Hit & Run

Amis on 9/11


Over at the London Times, Martin Amis, son of Lucky Jim author Kingsley, offers a discursive take on 9/11, religion and Islamism, with a brief digression on the American penchant for abbreviation. Sample:

The rolling creed we call Islamism is also an embrace of illusion, as indeed is religion itself – a massive and multiform rearguard action, so to speak, against the fact of human mortality. Our own performance, in what we may limply but accurately call the struggle against those who use terror, has also shown signs of mass somnambulism and self-hypnosis. This is true at the executive level, insofar as the Iraq misadventure (and much else) is a corollary of the neoconservative "dogma"; and it is true on the level of individual response. Six years later, we are all still learning how to think and feel about September 11.

Amis, an old hand at The New Statesman, holds no brief for the Iraq War, despite his close friendship with Christopher Hitchens, but neither does he have patience for those blinded by "moral equivalence":

The answer I gave was, I thought, almost tediously centrist. I said that the West should have spent the past five years in the construction of a democratic and pluralistic model in Afghanistan, while in the meantime merely containing Iraq… At this point I started looking from face to face in the audience, and what I saw were the gapes and frowns, not of disagreement, but of disbelief. Then a young woman spoke up, in a voice near-tearful with passionate self-righteousness, saying that it was the Americans who had armed the Islamists in Afghanistan, and that therefore the US, in its response to September 11, "should be dropping bombs on themselves"! I had time to imagine the F16s yowling in over Chicago, and the USS Abraham Lincoln pumping shells the size of Volkswagens into downtown Miami – in bold atonement for the World Trade Center, for the Pentagon, for United 93, United 175, American 11, and American 77. But then my thoughts were scattered by the sound of unanimous applause.

Whole piece.