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10 June 2006

Comments

James Parrott

It might be interesting to also consider the very strong possibility that the so-called life and death of "al-Zarqawi" was as much the result of projection and myth-making as that of a real person.

The forces managing the ongoing occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan are, among other things, carefully managing the legends and myths surrounding the violence there.

The myth-making list is long -- e.g., Saddam had WMDs and was linked with an (alleged) terrorist organization called "al-Qaeda"; this (alleged) organization, "al-Qaeda", together with Iranians and other terrorists, are fomenting the insurgency in Iraq; the torture and death of detainees at Abu Ghraib is/was due to "a few bad apples" run amok; the occupation is going well; most Iraqis want foreign troops to remain in their country to "protect" them; a free and democratically elected government has been established in Iraq; the United States and Britain will withdraw all troops when the Iraqi government's military forces are able to defend their country; the use of depleted uranium weapons will not significantly impact the health of Iraqis; we are battling the "terrorists" there so we will not have to battle them on the streets of America and Britain; Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was a key terrorist leader of the insurgency in Iraq and was responsible for a gruesome toll of torture, beheadings, death and destruction; and so on, ad nauseum.

But, how much of this reflects the truth of what is happening there and how much is the result of carefully crafted and self-serving myth-making on the part of the aggressor nations, so that their soldiers, the soldiers' families, and ordinary citizens are willing to accept the carnage and destruction going on there?

I would suggest that from the vantage point of the deep, foggy cavern of denial in which too many of the citizens of the United States and their leaders presently reside, these legends and myths, including that of al-Zarqawi, say far more about ourselves than about any perceived "terrorist" Other.

So, then, how to react to the death of such a "killer" as the so-called al-Zarqawi? Perhaps we first need, individually and as a nation, a bit of honest reflection on the actual causes and agencies of hatred, aggression and violence in the world and how we contribute to those causes. An examination within the mirror of our own minds and hearts of the fear, hatred and selfishness driving our own actions, attitudes and motives, as individuals and as a nation. A recognition that much of our fear of the Terrorist Other is simply a projection out into the world of our own hatred and aggression.

When we recognize the killer (and killer's accomplice) latent in each of us, then we may begin to understand how to approach and address the killer Other.

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