Saturday, February 2, 2008

Sharp As A Hammer

Your media has, again, been jumping the gun on a story that has all the heart-string-tugging drama of a Brittany Spears story. In this case, those rag-headed, brown-skinned, blood-drinking terrarists used mentally retarded people as suicide bombers! You could just hear the public tsk tsking across the entire nation. My reaction was, ah huh, yeah right. Show me the proof.

Right on cue, from today's papers.

It's probably not true (via Slate's roundup of today's papers):

Several officials claimed the bombers were mentally impaired; one said that the severed head of one of the bombers showed she suffered from Down syndrome. The papers are skeptical of the claim.
Now, I've never seen the head of a suicide bomber after the blast, but it would be my guess that identification is tricky at best.

I was asked if it would bother me if the story was true. My response was that, indeed, it would bother me much like it bothers me to hear of a "targeted air strike" that takes out a bunch of civilians. War is hell. To be appalled at assymetrical warfare techniques when it's all they've got against the greatest military power on earth is naive.

Added: Juan Cole on the story:
Two women set off separate suicide bombs in two markets in Baghdad on Friday, killing at least 91 persons and wounding a similar number. Contrary to what this AP squib implies, the bombings suggest neither that "al-Qaeda" is running out of men nor that it is desperate. Women were used because they would be less likely to be closely searched, in a society where gender segregation and female honor and chastity are important values. The story that the women had Downs syndrome seems unlikely to be true; you wouldn't trust a sensitive terror plot to someone without their full faculties. Rather, the bombings show that the Sunni Arab guerrillas seeking to destabilize Iraq have not been defeated and are still capable of making a big strike right under the noses of the surge troops. And that is how guerrilla war is-- large conventional forces find it difficult to curb it.

No comments: