Politically Correct Jihad
Since the Boston Bombing, we have heard much in the mainstream media and from the Obama Administration about Jihadi “self-radicalization.” Usage of “self-radicalization” did not trouble me because I was processing the term based on my understanding of the FBI Model which describes the process of violent radicalization as four incremental stages of development along a continuum (see FORT HOOD REPORT DIGESTED (Pt. 2) (Violent Radicalization) OBS 7/24/12) as follows:
Preradicalization → Identification → Indoctrination → Action
In short, I viewed the use of “self-radicalization” as merely a variant stepping stone along the path of violent radicalization.
I missed entirely the concept that “self-radicalization” was being used, especially by the Obama Administration, to paint the Boston Bombers as essentially lone-wolf Jihadists who had no real-world connections to Al Qaeda and other Jihadist groups (which president Obama has vanquished single-handedly). One supposes this would mean such “self-radicalized” Jihadists do not pose the same level of danger as the highly organized group of Jihadists who attacked us on September 11, 2001.
Michael Ledeen, writing in the May 20, 2013 Weekly Standard, opened my eyes and mind as to why the mainstream media and the Obama Administration has been so eager to define the Boston Bombing in politically correct verbiage as the work of “self-radicalized” Jihadists.
The president has described the Boston terrorists as “self-radicalized,” and his voice is but one in a great chorus insisting that we face a major threat from Americans gone bad, almost entirely on their own, and certainly without any input from foreign countries or terrorist groups.
How, exactly, does a person radicalize himself?
Indeed, even if we accept the (invariably dubious) claim that the only contact with the terror network consisted of listening to incendiary language and studying bombing instructions on the Internet, the very claim undermines the self-radicalization meme. Doesn’t the Internet create communities?
So why has self-radicalization become conventional wisdom? Its main feature is the dismissal of ideology, whether religious or political. The terrorists are all tossed in the “extremism” bag, and we don’t have to bother parsing specific doctrines to understand or combat them. This is very handy for the multiculturalists. If all cultures have equal standing, and all people are basically the same, then it’s either stupidity or bigotry to insist on listening to what they say about themselves.
The other big reason for the proliferation of the doctrine of self-radicalization is that it firmly blocks any effort to single out the followers of any given ideology, and thus rejects the very idea of a war against terrorism. Defense of the homeland becomes a quest to identify alienated loners whose ideas have nothing to do with terrorism, especially radical Islamic terrorism.
To deny that, as the president and so many self-declared experts maintain, obscures the motives of terrorists and thereby adds significantly to our peril. (Block quote credit Michael Ledeen “Self-Radicalization Chic- The preposterous theory du jour.” Weekly Standard 5/20/13)
Your humble blogger missed the import of the usage of “self-radicalization” to the majority of Americans who are not “up” on Counter Jihad. I knew the reality underlying the term but did not recognize the import of its usage. This is an excellent example of why it pays to read what others are saying on an issue that should matter to us all, the threat of Islamic Jihadists, be they organized groups or purported lone-wolves.
Check out my other writings on “Jihad” under categories to your right.