March 22, 2004

The Yassin Hit

Well, there I was, logging on to last night, and I saw that Ahmed Yassin (widely recognized as Sarumon) was targeted and killed by an Israeli missile strike. Yassin, who had gained quite a following as the religious leader of Hamas and was known for passionate speeches advocating suicide bombings by women and children in an effort to further the Palestinian fight to bring an end to the nation of Israel.

I really don't know what to think about the strike. Given the whirlwind pace of the cycle of violence in the Middle East, it's pretty easy to see that Israel had best be bracing for incredible retaliation. I mean, 200,000 Palestinians taking to the streets in mourning and rage pretty much ensures somebody, somewhere, is going to detonate. Despite all that, I can completely understand why Israel went after the despicable figure.

It's weird. There was a time, actually not that long ago, when suicide bombings on buses and in crowded marketplaces were viewed with a jaw-dropping jolt of horror. Now I read about "dozens" of people volunteering for suicide bombings and I think, "yeah, I can pretty much see that coming." Boom. More dead. More anger. More retaliation.

And then I read that Hamas retaliatory attacks won't be limited to Israeli targets. No, now the U.S. will be further tartgeted as well. And, once again, I'm left shrugging my shoulders in resignation, thinking "yeah, well, I guess that's just to be expected. Whatever."

I wasn't sure why I had such a resigned indifference to all of this. . . until this morning. It dawned on me that the Yassin hit is a microcosmic dress rehearsal for what we can expect when a missile finally does fly up the butthole of one Osama bin Laden. You think the death of Yassin is big news? Wait till bin Laden is atomized when a well-aimed missile just happens to fly into his cave resort.

None of this is to say that we shouldn't be going after Osama. We should obviously be going after him and all terrorists with everything at our disposal. But, we shouldn't for one second believe that the death or capture of bin Laden will inhibit future attacks. The long term effect of disposing of bin Laden will be a gradual de-mythification of the man and a loss of inspiration to those within al Queda and other terrorists orgazation . The immediate effect, however, will be outrage and resolve to carry out attack after attack after attack.

All we have to do is watch how the Yassin hit plays out over the next few weeks to gauge how the proven death of bin Laden will be played out to a much larger global degree sometime in the future. This should be both horrifying, yet instructive, to watch.

UPDATE: Why, yes, I did have "The Sistani Hit" as my header up there for awhile. I'm not sure why that happened. What would Freud have said? Best not to ask, I suppose.

UPDATE, THE SEQUAL: Please take the time to read Lileks today, too, because he has a picture I think you should see, and his reaction to it. I could only say "Ick." Lileks said much more, and far better.

Posted by Ryan at March 22, 2004 11:57 AM
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