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Once again, forgetful

“There’s a hell of a lot of suffering and ‘injustice’ in the world, but no one besides Muslim Arabs (and non-Arab Muslims they’ve recruited) seem to be responding in this way.”

Ah, Steven.

Shining Path, Aum Shinrikyo, FARC, the Basque terrorist groups, Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the Tigers of Tamil, 17 November, and of course our own homegrown militia groups.

Oh yeah. And I heard there was some kind of terrorist group operating out of Ireland these days.

The rest of the piece is pretty goofy too. Every time someone condemns another country for not being committed to the war on terror, they ought to consider the American attitudes towards terror before and after 9/11.


  1. You made me look at Clueless, you bad man.

    While we’re on the list of regions with serious terrorism problems, let’s talk about South America. When I got engaged, a coworker of mine from Colombia congratulated me and casually mentioned that she’d been engaged but that her fiance had been killed by terrorists. I’ve been aware of terrorism in Colombia for years, but the way she mentioned the event, sort of in passing, as if it weren’t that abnormal, chilled me.

    Not that terrorism in South America is new. When I was a baby, my father was in a meeting in Buenos Aires (IIRC) that was taken hostage by terrorists. He was released in a day or so–he wasn’t the target and I’m sure in my own mind that his employers paid for his release–but it’s a story I always think of when I hear that only Muslims are terrorists.

  2. Yep, Columbia’s got FARC (and a couple of others, too). Terrorism in South America is way down from last year but it’s still actually one of the hotbeds of terrorism. Course, it’s not directed at us so we don’t notice it as much.

    Sorry about the Clueless thing. I just peek in every now and again. It’s funny; since I manage sysadmins for a living, I completely recognize that tone of his. A little bit pompous, utterly certain sounding, and separated from reality. I bet he’s a good tech. I can see why people might not see through him if they’re not familiar with the geek scene.

  3. SDB reminds me of a number of ubergeeks and ubergeek wannabes I know. That’s probably why I don’t care much for his writing. 😉

    Terrorism in South America gets the kind of press coverage that’s more damaging to American awareness of it than not. No coverage at all of the daily violence, and then occasional saturation coverage of something that touches American lives, like the incident where the Baptist missionaries were shot down by the terrorism interdiction flight. The saturation coverage leaves Americans, who are unaware of the daily violence, thinking “what’s wrong with those people?” before moving on to the next sound bite.

  4. Oh, good observation. Yes, that’s a very good summation of the problem with that kind of press coverage.

    Patrick Ruffini just claimed Den Beste was a masterful prose stylist, but then again, he also claimed all leftie bloggers agree.

  5. You may be right that SDB was amiss not to mention any of the terrorist organizations you cited in making his point about Arab-Muslim extremism. However, looking over the terrorist groups you listed – and at the risk of appearing trollsome (forgive me, Ginger) – I wonder to what extent you’d support direct American involvement in fighting any of them (since you brought the American attitude into it).

    Let’s look at your list:

    Shining Path; a Maoist group
    Aum Shinrikyo; a leftist Japanese anti-Semitic doomsday cult
    FARC; the military wing of the Columbian Communist Party
    Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA); a leftist separatist group in Spain
    Kurdistan Worker’s Party; a leftist separatist group in Turkey
    Tamil Tigers; a leftist separatist group in Sri Lanka
    17 November; a Marxist-Leninist group in Greece

    (There almost seems to be a theme here. Not Muslim, but. . .)

    You wrote: Every time someone condemns another country for not being committed to the war on terror, they ought to consider the American attitudes towards terror before and after 9/11.

    Maybe I’m missing it, but I don’t see America’s hypocrisy towards its own terrorists like ELF or the odd Timothy McVeigh (militia groups are weird but hardly comparable to Hamas or any similar threats). If all you meant to say is that America didn’t care enough about the terrorism Israel, Columbia, and many others were experiencing BEFORE 9/11, well, then I agree. We were living in a dream world.

    However, it’s only fair to also point out that other countries rarely concern themselves with our troubles unless it begins to effects them (and then LOOK OUT!). Being self-centered is hardly an American trait.

    So when American missionaries are shot down (due to our own misguided involvement down there) that should be big news.

  6. If all you meant to say is that America didn?t care enough about the terrorism Israel, Columbia, and many others were experiencing BEFORE 9/11, well, then I agree.

    Yep, that’s what I meant to say. No real similarities in terms of turning a fairly blind eye towards domestic terrorism; at this date, we aren’t exporting much. (Although the US remains a main source of funding for the IRA.)

  7. t.rev t.rev

    In SDB’s defense, it seems to me that most of his detractors (and most of his fans) misinterpret his authorial voice. The `utterly certain sounding’ tone he takes is anything but:

    Actually, what I’ve been doing is participating in a mass brainstorming session. I’ve been trying to contribute ideas and concepts to the political marketplace of ideas, in hopes that others will read them and point out the problems, perhaps make their own proposals, and continue to think. The consequences of writing something which is proven wrong are negligible, but the potential benefit which may come from posting it could conceivably be quite great, and by the nature of brainstorming you can never know when you begin what you’ll end up with, except that you’ll recognize it.


    He makes it fairly clear in this entry and several others that he expects to be challenged, and indeed wants to be. He doesn’t transmit a lot of signals along the lines of `well, I could be wrong here, but what if…’, and I think that that puts a lot of people off. My impression, based on the essay above, is that he simply takes such disclaimers for granted.

  8. Possibly, but I can’t say I’ve seen his thinking evolve much. I have seen him say “Hey, I was wrong” when events turn out differently than expected — but then he’s back saying obviously erroneous things like this.

  9. So the lesson we learn from terrorism abroad is that terrorists in the Middle East are right-wing theocrats, and terrorists in other parts of the world are left-wing. Sort of like ELF terrorists being on the left in the US and Timothy McVeigh being on the right. Or … there’s a broad spectrum of ideologies that drive terrorism. Fascinating discovery.

    I dunno, I guess I feel like the fact that American news coverage plays to Short Attention Span Theater is a bad thing. Maybe if anybody were paying attention to what the War On Drugs was actually doing to our foreign policy, we’d reconsider our course of action in South America.

    Nah, that’d just be giving into the liberals. Can’t have that.

    As for SDB’s masterful prose stylings, my inner editor always wants to cut his posts to 1/4 to 1/3 the size when I don’t think they should be outright deleted. SSDB is a meme that resonates with me in a snarkily funny way.

    And I don’t see how his thinking has evolved, since regardless of his professions of open-mindedness, he’s saying essentially the same things on this topic now he said when I quit reading him regularly more than a year ago. The nicest thing one can say is that he doesn’t seem to have gone further down the road paved with good intentions like other sites with a strong Middle-Eastern focus have done.

  10. No, Ginger, the lesson might be that most of the left is unwilling to support the war on terrorism (preferring instead to look for root causes and how America went wrong) perhaps because many of the terrorist groups ultimate goals are close to their hearts in ideology. Palastinian terrorists may be right-wing theocratic fanatics, but the sympathy they garner in the West comes from the left. Yes, it is fascinating, isn’t it?

  11. neal neal

    i think the world is ending

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