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January 22, 2010

Isolated Incident: Little Rock Military-Recruiting-Center Gunman Claims Al Qaeda/AP Ties

"Al Qaeda/AP" is my attempt at short-hand for this Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula cult. I know most just say "AQAP" or something, but I haven't written that yet, so... there's my transition to it.

We were of course sternly lectured that this was an isolated incident and was not "terrorism" because there was no connection to a foreign terror-sponsoring organization. Even if that were true, it's jackass, because the real model of true jihadism is millions of self-starting lone jihadist killers who don't need any organization to tell them to kill. They just need a bit of online proselytizing and to feel the call to serve the God of Murder.

So yes, that too is "terrorism." It is an attempt to terrorize in service of a political/criminal movement, if not at the behest of that movement.

No one in the GOP or conservative movement actually tells me what to write or what to cover. Does that mean I'm not acting in service of the GOP or conservative movement? Give me a break. No one would claim I have no connection to these groups. Obviously I am in their service. I'm just not in their organizational chart.

Funny how the One Abortion Clinic Bomber Everyone Loves to Talk About is a terrorist, despite not having some sort of organization directing his actions, but none of these guys pass muster.

But, even if one subscribes to that conveniently-cramped definition of terrorism, it appears now that initial assurances by our law enforcement/intelligence community were wrong.

In a letter to the judge presiding over his case, the accused killer, Abdulhakim Muhammad, calls himself a soldier in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and calls the shooting “a Jihadi Attack” in retribution for the killing of Muslims by American troops. ....

It remains unclear whether Mr. Muhammad really has ties to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula .... But if evidence emerges that his claim is true, it will give the June 1, 2009, shooting in Little Rock new significance at a time when Yemen is being more closely scrutinized as a source of terrorist plots against the United States.

Mr. Muhammad, 24, a Muslim convert from Memphis, spent about 16 months in Yemen starting in the fall of 2007, ostensibly teaching English and learning Arabic. During that time, he married a woman from south Yemen. But he was also imprisoned for several months because he overstayed his visa and was holding a fraudulent Somali passport, the Yemen government said.

Under pressure from the United States government, Yemen deported Mr. Muhammad in late January 2009. But just four months after his return, Mr. Muhammad used a semiautomatic rifle to gun down two soldiers — Pvt. William A. Long and Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula — while they were standing outside a military recruiting station in Little Rock, killing Private Long and wounding Private Ezeagwula.

Conservatives sometimes react too quickly to such stories, immediately branding them terrorism.

But there's a reason we (I) do this: It's because I know damn well my government is lying to me. I have seen this time and time again, where the first statement, provided mere hours after an incident, when people are still in triage and there has been not enough time to even begin an investigation, let alone conclude one, is the rote repetition of the claim that it's not terrorism, there is no foreign connection, etc.

And if they're saying that out of the box, then we know for a fact they are actively avoiding lines of questioning that would contradict that claim, because that is what human beings do. Once a person has committed himself to a position, he does not wish to disturb it or reverse himself, and will see only evidence that supports his first half-assed guess, and ignore evidence that contradicts it.

I am tired of this bullshit. No one knows in the initial hours after a jihadist assault whether it's a self-starter or whether the guy was under orders (or the middle case where he's not acting under orders per se, but got training and ideological reinforcement from jihadist groups), and yet the government always tells me, immediately, it wasn't terrorism.

I read, somewhere, the most brilliantly cynical analysis of this tendency, which I think is 100% accurate:

If a terrorist attack succeeds, it's not terrorism, because the government will not acknowledge successful terrorist attacks.

The government only likes acknowledging foiled terrorism attacks, because if they've foiled it, they've protected us against terrorism, and they want us all to know that.

Every FBI sting where jihadists get rounded up for planting fake bombs or buying crippled missile launchers is promoted as a terrorist-bust.

But when these guy actually murder people -- oh no, that wasn't terrorism at all, that was just some lone nut with a gun. (And a Koran.)

Enough of the bullshit. If we're to have genuine confidence in our government at all (is that still a goal they aspire to?), they need to be straight with us, stop giving us PR nonsense, and admit their failings alongside their trumpeting of their successes.

If they keep claiming that every successful terrorist attack is not terrorism, we have every right to suspect they are not taking this seriously, and that they are covering up their failures, and that they are, of course, not dealing with the lapses that caused the failures, and that more of us will be killed just so they can go up in front of the microphones and make pissing-on-our-backs claims like "There is no evidence this was a terrorist attack."

What scares the hell out of me isn't that terrorism is being treated as a law enforcement issue. If only. That may not be the best possible response to terrorism, but at least it would be barely-adequate response.

What scares me more than that is that terrorism is being treated solely as a public relations issue. The only thing that seems to matter is spin and "winning the media cycle."

Guys? Allow yourselves to lose the media cycle once in a while so you can win the terrorism cycle, okay?

Thanks to AHFF Geoff.

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posted by Ace at 10:37 AM

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