Nothing so salves the wounded conscience of American imperialism as evidence of our enemies’ irrationalities. Thus, the New York Times goes out of its way to remind us of the bizarre cogitations emanating from that perpetually unruly region known in DoD-speak as “Af-Pak.” As Obama jokes about the Predator drones that regularly kill Pakistani civilians, at least the repository of liberal opinion in the US is there to remind us that the victims probably believed weird shit.
A friend of mine pointed out that plenty of Americans believe conspiracies which are a great deal less grounded than the idea that the US conspired to paint Muslims as terrorists. About a third of Americans buy the ‘9/11 was an inside job line’ when asked about it in interviews, and large numbers believe that Obama is a secret Muslim born in Kenya.
Currently, an equally bizarre conspiracy theory is making the rounds: that the Free Gaza flotilla opened fire on the IDF. While being presented in the solemn tones of journalistic fact, the only way this scenario is plausible is if some kind of conspiracy is assumed. The Free Gaza activists, after all, were perfectly aware of the Israel’s murderous response to any resistance it encounters. The idea that they opened fire on IDF troops, with this knowledge, suggests that these activists were little more than suicide bombers, who consciously invited IDF commandos to open fire on them in order to bloody Israel’s nose. This is the narrative the IDF is currently asking us to believe, that they were the victims of a cunning conspiracy by peace activists who tricked the peace loving soldiers into shooting them. I eagerly await the Times article on the irrational fantasies of the IDF.