The Washington Post’s Anne Applebaum writes a whole column today correctly observing that many Islamic extremists — including Terrorists — are well-educated, wealthy, sophisticated intellectuals — sometimes even quite Westernized — yet, to her apparent befuddlement, remain vehemently “anti-American.” Though she calls on the U.S. to fund programs to more actively promote “counter-arguments” to their animosities, there is, as usual, absolutely no discussion of why people like that would develop anger so intense towards the U.S. that it would cause them to give up their own lives to slaughter innocent civilians. It is, by definition, impossible to develop effective “counter-arguments” when one remains petrified even of acknowledging, let alone discussing and engaging, the “arguments” of the other side.
Talking about why people around the world are critical of the US unto committing violence is undoubtedly hard, but incredibly important. Without acknowledging what the arguments by those opposing the US through violent means are, it is impossible to win over hearts and minds outside the US. As long as there are still terrorist attacks being perpetrated against the US, we have an obligation to find ways to stop them. If some of this search to prevent terrorist attacks include evaluating our enemies arguments and finding ways to neutralize these arguments, then it must be done. That means engaging their critiques, recognizing where they are valid, and responding where they are not. Of course Greenwald is right that this cannot happen as long as the press or political leadership refuse to acknowledge the existence of substantive arguments against American policies abroad.
Rudy Giuliani, 1/9/10:
“What [Obama] should be doing is following the right things Bush did. One of the right things he did was treat this as a war on terror. We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We’ve had one under Obama,” Giuliani said.
Former Bush Press Secretary Dana Perino, 11/24/09:
“We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush’s term”
Clearly the GOP knows that if they repeat the same lie enough times, it will become the truth. What’s so bizarre about this selective form of amnesia is that the imminent and present threat of terrorist attacks within the United States is a driving force for the Republican raison d’etre in the early 21st century. Without 9/11, the Republican security state and war machine can’t get rolling, let alone stay rolling. Without the threat of Al Qaeda, the GOP would only be able to foster fear in the US populace with the threat of a gay man marrying your son.
What’s so depressing is that it looks like the hosts of Today let Rudy get away with as bald-faced a lie as can be told in America today. George Stephanopoulos let’s it go un-rebutted and even his blog entry on the exchange does not point out the Giuliani lied to him and to his audience. Your media, ladies and gentlemen, still not liberal.
I took this photo three years ago on September 11th. It’s of the Tribute in Light, a few blocks from Ground Zero. Despite the fact that the construction on structures to replace the World Trade Center will go on for years and years to come, the Tribute in Light has always been the most fitting memorial of the September 11th attacks, in my view.
Dr. Slammy of Scholars & Rogues has what I think is a very important piece that urges the media to stop describing acts of domestic terror as being perpetrated by “lone wolves.” Doing so circumscribes the problem of right wing extremism within the physical agent conducting these assassinations. Dr. Slammy points out that this phrase as used “asks us to accept that these people have no context, no community, no ideological fellow-travelers whipping them on. Which is bunk.” This is perpetuated by the media, leading to an increased lack of understanding of the dangers facing America:
In the end, the reader comes away with the idea that these killers are, as a matter of fact, solitary agents. Both agencies lend credence to this misinformation by failing to challenge the underlying factual inaccuracy, and in doing so they inadvertently serve the cause of the “leaderless resistance.“ When our most reliable news institutions say that these incidents are isolated, that they’re not part of a larger movement, that there’s no collective organization behind the attacks, it provides cover for a thriving, blood-thirsty community of wolves.
The simple point is that America has a serious, growing problem with right wing extremists turning to violence. They are not acting alone and continued assertions of such in the press is tantamount to causing the public to ignore a present danger.
Politico reports that this morning’s bombing in Times Square has been linked to letters sent to 8 Democrats from New York City’s congressional delegation.
Eight House Democrats were mailed a letter and photo of a Times Square recruiting station in Manhattan before it was bombed this morning, according to House insiders.
The letter did not contain any specific threats against the lawmakers or the site, but the U.S. Capitol Police and FBI are now investigating the matter.
It was unclear which lawmakers received the letters or when, but House aides confirmed they were all Democrats.
The implication, it seems, is that the bombing was meant to threaten New York Democrats. Anyone care to speculate on whether the perpetrator turns out to be Al Qaeda or a right wing fanatic? Remember, when it comes to terrorism in the US, Timothy McVeigh and Eric Rudolph don’t count for some reason.
Update: More details coming out, connecting the photos sent to the NYC delegation with opposition to the Iraq. war.