July 31, 2006

The Weaponization of Children

THE NEW BATTLE FLAG now being waved high over the armies of Allah mustering across the world is not the banner of Muhammad, but a flag almost as ancient as the prophet, the Bloody Shirt. Among the weak in arms and courage and righteousness, the Bloody Shirt is their weapon of mass distraction; their attempt to storm the moral high ground and hold it as they wait for their reinforcements of love, peace, compassion and truce to flow in from the far corners of the world screaming "Stop this barbaric war that slaughters, for God's sake, innocent women and children!"

The cynical create and present the daily dead baby exhibit. And the fools of the world oblige them with their compassionate echoes sent out with the numbing predictability and regularity of a New York Times editorial or, worse still, a mushy screed from our high-priest of compassion, Jimmy Carter.

After all, who among us is not moved by endless images of dead babies sheathed in blood, body parts hanging by a shred of gristle, with the blank stare of eternity glazing their eyes? What "civilized" person secure in their happy world of languid summer days, mall festivals brimming with second-rate food and third rate crafts, concerts on the lawn with wine and traveling minstrels, could not want this distant tribal slaughter to stop, stop, stop this very instant?

To see the Bloody Shirt, as the Hezbollah in Lebanon drag their children from the rubble and parade them before the world, is to want all replaced with the Rainbow Flag immediately -- no matter who must suffer, no matter how many Jews must die in that distant country where, "After all the Israelis aren't so much Jewish as they are Zionist oppressors who, if they just gave up a little more, would be left in peace. I mean, look at that. Children are dying every minute there. Have you no compassion, sir? Have you, at long last, no compassion?"

Have I no compassion?

That was a fair question the first time it was posed to me, oh, several decades back. I think I had a lot of compassion back then. I must have had oodles. I must have been soaking in it. At least that's what I conclude when I read the things I wrote and remember the things I did. For awhile, every cause on Earth, every injustice from Cape Horn to Belfast called upon my bottomless well of compassion. The church burnings and bombings in the South during the Civil Rights struggle. The napalmed girl on the road in Vietnam. The carnage of apartheid. And, of course, the 50 years of ceaseless exposure of their dead by the Palestinians.

The Palestinians, and by extension their rollicking sidekicks around the Muslim world, are the masters of dead-child porn. Looking at the recent releases from this sick culture is like watching a very unfunny Monty Python clip from the Holy Grail movie where the cart is pulled through the city with the chant, "Bring out your dead!"

And the dead are brought out -- once they are determined to be photo-op worthy. The Killed-Kids of the Palestinians film series, like all standard porn films or magazines, almost never varies in its presentation. What you see is almost always dead children presented to the world on a platter like some grim roasted entree to be grabbed up and consumed by the ever-voracious cameras of the media and played in an endless looping celebration of carnage to a world hungry to note the offering and think, deep down, "Well, it is all happening far away and should stop, but at least, thank God, it's not my kid."

Of course, it is "not my kid." But only because the "brave warriors" of Islam couldn't get their hands on him or her. They would actually have much prefered it if it was your kid, but absent that they are more than happy to use some of their own. It's allowed, you see, because it is in the service of the Palestinian "cause," or of global jihad, or because Allah, the compassionate and merciful, says it is okay. Its right there in the book. You could look it up.

So, have I no compassion for this ceaseless cascade, this barrage of dead babies hurled into our mind by the masters of terror? More to the point, must I have compassion? Am I marooned forever on John Donne's continent where "any man's death diminishes me, for I am involved in all mankind?" I suppose that, since I am yet of the world, this remains true in some sense. But at the same time I am convinced that while compassion remains within me, the expression of it is currently overwhelmed and what I feel, much more than compassion, is a grinding sense of "compassion fatigue."

I feel this not so much because of the platters of dead babies being served up in Gaza and Lebanon, but rather because I know it for what it is -- the cynical attempt by a weak and cowardly cadre of killers to manipulate my compassion gland that is just as base and unrelenting as the attempts of pornographers across the internet to manipulate my lust. The main difference being that the Terrorists are getting better at their game and you don't have to swear you're 18 to see their creations. Most major media outlets around the world are only to happy to beam them into your brain 24/7.

If you aren't sure exactly who has the moral high ground in the current struggle in Lebanon, you might reflect that while it is possible to see a grown man on the Lebanese side of the struggle dangle a shredded child by an ankle for the world's cameras, you don't ever see that sort of thing at an Israeli funeral, do you?

