And that man is Osama Bin Laden.
On Tuesday, Glenn Beck had the former head of the CIA's Bin Laden unit, Michael Scheuer, on as a guest and that was his assessment of our chances. We can only be saved from the loonie leftists by Bin Laden. We need a spectacular terrorist attack and the bigger the death toll, the better.
BECK: Do you really, honestly believe that we have come to a place to where those very senior people in the highest offices of the land, Congress and the White House, really will not do the right thing in the end, that they won't see the error of their ways?
SCHEUER: No, sir, they will not. Not -- the only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States. Because it's going to take a grassroots, bottom-up pressure, because these politicians prize their office, prize the praise of the media and the Europeans. Only -- it's an absurd situation. Again, only Osama can execute an attack which will force Americans to demand that their government protect them effectively, consistently, and with as much violence as necessary.
Help us Obi-Wan, you're our only hope.
Somewhere along the line, Obama got it into his fool head that torture is bad. He decided that operating a concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay was illegal. He decided to talk to Muslims in weird foreign countries, rather than threaten them with destruction. He decided that the US isn't a world all its own, disconnected from that other world where all the terrorists live. He must be stopped. And only Bin Laden can stop him.
While I realize that expecting a segment on Glenn Beck's TV Circus to be sane is expecting too much, you'd think that the former head of the CIA's Bin Laden unit might tone it down a bit. Just because Beck offers programming aimed straight at crazy people, it's wrong to assume that only crazy people watch it. It's still national TV and, if you say something completely insane, everyone's going to know about it. FOX News is not a secret clubhouse.
But the truth is that, historically speaking, America has much more to fear from domestic terrorists than it does from foreign terrorists. The Southern Poverty Law Center has come out with a pretty comprehensive list of what they call "plots, conspiracies and racist rampages since Oklahoma City" and it's pretty big -- 75 incidents since April 19, 1995. All from right wing extremists. More than five a year, on average.
These aren't just drunken racists burning crosses in people's yards or gangs of thugs beating up gays. According to SPLC, this is "a detailed listing of major terrorist plots and racist rampages that have emerged from the American radical right in the years since Oklahoma City. These have included plans to bomb government buildings, banks, refineries, utilities, clinics, synagogues, mosques, memorials and bridges; to assassinate police officers, judges, politicians, civil rights figures and others; to rob banks, armored cars and other criminals; and to amass illegal machine guns, missiles, explosives and biological and chemical weapons. Each of these plots aimed to make changes in America through the use of political violence. Most contemplated the deaths of large numbers of people — in one case, as many as 30,000, or 10 times the number murdered on Sept. 11, 2001." It's very selective. This isn't an overly broad definition of terrorism, these incidents are inarguably terrorism.
Given this history of right wing nuts resorting so often to terrorism, is it really wise for a show aimed at right wing nuts to tell it's audience that only terrorism can save us? Frank Schaffer, a former evangelical leader who says he "quit the evangelical movement in disgust," sees this sort of thing as all too common and unbelievably dangerous.
There's a biblical story about the stoning to death of St. Stephen, where the yet-to-be-converted-apostle Paul didn't throw the deadly stones himself but stood holding the coats of the people doing the killing. Similarly, the right-wing leadership, are "holding the coats" of present and future violent actors. These coat-holders sow the seeds of hate with their words, then pretend horror when those words are taken seriously.
"Who has been beating the anti-immigrant drum?" Schaffer asks. "Who has been calling abortion doctors 'murderers?' Who has been saying that Obama will take away our guns? Who is ratcheting up the anti-Obama hysteria?"
And now we can ask, "Who is saying that terrorism would be good for America?"
Get ready for more of this. On July 4, the right is planning more of their "Tea Party protests" -- a series of astroturf events disguised as grassroots outrage. They serve no real purpose other than to keep those few people who still identify as Republicans mobilized -- the last ones changed nothing and public opinion is still on the side of Obama and the Democrats. Call it busy-work for the nutjobs. I'd imagine it's a successful fundraising tool as well.
But those last tea parties were also a showcase for racist slogans, historical revisionism, anti-government sentiments, and seething anger. Underneath it all was fear; fear that the US is becoming a less Christian nation, a less Republican nation, and a less white nation. People carried signs comparing Barack Obama to Hitler or Stalin -- and believed what was on those signs with all their little wingnut hearts. It's pounded into their talk-radio-disinformed brains on a daily basis; America is being destroyed, destroyed, destroyed, destroyed.
And they have to do something about it.
Michael Scheuer may believe that a major terrorist strike may be the only thing that can save America from itself, but he's wrong in saying that only Bin Laden can do it. History proves that the wingnuts are more than capable of doing it for him.
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