Saturday, March 12, 2011

POLITICS: More on Peter King's radical fiasco

Republican Congressman Peter King, Chair of the US House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, has just commenced a set of controversial hearings on the "radicalisation of American Muslims".

Writing in the Boston Globe, John Tirman from the MIT Center for International Studies notes:

The START database on terrorism in America, which tracks all incidents of political violence, shows that most attacks in the last two decades have been on black churches, reproductive rights facilities, government offices, and individual minorities. And those have been committed mainly by right-wing extremists. From 1990 to 2009, START identified 275 “homicide events’’ that killed 520 people and were committed by right-wing ideologues. There were many more incidents of destruction of property, nonfatal attacks, and other acts of thuggery by white supremacists, private militias, and the like ...

King should expand his investigation to the largest sources of extremist violence in America — the Ku Klux Klan, the neo-Nazis, and their newer versions — and ask how hate speech and war fuel attacks. Those would be congressional hearings worth listening to.

Peter Bergen, director of the national security studies program at the New America Foundation, writes in the New York Times:

If law enforcement officials find it difficult to track down “homegrown” terrorists, then why have only 17 Americans been killed in the United States by jihadist terrorists since 9/11? Clearly law enforcement is having some success against such militants.

In the same time period, there were 73 homicides that the F.B.I. classified as hate crimes, and few lawmakers are suggesting that the agents aren’t doing enough about that issue. There are more than 15,000 murders in the U.S. every year, and few congressmen are claiming that law enforcement isn’t doing enough about such crimes.

To be continued ...