By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
The saying goes that the greatest trick the devil ever played was fooling the world that he doesn’t exist. I’ve long said that the greatest trick the state ever played was fooling the world that only its existence could keep the devil at bay. The devil in this case being a constantly evolving crop of scapegoats often labeled terrorists. Then again the Old Testament interpretation of the devil has always been the ultimate scapegoat. Lucifer’s great crime was trying to mimic god’s omnipotence with a failed coup. God cast the rebellious angel out of heaven but allowed him to continue to play god in hell because his existence served as the ultimate excuse for god’s unlimited power. My childhood priest, Father Foster, probably wouldn’t agree with this interpretation, but as a budding young anarchist, this is the way the tale sounded to me. The devil’s very existence was defined by god and god in turn needed the devil to justify his power. And this is what I see when I look at the issue of terrorism.
Terrorist attacks aren’t prevalent in peaceful nations. No one’s blowing up Lichtenstein. It’s violence that perpetuates violence. So it only seems natural to me that America, a state with an epic reputation for violence, both at home and abroad, should become a magnet for copycat killers. The United States makes over a hundred attempts to wack Fidel Castro and Lee Harvey Oswald guns down the president. The United States turns the jungles of Vietnam into a massive killing field and Charles Whitman turns the University of Texas into a free fire zone. The United States burns a compound full of women and children alive in Waco and Timothy McVeigh blows the Murray Building to smithereens. The United States hollows out a skyscraper in Serbia with hellfire missiles and our former client in the Balkans, Osama bin Laden, takes down two towers with hijacked commercial airliners. The United States wipes out an entire village in Yemen with a Navy Seal death squad and a white nationalist dressed in Navy Seal cosplay turns himself into a one man death squad and wipes out a bustling Walmart full of brown civilians.
I may be something of a wonk when it comes to mass violence, it’s a peculiar hobby that goes back to my peculiar Catholic childhood, but I take very little pride when I tell you that I could quite literally go on like this all fucking day. As Malcolm X astutely observed about the Kennedy Assassination, these are all simply tragic cases of the chickens coming home to roost.