Thursday, August 26, 2010

America plays the Apollo Option: killing from the sky Fabius Maximus

America plays the Apollo Option: killing from the sky: Fabius Maximus

Chet Richards, on Fabius Maximus' blog, suggests that the Greek god, Apollo, who would strike from afar, serves as a metaphor for targeted assassinations by the United States against targets such as the latest al Qaeda No 3 or the democratically elected head of some government we do not like, such as Iran's Akminijad, Venezuela's Chavez, or whoever is running Hamas right now.

Political assassination has a hoary history. To use a few classical Greek illustrations, Agamemnon was slaughtered upon his return from Troy while Philip of Macedon was taken out either by his wife or by his son, Alexander. And using newfangled technology to kill one's enemies is well known. For example, Lisa Jardine, in The Awful End of Prince William the Silent: The First Assassination of a Head of State with a Handgun , describes the shockwaves that assassination by the newly invented pistol sent through the courts of Renaissance Europe. And Q always has some novel contraption for 007.

While Richard's use of Apollo as a metaphor is intriguing, I prefer Zeus, who would hurl thunderbolts at opponents from afar. The entire concept of "fire from heaven" is a more robust metaphor with fits in with not only the drone attacks that Richards describes but also with the Shock Doctrine that Naomi Kein describes. The modern American capitalist, like some neoPlatonic alchemist, brings fire down from the heavens and hurls it - be it through arcane financial instruments or through drone strikes - at its targets.

This "fire from heaven" metaphor further explains why our capitalist - warriors use drones, fighters, and other aircraft rather than agents in the 007 James Bond tradition. It also explains the curious lack of interest the United States has displayed in the 19th Century Great Game despite inviting parallels with the current situation. For to be a 007 or to play the Great Game demands social skills.

And that the United States does not have.

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