More on Wade Michael Page

I said in my first blog post that Wade Michael Page, the white supremacist mass murderer who killed 6 people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin on Sunday, was shaped by a community of ideas and that I doubted whether the media would pursue those ideas to its source.

Along those lines, I think Glenn Greenwald has a very thoughtful post today on the topic.  Please go read it.

My thoughts are still percolating but I will say this:  ever since 9/11 our country, led by government sources in tandem with our media, has ratcheted up the propaganda with respect to Islamic terrorists.  President Bush framed the issue existentially.  They hate our freedoms.  They are trying to kill you.  If we aren’t fighting them over there, we’ll be fighting them over here.  And so on and so forth.  We’re reminded of it every time we fly and every time the DHS issues another alert.

What’s the problem with this?  Well, for one thing, it isn’t exactly true.  These Islamic groups by and large are not motivated by hatred of our freedoms and most of them are not particularly interested in bringing the fight to United States territory.  Most of these groups are formed as a direct result of operations and/or policies we pursue overseas.  They are motivated, first and foremost, by political objectives – often times because of what we’re doing in their countries.

When we were sold the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, when the Bush Administration attempted to explain away its own intelligence and security failures leading up to 9/11, we were sold the idea that their way of life and our way of life were mutually hostile.  Therefore, we had to go to war, not just in Afghanistan but also in Iraq.

Now, no one officially condemned all Muslims.  But when you paint the enemy in such broad strokes, the lines are destined to look a little blurry.  And then it was necessary to blur the lines even further so that Americans could no longer tell the difference between terrorists and Iraqi civilians rightfully upset about their houses being blown up, their entire law and order apparatus being dismantled and replaced with… nothing, and their country’s resources being exploited.

And then, of course, there’s the existential threat posed by Iran.

At what point is it surprising that the fringe elements, especially those who have Army training and access to guns, start to see the enemy everywhere they see brown skin and funny accents?

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