The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Terror. Race. Voting bases.

Tough day yesterday, but I'm back on track. And whad'ya know? The news still sucks.

On April 30 I mentioned the little-covered story of four white southern men who had a big stash of guns, 130 grenades, a DIY rocket launcher(!) and various and sundry explosives. Oh, and lots of racially-tinged 'love it or leave it' paraphernalia, naturally.

Just last week was a story that I missed: a member of the 'Aryan Nation' killing four people in Idaho.

Rick Perlstein wrote an excellent piece on the latest-- reactionary fans of Jerry Falwell who attended the funeral with plans to "napalm protesters."

Stop pretending Islamicists - or environmentalists or animal rights activists (which are, ridiculously, federal law enforcement and non-governmental terrorism-watchers' next most obsessive concern) - are the only imminent terrorist threats to our nation. We now know that students at Liberty University were ready to napalm protesters at Jerry Falwell's funeral. One of the suspects is a soldier at Fort Benning. [UPDATE: Falwell gave the kid a scholarship.]

If the media does not start connecting some dots, they will have abdicated their citizenzship duties. How many times has the nation potentially come within a hair's breadth of suffering a right-wing terrorist attack this spring? As of today, three, or possibly six times - at least that we know about. . .

Recommended reading.

Sadly, this makes the perfect introduction for the latest right-wing attempt to convince all of America that the liberal refusal to demonize all Muslims is going to destroy the nation.

John Podhoretz got in on the fun: I don't object to reporting the fact that our Muslim community is more assimilated and less radicalized than similar communities in Europe and elsewhere. By all means, let's hear about that. But isn't the fact that 13% of American Muslims say suicide bombing of civilians is justifiable significant? Thirteen percent is a significant number.... How about the fact that roughly 1-in-4 young Muslims are sympathetic to terrorism?

Wow! And those are the "assimilated and less radicalized" Muslims! What savages!

Michelle Malkin got in on the fun: "Most U.S. Muslims reject suicide bombings," AP reports. Here's what should be headlined from the article about a new Pew poll (which you can find here): Headline: "One in four younger U.S. Muslims say suicide bombings to defend their religion are acceptable at least in some circumstances..."

Then along came Glenn Greenwald with some of those annoying "facts" that make us liberals such a danger.

The University of Maryland's highly respected Program on International Public Attitudes, in December 2006, conducted a concurrent public opinion poll of the United States and Iran to determine the comparative views of each country's citizens on a variety of questions. The full findings are published here (.pdf). . .

A rather substantial 24% of Americans thought that [bombings and other types of attacks intentionally aimed at civilians] are justified "often" or "sometimes," while another 27% thought they were justified in rare cases.

Did you catch that? That's the same percentage of American Muslims who thought there were occasions when murdering civilians was justified. Elsewhere in his column, Greenwald points out that Iranians asked the same question were much more likely than Americans to say that such attacks are never justified. And, yes, they'll keep appearing on television and publications referred to as conservative intellectuals-- with a straight face. But these days, conservative intellectual is synonymous with cheap demagogue.