Hawking Up Hairballs

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Deprogramming Jihadis

So, I finally switched from dialup to DSL. That meant moving from Earthlink to AT&T. Yeah, it's a frying pan to the fire scenario, but the DSL isn't costing me any more than the dialup was. Anyway, I now have an AT&T home page, which is a Yahoo! page. I don't know, I suppose they have some kind of deal going. But there was this new item there today: "Can militant jihadis be successfully deprogrammed?" It's about this camp in Saudi Arabia, facetiously called the Betty Ford Center for terrorists. The Saudis claim to have "deprogrammed" 100 inmates with a 100% success rate. Of course, this perfect record was marred last week when a couple of guys who had been released from the place publicly returned to the jihadi movement.

A couple of things about this article made me shake my head. In the first place, there's that word "deprogrammed". In order to be deprogrammed, they must have been programmed in the first place. And who could have done the programming? Why, the evil ones with glowing eyes and beards, the sinister ones who run the jihadi organizations. The Lord only knows, but they're probably in league with Satan, because no one could choose to be a jihadi based on experience and reflection. Jihadi beliefs represent a distortion of the mind, akin to mental illness or diabolical possession. At least that's what they have you believe when they start throwing around words like "deprogrammed".

I'm not in favor of most terrorist tactics. The killing of noncombatants is neither ethical, nor particularly effective in a political sense, but I can see where desperation and a sense of powerlessness would convince one to embrace such tactics. One doesn't have to be mentally ill, in league with Satan, or brainwashed. Remember back in the Soviet era when they would put dissidents in mental hospitals. The rationale was that since the Soviet Union was a workers' state, it was the best sort of society that human effort could hope to conceive of. Thus, anyone who couldn't understand that had to be mentally ill. The same kind of logic is operating here. Just subsitute, "free market capitalism and Western democracy" for "workers' state".

As for that success rate, it only makes me laugh. What the hell do they think the inmates are going to do? Unless they want to be viciously tortured or have their heads separated from their bodies, they'll pretend to go along with the deprogramming so that they may be released. Why that shouldn't be abundantly obvious is beyond me. Of course, the whole thing may be a scam. There's a lot of support for fundamentalist Islam in Saudi Arabia, but the Saudis know they can't just release these guys without incurring the wrath of the US government, so they could be putting on this little charade as political cover.

At any rate, I'm including a link to a Time magazine piece that has a number of photos of this camp. You should find them amusing. I about fell out of my chair laughing when I saw the inmates doing "therapeutic painting".



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home