And while you might be feeling very, very bad for the dead and dangled child, you might also ask yourself where the pictures of all the dead Hezbollah and Hamas warriors are? Don't see many of those, do you?

Or perhaps you do, if you ask yourself what sort of man could hold up a dead child by the ankle to be photographed. Or what sort of man could seek out and take the picture and make sure it got out to the ever accommodating Associated Press?

Because you do see the "brave" terrorist warriors in these pictures after all. They're the ones digging up the kids, and holding them up for the feast of the cameras. Indeed, the terrible truth that we in the West cannot confront is that, in some instances, they're the ones that are killing the kids in the first place. As we know if we are honest with ourselves at this stage, there is nothing too base and too vile for the proud "warriors" of Islam to do in the service of their anachronistic god; their banner is the Bloody Shirt, and they will never have enough blood to quench it. And any blood, as long as it is not theirs, will do.

I saw my first "waving of the Bloody Shirt" during the halcyon days of the Free Speech Movement's original college protests in Berkeley in 1964. Or maybe it was with the Vietnam Day Committee's actions a few years later. Or perhaps the People's Park riots of a year or so after that. It is not clear and it really doesn't matter. It was always, in a manner of speaking, the same shirt.

It worked like this. Some activist would get himself arrested, and in some manner get himself a whack from the cops. Then he'd get bailed out and appear before the crowd in the shirt he wore that had a few stains of blood on it. Worked like a charm and upped the donations every time.

For a long time, I thought "waving the bloody shirt" was some sort of American invention from the time of the Civil War. And in a sense it was. In a sense, when it comes to war one side or another always waves the shirt to rally the troops and exaggerate its suffering. It is one of the most effective propaganda tools there is. Works every time. If you want to cover your own barbarity, weakness, and failure as a warrior, the bloody shirt is just the thing.

As a result I was interested to discover that "The Bloody Shirt" does not after all originate with the American Civil War but with a much more ancient and Middle Eastern source, the Muslim religion:

The term 'bloody shirt' can be traced back to the aftermath of the murder of the third Caliph, Uthman in 656 CE, when a bloody shirt and some hair alleged to be from his beard were used in what is widely regarded as a cynical ploy to gain support for revenge against opponents. -- Waving the bloody shirt - Wikipedia,
Masters of propaganda, these terrorists. And from a long if not so honorable tradition.

In my work these days I see all the dead-child porn coming out of Lebanon and Gaza. In a way, I have too. I don't link a lot of it along. The Western media is doing that job for me to a fair-thee-well. I don't like to think I'm becoming used to it now, but I am.

One of the downsides of the work I do these days is that you become numb to suffering. One of the downsides for those who are manufacturing dead-child porn in the Middle East is that they know the West becomes numb to your ordinary dead-child porn after a bit. And so they do what pornographers always do when the suckers don't get that rush any longer, they make it more base than ever before. One of the iron laws of porn, be it the porn of sex or the porn of violence, is that there really is no bottom to it.

Most of the world does not, cannot, believe that -- in order to score some propaganda points with Western media and gain a small respite from Israeli arms in which to resupply -- that Hezbollah would herd a group of handicapped children and other civilians into a bombed building and then bring it down on them just for the photo-op. Some of the world is, this morning, not so sure.

At the time of this writing, nobody has taken the body parts of children harvested from some grave-site out along some nameless highway, strewn them across Israeli tank tracks, and then run over them a few times before the appointed photo-op. But it really is only a matter of time, isn't it? After all, in the Terror War children are not only the terrorists' main targets, they are their most effective weapons as well.

In the West and in Israel, which like it or not, is now the front line of the West, we think of children as our most precious commodity. Our enemies think of them as either suicide-bomb fodder or, worse still, "Coming Attractions."

Footnote from reality: When I woke up this morning, I knew that I would write the above. Not exactly how, but a general shape and feeling of the essay was in my mind. As always, I just started with the first sentence as it was given to me and went on until I reached the end. Not complicated, but just how I've learned to do it. No sooner had I published it than, the very next moment, my telephone rang and a friend in Seattle said: "Did you see that link about the guy in the Green Helmet that I just sent you?" Of course, I hadn't. But then I looked and there, in that strange sychronicity you can have with the web, was the hard proof to my vague musings. It is harder still to look at. It always is.

