Thursday, February 10, 2011

American Terrorists and Getting a Grip

Home-grown terrorists, folks who were born in America and have decided to kill Americans for 'the cause' are 'obviously:'
  1. White supremacists
  2. Muslims
  3. All of the above
  4. The 'other guy'
  5. None of the above
The answer, I think, is 'D' (The 'other guy') - and both 'C' (All of the above) and 'E' (None of the above).

My point is that folks from any group can exercise free will and do - really stupid, destructive, evil things. In my opinion.

I also think that it's a mistake to assume that, because one member of a group commits a vile act: all members of the group commit vile acts. That's certainly, I think, less than appropriate when dealing with large, broadly-defined groups.

It was a mistake to assume that Americans with Japanese ancestors were threats to national security, during WWII. I think it's also a mistake to think that 'the other guy' is a threat today.

Trying to identify disagreement as disloyalty may be a very human thing to do. But I think it's a huge mistake: bad, in the short run, for whoever is demonized; bad in the long run for the views of the demonizer.

Here's what got me started on those ideas:
"Usama bin Laden dethroned as top terrorist threat to the United States?

"That's the assessment of Michael Leiter, head of the National Counterterrorism Center, who testified Wednesday before the House Homeland Security Committee at a hearing on Islamic extremism.

"The committee's new chairman, Republican Rep. Peter King of New York, cut right to the chase, asking which Al Qaeda leader poses the greatest threat to U.S. national security.

" 'Would you say that (Anwar) al-Awlaki is at least as severe a threat today as Bin Laden?' King asked.

" 'I actually consider Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula with Al-Awlaki as a leader within that organization probably the most significant risk to the U.S. homeland,' Leiter responded.

"Awlaki, a U.S.-born radical cleric, has been on the national security radar for nearly a year and is the first American on the CIA's kill or capture list. Now believed to be hiding in Yemen, Awlaki is part of the new breed of digital jihadists who use the Internet to inspire their followers to launch lone-wolf or small-cell attacks that are nearly impossible for law enforcement to prevent.

"Asked if Awlaki is one of the most successful as far as radicalizing through the Internet, Leiter did not hesitate: 'I think Al-Awlaki is probably -- certainly is the most well-known English-speaking ideologue who is speaking directly to folks here in the homeland.'

"The committee was told that there are three threat streams: Bin Laden and Al Qaeda senior leadership in Pakistan; affiliated groups in Yemen, Somalia and North Africa, as well as homegrown plots....

"...Also of note was Leiter's statement about the Fort Hood shooting. The alleged shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan exchanged at least 18 e-mails with Awlaki. Leiter said the shooting that left 13 dead and 32 others injured fit the definition of terrorism – a politically motivated act of violence....."
(FoxNews (February 9, 2011)
I've discussed the Fort Hood shootings, Nidal Hasan, and al-Awlaki before:
More of today's posts:

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.