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Cogent analysis can't trump Political Correctness

Reader comment on item: The Snipers: Crazy or Jihadis?

Submitted by Gordon Bowen (United States), Oct 31, 2002 at 10:55

Kudos on the piece concerning the jihadist motives of the snipers in the Washington D.C. region. Pipes again hits the nail on the head: given the extraordinary tactics used by our enemies to sow fear, during the search for the perpetrators of such crimes it should be presumed that there IS a connection to terrorism until substantial evidence demonstrates an alternative motive to make more sense. The risks involved of presuming the opposite are too great.

As Pipes points out, the press simply has another agenda, one dictated not by careful sifting of the new evidence but by a desire to use each new event to affirm an a priori conclusion about the narrow nature of the terrorist threat. When living in Los Angeles during Summer 2002, I was struck by how quickly the press there compartmentalized as "the act of one individual" the deadly shootings at LAX airport on July 4th, 2002, shootings that targeted American Jews and Israelis. Only later did the careful planning of the shooter emerge, well after the event had been relegated to obscurity so to affirm biases unsustainable by a hard look at the clear desire of the shooter to advance the terrorists' goals.

Failure to recognize the strengths of our enemies is among the most significant barriers America faces in mobilizing an appropriate response to their loosely coordinated violence. We appear so invulnerable; they appear so weak; thus any substantial response swiftly is labelled an over-reaction. Our enemies rely on our continuing to fall for this deception. The jihadists among us may not be winning, but in the battle to shape an appropriate response to their clever strategy, those of us who do understand the broad nature of the threat also have not yet convinced the shapers of opinion here to pause, to look at the evidence, to look for patterns, and then to explain.
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