2014 January 18 Saturday
Elites React To Kabul Jihadi Attacks On International Workers

A Lebanese restaurant in Kabul was attacked by a suicide bomber (I think outside) and then gun men. Lots of NGO and UN workers died. A United Nations press release: "Four UN personnel among those killed in Afghan suicide bombing"

18 January 2014 – Top United Nations officials and the Security Council have strongly condemned a suicide attack at a restaurant in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Friday evening that killed 21 people, including four UN staff members, and injured many more.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described as “horrific” the attack against the Lebanese restaurant, for which the Taliban has reportedly claimed responsibility.

“Such targeted attacks against civilians are completely unacceptable and are in flagrant breach of international humanitarian law. They must stop immediately,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement.

Thanks for that information. Did you know that targeted attacks by hard core tribal Muslims against civilians are completely unacceptable? I'm picturing Taliban celebrating the suicide bombing and the 2 gunners who killed the people in the Lebanese restaurant. Then someone pulls up the UN press release and reads it aloud. The immediate reaction: "Really? We had no idea. Whoops. Well, you should have told us in advance. Aw shucks, now look at our red embarrassed faces. We really thought this sort of thing was cricket. No? Sorry about that. Our bad."

Plus, what they did was a breach of international law! That's serious. But what about attacking root causes? This is just a sign of lack of education. Why doesn't the UN hold international law classes for the Pashtun tribal leaders? Maybe set up an international law school in Kabul free for all holy warriors. Think that would work?

Oh my bad. Of course not. The problem starts early. The tribes fall behind at an early stage. You know the solution: Early childhood education. We need UN international law preschools in all the tribal areas so that tribal kids won't fall behind before kindergarten, never able to ever catch up. Bad environments. Parents probably don't use big legal words in the household when the kids are 3 and 4 years old. I think the spokesperson and Ban Ki-moon should check their privilege at the door and accept that they are to blame for these bombings. Not enough UNESCO early childhood education.

Can these killings stop? The Sec-Gen's spokesperson said they must stop immediately. Huffing and puffing that isn't even enough to knock down a straw house.

But wait, there is more.

Basra Hassan and Nasrin Jamal worked with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Afghanistan. “The depth of our shock and sorrow at receiving this news – and the magnitude of our outrage over this senseless violence – is difficult to measure,” the agency said in a statement.

It helps to have recourse to a dictionary when reading elite statement. So I look up "senseless" and find:

senseless: without discernible meaning or purpose.

Okay, privileged UN people wake up. The Taliban have a clear purpose:to get your influence and your competing values out of Afghanistan. They've got their reasons. They understand the meaning of what you believe. They see the consequences. They oppose the consequences.

In Obama's White House Jay Carney sounds as deluded as the UN spokesperson.

"There is no possible justification for this attack, which has killed innocent civilians, including Americans," White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a prepared statement. "We call again on the Taliban to put down their arms and begin peace talks, which is the surest way to end the conflict in a peaceful manner.

I'm sure the Taliban feel very justified. They do not see those UN workers as innocent. They see them as warriors fighting against the Pashtun culture and Islam. Those workers really are fighting against the culture that is trying (quite successfully) to drive them out of Afghanistan.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2014 January 18 04:36 PM 

James Bowery said at January 18, 2014 9:37 PM:

To put it in perspective the attacks on NGO and UN "civilians", think of how the pre-Protestant Italian noble courts would have reacted to their cortigiana onestas being ever-so-slightly threatened by uppity proto-Protestants. I mean, the cortigiana onestas might not think of the nobles as alpha males anymore and that my dear friends, would be the end of world as we know it.

bob sykes said at January 19, 2014 4:57 AM:

One has to wonder just how isolated and deluded our ruling elite is. Can this possibly be a stable situation? No doubt, the Taliban will reconquer their country, and really who cares? What a waste of men and treasure. But the bigger issue is, What happens here? Where will a deluded elite lead us? Is it 1914 or 1939 again? Is China's elite as deluded as ours?

Well, anyway I live outside the blast and flash radius of Columbus, so I might survive awhile.

Black Death said at January 19, 2014 6:21 AM:

I once read an article about Afghanistan just prior to the Soviet invasion. The Soviets had been sending teams into many of the rural villages. These teams built schools, clinics, water treatment facilities, etc., while informing the locals about the wonders of Marxism - atheism, equality of the sexes, and so on. The Muslim tribesman tolerated this until the Soviets opened a school and began teaching girls and boys together. The locals expressed their concern about this by killing all the Soviets. When Brezhnev heard about this, he was outraged and sent in the army. You know the rest.

