2005/03/25

Our Little Osamas

David Neiwert (of Orincus) had a great article published at the American Street recently. In it, he makes several very good points concerning the War on Terror:

What I am arguing is that any serious war on terror will of its own encompass the domestic-terror threat and deal with it appropriately. The current war on terror is predicated on a symmetrical military response, which is exactly the wrong approach to an asymmetrical threat.

It’s not that domestic terrorism should be given the focus of our approach; rather, it’s that the failure to focus on it at all leaves us vulnerable in a way that also reveals the incoherence of our antiterrorism policy. The reason I keep stressing our handling of domestic terrorism is that it gives us a prism for understanding what’s wrong with our ongoing response to the broader phenomenon of terrorism.


This is something I've been saying since the Oklahoma City bombing, but 9/11 has blinded people to what was actually going on in the "Homeland," sending their focus (and efforts) halfway across the world. Meanwhile, everyone knows about the anthrax letters but few know about Texan William Krar and his colleciton of cyanide gas and small armory. Similarly, time is actually given to the bolster the fantasy that the OKC bombing was NOT actually committed by domestic terrorists, but was actually the fault of Saddam Hussein or some other unnamed Islamic group. These theories are clearly smokescreens, fantastical visions and wishful thinking that would put the enemy where he belongs, in a desert country far away, as opposed to where he actually is: in our backyards and in our heartland.

Neiwert also briefly confronts the myth that repeatedly pops up in places like Freeperville and Powerlineland concerning the idea that the Fundamentalist Islamic groups are somehow related to the Left. As if liberalism is the basis (and the scapegoats) for the existence of these terrorist groups:

Allying themselves with “real” terrorists [i.e. Al Qaeda, Hizzbollah] as always been something of a fantasy of the extremist right. And the history of such gestures is that they have always been refused with scorn, for good reason.

Nonetheless, such gestures do underscore the reality that Islamist radicalism is a form of right-wing extremism, and its most natural allies in America are not — as people like David Horowitz and Powerline are fond of suggesting — on the left, but on the far right. The claims to the contrary are just another instance of the “up is down” kind of Newspeak that has become pervasive in conservative discourse.

But that’s not to say that the response to American neo-Nazi “lone wolf” terrorists and white-supremacist terror cells should be the same as that to Al Qaeda. For all their occasional similarities, there are important differences between them, and the response has to reflect that as well.


Meanwhile, as the dust starts to settle from the tragedy in Minnesota, we're seeing the usual suspects coming out of the woodwork blaming guns, violent video games, or prozac. What's more insidious, however, is that this finger-pointing ignores the young man's obsession with nazism and his postings from nazi websites. Another Little Osama in our midst and nothing was done until it was too late. I'm starting to sense a trend here.

7 Comments:

I had an argument with a relative who lives in the US last week, and he seemed convinced that the war in Iraq was to catch al Qaida. For fun I did a quick Google search while having the argument, and one of the first articles that came up was entitled "Ordinary Americans think Bin Laden and Saddam are the same man". The title of this article put the whole argument in perspective, and underscored the view by Americans that the Iraq war is to protect America. When I asked why the US doesn't use the resources in Iraq to find Osama bin laden, he seemed convinced that the US tried their darndest to find Osama, but they couldn't.

Anyway, this doesn't directly relate to your posting, but I think the point I was trying to get across is that Bush has most Americans convinced the things he's doing overseas is to protect America from another 9/11, but I think it's doing just the opposite.  

Posted by Jim
3/25/2005 05:40:00 pm  
Anyway, this doesn't directly relate to your posting, but I think the point I was trying to get across is that Bush has most Americans convinced the things he's doing overseas is to protect America from another 9/11, but I think it's doing just the opposite.  

I couldn't agree more. And, really, it's related to my post since one of my complaints is that in this mad dash to invade Iraq we've lost sight of both Al Qaeda (who's making oodles of money off of this year's record Opium harvest) as well as domestic terrorism within the borders of the US. Both of these are some of the most pressing issues related to terrorism (aside from the actual causes of terrorism, which I'm not addressing here at all).

But, really, that's the point. Keep the people scared of the foreign element and ignore the rise in domestic terrorism. Both are advantageous to Bush and the GOP because their true goal is not to solve the problem, but consolidate power through the exploitation of it. What happens with that consolidated power is what I'm most worried about.  

Posted by eponymous
3/25/2005 07:38:00 pm  
Osamadam Bin Husseiladen?  

Posted by surrogte
3/25/2005 07:45:00 pm  
I can't get through all this material now, Sarah. I'm going to have to give up sleeping soon to keep up with all the wonderful and engrossing material out there. I have read David's essay on fascism plus several others. What really gets me down these days is there is so much material, so many telling the truth about the state of society today with very little change happening.
America's answer for it's problems is jail and little men in white jackets. God forbid anyone should suggest fixing the fucking problems like poverty and drug abuse related directly to racism. It's not like enormous documentation has not been done on the problems facing inner city and reservation children. We have the same problems with the Muslim population here in France. When you hear of hate crimes and the like you can always bet it has been carried out by young thugs whose hearts and minds have been lost. We have resources for weapons to wipe them out but not to give them hope. France doesn't jail them as quick and easily as America does. They just ignore them and hope they will go away.

I realize I'm getting off your topic. I have a post ready to go directly related to the war on terror issue but I will wait until later to post it. Suffice it to say, that this administration does not believe the propaganda it puts out. Eponymous is correct. This administration is deceiving its constituency. The problem is some of the constituency know the truth and are only too happy to push the propaganda. 

Posted by Dianne
3/25/2005 09:34:00 pm  
Sorry Eponymous, this post looked so much like Sarah's work that I assumed it was. That's a compliment to you and Sarah. :) 

Posted by Dianne
3/26/2005 12:47:00 pm  
I read the entire "nazi" link. Scary shit, brrrr... 

Posted by WhyNot
3/26/2005 01:09:00 pm  
Dianne,

Flattery will get you everywhere ;-) 

Posted by eponymous
3/27/2005 11:16:00 pm  

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