Let’s not jump to conclusions.
So we are told by people who are jumping to conclusions.
For liberal America the politics never stops. Nicholas Kristof was quick to blame the Boston Marathon terrorist attack on Senate Republicans.
Since Senate Republicans have been blocking the appointment of a new director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, they must be responsible for how well the Department of Homeland Security does its job.
Kristof had nothing to say about the recent directive from DHS granting special privileges to Saudi citizens.
A little less than a month ago, Fox News reported:
A Department of Homeland Security program intended to give "trusted traveler" status to low-risk airline passengers soon will be extended to Saudi travelers….
It’s extremely unlikely that this new policy had anything to do with what happened in Boston yesterday, but still, it does tell us that DHS does not understand where terrorists come from.
OK, Kristof took it back, but his more radical friends immediately speculated that the attack must have been committed by a homegrown terrorist, another Timothy McVeigh. Or perhaps, Eric Rudolph. After all, April 15 is tax day. Ergo, it must have been committed by one of those anti-tax Tea Party types.
Surely, it’s possible that the terrorism was, as they say, home-grown. Yet, if you tally up the number of terrorist attacks committed by radical Islamists around the world and compare it to the number of terrorist attacks committed by Tea Party types, you would have to conclude that the one is indigenous while the other is anomalous.
Surely, President Obama was right to call upon America to be slow to cast blame. Still, he could have noted that it was an act of terrorism. Last night, he didn't.
Thereby, he reminded people of the fact that he has refused to call anything a terrorist attack. He has never called anything an act of Islamist terror. Remember Cairo and Benghazi.
After the president finished speaking last night, White House officials did manage to say that it really was an act of terrorism.
As we have seen it play out, the Obama policy toward terrorism is a paradox. Obama did order the execution of Osama bin Laden and he has used drones effectively to assassinate terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
On the other hand, he and his administration have made a special effort not to call Islamic terrorism by its name.
When Major Nidal Hassan screamed Alahhu Akbar and opened first at Fort Hood, the Obama administration called it an act of workplace violence.
When Egyptian fanatics threatened to overrun our embassy in Cairo the Obama administration apologized for the work of a Coptic Christian filmmaker.
And when an organized band of Islamist terrorists murdered the American ambassador to Libya and three others, the administration spent weeks insisting that it was not a terrorist attack.
Throughout it all President Obama continued to cozy up to the Islamist prime minister of Turkey and the Islamist president of Egypt.
The Obama refusal to call Islamist terrorism by its name is policy. It presupposes that our own disrespect for Islam is fueling Islamist violence.
If only we show more respect for the religion in whose name the vast majority of terrorist actions have been committed, then, Muslims will not feel that can only assert their “pride” by killing, mutilating and maiming innocent civilians.
But, if you fail to call it by its name you cannot direct your anger. It is true that we should not feel terrorized by terrorism, but it is also true that we have every right to feel outrage at such acts and to react accordingly.
The Obama administration believed that since the overly belligerent attitude of the Bush administration had provoked anti-American violence the best way to put an end to it was to stop calling Islamist terrorists Islamist terrorists.
It has also expressed a marked preference for calling such acts crimes, and not acts of war.
By now, most Americans believe that the Bush administration was wrong to invade Iraq. Many people believe that the Afghanistan war was also a mistake.
Let’s grant that those wars were not conducted very effectively, but when America was attacked the Bush administration fought back. It called an act of war an act of war. It called evil evil.
The Obama administration understands that if you call yesterday’s terrorist attack an act of war, you are obliged to fight back.
An administration that prides itself on winding down wars has every reason to call terrorism a criminal act and to try it in court.