Black Death said at January 19, 2014 6:21 AM:

I once read an article about Afghanistan just prior to the Soviet invasion. The Soviets had been sending teams into many of the rural villages. These teams built schools, clinics, water treatment facilities, etc., while informing the locals about the wonders of Marxism - atheism, equality of the sexes, and so on. The Muslim tribesman tolerated this until the Soviets opened a school and began teaching girls and boys together. The locals expressed their concern about this by killing all the Soviets. When Brezhnev heard about this, he was outraged and sent in the army. You know the rest.

James Bowery said at January 19, 2014 7:56 AM:

One of the reasons "Zero Dark Thirty" was so controversial was this scene depicting the actual killing of a cortigiana onesta in Afghanistan.

Bill said at January 19, 2014 8:41 AM:

What's your point, James Bowery? What do you mean by "cortigiana onesta" in this context?

James Bowery said at January 19, 2014 8:56 AM:

The entry of women into "the workplace" that we've seen since 1970 has been of an entirely different character than that seen before. These "workplaces" are more properly viewed as courts maintained by the neo-nobility. The major corporations are to the Italian city states as the miasma of NGOs and GOs are to The Church -- with a lot of exchange back and forth between them involving favoritism.

The role of women in "the workplace" is that of the courtesans, with the Ivy League (or otherwise elite) women in the role of cortigiana onestas. It is the judgement of these women as to who are the alpha males that is most influential among lower status women. In the modern era, with the relatively domesticated "alpha" males (relative to the nobility of their city state and church counterparts) the power of the cortigiana onesta is much greater.

There are few opportunities for these "alpha" males to assert their masculinity. Protecting their cortigiana onestas in the UN and NGOs from cultures that haven't yet totally castrated their males is one such opportunity.

Bill said at January 19, 2014 9:54 AM:

I can see your analogy. So is your point that the reason this is a story in the media is that it's an opportunity for these "alpha" males to assert their masculinity? Or that these "alpha" males are unable or incapable of asserting their masculinity?

James Bowery said at January 19, 2014 3:35 PM:

Well it might be in the media in any case, but I see the exceptionally silly rhetorical posturing of the domesticated "alphas" as resulting from cognitive dissonance between their domestication compared to the feral alphas that are challenging their dominance by cutting the Gordian Knot so to speak.

Randall Parker said at January 19, 2014 4:10 PM:

James Bowery, I do not buy this analogy:

The role of women in "the workplace" is that of the courtesans

I work with some brilliant and very highly productive women.

Black Death,

Afghanistan and Soviets teaching boys and girls together: I would think that just teaching the girls at all would have been enough to anger some of the tribal males. But I'd be curious to read more if you ever come across the article again.

bob sykes,

The reason I highlight this story is their implicit assumption that they've got the moral code. I am guessing they are really pretending and know perfectly well that they are in a war with a rival moral code.

Bill said at January 19, 2014 4:26 PM:


I think Bowery's analogy is spot on. The vast majority of women in the workforce are analogous to courtesans who don't do real work or do clerical, paper-pushing bureaucratic work at best, fancy titles and hours spent in important meetings notwithstanding. They are like courtesans in the workplace usually dominated by older male execs, who obviously enjoy having young women around in a servile capacity for visual and sexual reasons, as well as the fact they're not serious competition like young bucks are.

Bill said at January 19, 2014 4:29 PM:


See the picture here: http://heartiste.wordpress.com/2013/11/19/the-modern-corporate-harem/

Bill said at January 19, 2014 4:39 PM:


Most of the courtesans and cortigiana onestas are safely ensconced in places like NYC, DC, LA, etc. And the perception of the feral alphas challenging the domesticated alphas' dominance is mediated through the media, which can always suppress the perception by suppressing these stories altogether or airing footage of drone bombings and attacks.

Randall Parker said at January 19, 2014 7:20 PM:


I'm already familiar with Heartiste's post. But you are greatly exaggerating the percentage of women in the workforce who aren't doing useful work. Companies have cut way back on their secretarial pool as computer systems have slashed the need for clerical workers.

Women working as cashiers, bank tellers, waitresses, phone sales reps, customer service phone reps, and the like are doing real work. Women working as engineers are doing real work too.

Look at it another way: what percentage of the women in the workforce are in their sexual prime? It is very low. The women after "the wall" aren't getting hired to please the young bucks and the execs.

Bill said at January 19, 2014 7:51 PM:


To the extent that helping keep the machine going is "useful work", then yes, plenty of women in jobs performing functions that help keep the machine going are performing "useful work." The point is that they don't do anything that men couldn't do equally as well or better, especially with automation and technology.

I don't understand your point about their sexual prime. People have to spend 50+ years of their lives working just to survive these days. Obviously most of these years will be out their sexual primes. And there are many jobs and industries where women out of their sexual primes are phased out and they have to go looking for other jobs. Having women in the workplace in general, old and young, gives you access to the young ones in their sexual primes. Most women enter the workforce today after high school or college. It's not like they stay at home until 40 before working.

