Conspiratorial Pots and Kettles

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Another incoherent article in the Observer by Nick Cohen again this week. The man truly is hopelessly confused.

This week he manages to conflate people who see Zionist conspiracies in everything with people who believe in the conspiracy theory (for that is what it is) that al-Qaeda is a SMERSH-style international organisation with Osama Bin Laden sitting there in his cave in Northern Pakistan plotting their every move (presumably complete with white Persian sitting on his lap).

Although I must admit to not having seen Adam Curtis’ Power of Nightmares, my understanding of his thesis is not that terrorists identifying themselves as al-Qaeda don’t exist, but that there is no “organisation” called al-Qaeda as such. Indeed, that is both their strength (hard to eradicate fully) and weakness (can only ever pick away at targets without ever really damaging infrastructure in a meaningful way).

As Max Hastings puts it in today’s Guardian, this grand conspiracy theory – shared by busom buddies Nick Cohen and George Bush – has the perverse effect of equating the Palestinian struggle – people with a legitimate grievance even if groups such as Hamas go the wrong way about it – with people who are completely beyond the pale, cannot be reasoned with and who are committed to the total destruction of our way of life. In the past, international diplomacy would have been dedicated to driving a wedge between these groupings; Bush’s strategy over the last few years has been to drive them together.

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