Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Jihadist Green, Khmer Rouge and Brownshirts

Christopher Hitchens in today's Slate has some interesting observations about the comparison of Iraq to Vietnam, in a column called "Beating a Dead Parrot." Monty Python fans see where this is going and Hitchens does not disappoint. After a long evisceration of the weak reasoning behind the Iraq as Vietnam argument, he ends:

"The Vietnam/Iraq babble is, from any point of view, a busted flush. It's no good. It's a stiff. It's passed on. It has ceased to be. It's joined the choir invisible. It's turned up its toes. It's gone. It's an ex-analogy."

Before getting to the classic Python joke Hitchens drops this gem: "If today's Iraqi "insurgents" have any analogue at all in Southeast Asia it would be the Khmer Rouge." Ouch. That's so clever and damning I wish I'd thought of it myself. I mean, I saw The Killing Fields and Swimming to Cambodia. I've seen pictures like this. The indiscriminate mass killings, the totalitarian hatred of the modern world, the hysterical xenophobia, the worship of death - these are the threads that unite the jihadists and the Khmer Rouge. Bin Laden and Zarqawi are the children, the mutated, morally stillborn spawn, of Pol Pot (who was himself the odious clone of Mao, a Cambodian Mini-Me to the Chairman's Dr. Evil).

But children, even parasitic monsters, need two parents. Hitchens reminds us that "the Iraqi Baathists" and "jihadists" "are descended from those who angrily took the other side in the war against the Axis, and who opposed elections on principle." (For example, it's been well-documented that Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and an ideological ancestor of today's jihadists, was a Nazi supporter who spent World War II working for the Reich in Germany.)

Whether they wave the Green flag of jihad or the Red flag of Communism, they are all just shades of Brownshirts. Me, I'm currently into purple and orange.
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