I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Farce of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

A farce is a comedy written for the stage, or a film, which aims to entertain the audience by means of unlikely and extravagant - yet often possible - situations, disguise and mistaken identity, verbal humour of varying degrees of sophistication, which may include puns and sexual innuendo, and a fast-paced plot whose speed usually increases even further towards the end of the play, often involving an elaborate chase scene. Broad physical humour, and deliberate absurdity or nonsense, are also commonly employed in farce.
So Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has confessed to nearly every crime committed since he was able to walk and even some that weren't. Of course this confession and news dump occurred at a time when it might take some of the heat of Gonzo and the farce that is the DOJ but one farce was simply replaced with another. Now I would imagine that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was crazy to begin with but after several years of custody by the CIA and the military I would imagine he is really bat shit crazy and his "confession" would seem to point in that direction. But he is in a sense crazy like a fox as he made his confession to crimes he may have actually committed rather meaningless. I think Noah Shachtman at the Danger Room has the right take on it.
Towards the end of The Wire's first season, Ronald "Wee-Bey" Price -- soldier to Baltimore drug lord Avon Barksdale -- gets nailed for a murder. He knows he's headed to jail for a long, long time. So he confesses to crime after crime after crime, in order to protect the rest of the Barksdale crew from homicide raps.
The police know the confessions are all wrong; Wee-Bey screws up some of the cases' key facts. But there's nothing they can do; they've "solved" a slew of murders, all at once.

Wee-Bey came to mind, as I read about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's confession to the 9/11 attacks and to "more than 30 other terror attacks or plots." Like Wee-Bey, "KSM" is clearly a bad, bad dude. A murderer. Worse: a serial killer.

But was he personally responsible for everything from "attempting to destroy an American oil company in Sumatra owned by...Henry Kissinger" to to "launching a Russian surface-to-air missile at an El Al airliner leaving Mombasa" to masterminding "an assassination attempt on President Clinton in the Philippines in 1994 or 1995?" And he personally beheaded Daniel Pearl, too?

Sorry, that feels just a little too pat, a little too tidy. It could be that KSM is, as the 9/11 Commission noted, someone who sees himself as "the self-cast star -- the super terrorist" in "a spectacle of destruction." But to me, it sounds like a man taking on as many bodies as he can, so the rest of his group can go free.
Or maybe he's just doing it because after four years of torture he's just bat shit crazy. In any event it's a farce!

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