Anders Breivik, the mad Norwegian, fancies himself a soldier. Like his nation and ours, he chose to engage in an armed attack against innocent people for no other reason than to make some sort of point. We can’t say yet whether Breivik was making the same point as Norway and the USA are making in Asia and Africa, but there’s little doubt that lethal aggression by nations cheapens life and inspires would-be warriors like him to follow their governors’ lead.
In the first hours of the violence, when we were certain that the killer was dark-skinned, we could rest assured that the bloodshed was politically motivated, but now that we know he’s white and claims to be a Christian, his motives are more difficult to pin down. We understand that when Christians kill people, it’s for humanitarian reasons, and so his actions create a bit of cognitive dissonance. We’d like to think he went berserk.
We claim to be shocked by what Breivik did, but we’re not shocked when our president evaporates a Pakistani family with a missile launched from a remote-controlled aircraft. The destruction of innocent people in Pakistan might also create some cognitive dissonance if we Americans thought about it, and so we don’t.
The embedded mass media don’t seem disposed to apologize for reporting, almost universally, that the mayhem was caused by “radical Islam.” They probably don’t want to acknowledge that the Judeo- Christian ethic they subscribe to might be defective in some way. Christians and Jews in the homeland–God bless it!–seem to have a taste for violent entertainment, violent athletics and violent politics. This presents a challenge for anyone trying to understand their moral code, which also tolerates greed, hatred and vengeance. Maybe the problem with Islam is that it’s an improvement on its ancient predecessors.
Obama offered his sympathy, but the armies he commands belie his sincerity, furnishing role models and a manual of brutality guys like Breivik can embrace enthusiastically. Lining up behind our boys and girls in Afghanistan and Iraq, the blue-eyed rifleman thinks he was doing the world a favor.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the terrorists would focus on the guilty for a change? Start with the leadership of the US government and a few of their sponsors in finance and the arms trade and maybe work their way down to the British, French and Italian jet set. Justice won’t be catching up with these people any time soon, and, if they were to get what they deserve, they’d be riding tumbrels to the guillotine. If they’re allowed to continue in power, then we, like the hapless Norwegian campers, will be the ones that pay for their atrocities. What goes around comes around.