For John, BLUF: The Current Administration has done a worse job of informing us about terrorist threats than its predecessor. Nothing to see here; just move along.
Law Professor Ann Althouse asks, "Do These Twao Messages About Terrorism Hold Up?" She is quoting from a blog post, at his blog, by her son John Althouse Cohen, where Mr Cohen notes "two messages we've been hearing a lot — often from the same people".
(1) When speaking about Islamic terrorists, it's considered appropriate to adopt this understanding tone — not that we're excusing the acts, but that we recognize that terrorism comes from being oppressed and disenfranchised, that people turn to terrorism as a last resort, etc. (I don't necessarily agree with those statements, but I've heard them countless times, from people who seem to feel very strongly about it.)I would note that the idea that terrorism is always about oppression seems far fetched. It is often about religion and in particular preparation for the end times.♠ For some of the Muslim faith it is about the Mahdi and the Anti-Christ. And the last battle. That is what it has been about in Paris and Brussels.
(2) We're told that the word "terrorist" is used too selectively, and especially that we should be more willing to apply it to white men and Christian men (e.g. the KKK, mass shooters, and those people who occupied the Oregon wildlife refuge).
Well, wait a minute... how oppressed and disenfranchised are white, Christian men?
But, Professor Althouse zeroes in on "oppressed and disenfranchised" Caucasians. Which leads her to President Barrack Obama's "bitter clingers" statement.
I'm looking anew at Obama's old guns-and-religion statement:And, as this is an election year, it eventually leads to "The Donald"."You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."He imagined these people pathetically holding onto abstractions of power to soothe themselves in their weakness, not getting up the gumption to do anything. He was showing and trying to stir up empathy. He was not alarming his audience — rich people in San Francisco — about the potential for domestic terrorism.
But that was 2008, and now it's 2016, and they've got Donald Trump "explain[ing] their frustrations with "anti-immigrant sentiment" and "anti-trade sentiment." We're spared decline into violence because we have democracy — and yet the nice people of the elite places like San Francisco see Trump as the embodiment of violence, not any kind of bulwark against it.
But, the lesson to be drawn here is that we likely, as a nation, as a Government, don't understand terrorism. And if we don't understand it, we can't identify the enemy's center of gravity, and we can't develop a useful strategy. Or maybe even useful tactics.
And, if we think the Ku Klux Klan in America is as large a threat to our People and Freedoms as is Daesh, or even a bigger threat, then we could miss what is coming toward us.
And, as a final thought, if Daesh has a network here in the United States, formal or informal, conducting terrorism, is that Domestic Terrorism, or just Terrorism? And, given the leadership of Daesh, is this not bitter Caucasians?
Hat tip to Ann Althouse.
Regards — Cliff
♠ For Christians something like Hal Lindsey's The Late Great Planet Earth.