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Maj. Nidal Hasan and the "Desperation Explanation"

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Liberal media has for decades presented suicide bombing and homicide attacks by Arab Muslim extremists, especially Palestinians, as the result of "desperation." Whether decrying injuries to Palestinian youths throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers without asking the tough questions about who was brainwashing and inciting those youths to violently engage those armed soldiers, or reporting on suicide bombing in Iraq without reporting that the vast majority of suicide killers there have, like the 9/11 hijackers, come from Saudi Arabia, the mainstream media has helped to cloud perceptions of the true causes of suicide terrorism. Their shallow reporting on the phenomenon has reinforced the perception that suicide bombing and other forms of terrorism are the result of desperation and in some sense arguably justifiable.

I am by no means saying the mainstream liberal media are responsible for the actions of terrorists. But I am pointing out that, by repeating for decades this mantra of "desperation" as the cause of calculated acts of politically or religiously motivated terrorism, with little investigation into terror's real causes, liberal media and academia have helped to create a climate in which justification of terrorism is by no means deviant. It is as a result of this climate, at least in part, that such deviance as Maj. Hasan's power point presentation "justifying suicide bombing" was not viewed as a "red flag," but as reflective of a legitimate point of view.

At virtually any college or university in the U.S., you can hear students -- and professors -- in political science or other courses spouting rhetoric about Muslim "desperation" as the cause of suicide bombing and other terrorism. You can hear the same point of view expressed on talk shows (I was a panelist on one such show).

I am not arguing that, in the U.S., people should not be allowed to express such views (Thankfully, it's still a free country). But I am saying that moral relativism and excessive political correctness have allowed this desperation/justification rhetoric to go unchallenged in many circles. So is it really a surprise that when someone--even an officer in the U.S. Army--starts spouting off about the justifications for suicide bombing, people simply nod and take notes? In a morally relativistic universe, that is just another point of view.

In reality, the most direct cause of terrorism is not desperation but indoctrination, something which child suicide bombing expert Brooke Goldstein and her co-producer Alistair Leyland have documented via primary source interviews and investigation in their excellent film, The Making of a Martyr.

Despite the "desperation" camp's ignorance -- of the suffering of victims of terrorism, of the systematic and calculated way terrorist leaders groom potential recruits, of the massive system of educational brainwashing that exists to create individuals capable of such deviance -- in certain politically correct circles, far from being viewed as wrong or deviant, the "desperation explanation" is still considered enlightened.

Interestingly, proponents of the "desperation explanation" in the U.S. seemed to quiet down a bit in the aftermath of September 11. I guess when your own safety is threatened, it's a little harder to rationalize that those who use violence and terror as a calculated means of advancing their political or religious agenda are simply "desperate."

In reality, of course, desperate people might commit suicide or steal sandwiches and diapers. They don't spend weeks, months, or years plotting elaborate schemes for killing and terrorizing others, or organize elaborate systems of brainwashing and groom others to do the above. Who does? People with an agenda, corrupt and evil people, Islamist religious fanatics or perhaps people who are criminally insane.

Terror's foot soldiers -- those recruited to self-detonate -- may be targeted for recruitment in part because of personal desperation, but their personal problems do not drive terror's engines and are a grossly inadequate explanation for terrorism.

Tragically, Americans now have more direct experience of what Israelis have been up against for decades.