The relief–not to say glee–with which many liberals greeted the news that the Oslo mass murderer was a “tall, blond Norwegian” was palpable. Liberals pilloried those who ostensibly leaped to the conclusion, in the first minutes after the massacre began, that it was probably the work of Islamic jihadists. Scott noted earlier such attacks on Jennifer Rubin.
As far as I know, liberals haven’t attacked me for the post I did while the attacks were in progress. But what I wrote was, I think, typical:
The perpetrators of these attacks have not yet been identified, but they likely were Muslim terrorists.
Was that wrong? Not at all. Any time mass murder attacks take place, it is not just likely but highly probable that they are the work of Muslim jihadists. Over the last several decades, jihadists have launched hundreds if not thousands of terrorist attacks. They dwarf, in numbers, similar outrages perpetrated by anyone else. That is why, whenever a bomb kills innocent bystanders or an armed man guns down children, the first thing everyone thinks is that it likely will prove to be another instance of Islamic terrorism.
In this case, it wasn’t. The left seems to find significance in that fact, but the appropriate response is, so what? As conservatives have been saying for a decade, terrorism is a tactic, not an enemy. This is why many conservatives have never been happy with the “war on terror.” That people other than jihadists can use violence against civilians to advance their cause, or simply out of craziness, is obvious.
The fact is, however, that as far as we know, there is only one political movement in the world that 1) has an ideology that both excuses and glorifies the mass murder of innocents, and 2) actually uses terrorist attacks as a tactic to advance its political goals. That movement is Islamic jihadism.
It is possible, of course, that yesterday’s attacks will lead to the revelation that there is a second such movement: a conspiracy of blond Norwegians. Liberals seem to think so. If there is indeed such a movement, the authorities in Norway will put it under surveillance, infiltrate it, arrest its leaders and destroy it. If such a movement becomes a threat to the U.S., our intelligence agencies, military and law enforcement authorities will do the same. Possibly that will prove true, but–as a more-or-less blond Norwegian (or Norwegian-American, anyway), let me say that I doubt it.
Based on experience, it is much more likely that Anders Breivik will prove to be one of an entirely different breed: a nut whose mania has a political cast. The Unabomber, from whom Breivik apparently plagiarized chunks of his “manifesto,” is a good example of that genre. Its prototype is John Brown. One might think that Brown was right about slavery, or Kaczynski was right about the environment, or Breivik was right about the Islamification of Europe. But that is irrelevant: all three were crazed murderers who deserved to die.
Unfortunately, Breivik won’t die, since Norway doesn’t have the death penalty. In fact, as I understand it, the longest prison sentence you can get in Norway is 21 years, so Breivik will still be a young man, free to kill again if he so chooses, when he is released. Maybe the real debate we should be having about the Norway massacres relates to capital punishment.
In the meantime, none of this has any bearing on the jihadist threat, which is exactly as serious today as it was a week ago.
UPDATE: One more thing: it is almost funny, in a black-humor sort of way, that several jihadist groups tried to claim credit for Breivik’s rampage. What does that tell you? They thought it was a great idea, and only wished they had been able to do it themselves. Meanwhile, the press describes Breivik as a “fundamentalist Christian.” Really? Does that mean he goes to church? I would like to know what Christian church he attends on Sunday mornings.
I’m just kidding, of course. Suffice it to say that representatives of “fundamentalist Christian” churches didn’t race to claim “credit” for his mass murders. QED.