Saturday, November 07, 2009

Blood and bigotry: Conservatives attack Obama, scapegoat Muslims, and shamelessly use Fort Hood massacre to score partisan political points

Here's what I tweeted yesterday:

I can't wait for the right's all-out anti-Muslim take on the Fort Hood massacre. You know they'll fit the blame to their biases.

And later:

The rush to judgement by conservatives is disgusting. But, then, so is their bigotry. Is it any wonder Muslims question America's motives?

And then:

Lesson #1 from Fort Hood? We don't really know a fucking thing yet.

Lesson #2 from Fort Hood? The world can be a crazy, violent place. And sometimes there is appalling bloodshed.

Lesson #3 from Fort Hood? Things are much more complicated than right-wing propaganda and spin would have us believe.

I've spent a good deal of time -- too much time -- going through the conservative reactions to the Fort Hood massace, and it's all pretty much as expected. I just don't have energy to provide a comprehensive round-up, but here are a few of the more appalling examples:

-- Jerome Corsi wrote at WorldNetDaily that Nidal Malik Hasan "played a homeland security advisory role in President Barack Obama's transition into the White House." Actually, he did nothing of the kind, as Jason Linkins explains at HuffPo. Clearly, some on the right are trying to pin this on Obama, or at least to implicate Obama, and the left, in the massacre.

-- Hasan may have seen the war on terror as a war on Islam -- an understandable mistake, I suppose, given how Bush conducted the GWOT -- but that doesn't mean he was a jihadist and that his killing was an act of Islamist terrorism. Conservatives have jumped all over this.

-- Hasan may have shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is great) before shooting, but that doesn't necessarily make him a jihadist any more than what he seems to have been: a deeply troubled, disturbed, emotionally wounded man who simply cracked. Needless to say, conservatives have also jumped all over this.

-- Allen West, a retired colonel and rising Florida Republican, claims that "the horrible tragedy at Fort Hood is proof the enemy is infiltrating our military": "This enemy preys on downtrodden soldiers and teaches them extremism will lift them up. Our soldiers are being brainwashed." West has no evidence of this, and there is no evidence that Hasan was preyed upon and brainwashed by the "enemy."

-- Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds, quoting NPR, reports that Hasan was "disciplined for proselytizing about his Muslim faith with patients and colleagues." Once again, conservatives are making a lot of this, but how is such "proselytizing" any different, or worse, than the aggressive Christian ministries that operate in the military?

Otherwise, other than attacking Obama, conservatives have predictably been lashing out at Muslims generally, as if Hasan was somehow a stand-in for Muslims everywhere. Media Matters:

Right-wing media figures have used the shooting at Fort Hood as an excuse to attack Islam and American Muslims in particular, with Debbie Schlussel, for example, urging readers to think of the alleged shooter "whenever you hear about how Muslims serve their country in the U.S. military." Additionally, commentators have blamed the shooting on "political correctness," with Fox News host Brian Kilmeade suggesting the implementation of "special debriefings" for Muslim American soldiers to prevent future attacks.

The point is not just that conservatives are jumping to conclusions, fitting their attacks to their bigotry and their ideology, but that we still don't know a lot about what happened at Fort Hood, about why Hasan did what he did.

I'm not saying we should ignore what we know, or write the massacre off as an entirely meaningless incident, which would only let the right control the narrative, as Jason Zengerle rightly argues at The Plank, and there may very well be more to this, but rushing to bigoted judgement, calling Hasan a terrorist, and scapegoating Muslims is, while predictable a right-wing response, deeply irresponsible, as is trying to use the massacre to score political points against Obama and the Democrats.

Enough already. We all need to know a lot more about what happened, and why, before assigning blame, if that is even what ought to be done.

For more reaction, see Memeorandum.

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  • I suppose the new definition of bigotry is to point out the truth. Radical Islam has declared war on the rest of civilization. We have been under attack for decades. To not consider that this man, under investigation by the FBI for radical sympathy, was influenced by the "religion of peace" would be foolishness at the highest level.
    It never ceases to amaze me how the politically corrected mind will go to any length to rationalize away reality. My guess is that if you were to embrace the truth, you would then be called to action. That action would require courage on your part to defend your country, family and fellow citizens.
    Much easier I suppose to deny the truth and continue living in your cowardly, fantasy world. Look around my friend. Europe is very close to becoming a Muslim continent. The German Minister of Statistics has officially reported that within 25 years, Germany will be a Muslim state. This is being accomplished through 8:1 birthrates compared to Western rates of less than 2:1.
    Perhaps you should measure yourself for your new Berka.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 1:21 PM  

  • No, the definition of bigotry, in this case, is to attack Muslims, including American Muslims, generally. Come on, you know it doesn't take much for right-wing bigotry to bubble to the surface.

    No one has said -- and I certainly don't here -- that Hasan's wasn't motivated by his faith. But the fact is, we don't know anything yet, and so the attacks on Hasan are based on idle speculation set to preconceived bigotry. Even if he was influenced by his faith, though, he may not have been a jihadist. Can it not be that he simply lost his mind? Again, we don't know yet, and what is cowardly is to jump to conclusions the way some conservaties are.

    As for what's happening in Europe, that birth rate difference is likely not sustainable. As Muslims integrate into Western society, as most of them do who live there, they act more like Westerners, and hence the birth rate will decline. And by the way, there is no German Minister of Statistics.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 5:46 PM  

  • "Much easier I suppose to deny the truth and continue living in your cowardly, fantasy world."

    So not being afraid is cowardice? Where did you learn English, Rick? Wetting your pants because some guy went nuts after being taunted by bigots like you? I don't have to be Colonel Sanders to know the smell of Chickenshit.

    Hey, the guy who shot up Orlando is a Catholic - you know "those people" breed like rabbits and so do rednecks like the one who blew up Oklahoma City. Better run and hide Rick, the bogey man's coming for you.

    "Radical Islam has declared war on the rest of civilization"

    Get that one from the Botswana Bullshit Minister? OK, if you say so, but I don't take it more seriously than any of the "wars" we've declared on everybody and everything from hemp to homosexuals. We're warlike people, face it, and we've attacked at least 10 countries since I was in kindergarten none of whom shot at us first. We need wars and enemies to keep up the fear and keep down the freedom and keep crying little creeps like you happy while you're taking Fox News hate suppositories up the crap chute.

    No, I'll defend my self and my family any time and jerks like you are a much bigger danger than some nutjob with a Beretta. You know, those sheets really look bright and make a great target in the moonlight, white boy.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 9:23 PM  

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  • I don't remember hearing that Radical Christianity had declared war on the US after the Oklahoma City bombing, or the Atlanta Olympics bombing, or the guy shot up the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., or murdered Dr. Tiller in Wichita, or Fred Phelps demonstrated at the funerals of veterans.

    Why is that?

    By Blogger Mustang Bobby, at 7:55 AM  

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