Monday, March 29, 2010

It's not terrorism when white people do it

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard about the weird synchronicity that happened today: two female suicide bombers killed dozens of people in Moscow, and a terrorist cell consisting of nine Muslims and having ties to Iraqi insurgents were arrested after planning an attack on US police.

Oh, except that the terrorist cell actually consisted of nine, white, Christianist militia members. Therefore they aren't terrorists.

The group used bomb plans based on those used by Iraqi insurgents. They were going to specifically target law enforcement officers and their families. Their goal was to incite nationwide violence that would bring down the US government. They planned to use weapons of mass destruction. Improvised explosive devices, even. They've actually been charged with sedition, for crying out loud. Why isn't this terrorism?

The NY Times article about the Moscow bombing uses the words "terror" or "terrorism" fourteen times. The article on the American terrorists? Exactly once, and then it's in reference to a government report from a year ago. This CNN article and this FOX News article don't use the word at all. Like the NY Times, CNN has no problem using the word eleven times in this article about the Moscow bombings.

So why is the American press so reluctant to refer to American terrorists as terrorists?

This isn't just an issue of semantics. Joe Lieberman and John McCain introduced just a few weeks ago the "Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act," that would allow the government to detain and indefinitely hold without trial anyone -- including American citizens within the US -- the President deems to be a "terrorist." Looking through the text of the bill, it fits these people perfectly. (h/t Glenzilla.)

I can think of no reason to refuse to refer to these militia members as "terrorists" other than a reluctance to use the word in anything other than in reference to Those People Over There With The Funny Skin Tone And That Wear Things On Their Heads. Am I wrong?

1 comment:

Glock21 said...

It almost seems like the media is trying to be politically correct and not upset some of the dumbass assumptions many gun nuts have about the militia in the United States as being license to rebellion (something the constitution specifically empowers congress to put down) as opposed to it being subordinate to state power.

These guys are no better than al Qaeda. Different religion, same religiously fueled terrorist bullshit. The media generally seems confused on 2nd Amendment issues, so perhaps it's more a matter of ignorance of where the line really is on gun nuttery? Dunno.

That bill you point out seems pretty blatantly unconstitutional at least as it applies to US citizens under current precedent on habeas as I understand it. Tossed a link to this in my most recent blog post.