Yet even in the face of all of that, it is bewilderment and confusion that reign when our media stars and political figures talk about attempts to attack Americans. Why would they possibly want to do this? They must be crazy, or drunk with religious fervor, or consumed by blinding, inhumane hatred. Much of that is probably true for individuals willing to blow themselves up in order to slaughter as many innocent civilians as possible.
I’m not sure what the key difference between those who “[attempt] to attack Americans” and “individuals willing to blow themselves up in order to slaughter as many innocent civilians as possible” is supposed to be. As distinct from Nidal Hassan types, who only shoot soldiers? A bit of a religious nutter, actually. Or al-Balawi, who only blew up CIA military liaisons? Possibly, although he was recruited by the CIA’s Jordanian colleagues “during his imprisonment for outlawed activities on jihadi websites,” which would seem to undercut Greenwald’s assertion that he “beg[a]n with sympathy towards the U.S. and hostility towards Al Qaeda” somewhat. Or maybe his heart was unusually fickle.
One suspects that Greenwald – in word, if not in thought – is blending two quite distinct categories: active “global Jihad” terrorists; and regular, generally sane Arabs (or not) and Muslims (or not) who have problems, fair or not, with American policy or actions, problems which may lead them to go so far as to tacitly approve the actions of the first group. While some of their grievances may be the same, those of the second group are far more important, and far more worthy of consideration, than those of the first.
Why? While there is no single psychological profile of “a terrorist”, or “anti-American militant”, there does seem to be a common profile of the sort of terrorist who carries out attacks in the US, and that profile is what professional psychological profilers call “a total jerk off”. Seriously, if someone can put together a more pitiful group than the Shoe Bomber, the Underwear Bomber, that loser with the cunning plan to nuke the Brooklyn Bridge, Dr. Hassan, and all the other high-profile super-terrorist arrests we’ve had over the last decade, please don’t. In the list of things I worry about, al-Qaeda currently ranks somewhere above “stepping on a bee,” and slightly below “Pauly Shore comeback”. I don’t care what motivates these terrorists because, in addition to all the crazy Allah bullshit, they fail so completely in terrorizing me. How can we expect our children to try hard in school and compete with the Chinese when we reward terrorists who fail to meet even minimum standards of competence?
Why do “political figures” avoid discussing their political motivations publicly? (The reason “media stars” don’t discuss it is because OMG A PRETTY WHITE SHARK RAN AWAY FROM HER WEDDING AND BIT A BLONDE LADY AND I THEN I TOTALLY SAW JANET JACKSON’S BOOBIE!! Stay tuned for pointless speculation by morons.) Because political figures publicly debating the grievances of whoever blows up the most civilians would not be a very responsible way of deterring groups with grievances from blowing up large numbers of civilians. (Remember: appeasement doesn’t work.) That’s one reason. And then there’s the fact that terrorists are incompetent losers so who gives a shit.
This discussion of terrorism is all by way of bringing up that most neglected secret hobbyhorse of all time, Israel and blahhhh … Short of making the day 29 hours long, I’m not sure how we are supposed to actually spend more time dealing with this shit, but then, that’s me. I have no ethnic or religious attachment to either party, I don’t think Left Behind is for reals, and I don’t care to use it as a proxy battlefield for my own political or person discontents. The story of the connection between Israel and attacks on Americans is, at a minimum, four decades old. And – and I’m not sure if everyone is fully aware of this – we personally occupy two entire Muslim countries right now, and it is in these countries where most (and 100% of all non-laughable) “attempts to attack Americans” take place. I’m not sure that spending even more time talking about Israel will really get us any closer to understanding this mystery. The people who do and will suffer the consequences of what happens in ‘The Holy Land’ are not Americans, they are the Palestinians and Israelis, and how long they decide to continue their endlessly fascinating and infinitely consequential slo-mo race war. Similarly, what happens in Afghanistan and Iraq will largely be a result of what Americans, Iraqis, Afghans, and other involved parties choose.
And anyway, Israel hates us now, too. We’ll consider why after they blow up some Americans.