-- R.G. Menzies
LIBERTARIAN/CONSERVATIVE DIGEST AND COMMENTARY FROM AN ACADEMIC PSYCHOLOGIST in Brisbane, Australia. My academic publications are widely read
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In the Soviet era, American "liberals" tried to deceive America into not defending itself against Communist hostility
Now they are trying to deceive Americans into not defending themselves against Muslim hostility. The idea of America being punished for its success and prosperity gives them erections so they do anything they can to bring disaster to America
Federal law enforcement has amassed an impressive record identifying and interdicting would-be jihadists bent on waging terrorist attacks before they can acquire the means to kill people. The American military has killed or detained senior terrorist leaders, including those tied to a slew of homegrown terror plots.
So when a spike in those plots from 2009 ebbs, those seeking an explanation might start by looking at these documented successes.
Not University of North Carolina sociologist Charles Kurzman.
In a report issued last week, Kurzman tallied 20 terrorism prosecutions in 2011 as further proof of his theory that the threat of Islamist terrorism is exaggerated and the country's response still rooted more in emotion and fear than reason.
The New York Times promoted the report a day before its release, leading with Kurzman's conclusion that, "A feared wave of homegrown terrorism by radicalized Muslim Americans has not materialized."
"The public perception of threat does not match actual case-by-case attacks," Kurzman also told the Raleigh News & Observer. "We're getting a skewed perception of the prevalence of these figures."
Neither newspaper challenged Kurzman's premise and methodology and neither sought out an opposing viewpoint. For the Times, it is yet another example of its long time collaboration with uncritically and falsely presenting militant Islamist groups and officials as "moderate."
But the Kurzman report is flawed by its assumptions and by Kurzman's conclusion that the data shows the threat of radicalization has been repelled, an opinion for which he offers no evidence.
He is careful to say there is a threat, noting that "revolutionary Islamist organizations overseas continue to call for Muslim-Americans to engage in violence." But in a Muslim-American population of 2 million, such cases barely register a blip in a country "on track to register 14,000 murders in 2011."
Murderers and terrorists both kill. But the comparison ends there. Murders tend to be individual acts, committed for personal or monetary reasons. Terrorist attacks seek mass casualties and seek to instill mass fear to deep economic harm and political surrender.
Kurzman authored a book last year detailing his theory. In a question-and-answer posting on his webpage, he explains that if Islamic radicalism were a genuine crisis, "we would see far more than the 20 Muslim-Americans, on average, who engage in terrorist plots each year." Until perspective comes to the debate, he writes, "we may wind up scaring ourselves into panicky policy decisions and a paranoid quality of life."
James Carafano, deputy director of the Heritage Foundation's Institute for International Studies, said it was misleading to use raw numbers on an issue like terrorism. Terrorists are "fringe elements of society" whose number never will equate to the damage they can cause.
"You could quadruple the number of attacks by Islamic terrorists and it would still be a small number [of the population]," said Carafano, who studied 40 disrupted homegrown terror threats. "Would people say that's not a problem because it is less than 2 percent? No, they would be apoplectic."
By JR on Sunday, February 26, 2012
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