraq? Not to mention, against Bush's threats to drop NUCLEAR bombs in Iran?! Americans ARE responsible. Your taxes make this war possible, as does your continuation of business as usual in the face of the atrocities. Given the allegations of voter fraud, the need for non-violent protest is even more apparent to force Bush and his cabal from power.

Posted by: brynn at June 12, 2006 09:43 AM

what? and give up their (rather low-paying, no-benefit-having) jobs?


Posted by: almostinfamous at June 12, 2006 10:13 AM

Lietenant Breakfast,

There is only one thing I can think of that could happen to me personally that would be more terrifying than being imprisoned by crazy freedom-loving sadists, for no reason, and with no end in sight. That would be to have my right and ability to commit suicide taken away.

Posted by: Realrealgone at June 12, 2006 11:04 AM

Brynn, Rob,

What gives democratic governance its mojo, it's legitimacy, is the consent of the governed, yes? With that legitimacy the people in whom it is vested are given power. It's as strong a fiction as you can get, but it still a fiction. It's renewed on a biennial basis, which is the least important part of it. The consent endures throughout the years in between. People talk of protests, but they're back to work the next day, if possible. People talk of voting, but they strike poor bargains with the people in whom their bit of legitimacy is vested.

The power to withold and refuse is easier to wield. The fatuous Nancy Reagan showed the way: just say no. The people could stop most of the abuses any time they wanted. Stay home. Send your congressman the canceled check for your contribution to Amnesty Int'l or any other worthy cause. Tell them you'll be campaigning to make them lose even if Satan, or Stan as I call him, is running against them. Best of all, the logistics for that are simple. You don't have to get your pepper spray remedy kit ready, listen to droning self-promoters or pace the perimeter of a free speech cage.

Posted by: J. Alva Scruggs at June 12, 2006 12:17 PM

J. Alva,

Opting out, staying home en masse is a form of non-violent protest, I agree. If enough Americans did it, Bush's government would have to pay attention. The same with income tax protest.

Unfortunately, not enough Americans are doing any form of protest. Many are complaining about the government and the war, but they're continuing day-to-day with their jobs and their lives, in essence supporting the powers that have invaded Iraq and may very well drop nuclear bombs on Iran.

While prisoners are tortured in Gitmo, rendered to and tortured in repressive prisons around the world, and murdered in Iraq and Afghanistan, the vast majority of Americans do nothing. And I used to wonder how the Nazis were able to murder Jews, gypsies, gays and political dissenters. The scale of murder is vastly different, but otherwise, citizens' fear, apathy and collective guilt seems pretty similar.

Posted by: brynn at June 12, 2006 01:50 PM

I have nothing of value to add to this except to say it was a great relief to see you and others had the same strong reaction to this spin. When I saw this comment on the front page of my local paper I couldn't believe it.

It really is all about keeping the base happy now for the right wingers. As long as they can keep the Rush Limbaugh-Ann Coulter-Sean Hannity et al crowd from wavering, they don't even care about the other 70% of us, and how many spittakes we do with our morning coffee. Look how long it has taken for Ann Coulter to FINALLY face some real heat for the kind of crap she has been spewing for years!

Posted by: Whistler Blue at June 12, 2006 02:35 PM

The donations breakdown is interesting.

What worries me about a "couch potato" resistance is that it implies Americans are unwilling to risk much (or anything) to end this war, oust Bush and wrest control of America away from its corporate masters. And I suspect that much has to be risked. Events have gone too far for the people in power to give up easily. And unless they are convinced that the MAJORITY of Americans mean business, are willing to shut down businesses by not working, are willing to clog the prison system through non-violent resistance, I worry that they would simply make examples of key organisers by busting heads, imprisoning people and throwing away the key (or worse, disappearing them) and the couch potatoes would fall back into line.

To be honest, I don't understand America anymore even though I was born and raised there and only moved away 2 years ago. I left in large part because I felt street protests with the numbers we were massing weren't enough and, being transgendered, I was afraid to take the next step and risk prison for nonviolent resistance. Since I've left, I've heard from my ex that people who used to protest, even going so far as to risk jail for nonviolent resistance, are now not even demonstrating. Apathy? Emotional exhaustion? Fear? Whatever, it means that even fewer people are taking to the streets. Meanwhile, Bush threatens to drop NUCLEAR bombs on a country that poses no military threat to the US and with whom we are not even at war.

It's unfathomable to me.

Posted by: brynn at June 12, 2006 02:47 PM

I'm glad you're somewhere safer.

Thanks, I am too.

Still, like so many expats, my focus remains stateward. Too many good people left behind, unable to do what I've done....

Posted by: brynn at June 12, 2006 03:37 PM

"an act of asymmetrical warfare," huh?

When I first heard that comment, I think I had a minor brainflip, my brain twisted a little on its stem. The breathtaking insanity of the statement made me a little dizzy for a moment or so.

Then my brain righted itself. Yet, I still do not understand how suicide = "asymmetrical warfare." Is it like some sort of Monty Python skit, "Ha! Ha! Haaaaa! You can't kill me. I just killed myself!"

See, I'd have thought asymmetrical warfare was uniquely American, what with our actual use of atomic bombs against civilians during wartime.

Posted by: blondie at June 12, 2006 03:45 PM

See, I'd have thought asymmetrical warfare was uniquely American, what with our actual use of atomic bombs against civilians during wartime.


Posted by: brynn at June 12, 2006 03:59 PM

Why am I still paying these people?

Posted by: Mike Meyer at June 12, 2006 09:02 PM

Another point: why aren't Americans taking to the streets in the hundreds of thousands, peacefully shutting down American "business as usual"? Not only in support of immigrant rights but against this immoral and horrific war in Iraq? Not to mention, against Bush's threats to drop NUCLEAR bombs in Iran?! Americans ARE responsible.

The Sept 11th attacks against the American people by Al Qaeda were universally condemned.

If there were similar attacks tomorrow by people citing revenge for Iraq as their motivation, do you think the rest of the world would consider ordinary Americans to be innocents attacked?

Posted by: Phoenician in a time of Romans at June 12, 2006 10:25 PM

If there were similar attacks tomorrow by people citing revenge for Iraq as their motivation, do you think the rest of the world would consider ordinary Americans to be innocents attacked?


I believe one can condemn terrorist attacks and sympathize with victims, such as the victims of 9/11, without seeing the attacks as exactly against "innocents". The actual victims in the World Trade Centre were definitely innocent, however, the US government most certainly was not. And while I do not in any way condone nor agree with terrorism, I do understand that people who view themselves as engaged in armed resistance against a superior military power sometimes view terrorism as their only recourse. Any person with an even rudimentary grasp of Middle Eastern history knows that the US has had a long and shameful history of setting up and supporting murderous regimes in the region, two examples being the Shah in Iran and Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Not to mention, (I believe) Israel would have been unable to subjugate the Palestinians so thoroughly during the past half-century without massive US monetary and military support.

Thus, many people in the world (including myself), though they sympathized with the victims of 9/11 and condemned the attacks, nonetheless viewed them as the latest in a progression of increasingly destructive terrorist actions against the US, none of which have been widely understood by Americans in a historical context. If there is another attack, I suspect many people worldwide will add both it and the post-9/11 US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan to the mix in an attempt to come to an historical understanding.

Posted by: brynn at June 13, 2006 05:38 AM

One was 21 yrs old. He spent his senior prom in Gitmo.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at June 14, 2006 12:30 AM
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