Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Times Square Bomber

In the comments, Mrs. P linked to this video, which shows Contessa Brewer lamenting the Islamic ties of the Times Square bomber. She laments them "because there are a lot of people who want to use terrorist intent to justify writing off people who believe in a certain way or come from certain countries or whose skin color is a certain way." A few seconds later she says "Even in recent history, you have the Hutaree militia from Michigan who have plans, let's face it, to create terror. That's what they were planning to do and they were coming from far different backgrounds than what guy is coming from. So the threat the is not just coming from people who decide that America is the place to be. Who come here and want to become citizens. And obviously this guy did."

Then you've got Bloomberg throwing up the possibility, prior to catching the guy obviously, that the Times Square bomber may have been upset about Obama's Health care bill.

FLG never suspected, even for a moment, that the Times Square bomber would be a militia type or be motivated in any way by the health care debate. It doesn't fit that if you are upset with the government that you blow up Times Square. It just doesn't make sense.

We tend to view terrorists as irrational nutjobs. And to some extent that is correct. They are obviously unhinged. However, there is an internal consistency to these movements that is somewhat coherent. Consequently, Times Square is not a target for militia types. It's about killing civilians, which immediately should point people toward Islamic terrorists or straight up full-blown loner wackjobs. Not people who follow an ideology and are part of a movement that says the government is the problem. They attack government buildings.

Again, FLG is not arguing that this violence is justified. He's just saying that the conflation of Islamic terrorism and domestic, anti-government motivated terrorism because both are terrorism is unhelpful when trying to combat and deter them.

Also, the fear by Contessa Brewer that people will use this to justify writing off people because they believe a certain way seems a tad silly when there are tons of people of her political persuasion, and FLG assumes her as well, using the threat of violence to write off the Tea Party. Since Dance wondered where FLG is getting this assertion previously, FLG'll include a quote from Eugene Robinson:
The danger of political violence in this country comes overwhelmingly from one direction -- the right, not the left. The vitriolic, anti-government hate speech that is spewed on talk radio every day -- and, quite regularly, at Tea Party rallies -- is calibrated not to inform but to incite.

Just to be clear, FLG's point here isn't that violence is justified or right in either case. But we must pay attention to the internal logic of those who use violence as part of an ideological movement. FLG still contends that anti-government violence is less dangerous to the nation than the kill as many people as spectacularly as you can Islamic variety. However, that's certainly open to deabte. Yet, we need to understand that terrorism isn't just terrorism. There's an ideological and political logic behind it. Blowing up Times Square doesn't fit the logic of militia types. They attack Federal buildings.

And if you don't want Muslim terrorists used to justify writing off all Muslims, then you shouldn't use the possibility of terrorists who sympathize with the tenets, incoherent as they may be, of the Tea Party to write off their movement either.


George Pal said...

“I mean they use it as justification for really outdated bigotry.”
- Contessa Brewer

Outdated bigotry! How démodé!

Everyone knows the en vogue bigotry is to suspect, disdain, despise, and, in some cases, wish dead such as Ms. Palin, Tea Partiers, Republicans, and George Bush and not those who’ve made it the point of their presence in this country to actually plan, carry out, and successfully terrorize and kill Americans.

Anonymous said...

Uh-oh, troubled waters ahead -it's May 6th 2010:

"Efforts also continued Wednesday to determine what may have motivated Shahzad. An official familiar with the investigation said Wednesday that Shahzad felt Islam was under attack.

"Any grudge Shahzad may have held against the United States appears to have developed recently, according to a senior U.S. official who is familiar with the investigation but not authorized to speak publicly.

"The investigation has found nothing to indicate that Shahzad had any long-standing grudge or anger toward the United States, the official said.

""What we know is, the dynamic appeared to have changed in the last year,"" the official said.


From Michael Moore on November 30th, 2009:

"Dear President Obama,

"Do you really want to be the new "war president"? If you go to West Point tomorrow night (Tuesday, 8pm) and announce that you are increasing, rather than withdrawing, the troops in Afghanistan, you are the new war president. Pure and simple. And with that you will do the worst possible thing you could do -- destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in you. With just one speech tomorrow night you will turn a multitude of young people who were the backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics. You will teach them what they've always heard is true -- that all politicians are alike. I simply can't believe you're about to do what they say you are going to do."

Could Shazam be a new Bill Ayers?

Mrs. P

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