Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Real Goal of Violent Right-Wingers

Jonathan Schwarz at A Tiny Revolution has had a series of posts lately that make and underscore an important point. He bemoans several times never having this point taught to him, or realizing it much earlier. He's right to bemoan such, and I wholeheartedly join his bemoaning.

His point is this: terrorists (and others) attack people not for the direct result of actually doing those people harm, but rather for the less direct but more important result of increasing their (the terrorists (and others)) own power.

His first post about this theme was How To Not Get It, And Not Get It Hard (emphasis in original):
[Members of al Qaeda] don't care about destroying our freedom. In fact, they give no thought whatsoever to us. Their goal is the same as the goal of political bozos the world over: they want to have more power than their "domestic" rivals.

Think of Bush. If you could listen in on every White House conversation, you'd find his central, overriding goal is not to reorder the Middle East or seize the world's oil. It's to have more power than Democrats. They invaded Iraq because they thought it would help.

Likewise with al Qaeda. If you read the 9/11 report, you'll find the central, overriding concern for al Qaeda had nothing to do with us. Their goal was to triumph "in their struggle for preeminence among other Islamist and jihadist movements," and splashy suicide attacks seemed like the way to make that happen (p. 191).

...[bin Laden] pressed to go forward because he "thought an attack against the United States would benefit al Qaeda by attracting more suicide operatives, eliciting greatest donations, and increasing the number of sympathizers willing to provide logistical assistance" (p. 251).

Note the lack of desire to destroy our freedom. Nor was there gloating over all the Americans they were going to kill, just complete indifference. Instead, they were focused on the same crap the political bozo genus is always obsessed with: money and footsoldiers, so they could stay in power within their own societies for a few more luscious minutes.

In a follow-up post, Let's Be Sure To Do Exactly What Bin Laden Wants Us To, Schwarz quotes the 9/11 Commission Report, talking about the aftermath of the attack on the U.S.S. Cole (emphasis Schwarz's):
...Bin Ladin anticipated U.S. military retaliation. He ordered the evacuation of the al Qaeda's Kandahar airport compound and fled...

There was no American strike. In February 2001, a source reported that an individual whom he identified as the big instructor (probably a reference to bin Ladin) complained frequently that the United States had not yet attacked. According to the source, Bin Ladin wanted the United States to attack, and if it did not he would launch something bigger.

That was from the report, page 191. Schwarz continues:
I've long been amazed that the news bin Ladin really, really wanted retaliation from the U.S. has gotten so little attention—even after it appeared in the most official report imaginable...

REMEMBER: As I wrote yesterday, al Qaeda's real goal has nothing to do with "our freedom." As the 9/11 report also says, what they're trying to do is win "their struggle for preeminence among other Islamist and jihadist movements." Having a gigantic military response from the U.S. has helped them do just that.

Lastly, in a post titled I Wish I'd Gone To A School Where They Taught Us Stuff, he excerpts a passage from a new book, Guests of the Ayatollah, about the Iran hostage crisis (emphasis Schwarz's):
The young Iranians envisioned having to subdue and confine members of the American mission for perhaps a day or two, but they had no intention of holding them for any length of time... The hostage-takers' immediate goal was to put pressure on the provisional government of Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan. This interim authority had been appointed by Khomeini after the fall of the Shah to preside until a new constitution could be written. Bazargan favoured a Western-style state, but in the eyes of extremists - both Islamists and Marxists - he was watering down the revolution. They saw the provisional government's efforts to re-establish ties with the rest of the world as a sell-out.

The opportunity for radical change appeared to be slipping away. So extremists fanned fears of an American-led countercoup' the plan to seize the embassy grew out of these fears. Khomeini was not informed about the takeover in advance, and by the time it was presented to him it was a fait accompli, and hugely popular. Hundreds of thousands of gleeful Iranians celebrated in the streets around the embassy night and day, burning Carter in effigy and chanting: "Death to America!" Khomeini had little choice but to embrace the brash gerogangirha, and to officially anoint them as national heroes. Bazargan's government resigned two days after the takeover, and the revolution tilted permanently into the arms of the mullahs.

Schwarz summarizes:
There you have it: the main goal of all political actors, particularly violent right wing ones, is almost always to make themselves more powerful than their rivals in their own country. They are trying to beat their "enemies" on their own "side." However, they always always always claim they're it doing for everyone in their tribe.


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