What killing is for
Dexter Filkins, who knows more about the Middle East than most of us know about our own neighborhood, puts the on-video murders of Americans in Iraq in a context. What do these beheadings mean to the men who are carrying them out?[icopyright one button toolbar]
During the Iraq War, Al Qaeda in Iraq (A.Q.I.)—ISIS’s parent organization—used to post “greatest hits” videos of its bloodiest suicide bombings. These videos were slick productions, put together by A.Q.I.’s “media wing.” In most of them, the cameraman would drive near the target of bombing a few minutes in advance, roll down his car window, and point the camera. Then, usually, as the seconds ticked down, he’d start saying “Allahu Akbar.” The bomb would explode, bodies would fly apart, people would scream. The compilations usually contained seven or eight such shots. Al Qaeda updated them regularly: “Greatest Hits II,” “Greatest Hits III,” and so on.
What was the point of these videos? Propaganda, perhaps. But consider this: in many of the videos, the cameraman narrated the moments before the blast with palpable excitement, panting and exclaiming as the explosion neared. It’s impossible to watch without concluding that those guys were enjoying what they did—that they were getting off on it. Videotaping a mass murder is not politics; it’s pornography. …Filkins,NewYorker
And it’s man on man. I t
hink this man on man stuff happens all the time, from urban Missouri to “somewhere” in a puritanical Muslim world. Should we be talking about police action and wars in another context?