But here it is, just the same, from a world that never changes: "Milking It"

Posted by Vanderleun at July 31, 2006 10:09 AM | TrackBack
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.


Posted by: StephenB at July 31, 2006 8:55 PM

How long did it take for the new media to spank the liars of the press over this? Pretty quickly. Just about 15 years ago, a handful of people were exposing press biases, but for the most part, they were being ignored, and now, more of us are on to them. War speeds the invention of needed technologies, and I would include the need for intelligence, whether overt or covert. If we were to continue to believe the lies of the press, we would be doomed.

My husband, who never analyzes anything except the Super Doppler Radar can even tell when the network hacks attempt to manipulate him.

My 19 year old daughter noted the curious absence of Israeli casualties. Today we sifted through the "Milking it" article and the follow up "Who is this guy?' and she was quite alarmed by this dead child porn.

She found all the participants in this sham disgusting, and couldn't understand why the press was "in on it."

This morning, while watching the CBS morning News, I noticed how the "innocent civilians rioting in Beirut and elsewhere were all carrying Hezbo flags. Not Lebanese flags, Hezbo flags. At that point I just left the sound off and let the pictures speak for themselves.

Posted by: Jauhara al Kafirah at July 31, 2006 9:34 PM

Perhaps the "bloody shirt" tactic is necessary for a world hardened by right-wing rhetoric and bias. You're quick to pounce upon an unpopular religion, and would think twice before taking on a force such as the ADL; who can say or do anything they wish by dangling their shredded holocaust victims before the world many countless times. They, too, see the value of exhuming corpses for propaganda purposes.

A good point, this "compassion fatigue." Yes, rhetoric pounded incessantly has to have a numbing effect, and anyone who has sufficient years under their belt will have naturally succumbed under the onslaught. One loses their infantile objectivity to adult cynicism and bias very quickly, particularly in today's culture.

There is a lot of supposition as to the value of children in Muslim tradition. We have much more imagination in the exploitation of them, not even waiting until they are a corpse before 'dangling' them in commercial ventures, advertising before them in order to harvest them for future commerce, or even parading them before the media for commercial purposes. A corpse is a corpse, but a living child is a human being, with certain unalienable rights. A corpse is a non-entity with none, except in the mind of the frivolous and sentimental.

It is quite acceptable and fashionable to make claims that Muslims herd their own into buildings to be bombed, yet it is unheard of to consider that power-hungry politicians and financiers could do the same in New York in 2001. No, we are more than human in this respect! Perhaps the tactics seen in the Muslim world were learned from watching the west... it all depends on whom you listen to, it would seem.

I think there is more than a subtle hint of racism apparent here, but it's not anti-semitic, so it's okay.

Posted by: Alan at July 31, 2006 11:09 PM

I did see the EU Referendum link last night, and I heard Rush Limbaugh
discuss it today, before I read your article. I'm glad this
information is getting out there. The terrorists may be playing the
Western MSM like a bluegrass banjo, but fortunately they no longer have
a monopoly on information.

I commented on another blog a few days ago that, while the wanton
murder of civilians on the other side has been sadly commonplace in war
(in all times and cultures going back to antiquity), we are seeing
something truly new here. I cannot recall any previous instance in
history where combatants deliberately facilitate the death of civilians
on their own side just to score propaganda points.

Posted by: rickl at July 31, 2006 11:36 PM

media bias:

virtually all european newspapers except the Germans, and especially cnn are harping on the "outrage" over 16 kids supposedly killed in a building collapse that supposedly was due to an Israeli bomb. I wish some kind of forensics and israeli bomb sight video would clear this up.

every forth sentence at CNN has the answer though.
The arab world is outraged over the killings at Qana/ its a huge turning point. etc etc. repeated every two minutes or so.

