Friday, August 10, 2012

Hands Off Domestic Right Wing Terror?

"We have met the enemy and he is us…"

It remains to be seen whether or not Wade Michael Page, perpetrator of last week’s mass murder at the Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, was an active member of a white supremacist terror cell (doubt it), an ideologically motivated “Lone Wolf” (probably not), or a depressed sadsack who chose a public murder-suicide in alignment with his twisted world view.

On 10 August 2012 Homeland Security News Wire published an article, Domestic terrorism by members of extremist groups a serious threat: FBI, that is much better than their usual “Anything-GWOT-Is-Good” puff pieces.  It refers the reader to several interesting papers that have not received all the attention they might have in a less partisan atmosphere:

The most disturbing theme in the article was the reporting from Thomson Reuters, the Los Angeles Times, and Salon to the effect that conservative political backlash has hampered investigation of right wing domestic terror groups.  Homeland Security News Wire closes its report with this troubling paragraph:

In the wake of the controversy the study triggered, and charges of political motives, DHS disbanded the small team of analysts assigned to study “domestic non-Islamic extremism,” which had produced the report. The department now largely concentrates on threats from Islamic extremists, and analysts are monitor law enforcement and domestic intelligence issues are divided in their opinion as to how much resources and energy various government agencies now devote to monitoring non-Islamist terrorism threats.

Much as we would rather not think about it, domestic terrorism has been an element in American politics at least since the close of the America Civil War.  The enemy within has always looked much more like us than those from without.  We must not forget that now lest we turn our backs on a potentially dangerous truth.

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