Friday, June 12, 2009

DHS Support from McCarthyites

Some nutcase white supremacist goes out for a little killing spree and now the left is going nuts.
Greg Sargent's reaction to the murder at the Holocaust Museum yesterday -- "it's time to revisit criticism of 'right-wing extremists' report" -- wasn't atypical. You could hear the same insta-reaction around the Web, as confirmation bias did its work and two or three crimes by far-right figures were transformed into something larger. Here's Andrew Sullivan: "That DHS report doesn't look so iffy any more, does it?" Markos Moulitsas: "Attempt by Cons to justify their critique of prescient DHS report are an extra special dose of stupid." Benjamin Sarlin at The Daily Beast writes that "a much-maligned Department of Homeland Security memo on right-wing extremism is looking more accurate by the day." Doug J. at Balloon Juice says, "How many acts of right-wing terrorism have to occur before DHS is allowed to start keeping track of it?"
Nice. Wonder what these bastions of bullshit would be saying if it had been ELF or some "progressive" type that did something of the kind.

Similar crap coming out of the extreme Right on any Islamic nut job attacking people. Only a bit of difference being that the recruiting station that had a couple of military people killed got a minor note by the MSM (aka Ministry of Propaganda) while the abortionist and the Holocaust Museum attacker got major and repeated coverage.

But lets get to the point on DHS.
Why did the DHS report come under such fire? It wasn't because far-right cranks are incapable of committing crimes. It's because the paper blew the threat of right-wing terror out of proportion, just as the Clinton administration did in the '90s; because it treated "extremism" itself as a potential threat, while offering a definition of extremist so broad it seemed it include anyone who opposed abortion or immigration or excessive federal power; and because it fretted about the danger of "the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities." (Note that neither the killing in Kansas last month nor the shooting in Washington yesterday was committed by an Iraq or Afghanistan vet.) The effect isn't to make right-wing terror attacks less likely. It's to make it easier to smear nonviolent, noncriminal figures on the right, just as the most substantial effect of a red scare was to make it easier to smear nonviolent, noncriminal figures on the left. The fact that communist spies really existed didn't justify Joseph McCarthy's antics, and the fact that armed extremists really exist doesn't justify the Department of Homeland Security's report.
DHS isn't there for politics, though you'd think otherwise having read anything reported on Napolitano's watch. The issue erupting from all of this will likely cause more issues for people who have nothing to do with violent actions. And with the governments well understood ability to entice (read as "entrap") individuals into actions they would not take without that stimulus, can we doubt that people will be going to jail because someone believed they could be a threat and not that they actually were?

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