Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), as the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, is poised to begin a series of hearings geared toward stoking an Islamophobic frenzy over jihadists in our midst, all because King does not personally feel that Muslim-Americans are sufficiently helpful to law enforcement when it comes to foiling terror plots. As you might imagine, King's paranoid fantasia neatly overlooks the actual facts that are available in actual reality. In the hearings, it will apparently fall to Leroy Baca of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to make these facts clear.
One of the more ironic twists to the story is King's effusive support for the terrorists he likes: the Irish Republican Army. This was a matter that Jon Stewart highlighted on last night's edition of The Daily Show:
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Naturally, King has all kinds of ornate rationalizations that justify his support for the I.R.A., spanning from his I.R.A.-touting days of old to his more recent yen for Islamophobia. The New York Times covers the whole spectrum in an article today:
"We must pledge ourselves to support those brave men and women who this very moment are carrying forth the struggle against British imperialism in the streets of Belfast and Derry," Mr. King told a pro-I.R.A. rally on Long Island, where he was serving as Nassau County comptroller, in 1982. Three years later he declared, "If civilians are killed in an attack on a military installation, it is certainly regrettable, but I will not morally blame the I.R.A. for it."
I'm not sure how Harrods, or the House and Groom Public House, or the Seven Stars Public House, or these Birmingham pubs, qualify as "military installations," but King evidently doesn't "morally blame the I.R.A." for the civilian deaths in these instances, either.
Not that it matters!
Of comparisons between the terrorism of the I.R.A. and that of Al Qaeda and its affiliates, Mr. King said: "I understand why people who are misinformed might see a parallel. The fact is, the I.R.A. never attacked the United States. And my loyalty is to the United States."
See, much like the staggering majority of the people who practice the Islamic faith, the I.R.A. "never attacked the United States." Given the material support and arms the I.R.A. received from Americans and their elected officials, why would they?*
But the fact remains: the I.R.A. never attacked America, with bombs. Instead, they contented themselves with abducting the widowed mothers of seven children from their homes, torturing them, executing them, and burying them on beaches to be discovered 27 years afterward. King is totally cool with all of that.
*Fun fact: King's favorite terrorist organization also received arms from everyone's pal of the moment, Muammar Gaddafi.
UPDATE: Over at Salon's War Room, Justin Elliot notes that in the aforementioned Harrods bombing, the I.R.A. claimed the lives of six people, including one whose bloodstream pumped many pints of American Exceptionalism:
It may be that the IRA never attacked inside the United States. But it's not true that the group never claimed any American victims in attacks targeting civilians. In the notorious December 1983 strike on Harrods in London, for example, an IRA car bomb was set outside the department store in the early afternoon during the busy Christmas shopping season.
The bomb killed six people -- including an American citizen -- and injured another 90.
Among the dead was Kenneth Salvesan, 28, a business consultant from Chicago. At least one other American, a geologist named Mark McDonald from Michigan, was badly injured in the attack. He was visited by Prince Charles and Diana in the hospital, where McDonald was recovering from surgery.
In response to the incident, Margaret Thatcher sent a note of personal apology to Ronald Reagan. Indeed, Thatcher also harshly criticized the New York-based Irish Northern Aid Committee (Noraid), which was often accused of providing money and weapons to the IRA. King himself had close links to Noraid and often spoke at the group's protests in the 1980s.