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The Fanboys of Jihad

Odysseus. The real deal.
Editor's note: Recently, a friend sent me a variety of links to the growing phenomenon of "milblogs," journals written by soldiers in Iraq. Regardless of your personal politics (or theirs), these blogs make interesting reading from the frontlines. Then someone sent me this one, by a soldier stationed in Iraq who posts under the pseudonym Odysseus. I laughed ruefully. Then I contacted Odysseus and asked his permission to reprint this blog entry here.

It's sure to stir up a little controversy among our readers. And I make no stance here politically myself -- the opinions expressed here are those of Odysseus. But they made me think. I hope they make you think, too.

Thanks, Odysseus. May it not take you twenty years to get home.

I observed a rather gross generalization of the demographics of suicide bombers. They tend to be single males, young adults, who live with their families and lack sexual experience. Throw in the profuse facial hair and the fanatic devotion to a single idea and you have a group that's remarkably similar to Star Trek and Comic Book fans.

In fact, I suspect that one of the reasons that there are so few female suicide bombers is that they are promised 72 male virgins in paradise. You can imagine the shock on a female suicide bomber's face when she wakes up and discovers that she has to spend the afterlife at the San Diego Comic Con. Anyone who's been to a comic book convention knows that the ratio of one female to 72 male virgins is about right. Needless to say, it's not every woman's idea of paradise.

Still, it does make you think. Given the similarities in the demographics, is it possible that we are dealing with Islamic fanboys? Could a Star Trek con at the Baghdad Hilton defuse some of the tensions in the region? Imagine the contribution to the stability of the region that could
be made if we could get William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy onstage.

And, given that the hotel would be in the Green Zone, with its own bar, we wouldn't have to work to get the press to attend. The potential distraction and rechanneling of the energies of insurgents would be a tremendous boon to Iraqi democracy, and all it would take is a couple of photo ops with cast members, the opening of a few comic book shops and an airdrop of collectible action figures.

Imagine the progress that will be made when Jihadi fanboys begin quoting Buffy dialogue instead of the Qur'an. The day that the Green Lantern oath is translated into Arabic is the day that the insurgency begins to collapse under its own weight (and the weight of middle-aged male virgins who've been scarfing down happy meals for the collectible Star Wars figures).

Of course, feeding the different types of fantasy fandom might not diffuse tensions, but increase them by exacerbating the schisms between the different insurgent factions, but even this could work to our advantage, as Ba'athists who favor the Next Generation series would be pitted against Sunni fundamentalists who would fight to the death for the original series, although the risk of them teaming up to destroy a burgeoning Iraqi women's movement could lead to the unfortunate viewing of Voyager episodes, but no one said that war is anything but a terrible

It would be a tough fight, but the opportunity to pit local insurgents against foreign fighters should not be discounted, or to put it another way, "1,000 Quatloos on the newcomers."

If you like Odysseus' writing, more can be found here.

If you want to comment, please write Fanboy Planet at the link below, or enter the forum.

Derek McCaw

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