If was bad enough when novelist and "peace activist" Kurt Vonnegut, 83, asserted in 2002 that there was too much talk about the 9/11 attacks and not enough about "the crooks on Wall Street and in big corporations." It was worse in 2003 when he wrote that the United States was hated around the world "because our corporations have been the principal deliverers and imposers of new technologies and economic schemes that have wrecked the self-respect, the cultures of men, women and children in so many other societies."
But in 2005 he truly went off the deep end. In an interview today with David Nason of the Australian, he makes the following assertions:
- Suicide bombers "know death is going to be painless, so the anticipation - it must be an amazing high."
- It is "sweet and honourable" to die for what one believes in.
- Terrorists are not motivated by twisted religious beliefs but "They are dying for their own self-respect," adding: "It's a terrible thing to deprive someone of their self-respect. It's like your culture is nothing, your race is nothing, you're nothing."
- Asked if terrorists are comparable to soldiers, Vonnegut replied: "I regard them as very brave people, yes."
- The actions of suicide bombers resemble dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
As Nason stringently puts it, "Vonnegut's comments are sharply at odds with his reputation as a peace activist and his distinguished war service. … [They] are likely to make many people wonder if old age has finally caught up with a grand old man of American letters." (November 19, 2005)