Yet far more children are killed in Iraq every two days to three days , and have been dying at this rate for a month or so. killed by fellow moslems

And cartoons written for a childrens book produced riots and outrage for months, hardly a serious affair compared to children, but an episode which sets the bar for outrage.

these cartoons had been drawn by someone not islamic

What CNN has to do is to finish the sentence: the arab world is outraged over the killing of children by jews

and then there will be truth to it

I think there is a hint of anti semitism thoughout europe and the middle east, and at CNN

Posted by: falafel at August 1, 2006 1:01 AM

I don't see why murdering civilians for the sake of the photo op should be so hard to believe.
There's one single reason why I think this. It happens to be the same single reason why I don't believe that Jews and Arabs can currently share one society: That reason is the phenomenon of Honor Killing.
You are talking about a society where the brutal abuse and/or murder of women by their fathers/brothers is a condoned and practiced response for dealing "problematic" female behavior such as allowing yourself to be raped or going out in public with a male who isn't approved by your male relatives.
It is unjust that we outside the Muslim world generally ignore this problem. It is nonsensical that we ignore what this indicates about Islamic fundamentalist groups like Hezbala. We do it because we don't want to face the size of the monster we're dealing with. We want to believe that our estimation of human life is a universal value. It isn't and the writing was on the wall in the form or untold thousands of murdered women - way way way before Al Dura or Qana.

Posted by: Lauren at August 1, 2006 4:20 AM

That was gut wrenching. Thank you for posting it, though...

Posted by: Kip Watson at August 1, 2006 5:41 AM
"They, too, see the value of exhuming corpses for propaganda purposes."

Alan, we don't need to manufacture victims. Or reuse the ones we do have.

Posted by: Alan Kellogg at August 1, 2006 5:41 AM

"I think there is more than a subtle hint of racism apparent here, but it's not anti-semitic, so it's okay"

Why, Alan, should that surprise you, given that the Hezz started this war on the basis of eliminating a race?

Posted by: Buddy Larsen at August 1, 2006 7:08 AM

The intrinsic value of human life to us in the western world is boundless. After all, which of us, when looking down at our newborn son or daughter contentedly resting in a basinette with thumb in mouth, hasn't dreamed that he or she just may be a doctor, lawyer, or successful writer some day?

The other side of the equation, specifically, how a child's life is viewed in the eastern world, is perhaps best depicted by Marlon Brando's commentary of his vaccination efforts toward children in a small Vietnamese children in the movie "Apocalypse Now." Brando relayed how he & other personnel had innoculated some village children to prevent them from incurring diseases inherent in that part of the world. Upon returning to the village, they saw the arms of all the children had been cut off & were thrown in a pile for the "compassionate" American soldiers to see. Message? Keep your western mentality to yourselves.

Certainly the movie was fiction, but the rationale was all too real and is the mindset today in the muslim world. Remember the photos of about a year ago of a small Arab child dressed in customary garb, face cherubic, but barely physically able to hold the automatic rifle placed in its arms? I believe the caption read something to the effect that said child was willing to die for Allah...just like Daddy.

Sure, the last three words in the paragraph above were my interpretation, but what other inference could be made? What parent would want their child to be exposed to the concept of violence/war? Then again, I recall the "Hitler Youth." Train (a.k.a. brain-wash) 'em young & you've got an army of goons who'll do anything for you later in life.

Talking heads will not cease to expound the atrocities of war, negligent to the fact that they're feasting on a well-prepared meal of bias, propoganda and truth twisting. However, their unabashed efforts to spew forth their partisan sentiments is constued as mere verbal projectile vomiting by more informed minds.

Posted by: Jack at August 1, 2006 7:38 AM

Alan, am I to take it that you are making equal the act of advertising to Muslim children and dragging around their 'non-entity' corpses?

Posted by: Cindi at August 1, 2006 7:43 AM

Where is all the outrage of the thousands of children killed by terrorist suicide bombings evey day?

I'm sick and tired of the general media ignoring the truth because it gets in the way of them saving us from ourselves because they think know better.

They're nothing more than dispicible ratings whores.

Posted by: MarkH at August 1, 2006 9:03 AM

poor misunderstood hezbollacs!

Posted by: alanneedsahug at August 1, 2006 9:04 AM

Wonderful writing. Thanks.

Posted by: Skookumchuk at August 1, 2006 9:41 AM

"It is quite acceptable and fashionable to make claims that Muslims herd their own into buildings to be bombed, yet it is unheard of to consider that power-hungry politicians and financiers could do the same in New York in 2001."

This sentence tells you all you need to know about Alan's state of mind. Taken another sip of the Jonestown Punch, have you, Alan? Why don't you take the next step and repeat the B.S. that the "Jews" were all told not to report to work on 9/11/01? You know you want to. Just let the conspiracy-mongering juices flow. If you're going to tell lies, you might as well go all the way. Twit.

