- I think when the 'wild west' metaphor is used to described the non-west, then it is hard for it not to link up, at least implicitly, with the discourse of Orientalism (I was going to throw in a wikipedia link there, but frankly I found the entry for Orientalism terribly thin). That is, it's hard (to my ears) for it not to sound as if Pakistan is filled with such unruly, uncivilised savages that the only way to proceed is the way we (civilised, rational westerners) see best. When 'wild west' is applied to the non-west, I don't think it can any longer be called simply (as TMcD does) an 'American example'.
- However, I want to make clear: my rant really was meant to focus, somewhat narrowly, on the media representation of this botched mission. I really wasn't intending to enter into the debate over whether the US is justified in sending missiles to blow up homes, when they have very good reasons to be certain that those homes are filled with terrorists. TMcD makes a good case for why that might be justified. On the other hand, when what we do instead is to kill innocent civilians (including many children) and not even get the Al Qaeda leader in the process, then our response ought to be, 'uh, oh, we really screwed up'. It shouldn't be, 'too bad we missed the bad guy, better luck next time'. It's the arrogance in the face of our mistakes, and the seeming disregard of the lives of others, AND the cooperation by the media with this arrogance and disregard, that gets my blood boiling.
20 January 2006
A Quick Follow Up
In the comments (which is where he always does his best work) tenaciousmcd makes an extremely sober (certainly in contrast to my hotheadedness), intelligent, and I think tenable case for why the US is justified in trying to blow up houses that contain top Al Qaeda operatives in areas where there really is very little order or rule of law. He also asks - again, reasonably enough - why I should get so upset about the 'Wild West' analogy, given that the wild west was populated by white europeans, i.e. there's no racism here. So, quick responses: