But you don’t want to be a right-wing nut, do you? Then don’t say that the Boston attack arose from an ideology of Islamism, or link it to the thousands of other such recent attacks around the world.
The truth: American Muslims themselves do not agree that support for terrorism is minimal in their community.
In 2011, 21 percent of all American Muslims — and a higher number, 32 percent, of U.S.-born Muslims — thought there is a great deal or fair amount of support for terrorism among them.
Why is the number of U.S.-born Muslims who believe this so much higher? Because they tend to be younger people who are more in contact with social media, and with people like the two young Boston bombers.
What about the Boston terrorists’ mosque and their other contacts in the Muslim community? Why didn’t they get an anti-extremist indoctrination there, an explanation of what Islam is all about? They attended a Muslim Brotherhood-sponsored mosque — shhh! — and the Boston Muslim religious leadership is full of extremists, the evidence of which has long been available.
The mosque even received a subsidy from Boston, despite hosting anti-American speakers who made the precise arguments used to rationalize terrorism.
We won’t be hearing much about these issues though. Well, except for two aspects: a story is now circulating that one of the brothers was thrown out of his mosque for being too radical.
We will also see denunciations of the terror attack by Islamist front groups. The New York Times article on motive cited these statements three times. I believe that groups like CAIR do not support the Boston attack or al-Qaeda, but they support many other terrorist attacks, and they support the ideology and set of beliefs on which the Boston attack is based. That’s why so many associated with CAIR, even on a senior level, have become involved in anti-American terrorism.
Having followed this issue for many years: I have never heard of a single anti-radicalization program conducted by any mosque or “mainstream” Islamic group. Real moderates are isolated, vilified, denied media attention, and even forced out of local mosques.
In a 2011 Pew poll, fully half of American Muslims said their leaders aren’t doing enough to fight extremism. That last point can safely be used as a certified non-“Islamophobic” argument about where much of the problem lies — but it won’t be.
Of course, the troubled youth angle will be played to the fullest. Yes, the tribulations of young adulthood and adolescence are factors, but only inasmuch as it makes them vulnerable to systematic indoctrination. In other words, their specific psychology and even personal experiences are not the motive any more than the childhood of a professional hit-man for the Mafia is.
It is also possible to fall back on the idea that determining the motive is impossible or irrelevant — there’s just too much stuff out there, dude. In the words of Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University:
The individual, particular motivations of the perpetrators have little significance since there are multiple grievances out there and, in the Islamic world, there is free-floating angst.
That statement was too much even for Bill Maher.
Another angle will be the growing story of governmental incompetence in using intelligence to stop terrorists. In part, this is unfair since there have also been many successes. A more important issue is why government officials, politicians, army officers, academics, and journalists fear to point out the truth: look at the Nidal Hasan/Fort Hood attack. Pointing out the truth is bad for their careers and reputations, as well as sometimes counter to their own ideologies.
Obfuscators also use the partisan argument, made most memorably by a journalist who openly hoped the terrorists would be white right-wingers.
There is an unnoticed dimension here: if the attack is seen as a political defeat, it cannot be a learning experience. The question isn’t “does this attack tell us something important about the real world?”, but: “How can we explain it away so we don’t suffer a setback in the effort to fundamentally transform America into a just, non-racist society?”
And so they will claim that, in a sense, white right-wingers — or at least the kind of policies they would endorse — did cause the Boston attack. America was mean to these kids, it is aggressive in other countries, and counter-terrorist protection was reduced by budget cuts.
In other words: lying, concealing, and misleading become defined as virtuous. As Trudeau said, talking honestly about revolutionary Islamism would be to inspire more racism and terrorism.
Finally, there is the “full admission” fallback argument — on which Obama’s foreign policy is based. Sure, it was those evil SOBs, al-Qaeda, but the other Islamists are relatively good, so we have to promote them into power since only they can counter the “bad” Islamists.
That’s why Obama claims Islamist governments in Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey are good for you. Indeed, Secretary of State John Kerry, in Turkey, compared Americans’ feelings about the Boston attack to Turkish feelings about the killing of jihadis engaged in supporting a terrorist group (Hamas) who attacked Israeli soldiers during the Gaza flotilla incident.
This should not be seen merely as a clumsy statement, but as dangerous, revealing stupidity. It is dangerous because it tells Muslims that they are equally the victims of “our” terrorism; it is revealing because the context shows the equation of all violence, no matter what the cause, that reinforces such thinking.
A U.S. attack on terrorists in Yemen, Afghanistan, or elsewhere then becomes “anti-Muslim violence” that justifies the next terror attack in an American city.
Former NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw explained that American drones were killing innocent people, and this led to rage against the “presumptuousness of the United States.”
In an honest discussion it must be considered what U.S. policy factors lead to terrorism. But now there is the transfer to America of the old “cycle of violence” argument about the Middle East. Terrorists murder Israeli civilians or fire rockets at Israel, Israel defends itself, and the two events are treated as indistinguishable.
Defending yourself offends people.
The proper response: denounce the terrorists and the ideology of terrorism, and proclaim the right of focused self-defense, which means doing everything possible to retaliate against those responsible and not citizens of another country chosen at random.
The American secretary of state, a leading Canadian politician, journalists, and others are thus rationalizing in advance more such attacks.
They will get their “wish,” and then explain away the next event as more proof of their worldview.