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Militia or Terrorist?

I have to admit at some level even I have a hard time labeling these guys as “terrorists”:

AP News – A ninth suspected member of a Christian militia group that prosecutors say was preparing for battle against the Antichrist and the U.S. government is to be arraigned Tuesday in federal court, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

but objectively speaking, why aren’t they being called “terrorists” instead of just “a Christian militia group”?

Let’s see:

  • Planning to attack civilians (they are “civilian police”) – check.
  • Planning to cause terror – check.
  • Using violence for political means – check.
  • Religious fundamentalists – check.

Really, if the charges are true, what makes these guys any different than fundamentalist Muslims plotting to kill a bunch of police officers? Is it because they’re “white” and “Christian”? Is it because they’re our terrorists, so it’s ok?

Or at some level, do we approve of this as a legitimate form of expression – to overthrow our government by violent (terror inducing) force? Or is this “revolutionary” rather than terrorist? I’m not sure I see the distinction honestly.

You’ll note the linked article above doesn’t even include any word with the root of “terror” in it, yet I think it’s impossible to argue, regardless of motive, that the plan was anything but to create a “terrorist” incident. To arbitrarily take human life in the name of political cause – that’s terror. I mean if the Fort Hood incident was terrorism, than how could this not be? When a Muslim militia uses IEDs in their own country to end what they feel is “occupation”, we label them “terrorists”. Why would it not be the same for Americans trying to oust their democratically elected government (using IEDs!)?

So, is it just because we have a soft spot for right wing Christian terrorists?

To be clear – I’m not trying to justify the evil of Muslim terrorism, I’m just trying to point out a double standard we have. A double standard that is at some level both racist and ultimately counter productive. Terrorism is terrorism regardless of who commits it. “Christians” (I use the term loosely) who plan to kill a bunch of innocent police officers are just as evil as the (assumed) Muslims who killed the Muscovites in the subway in Russia.

Until we get that distinction, that there is no “exceptionalism” when it comes to terrorism, including for state sponsored terrorism (ie: US, UK, Israel, Iran, Russia, etc.), we will never have hope of achieving anything nearing world peace.

UPDATE:

As noted, even I have trouble calling them “terrorists”, but I’m convinced if we’re going to use the word as flippantly as we do these days, certainly they are. The fact that we can’t find it in ourselves to call them “terrorists”, or at least the mainstream press can’t, says a lot about where we are today.

I think part of it comes frankly from the “Tea Party” movement, which with its emphasis on 2nd Ammendment rights, has a quasi-militant flavor to it. The fact is, militancy against the government is “in” all of a sudden (as it seems to always be with Democratic presidents).

We’re only in the first year of a Democratic and (horrors!) black president’s first term and we’re already getting these threats of violence regularly. I want to dismiss it as a joke – a bunch of deranged yahoos, but last time that happened a lot of innocent Americans died at American hands. Still an ACLU member probably has a better chance of ending up on the TSA no fly list, than a Hutaree.

UPDATE 2:

I’ve read much of the Bible (yeah, I know it’s more fun to assume what God meant and kill people accordingly, but there you go) and nowhere in Jesus’ words can recall anything that remotely justifies what was being contemplated here (quite the opposite in fact). Then again, the most militant pro-war Americans tend to claim to be Christian and frankly the disconnect doesn’t seem to concern them.

UPDATE 3:

Another example of a news update with no mention of “terror”, or any of its versions, in the story:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-militia31-2010mar31,0,451996.story

I would be really interested to know if anyone is going to harp on the Obama administration for reading them their rights? Or, since they may be part of a larger plot, I’d like to know why the same people aren’t saying we should “torture” them?

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