Ignoring the white elephants in our midst

To back down would be a craven surrender to political correctness and an abdication of what I believe to be the main responsibility of this committee — to protect America from a terrorist attack.

That was Rep. Peter King responding to criticism of hearings begun today before the House Homeland Security Committee on the radicalization of American Muslims. He went on trying to rationalize this farce as necessary to better protect our nation, saying that he believes most Muslims are “outstanding patriots,” but that Muslim leaders “do not face up to [the] reality” that there is a persistent al Qaeda threat to America.

I’ll grant him that al Qaeda wants nothing less than the destruction of America. But if he wants to talk about “facing up to reality” in national security, then he ought to address the truly persistent threat to American domestic safety: violence and threats of violence from right-wing white nationalist organizations and anti-government militias. Here is a handy timeline of so-called “insurrectionist” activity since 2008; here is a report on militant extremism in the U.S.:

[T]he FBI has reported that roughly two-thirds of terrorism in the United States was conducted by non-Islamic American extremists from 1980-2001; and from 2002-2005, it went up to 95 percent.

As some readers have argued, these incidents of violence lack a coherent strategy and are isolated from one another. True, but only to a point. The above report indicates that so-called “lone wolf” attacks are on the rise. However, as the timeline reveals, the rationale behind these attacks bears a very common stamp: resistance to perceived government tyranny and the rights of an armed citizenry. While the stimulus for each incident is often different, they all feed a common ideology of paranoia and violent reactionism. So long as Peter King fails to face this reality (the reality that the rest of the country, including the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, which actually have to deal with this violence), he is unfit to even sit on the Homeland Security Committee.

    • mattstrong
    • March 10th, 2011

    The awesome thing is that if you want to talk about radicalization among immigrant groups, Peter King is more of an example than an expert.

    It’s not terrorism if white dudes people we like do it.

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