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The War Nerd October 17, 2002
 
The War-Se, The Better
By Gary Brecher Browse author Email
 
Page 2 of 2
 
The bombing itself was a classic technique: two bombs, a small one to scare the crowd, get it running -- then a big, lethal one to blast them as they're trying to funnel through the street to get away. It's an old, old trick. The Palestinians did it to some Israeli soldiers a couple of years ago: they set off a small bomb in a roadside diner full of soldiers. Everybody ran outside, where the second suicide bomber was waiting. He pulled his string and killed a dozen soldiers, along with himself.

And that's a big deathtoll for a homemade bomb -- a dozen people. People are hard to kill, much harder than the movies show. To kill 200 people, like they're saying this Bali bomb did, is pretty unusual. You need a big crowd in a small space. And you need people who don't suspect they're targets. Nobody in Bali was worried. The Balinese aren't mean little Islamic assholes like the Javanese. They're Hindus -- easygoing people, everybody's favorite Indonesians. (A hundred bucks says the people who did this bombing weren't Balinese.)

There are plenty of terrorist groups around the world who could kill 200 people at a shot if they wanted to. Imagine what kind of terrorism the Viet Cong could've brought to the US during the Vietnam War -- if they'd wanted to. They could've laid America to waste. But they were too disciplined, too cool for that. They realized no Americans wanted Vietnam, and they knew that America would see that too, sooner or later. The last thing they wanted to do was make Americans stubborn by attacking them on their home ground. So they never touched the US.

Most groups, even the ones that talk rough, don't try to kill big civilian numbers. Take the European terrorists, like the ETA or IRA. They try to pick off cops or soldiers, but they don't do stuff like planting big bombs in subways at rush hour. In fact, they try to avoid casualties in their big blasts. The IRA blew up Central London TWICE in the early 90s -- and the total death toll was three. They didn't want to kill people, so they phoned in dozens of warnings before the bombs went off. The idea was to cost the British a lot of money, not make them angry by killing Londoners. And it worked; Blair came in, basically said, "Fuck this," and got the British out. If they'd killed 200 Londoners, the Brits would never have left Belfast.

But bin Laden and his people are so totally alienated from the early 21st-c. world that they want to bring it all down. The more dead the better. The worse the better.

And if you want a place where there's room to kill big, Indonesia is it: pure chaos. Nobody knows who goes where. The government just wants to keep taking its cut from people-smuggling, drug-running, rainforest-clearcutting, Exxon gas fields and any other sleaze it can sniff out. It's always used the Javanese Muslims as its silent majority, ever since the generals sent the gullible Muslims to run amok against the KPI, the local Commies in 1965.

That was the first time people in the first world saw what Muslim rage was like. The Javanese killed 500,000 Leftists in a few weeks. They did it the hard way, with machetes, knives, anything they had. The CIA was delighted. They had a new toy: the Muslim mob. They encouraged it, taught it to hate the Communists, used it and funded it all over the world. They even provided lists of people to kill.

And then they acted surprised when the Communists vanished and the Muslim mob remained, a way scarier threat than the Leftists ever were. The Indonesian generals thought they could use the Islamists; the Saudi princes thought they could; the CIA thought it could. They all knew that religion was dying out, and the Islamists would calm down sooner or later.

Wrong. Once you wake a power like that, it owns you. The Javanese own Megawati or anybody else who takes power. Nobody there will ever make the mullahs angry by arresting the guys who did this. Indonesia is the largest Muslim nation on earth, and it's now on the verge of getting seriously radicalized whether it wants to or not. We are gonna be livin' in some interesting times.

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Gary Brecher
Browse author
Email Gary at war_nerd@exile.ru, but, more importantly, buy his book.
 
 
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