Mr. Fox seems to have been a brave and decent and well-meaning man. But I'm afraid his belief that the presence of Christian pacifists in Iraq could help bring peace to that country was tragically mistaken. And the CPT-- which came to Iraq in October 2002 to oppose the invasion-- has seemed much more concerned about preventing America's use of force than in stopping the vastly more brutal violence of the Saddam Hussein regime and the post-invasion "resistance."And then this commment by Oscar (firstname.lastname@example.org),
I hope the three remaining CPT hostages can somehow be spared, though it's hard to be optimistic.
I also hope that those who signed this rather pathetic letter can bring themselves to acknowledge that those responsible for Mr. Fox's brutal murder were the ones who actually committed it.
Analysis of the battle of ‘victimhood’ and ‘guilt’ needs some first principles to be established. The transference of guilt from perpetrator to the supposed ‘trigger’ for barbaric actions should be desconstructed – as far as possible away from the heat of ideology.
1. Language of ‘peace’ cannot be removed from the manifest power struggle. The ‘peace activists’ (sincere though they may be) are engaging in a specific battle that has clearly identified the American (and Israeli) state as the cause of war and therefore the obstacle to peace. They persistently excuse overtly barbaric actions such as suicide bombings, targeted assassinations, sadistic kidnappings under the rubric ‘resistance to occupation’ that they ultimately assert is the responsibility of the ‘causus belli’ (i.e. America and Israel). Like so much barbarity – its justification is made in the name of a ‘just cause’ and is often labelled ‘peace activism’. It is undoubtedly true that many state regimes (including those of America and Israel) have undertaken similarly barbaric acts in the name of justice and peace. However, in the current international context states are scrutinized and liable to a rule of law that we all know cannot be applied to ‘the resistance’.
2. The psychological and emotional attractions of using ideology to legitimise barbarity should be examined. There is a difference – a gaping hole indeed – between the stated ideologies under which people perpetrate atrocities and what their complex motivation might actually be. In other words every sicko, psychopath and sadist will be attracted to joining a cause that enables sick behaviour, legitimised under the name of ‘peace and justice’ with guilt being transferred to ‘the enemy’. This gap is seriously unacknowledged in the current debate. A return to such old favourites, popular in the sixties – now generally disregarded and trashed – as Wilhelm Reich’s The Mass Psychology of Fascism and the Invasion of Compulsory Sex Morality are worth resurrecting. OK a lot of it might seem dated in our context – but these texts are a very good springboard for creative revision. Reich was highly perceptive in his early and total rejection of fascism and communism in the late 1920s/early 1930s – and his definition of ‘emotional plague’ is as valid today as it was then.
Come on people – do climb out of your ideological trenches and bring some serious, in depth, imaginative thinking to this debate.