Clean-cut kids shooting down everyone in sight—in obedience to the Holy Koran

From today’s New York Times, further details from reporters Somini Sengupta and Keith Bradsher on how the terrorists carried out their murders. Again note the absence of the slightest negative connotation about anything the terrorists did. If the Times writes about, say, a Republican voter standing in front of his house talking to a reporter, it will insinuatingly manage to make him seem negative or unattractive in some way. But when the Times describes mass murderers murdering people for the sake of murdering them, it expresses not the slightest hint of negativity. The writing is smooth, neutral, non-judgmental. The subtext is: there’s nothing wrong with terrorism, and it’s not that bad being killed by terrorists. Just get used to it.

Amid the cleanup effort on Saturday, the brutality of the gunmen became plain, as accounts from investigators and survivors portrayed a wide trail of destruction and indiscriminate killing.

On Wednesday night, when a married couple in their 70s went to their third-floor window to see what was happening after hearing gunfire, the attackers blazed away with assault rifles, killing them both. Shards of glass still hung in the panes on Saturday.

When several attackers seized a Jewish outreach center, Nariman House, on Wednesday, neighbors mistook the initial shots for firecrackers in celebration of India’s imminent cricket victory over England. But then two attackers stepped out on a balcony of Nariman House and opened fire on passers-by in an alley nearby. They killed a 22-year-old call center worker who was the sole financial supporter of his widowed mother.

When a tailor locked up his store for the night, half a block from the Taj Hotel, a gunman spotted him and killed him instantly, said Rony Dass, a cable television installer. “We still don’t know why they did this,” he said, mourning his lifelong friend.

At the Taj, the gunmen broke in room after room and shot occupants at point-blank range. Some were shot in the back. At the Oberoi Hotel, the second luxury hotel to be attacked, one gunman chased diners up a stairwell and at one point turned around and shot dead an elderly man standing behind him.

“I think their intention was to kill as many people as possible and do as much physical damage as possible,” said P. R. S. Oberoi, chairman of the Oberoi Group, which manages the Oberoi and Trident Hotels, adjacent buildings that were both attacked.

Evidence unfolded that the gunmen had killed their victims early on in the siege and left the bodies, apparently fooling Indian security forces into thinking that they were still holding hostages….

Contrary to earlier reports, it appeared that Westerners were not the gunmen’s main targets: they killed whomever they could. By Saturday evening, 18 of the dead were confirmed as foreigners; an additional 22 foreigners were wounded, said Vilasrao Deshmukh, the chief minister of Maharashtra State, where Mumbai is located.

Rattan Keswani, the president of Trident Hotels, said he had found no basis for reports that gunmen had rounded up holders of American and British passports at the Oberoi and herded them upstairs. “Nothing seems to suggest that,” he said, noting that a range of nationalities was represented among the 22 hotel guests who died, in addition to the 10 staff members, all Indian.

Spokesmen for the F.B.I. and State Department said that they have confirmed that six Americans were among the dead.

There has never been a terrorist attack like this since modern terrorism began: men with guns just shooting whoever they can shoot. Chasing individuals up stairways to shoot them, breaking down hotel room doors to shoot the inhabitants. And, by the way, how did they break into the hotel rooms—by shooting off the locks?

What is the “message” of this attack? That terrorists don’t need bombs, that ten or twenty men with firearms can kill a couple of hundred people and disrupt a great city?

On a side point, I note this bit of Timesian PC. The Times writes:

The bodies of four other terrorist suspects were at the morgue at Sir J. J. Hospital. Officials there put their ages at between 20 and 25. All four were men.

Was anyone thinking that the terrorists were anything other than men, so that it needed to be clarified that they were?

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Adela G. writes:

You write:

Was anyone thinking that the terrorists were anything other than men, so that it needed to be clarified that they were?

Yes, as a matter of fact, I was.

I thought the terrorists were what The Grauniad refers to as “Asian youth”. Now I discover they were simply “men”, unaffiliated with and not identifiable by any ideology or cause. I guess they just had too much time on their hands, poor things.

John B. writes:

Speaking of New York Times locutions: the “cleanup effort.” I guess those guys really left a mess.

LA writes:

Perhaps there were women among the terrorists after all. A reader has just sent this from India Today:

Hospital staff say they saw women militants
Krishna Kumar

The Mumbai terrorists, it seems, were all not young men in their twenties. The city police believe women were also involved in the worst militant attack India has ever seen.

Many witnesses, including the employees of Cama Hospital, which was one of the places targeted by the terrorists, have claimed that the men were helped by women in burqas. They not only provided logistical support but also fired indiscriminately.

Following the shocking disclosure, the Mumbai Police are now probing the role of a women’s team that participated in the terror strikes. According to some employees of Cama Hospital, a burqa-clad woman had also opened fire along with two of her male colleagues on Wednesday night. Several independent witnesses have also claimed that the militants were accompanied by women. [cont.]

Julien B. writes:

You say that in the NYT article there is a “absence of the slightest negative connotation about anything the terrorists did”. I don’t know why you say that. For example, the article says that they “killed a 22-year-old call center worker who was the sole financial supporter of his widowed mother”, and describes someone who’s quoted as “mourning his lifelong friend”. These passages (and some others) are clearly indicating some very negative things about the killings, by emphasizing the individuality of the victims and their relations to other people who need them and care about them. It seems like the writer is trying to make us feel sad and maybe even angry about the murder of these innocent people. Wouldn’t you agree?

LA replies:

I get into dangerous areas where I give my subjective responses to various things. For example, in an entry the other day, I said that Linda Chavez looks “sinister” in the photo with her article at her syndication website. But then I realized that others might not see that photo as I do, so I deleted the remark.

Having said that, I feel that even the Times’ portrayal of people mourning the victims are done in such a way that this loss and sorrow feels like just another thing that is happening, part of the flow in a universe without good and evil, there was no wrong-doing here, nothing to dislike, oppose, or judge.

As you know, liberals love victimhood. The Europeans loved America when we had been hit on 9/11. But the love didn’t survive America’s doing something about it. So the key thing is not that the Times mention victims; the key thing is the absence of any negative or judgmental language about the terrorists. Again, contrast that with the Times’ ubiquitous use of subtly but viciously slanted language designed to create a feeling of dislike when the Times talks about Republicans and Christians.

In fact, you tacitly concede my point. You write:

“It seems like the writer is trying to make us feel sad and maybe even angry about the murder of these innocent people.”

Let’s grant that the writer is trying to make us sad. But even you admit that he’s only “maybe” trying to make us angry. I would remove the condition of possibility and say that he’s not trying to make us angry at all.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 30, 2008 06:15 AM | Send

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