A Dangerous Denial
The New York Times does not tell us whether Tareq Mehanna, the 27-year-old Massachusetts pharmacist who was just arrested on federal terrorism charges, is or even might be a Muslim. In their pages, telling this particular truth is still verboten, politically incorrect, rude, racist, a cheap shot, even “Islamophobic.”
Look: Mehanna might have traveled to Pakistan, Syria, and Yemen (which he did) because, as a relatively young man, he just wanted to sow his wild oats. No matter that Mehanna and his “associates,” including one Ahmad Abousamra who subsequently fled to Syria, had traveled together “seeking training from terrorist groups to fight against American soldiers.” No matter that Mehanna had tried to buy a gun from one Daniel Maldonado who is “currently serving a 10-year-prison sentence for training with Al Qaeda in Somalia. “
Why should the Times suggest that Mehanna’s motivation might be related to Islamic jihad? That hypothesis would tarnish an entire religion, an entire people. It can’t be true—but even if it is true, it’s too troubling and unpleasant a truth. Why connect the dots when you can continue to confuse people?
Well, as the Danish Mohammed Cartoon controversy has so ably demonstrated, not all religions are equal. If someone flies planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon—better not blame it on the Saudis or on Islamic jihadists, especially if they are guilty. People who are capable of such acts won’t like such accusations. They might sue you or kill you or blow up your kids. Anyway, it’s better not to think this way, better not to descend to the level of people who believe that Islamic terrorists have declared war against all non-Muslims, (against other Muslims too), especially against those who live in America and Israel.
That’s a really unfashionable philosophy of life.
Ironically, David Rohde, the Times reporter who was captured by the Taliban and kept for seven months could have used a clearer understanding about both al-Qaeda and the Taliban; Daniel Pearl might have benefited from a more unfashionable philosophy too.
I have been reading David Rohde’s front page Times series about his captivity in Afghanistan. Rohde kept hoping that “his” captors were the good Taliban, not the bad Taliban. Like Ann Frank, Rohde desperately desired to believe that people are really good, or at least that some people, even kidnappers, even religious fanatics, even highway brigands, are also really good; c’mon, aren’t some of them, at least some of the time?
Rohde is instead forced to learn quite a different lesson. Over the course of his seven month captivity, Rohde experiences sadism; cruelty; a child-like ignorance (among his captors, not just his own); lies, nothing but lies; threats (that he will be killed, even be-headed on video etc.); a matter-of-fact desire on the part of his captors to impose Islam on an unwilling world (they explain that for them not to try to do so would be a betrayal of Islam); a belief that all non-Muslims are dirty, unclean, (the kidnappers would not allow Rohde to wash their dishes for this reason). Rohde was surprised that his religious Muslim captors were joyful when they heard that other Muslims had been murdered in a mosque in a suicide bombing.
Mr. Rohde: Please meet Ghengis Khan, the barbarian.
Finally, Rohde came to understand that these war-hardened, life-hardened men harbored an enormous hatred for both America and Israel that sometimes bordered on the delusional.
But Rohde also remains confused. Sometimes his kidnappers sing songs with him. Sometimes they do not kill him.
Before Rohde was kidnapped he met tolerant, hospitable, likeable Afghans who were, seemingly, not terrorists, criminals, or religious fanatics.
Once, long ago, I also met very hospitable and charming Afghans—but I still nearly died at their hands and in their land. And that was back in the Good Old Days long before the Taliban, when Kabul was about to become a little piece of heaven, at least for a short while.
Sometimes I wonder whether the New York Times is on al-Qaeda’s payroll–and if not, what kind of dreadfully dangerous game they are playing.
I have been reading the Times for a very long time. I have been especially “sensitive” to how language is used since the well-planned Intifada of 2000 against Jewish Israel. For example, In 2004, I wrote about the absence of the word “Muslim” in the pages of the New York Times. I called the article: When You Can’t Say Muslim. I was writing about the genocide and gang-rape of black Africans (Christians, Muslims, and animists) by ethnic Arab Muslims, but the Paper of Record simply refused to use the word. Paragraph after paragraph the reporter described the Janjaweed in every conceivable way but he did not say they were a state-sanctioned Muslim militia group.I wrote:
“Only a satirist — not I — could do justice to the politically correct typo that finally appears in paragraph eighteen of this story. Where (the reporter or his editor) may have meant to write “Arab Muslim,” we read, instead, that “Arab Arab militias” have been attacking “black Africans.” (Check it out, who could make this up?)
Was (the reporter) afraid to describe the perpetrators as Arab Muslims or did his editor delete the word “Muslim?” Does someone over there believe that the use of the word “Muslim” is tantamount to “racial profiling?” Is the torture and murder of Muslims utterly unimportant unless it is caused by Americans in uniform or by Israelis in self defense? Does the politically correct liberal media not really care about the relentless slaughter of innocent civilians if “ethnic Arab” Muslims are doing the slaughtering.
If a newspaper does not describe things accurately, it will never, ever be able to help it’s readers understand what is going on or how to defend themselves in the war that has been declared against us.”
One More Irresistable Example
Guess What? Al Qaeda Didn’t Do It. So Who Did?
Lying, failing to tell the truth, telling only part of the truth, omitting crucial facts of the story—are all key features of propaganda. In this article I focus on the New York Times’s failure to describe a Boston-based home-grown terrorist as a Muslim and as a jihadic terrorist.
Now hear this.
The Obama White House has engaged in similarly dangerous omissions. For example, as my esteemed colleague Barry Rubin has noted, The White House has just released a “very routine but still quite disturbing declaration” by President Barack Obama about the 241 American Marines, soldiers, and sailors who were murdered 26 years ago “as the result of a horrific terrorist attack that destroyed the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. .. The murder of our soldiers, sailors, and Marines on this day on 1983 remains a senseless tragedy.”
As Rubin points out, the President has got to know that this murderous attack was carried out by Hizballah “under the guidance of Syria and Iran.” Indeed, today “attacks are being carried out against U.S. military personnel in Iraq under the guidance of Syria and Iran” and that “Iran is trying to stage such attacks in Afghanistan.” The attacks in Lebanon were not ‘senseless.” They were part if an Iranian-Syrian-Hizballah campaign to take over Lebanon and drive American influence” out of the region.
Will President Obama ever seek justice for the murderers of American servicemen on a peace-keeping mission or will he begin to “engage” diplomatically with their killers?
That is an important question.