James Bowery said at January 20, 2014 2:45 PM:

Randall, we really need numbers to back up these perceptions.

Your point about competent women doing good work is a straw-man -- particularly for the cortigiana onestas who, after all are "onestas" or "honest" ones. That is to say they genuinely bring something valuable to the court other than being a mere ornament. Indeed, the point is they are good breeding stock and this is a way of demonstrating they are. This can apply to the older "onestas" as well, who provide guidance to the younger ones as to proper court etiquette as well as providing a role for the younger ones to aspire to once they are wall-splat. The lower status courtesans are generally given the boot after becoming wall-splat unless they are doing particularly unpleasant work.

The point is: equally qualified men will tend to be disfavored simply because they are not female, although it is true that -- particularly for the more desirable young but otherwise low-status courtesans, there are fluff jobs that keep them around more or less as office ornaments -- and there are a lot of those from the temp agencies who throw them to the dogs the minute they go splat.

Randall Parker said at January 20, 2014 7:28 PM:


How can women who aren't physically attractive be serving as these cortigiana onestas?


Numbers to back up these perceptions: What percentage of 20 year old women are at least a 7 on a 1-to-10 scale? What percentage of 30 year old women? 40? The math here is not hard. The vast majority of women in the workplace are not there because of looks because they can't be there because of looks.

In reality, where women dominate human resources departments, beautiful women are discriminated against in the hiring process by the women who dominate the screening process.

For men, the results were as expected. Hunks were more likely to be called for an interview if they included a photo. Ugly men were better off not including one. However, for women this was reversed. Attractive females were less likely to be offered an interview if they included a mugshot. When applying directly to a company (rather than through an agency) an attractive woman would need to send out 11 CVs on average before getting an interview; an equally qualified plain one just seven.

By contrast, good looking men have an advantage in getting hired due to their looks. Why? The HR women prefer them.

Bill said at January 20, 2014 8:07 PM:


To get access to attractive women in the workplace, you need to change the culture to get women in general into the workplace in the first place. Think about the pre-1960s Sexual Revolution period when women in general got married and stayed at home to be homemakers. In that context, you wouldn't be able to successfully promote the idea that only attractive women shouldn't get married young and stay at home to be homemakers but instead should go out and work.

Bill said at January 21, 2014 7:48 AM:

Getting back to the original post, I think that the following analogy is appropriate.

Suppose I implanted a basal skin carcinoma on your arm. When you tried to forcibly remove it, I might respond by asking to negotiate. It might be that your skin is quite congenial to having the cancer cells present, and it might spread quite nicely. Isn't it important to end conflict in a peaceful manner? You might respond with violence, trying to cut the cancer cells out with a knife, or burn them out with fire or even try to make them blow up in some way. I might express my horror that living cells could be treated in such a terrifying and non-life-affirming way, and I would accuse you of being a terrorist and a barbarian who had no respect for life.

I do think that the people of Afghanistan see western culture and values as cancerous. In the US, 40% of children grow up without the benefit of both a mother and a father, with terrible personal and social effects. In the US, we have the largest percentage of our population in prison that any other country. Our political systems serves the rich and is otherwise gridlocked (which also serves the rich). Can you blame them for wanting the US to leave? And for doing anything to make it happen?

Anyway, interesting post.

Randall Parker said at January 21, 2014 8:44 PM:


They'd want us out even if our rate of illegitimate baby births was incredibly low and we had few in prison. Deport 100 million lower class Americans and the resulting America would have great demographic numbers and still be hated by the Jihadis.

Whether they are right to want us out is not even a point I'm arguing one way or another. I'm just saying this is a conflict of values and cultures.

ErisGuy said at January 22, 2014 3:45 AM:

Apparently some people believe they don’t deserve what they get.

James Bowery said at January 25, 2014 8:39 PM:

Randall the phenomenon you're discussing does impact the lower status courtesans but a woman who has to go through an HR department for a position with an NGO or corporation is already lower status. So you're point is well-taken to this degree: The good-old "secretarial pool" as a place for office ornaments appears to be under siege by middle management women who are in deer/headlight mode with the on-rushing wall upon which they will undoubtedly go splat, most-likely to be wiped off and summarily thrown in the trash. In my experience -- at least in Silicon Valley -- they are being replaced by court eunuchs more than "hunks", since eunuchs are something the middle management women and the executives can agree are no threat. Such eunuchs can be gay but there is some preference for males that can be used for the equivalent of dominance-submission "games" since it provides that "boot stomping on a human face forever" hormonal rush. This is not to say there are no "hunks" of course -- but you don't need that many to service the middle management cougars.

Randall Parker said at January 25, 2014 8:57 PM:


In my experience the ratio of managers to administrative assistants is something like 10-to-1. The ratio of engineers to administrative assistants is much much higher.

So I do continue to not understand how to interpret what you are saying.

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