More Norman Wisdom than Osama Bin Laden

Nigerian truck bomb, 21 April 2007

They had an election in Nigeria. While they were getting ready to vote someone tried to blow up the Electoral Commission with a truck bomb. Truck bombs are pretty common these days. In Iraq and Afghanistan and a dozen other countries a truckload of flammable gas is a 100% effective, 100% lethal weapon.

Truck bombs are the insurgent’s weapon of choice now because – conveniently – there’s always a nutcase ready to get behind the wheel, a man who’s decided he’s happy to die for his meaningless cause, a martyr who’ll guide the thing all the way to its intended target.

The Nigerian truck bomb failed – let’s be honest – because a bunch of blokes shoved it down a hill before running away as fast as they could. Their potentially lethal, election-derailing truck bomb crashed into a telegraph pole, causing a small fire which was quickly extinguished.

These blokes just didn’t have a suicidal bone in their bodies. They jammed the biggest rock they could find onto the truck’s accelerator and hoped for the best. “Suicide mission? You never told me it was a suicide mission! Let’s just push it down the hill and bugger off…” In this fevered time of perfect, unimpeachable, hermetic fanaticism, this kind of 100% ineffective, Norman Wisdom-style insurgent action is almost comic relief. If only they were all like that.