Nobody likes to be called a dummy by a dummy.

HISTORY AND SACRIFICIAL DEATH

http://www.ideologiesofwar.com/papers/rk_history.htm

<quote>
The mechanism of sacrifice lies at the heart of ideological systems
regardless of cultural context. Lives are forfeited and blood spilled-in
order to validate the ideology. Ideologies become real to the extent that
human beings fight and die in their name. Surely we imagine--if so many
people have killed and died in the name an ideology--there must be something
to it. It is difficult to imagine that all of the sound and fury signifies
nothing.

Sheikh Abdullah Azzam was an Islamic revolutionary whose thought exerted a
significant influence upon Bin Laden. His essay, "Martyrs: The Building
Blocks of Nations," articulates the relationship between ideology, slaughter
and history. "History," Azzam writes, does not write its lines "except with
blood." Glory does not build its lofty edifice "except with skulls." Honor
and respect cannot be established except on a "foundation of cripples and
corpses."

"History" happens when a group produces death and destruction in the name of
its ideology. Hitler, Stalin and Mao are remembered--not because of their
contributions to civilization--but by virtue of the vast number of people
they killed. As Azzam puts it, the "glory" of an ideology or belief system
builds upon an "edifice of skulls." The honor or respect according to an
idea or ideal its preeminence in history--grows out of a foundation of
"cripples and corpses."
</quote>

So yah, I think if we just keep killing people we'll win.
Permalink son of parnas 
April 30th, 2007 11:02am
"We return to words spoken by U. N. Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar before the first Gulf War when it became clear that Hussein would not withdraw from Kuwait—and that the Iraqi people soon would be subject to a relentless, massive assault: “I cannot imagine that someone wants war for the pleasure of killing his own people.” "

Part of the problem, as I understand it, was that the majority of Iraqi's are NOT "Saddam's People".  "Saddam's People" would be his clan, and to a lesser extent the Suni's.  The majority of Iraqi's are Shiite.

So in his war with Iran, and in invading Kuwait, and in taunting the United States, Saddam was making verbal mis-calculations which would get Shiite's killed.  Thus making the Suni's stronger.  The mis-calculation enters because Saddam didn't think the US would respond in Kuwait, or would respond with such ferocity in 2003 that he himself would lose.

I think Iran is making similar mis-calculations today.  Perhaps this 'war-monger' rhetoric comes from the Koran, I don't know.  Perhaps these statements make them "look strong" to their own people.

I don't think it's intended to put their people to "sacrificial death".  I think it's based on extremely poor miscalculations regarding what the US is willing to do.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
April 30th, 2007 11:16am
Part of the differences of shia is that they're celebrating a decisive loss ~1300 years ago. Just like the folks who put a confederate flag on their vehicle are celebrating being on the losing side of a battle. Husayn plus his 72 men were slaughtered by about 40,000 on the other side. Hmm, where have we heard that number 72 before? This is the battle where that number gained its significance.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Karbala

The defeat at Karbala of Husayn is the pivotal distinction between sunni/shia. Shiites frame the defeat as they were overwhelmingly surrounded by the forces of evil and did not surrender to the forces of evil. Psalm 23 type stuff:
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow oif death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou annoinest my head with oil; my cup runneth over."

Iran sees themselves emulating their pivotal religious figure when they stand up to evil and refuse to bow down. No threats, no logic can sway them from their path. Iran sees themselves locked into a repeat of the battle of Karbala, with America as the new Great Satan, or Yazid. If you want Iran to capitulate, you'd have to murder every last one of them, because they won't. Not now. Not ever.

I think a line from Moby Dick would set the proper tone:
"From hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee."
Permalink  
April 30th, 2007 1:08pm
My current working theory is that humans like to be plugged into something greater than themselves. Whatever this is (nation, family, science, an idea, religion, Nature, romantic love, etc), it is sacred -- it has infinite value.

To die for it, to make oneself part of the sacred ('sacri-fice') seems like a good bargain.

Economics explains everything, given the appropriate metrics.
Permalink strawberry beeswax 
April 30th, 2007 1:47pm

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