Monday, June 05, 2006
  Cudjo, Jihad, Murawiec

At one time my friend Larry owned a big unruly Australian Shepherd named Cudjo. Every time I visited Larry and his family, Cudjo tried to hump my leg. And every time he tried I pushed him away quickly, which took considerable force. After several months of this, I finally decided to let Cudjo finish off, just because nothing else had worked. When Cudjo made it past the first few seconds without resistance, he grinned as dogs will do; but after he finished he gave me the most remarkably complex look.

His face said "Hmph. That wasn't nearly as interesting as I thought it would be."

Sure enough, Cudjo ignored me after that.

Laurent Murawiec at Hudson Institute has written an interesting paper on Jihad, essentially proposing the Cudjo solution. Murawiec pulls a comparison to the early Christian version of Jihadis: the various sects that bloodied Europe from about 1000 to 1500 AD. These sects had the same 'pornography of blood' as Jihad: a fetish for gore and guts paralleled with a religious passion for human sacrifice.

How did the Church finally get rid of these sects? Through the Inquisition. By insuring that the would-be killers got killed before they could connect their deaths with the 'sanctifying' or orgasmic purpose.

One martyr will have followers, ten martyrs will be admired and emulated. One thousand dead martyrs who died unheralded die in vain. If Ahmadinejad and others die in vain and uselessly they will not die as martyrs but as slobs. For the ... jihadi, his death is the only thing that matters to him: take that away and nothing is left.

It does not mean, as the jurors of the Moussaoui trial were apparently led to believe, that "you cannot make a martyr out of him, since this is what he wants."

Make his death a lonely, useless, ignored death. Unextraordinary, unromantic, trivial deaths shatter the glory of the jihadi's death.


True, this is infinitely harder and nastier than just letting a dog squirt on your leg. And it's logically harder to kill a buzz connected with the future hope of self-sacrifice, because the individual (by definition) won't see afterward that it wasn't nearly as interesting as he thought. But a large enough number of examples will lead ultimately, if indirectly, to the same type of learning: Disconnect the object from the fetish. Remove the glow.

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Sidenote: Though I think Murawiec's prescription is on the mark, I have an academic quibble with his dia ...um... gnosis. He uses the term 'Gnostic' to describe both the pre-Enlightenment Christian sects and the modern Jihadists, and bases his connection on the gnostic tendency. This may be one common factor, but the 'claim of secret knowledge' isn't the underlying passion that leads to the impulse of mass slaughter. What causes genocide and world domination is instead the need for purity in body, soul, and nature.

In any case you need extra motivation and indoctrination to complete the manufacture of a suicide weapon with legs, but the common factor, the underlying explosive, is always the passion for cleanliness and purification, not the possession of certain secret knowledge.

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Irrelevant footnote, July 06: I just remembered that the dog's name was Mingo, not Cudjo. A feature on PBS last night included a conversation with some black lady named Suzanne Mingo, which flashed a dim spark in my ancient vacuum-tube memory. "Mingo! That was the damn dog's name!" So I'll add this correction to appease the gods of accuracy, but I'll leave the entry as it stands, because I like the cryptic sound of 'Cudjo, Jihad, Murawiec.'


 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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