I just wanted to move above the fold with this. More information is coming out about the murderous Anders Behring Breivik, including a presumed manifesto raging against Marxists and Muslims. This is, as expected, provoking a few smug reactions from the Left. Apparently, the Right Wing — from the most moderate center-right to the most whacked out loon — are one all one big lump. Right wing terror, no matter what it’s motivation or where it happens, reflects on the entirety of the Right Wing (although I’d don’t recall the Left taking responsibility for Shining Path and the Cultural Revolution).
It’s nonsense. Politics is more complicated that Right Wing or Left Wing. All of the writers for this site are in the Right Wing but, if you peruse the comments, we often have profound disagreements about war, terrorism, law enforcement, taxation, etc. We’re united by certain principles but often disagree on how to apply them. But even in the wide range of beliefs and opinions that comprises the “Right Wing”, you would still have to go along way before you’d find anyone who would say, “Yeah, let’s get those dirty Muslims by … shooting a bunch of innocent white kids.” I’m sorry, but “we should stay in Afghanistan” is not even in the same solar system as that.
Then there’s this, from Glenn Greenwald. After excoriating the media for rushing to proclaim this an Islamic incident (a not unreasonable conclusion given recent events and AQ’s preference for car bombs and simultaneous attacks), he says this:
In other words, now that we know the alleged perpetrator is not Muslim, we know — by definition — that Terrorists are not responsible; conversely, when we thought Muslims were responsible, that meant — also by definition — that it was an act of Terrorism.
What it says is what we’ve seen repeatedly: that Terrorism has no objective meaning and, at least in American political discourse, has come functionally to mean: violence committed by Muslims whom the West dislikes, no matter the cause or the target.
Bullshit. Nobody ever had problems calling the IRA terrorists. No one has any problems calling the Basque ETA — who are responsible for 90% of Europe’s terror attacks — terrorists (In fact, many jumped to the conclusion that they, not AQ, were responsible for the Madrid attack, an erroneous conclusion that had huge consequences in the subsequent election). No one has problems calling ecoterrorists what they are. No one hesitated to call Eric Rudolph a terrorist. Or Scott Roeder. Or Timothy McVeigh.
Conversely, no one said that Arab military attacks on Israel were terrorism (until they started shooting civilians) or that the horrific oppressive violence in Syria and Egypt were terrorism. When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, we didn’t call it terrorism. It was only when he fired missiles into civilian areas of a neutral country (Israel) or paid the families of suicide bombers to blow up innocent civilians (Israel again) that we called it terrorism.
Terrorism is pretty easy to define. It is violence directed against the innocent with the goal of causing political change through fear and terror. When the US military kills innocent people, it is by accident, not design. Even the “collateral murder” incident took place in a combat zone. If we acted like terrorists in regard to Iraq, we would carpet bomb Baghdad every time one of soldiers was killed. But we don’t; we attempt to minimize loss of life. That this is not always successful is the danger of war. If you don’t like it, don’t start wars.
Was the Norway killing an act of terror? I don’t see any reasonable conclusion but that it was. This guy killed a bunch of innocent kids hoping to start an anti-Islam revolution in Europe. He was a psycho; his views are far from the mainstream Right Wing. But he was a terrorist.
However, that leads me to another line of nonsense from Twitter:
The right wing bastion of reaction on #Oslo: “he’s just a nut job!” Yeah, if he was Muslim he’d be example of “growing Muslim terror threat”
Here’s the thing. There are Islamic government that embrace, protect and fund terrorists. There are Islamic religious leaders out there who embrace, protect and fund terrorists. When the Twin Towers came down, Palestinians dances in the streets (notably, Iranians mourned). There is no question but that there is a large and global group of people who think that murdering innocents in the name of Islam is not only acceptable but holy. We can debate how strong they are — I think they are far weaker than they were ten years ago. We can debate how much they represent the Muslim mainstream — I think they’re outside the mainstream in places like Indonesia, less so in Africa or the Middle East. But we can’t deny that such a movement exists.
Where is the movement for Right Wing terrorism? Where are the leaders of nations and holy men proclaiming the horrific killing in Norway to be justified or understandable? Where are the smug Right Wingers declaring that the West caused this violence through their policies? Even the anti-Islam groups are denouncing this.
And in what coherent ideology does shooting over 80 terrified Norwegian children play a role in stopping Islamic hegemony?
Yes, the Right Wing rushed to judgement in proclaiming this an Islamic attack. But the Left Wing is rushing over the Cliffs of Insanity in trying to proclaim some kind of hypocrisy in how we are responding. This was terrorism; but it was a terrorism reflective of a small group of lunatics — maybe … hopefully … a group of one.