The mystery abides

Gee, what could possibly cause “violent extremism”? The New York Times is stumped. Matt Apuzzo reports: “Who will become a terrorist? Research yields few clues.” Few clues, indeed. Let’s file this in the annals of cluelessness:

“After all this funding and this flurry of publications, with each new terrorist incident we realize that we are no closer to answering our original question about what leads people to turn to political violence,” Marc Sageman, a psychologist and a longtime government consultant, wrote in the journal Terrorism and Political Violence in 2014. “The same worn-out questions are raised over and over again, and we still have no compelling answers.”

I love this:

When researchers do come up with possible answers, the government often disregards them. Not long after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, for instance, Alan B. Krueger, the Princeton economist, tested the widespread assumption that poverty was a key factor in the making of a terrorist. Mr. Krueger’s analysis of economic figures, polls, and data on suicide bombers and hate groups found no link between economic distress and terrorism.

More than a decade later, law enforcement officials and government-funded community groups still regard money problems as an indicator of radicalization.

Marie Harf, call your office! Has anyone gotten the word to United States Attorney Andrew Luger and the administrators of Minnesota’s federally funded Countering Violent Extremism program?

Luger makes a cameo appearance in Apuzzo’s article:

In Minneapolis, one of the pilot cities for the administration’s counter-radicalization efforts, Andrew M. Luger, the United States attorney for Minnesota, has built relationships with the Somali community. He said that a prevention program was coming soon, and that interventions were farther off.

“It’s taken a lot of time,” he said. “We’re at a point where a lot of it is beginning to come to fruition.”

“Fruition.” What is that? “Fruition” is when the money is doled out. No mystery there.

Unfortunately, Apuzzo’s research didn’t turn up Daniel Koehler, director of the German Institute on Radicalization and Deradicalization Studies. He’s making a house call on the “Minnesota men” who have pleaded guilty to seeking to enlist with ISIS.

As far as the Times is concerned, the mystery abides.

Via Andy McCarthy (from whom I have borrowed the opening question above).

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