American Elephants

Can We Call a Terrorist a Terrorist? by The Elephant's Child

The Long War on Terror continues. We practice all kinds of denial and misdirection, disguise it with euphemism, and strangely — attempt to scare people with claims of radical right-wing extremism.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has tied herself in knots attempting to re-define Islamist terrorism out of existence. Her Department has listed Right-Wing Extremist groups as threats to national security, but no one seems to know who they are, or where they are, or what kind of threat they represent. The old ladies and little children who are searched and patted down to avoid “profiling” are beyond absurd.

The Left has long objected to the idea of a “War on Terror.” They don’t like the phrase. They object to calling it Islamist terrorism.  NPR counterterrorism reporter Dina Temple-Ralston spoke for the left in the immediate wake of the bombing;

Well, officials told us that they have some promising leads, though no actual smoking gun. They expect this case will take weeks, not months, to solve. The thinking, as we’ve been reporting, is that this is a domestic extremist attack. And officials are leaning that way largely because of the timing of the attack.

April is a big month for anti-government, and right wing, individuals. There’s the Columbine anniversary. There’s Hitler’s birthday. There’s the Oklahoma City bombing. There’s the assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco. And the FBI right now is comparing this to the Eric Rudolph case. That’s the 1996 bombing at the Olympics in Atlanta. That involved a relatively simple bomb that was hard to trace.

The Left was determined that the bomber must be domestic, white, racist, and apparently Republican. The denial of the existence of Islamist terrorism is becoming pathological. If there is such a thing as Islamist terrorism, then we might have to admit that the Arab Spring was not a hope for democracy, that overthrowing dictators in Egypt and Libya did not result in peaceful democracies, and  that our questions about Benghazi had never been answered.

Once the connection to Islamist terrorism is established, Muslims call in to radio talk shows anxious to deny that —  this is not Islam. Islam is a peaceful religion. These people are not Muslims, they are radicals, and so on. And that is undoubtedly true. But Islamist radicalism is a problem within the Islamic religion, and it must be corrected by Muslims. The rest of us can’t fix it. And I don’t see any determined movement within the Muslim religion to disavow the radicals.

We are the object of their jihad, the “Great Satan.” We can make war on the jihadists, we can use our military, we can use drones, we can try to help Moslem countries to modernize, we can send them aid, we can help with modern techniques of agriculture, medicine and education. But that does not solve the problem. Can Muslims address the  portion of their faith that seeks jihad against the West?  Or are we doomed to carry on until it all blows up?

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