Thursday, December 3, 2009
The recent suicide bombing in Somalia's capital was quickly condemned by the West with the phrase "cowardly attack". This is a phrase that has been used time and again when it comes to suicide bombings, in Iraq and Afghanistan for example, and one I find rather confusing.
I'm a pacifist and coward. But it seems to me that while blowing yourself up could be described as many things, cowardly isn't a good label for it. Stupid? Sure. Deranged? Yup. Depraved? Despicable? Deluded? Mind-bogglingly crazy? All of those. But cowardly?
If I was going to describe any form of attack as cowardly I'd go with piloting drone attack aircraft from the safely of a country hundreds of miles away. That seems cowardly.
It's so removed from the actuality of combat. Sipping a Coke and eating a Big Mac in air-conditioned comfort, the game on a widescreen TV in the background, and Johnson telling that story about the time he met Madonna, while blowing up some 'bad guy', and anyone in the vicinity, half a world away. How is that noble and heroic?
Sensible? Safe? Clever? Maybe. But also cowardly.