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Thread: NYT: 9/11 revenge for Beirutís high-rise apartment bombing & Iraq revenge for 9/11?

  1. #1

    NYT: 9/11 revenge for Beirutís high-rise apartment bombing & Iraq revenge for 9/11?

    Have not seen these specifics discussed in MSM before.
    Excerpts from NYT article "The Cycle of Revenge".



    September 8, 2011

    The Cycle of Revenge


    By SIMON CRITCHLEY

    I’ve never understood the proverbial wisdom that revenge is a dish best served cold. Some seem to like it hot. Better is the Chinese proverb, attributed to Confucius, “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” Osama bin Laden’s grave was watery, but the other still appears empty. Is it intended for us?

    Revenge is the desire to repay an injury or a wrong by inflicting harm, often the violent sort. If you hit me, I will hit you back. Furthermore, by the logic of revenge, I am right to hit you back. The initial wrong justifies the act of revenge. But does that wrong really make it right for me to hit back? Once we act out of revenge, don’t we become mired in a cycle of violence and counterviolence with no apparent end? Such is arguably our current predicament.

    Bin Laden then reveals the extraordinary fact that the idea for 9/11 originated in his visual memory of the 1982 Israeli bombardments of West Beirut’s high-rise apartment blocks. He recalls his intense reaction to seeing images of the destroyed towers there and formed the following notion: “It occurred to me to punish the oppressor in kind by destroying towers in America.” (“Missile into towers,” he might have whispered; the idea stuck.) The Sept. 11 attacks, which most of us remember as a series of visual images, repeatedly televised and published, originate with an earlier series of images. For Bin Laden, there was a strange kind of visual justice in 9/11, the retributive paying back of an image for an image, an eye for an eye.

    Opposites attract — the awful violence of 9/11 is justified by Al Qaeda as an act of revenge that in turn justifies the violence of America’s and Bush’s revenge. My point is that revenge is an inevitably destructive motive for action. When we act out of revenge, revenge is what we will receive in return. The wheel of violence and counterviolence spins without end and leads inevitably to destruction.

    This is exactly what Bin Laden hoped to bring about. He admits that Al Qaeda spent $500,000 on the 9/11 attacks, while estimating that the United States lost, at the lowest estimate, $500 billion in the event and the aftermath. He even does the math, “That makes a million American dollars for every Al Qaeda dollar, by the grace of God Almighty.” He concludes, ominously, “This shows the success of our plan to bleed America to the point of bankruptcy, with God’s will.”

    Like it or not (I don’t like it at all), Bin Laden had a point. The last 10 years of unending war on terror has also led, at least partly, to the utter financial precariousness that we see at every level of life in the United States: federal, state, city and individuals laden with debt. We are bankrupt.

    But why grant Bin Laden some sick posthumous victory? Consider an alternative scenario.

    Think back 10 years, if you will. In the days and weeks that followed 9/11 the people of New York City, Washington and indeed the entire United States were the recipients of an unquantifiable wave of empathy from across the world. The initial effect of 9/11 (I was still living in England at the time) was the confirmation in the minds of many millions of people that New York was an extraordinary place that rightly engendered huge affection, indeed love.

    Ask yourself: what if nothing had happened after 9/11? No revenge, no retribution, no failed surgical strikes on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, no poorly planned bloody fiasco in Iraq, no surges and no insurgencies to surge against; nothing.


    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com...le-of-revenge/



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  3. #2
    Great read, thanks for sharing.
    note, the article at the link has a few extra paragraphs.

    eb
    Been a long time....

  4. #3
    If it is accepted that 9/11 was revenge for Israeli/US bombing events in 1982 and 1991 with a simmering latency of 1-2 decades, there are troubling implications what this cycle of violence and revenge may hold for decades to come. Even if US public decides tomorrow that foreign interventions/wars are not worth it and decide to become a non-inteventionist "sweden" suddenly, future of this cycle of revenge also depends on other parties involved. We have no idea how many OBL's have been born as a result of 2003-present violence in Iraq/Afghanistan wars and 2006 violence from US funded Israel-Lebanon and Israel-Gaza wars. We may not know for next 1-2 decades what kind of forgiveness or revenge/violence imagery they are harboring and cultivating.
    Last edited by moderate libertarian; 09-11-2011 at 09:29 PM.



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