Posted by: waltj at August 1, 2006 10:01 AM

Alan is just repeating similar nonsense that I've personally heard from a 'sociology' wackademic professor. He made the assinine statement that mass advertising was equivalent to his daughter being raped (I have a young daughter the same age as his). When I challenged him on the incredible moral abusdity of this statement he quickly tried to retract the statement, not so much because he didn't actually believe it, but probably because he was too much a coward and wimp to answer my challenge.

Posted by: phil g at August 1, 2006 10:39 AM

Phil g, I was just making sure he meant to say what I thought he did before whacking his mole but good. You did it instead, though, so thanks.

So much crap from the delusional left to wade through, so little inclination.

Good post, Gerard.

Posted by: Cindi at August 1, 2006 1:30 PM

This post is platonic in its quality, Gerard.

We will look back on these words in the future to remember these terrible hours and days. It shines the light on what animates the souls of those who wish to wipe us, our memories, and those of everyone we have ever known and loved from the fabric of mankind. They will not be satisfied until the world is as if we never existed here in the West, and we are only now realizing that they will never surrender, they can only die.

It's hell to live in interesting times.

"the horror, the horror..."

Posted by: mezzrow at August 1, 2006 5:52 PM

Richard at EUReferendum.com is being attacked by "The Guardian"
he's just posted:

....And, while majoring on the "time stamps" (ignoring the other evidence), Greenslade (like others of this blog's critics) has not noticed that none of the agencies have declared that the "time stamps" are actually wrong... merely that time stamps in general could be misleading. Nor have any of the agencies volunteered their own time lines.

I must have got something right....Richard, EURef.

As soon as story broke, I commented at JOM that LSMers are rushing to name an award they can bestow immediately to establish their credibility.

The AP gave awards and cash bonuses to their people. LGF posted the leaked letter.

New Media is working to put together forensic proof. Confederate Yankee reports on the refrigerated trucks that were storing bodies in Tyre to be same trucks rushed to Qana. Problem is Red Cross could not confirm the burial of the Tyre bodies in Tyre. One of the trucks contained 27. Red Cross released count of bodies from Qana as 28.

May guests on network shows and CNN & MSNBC in live broadcasts surprise their hosts by getting some of these facts out.

There may even be some semi-Alans that will learn some truths about who and what the enemy is.

Posted by: larwyn at August 2, 2006 7:13 AM

I wish I could see this piece on the op-ed pages of the WSJ and the WaPo, or, for that matter, ANY newspaper.

Brilliant, Gerard.

Posted by: Buck at August 2, 2006 8:58 AM

The obvious retort is "We wouldn't be waving the dead children if you didn't kill them!".

You have to respond to this even before somebody says it. Waving the bloody shirt works. It works well. It will continue to work. It can be countered, but not eliminated. You can't claim the kids aren't dead. Once the kids are dead, using them for propaganda is only rational, from a certain point of view.

The counter to the bloody shirt is to enumerate the facts, be very careful with your missiles and bombs, wave your own bloody shirts, show the video of the missiles coming out of the shelter. Every time you do that you give away a little of your own intelligence capabilities. That's part of the game they play with us.

Posted by: Warren at August 4, 2006 7:14 AM

As usual, any deviation from the realm of the politically expedient and correct draws the typical response from the masses so easily swayed by rhetoric designed to placate and confuse.

Socialist programmers require a public that is gullible, and there are many instances throughout history where this has been a factor in the establishment of totalitarian governments and regimes. Looks like I've hit on a few here, although there might be one or two that are actually open to another viewpoint, and not of the pin-headed ultra-right. Dictators prefer their cannon fodder to be at least a half-bubble off plumb.

To the idiots, I say; your reward is coming. To those who actually have a will and mind of their own, my sympathy -- you still have the idiots with you... and they outnumber us.

Posted by: Alan at August 5, 2006 3:59 PM

So... 9/11 was the photo op of champions?

LOL you guys are so utterly removed from reality that one almost feels sorry for you.

On the other hand, the evils that are spawned throughout the world from the ignorance of the american right are so horrendous, that compassion is not really the first thing that leaps to mind when reading your venomous drivel.

Posted by: Kald at August 5, 2006 4:31 PM