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September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
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The Truths About Terrorism They Dare Not Speak

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

The current conventional wisdom about terrorism, Islamism, and the Middle East is being bent, but not broken, by two events. On one hand, there is the Boston bombing; on the other hand, developments in Syria and to a lesser extent Egypt.

In the Middle East, the misbehavior of Islamist movements is becoming more apparent. In Egypt, there is the repression of the Muslim Brotherhood regime, which may actually intend to create a non-democratic Sharia state! Parallel behavior in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Tunisia, and Turkey is under-reported but occasionally surfaces.

The most important single story at the moment, though, is Syria. Basically, the Obama Administration has woken up and recognized what was easily apparent two years ago: They are helping to put radical, anti-American Islamists into power! They are helping to provide them with advanced weapons which might be used for activities other than what is intended!

When the government wakes up it nudges the media to get up also. What is quite startling is the extent to which the mass media is responsive to government policy, at least this government’s policy. I want to explain this carefully in order to be fair.

Take this article in the New York Times, which can be summarized as saying that Islamist rebels’ gains in Syria create a dilemma for the United States. Now this is an article about U.S. policy so naturally it describes how that policy is changing.

Yet at the same time, one wants to ask: Why haven’t the policy consequences of this situation been described continuously in the past? If a big truck is headed straight at you on the highway, might not the media sitting in the front passenger seat shout out a warning? Does it have to wait for the driver to notice and then it can say something?

And even so the diffidence is astonishing. It is good that the newspaper notices that the rebels are largely comprised of, “Political Islamists inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood and others who want an Islamic-influenced legal code.” But why even now one can say “Islamic-influenced?”

For many years they have made it clear that they seek a total Islamic (in their interpretation) state. It is the precise equivalent of describing Chinese Communists more than sixty years ago, as they approached victory in their country’s civil war, as “agrarian reformers.”

This story also parallels the much larger-scale debate about the Boston bombings. There’s a long piece in the New York Times about the Boston bombers. The lead gives the flavor of its argument:

“It was a blow the immigrant boxer could not withstand: after capturing his second consecutive title as the Golden Gloves heavyweight champion of New England in 2010, Tamerlan Anzorovich Tsarnaev, 23, was barred from the national Tournament of Champions because he was not a United States citizen.”

The title of the piece is, “A Battered Dream, Then a Violent Path.” In other words, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was not allowed to win a boxing championship because he wasn’t a U.S. citizen. Blocked by bad treatment from America, he became more Islamic and turned to terrorism.

Of course, it is vital to develop an accurate picture of the terrorists’ background and explain the factors providing a personal motivation. On the other hand, it is something quite different to suggest that if the United States was nicer to Muslims and perhaps gave people citizenship more easily, there would not have been terrorism in Boston.

Why is this fundamentally dishonest in the way it is being presented in most of the public debate? Because the voices enhanced by control over the most powerful microphones focus in on the political theme they want to push, excluding other factors in the context of their topic.

Where to begin? The article includes a photo of the future terrorist as a baby in Dagestan with his parents and his uncle. His uncle is wearing a Russian army uniform. While in the photo he is a baby, the point might still be raised: Isn’t Tamerlan Tsarnaev more a product of Russian than of U.S. conditions? After all, his family was involved in a conflict against the Russian state; he and his brother were largely shaped by that environment. He went back and forth to Russia and took instruction from terrorist groups which had arrived at al-Qaida from that basis.

Is the Word ‘Terrorism’ Anti-Muslim?

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Our recent posts about the Guardian’s appalling use, on at least two separate occasions, of the term “political prisoner” to characterize violent Palestinian terrorists who murdered, or attempted to murder, innocent civilians weren’t exercises in rhetorical nitpicking.  Rather, our efforts to secure the definition of the term – which reasonable people intuitively understand as “those who are imprisoned for their political beliefs” – represents an attempt to fight back against the manipulation of language, in service of an extreme ideological agenda, by the Guardian and their fellow travelers.

Similarly, Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald’s ongoing war against the term terrorism, which most who are not influenced by the far-left understand broadly to refer to  “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents” (or some variation of this), should be understood as a broader battle against common sense and moral sobriety.

Here is a passage from his latest post in the Guardian’s “Comment is Free”, section on April 22, entitled “Why is Boston ‘terrorism’ but not Aurora, Sandy Hook, Tuscon, and Columbine?”:

The word “terrorism” is, at this point, one of the most potent in our political lexicon: it single-handedly ends debates, ratchets up fear levels, and justifies almost anything the government wants to do in its name. It’s hard not to suspect that the only thing distinguishing the Boston attack from Tucson, Aurora, Sandy Hook and Columbine (to say nothing of the US “shock and awe” attack on Baghdad and the mass killings in Fallujah) is that the accused Boston attackers are Muslim and the other perpetrators are not. As usual, what terrorism really means in American discourse – its operational meaning – is: violence by Muslims against Americans and their allies.

Here’s another quote by Greenwald, in a post at Salon.com in 2011:

Terrorism has no objective meaning and, at least in American political discourse, has come functionally to mean: violence committed by Muslims whom the West dislikes, no matter the cause or the target. 

Similarly here’s what Greenwald wrote in a post at Salon.com from 2010:

The term [terrorism] now has virtually nothing to do with the act itself and everything to do with the identity of the actor, especially his or her religious identity.  It has really come to mean:  ”a Muslim who fights against or even expresses hostility towards the United States, Israel and their allies.

If we’re really going to vest virtually unlimited power in the Government to do anything it wants to people they call “Terrorists”, we ought at least to have a common understanding of what the term means.  But there is none.  It’s just become a malleable, all-justifying term to allow the U.S. Government carte blanche to do whatever it wants to Muslims it does not like or who do not like it (i.e., The Terrorists).  It’s really more of a hypnotic mantra than an actual word:  its mere utterance causes the nation blindly to cheer on whatever is done against the Muslims who are so labeled.

Greenwald is attempting to essentially proscribe the word “terrorism” as politically loaded, subjective, prejudiced – arguing that the urge we have to condemn such willful and intentional attacks against innocent civilians, by using such clear moral language, is necessarily compromised by a deep-seated racial animus.

First, it needs to be pointed out that Greenwald’s specific claim about the term’s “operational” use is easily refuted by the simple fact that the media, civil rights groups and federal authorities also refer to political violence which is not committed by Muslims, or Islamist groups, as “terrorism.”  Examples of groups the FBI labels terrorists, for instance, include violent anti-government right-wing groups,environmental and animal rights extremistsSovereign citizens movements, anarchist groupswhite supremacists - and even fringe extremists such as the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski.

Greenwald’s mantra that terrorism is only used in reference to Muslims has no basis in fact.

Moreover, in addition to Greenwald’s specious implicit claim that use of the term “terrorism” is racially loaded, there is another factor involved – one which those on the Guardian-style left often try desperately to avoid acknowledging in their reports and commentaries:  That while, of course, the overwhelming majority of Muslims aren’t extremists or terrorists, empirical evidence regarding the disproportionate percentage of terrorist acts committed by those influenced by radical interpretations of Islam is undeniable.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/cifwatch/is-the-word-terrorism-anti-muslim/2013/04/24/

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