How PC Talk Paralyzes us: Holder before the House on Islamic Radicalism and Home-Grown Terrorism

John Hindraker at Powerline has an astonishing tale to tell: Eric Holder before the House Judiciary Committee, answers some blunt questions from Rep. Lamar Smith (R. Texas). What you see is a man incapable of even thinking about, much less discussing intelligently a problem that should be at the top of his priority list.

Note how he repeats three times two obfuscatory talking points. Unlike the 10-page Arizona law, which he didn’t read despite admitting reservations about the law based entirely on hearsay, Holder has apparently deeply imbibed the memo from the Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano about the necessary euphemisms for topics we do not discuss.

In so responding Holder reveals himself a firm believer in a kind of “dogma” that states that Jihadi Islam is inconsistent with Islam. If Smith were less confrontational, we’d have even better documentation on what Holder – and, I’d guess, most members of this administration – consider “true Islam.”

But, not to worry. Daniel Pipes’ well-researched survey of the role of this euphemistic discourse among Western authorities fills in the interrupted gaps: “Not Calling Islamism the Enemy.”

RADICAL ISLAM? WHAT’S THAT?
May 13, 2010 Posted by John at 8:23 PM

Could radical Islam be responsible for recent terrorist attacks inside the U.S.? That question doesn’t seem like too much of a poser, but it was too much for Attorney General Eric Holder when he testified before the House Judiciary Committee today. Rep. Lamar Smith tries to get Holder to acknowledge that radical Islam could have played a role in one or more of the recent attacks, but Holder apparently views it as a trick question…

SMITH: Let me go to my next question, which is — in — in the case of all three attempts in the last year, the terrorist attempts, one of which was successful, those individuals have had ties to radical Islam. Do you feel that these individuals might have been incited to take the actions that they did because of radical Islam?

HOLDER: Because of?

SMITH: Radical Islam.

HOLDER: There are a variety of reasons why I think people have taken these actions. It’s — one, I think you have to look at each individual case. I mean, we are in the process now of talking to Mr. Shahzad to try to understand what it is that drove him to take the action.

Jack Hexter wrote an interesting essay on the difference between lumpers and splitters (see also, Berlin’s foxes and hedgehogs). Splitting – every case has to be considered on its own – is a tendency of those who wish to avoid making connections. Here, Smith is lumping, driving Holder to split.

SMITH: Yes, but radical Islam could have been one of the reasons?

HOLDER: There are a variety of reasons why people…

This is the second time Holder’s used the same answer to an unanswered question. Is this a talking point?

SMITH: But was radical Islam one of them?

I wish Representative Smith had had the patience to let Holder go on. I’d like to hear what variant on the opening talking point he was planning on saying.

HOLDER: There are a variety of reasons why people do things. Some of them are potentially religious…

Wow. That’s three times in a row. Definitely a talking point. Note the splitters resistance to strong statements: “Okay, I’ll grant you ‘potentially religious,’ but it’s still to early to say. Let us splitters do some research for a while…”

SMITH: OK. But all I’m asking is if you think among those variety of reasons radical Islam might have been one of the reasons that the individuals took the steps that they did.

HOLDER: You see, you say radical Islam. I mean, I think those people who espouse a — a version of Islam that is not…

This is the key point where Smith should have let Holder go on. But it’s a talking point, so we’ll hear it again.

SMITH: Are you uncomfortable attributing any other actions to radical Islam? It sounds like it.

HOLDER: No, I don’t want to say anything negative about a religion that is not…

Here it is. They key revelation of this text. What anyone paying attention knows, but is so rarely openly displayed before the nation: Holder will not say anything negative about Islam, a religion that “is not…” what? Not a belligerent religion, but a religion of peace?

Clear implications here. We don’t discuss “radical Islam” because in so doing we might cast aspersions on the larger religion. And since that cannot be done, we cannot follow up on “radical Islam.” Indeed, we shouldn’t be talking about it.

(Tom Bevin pointed out the contrast between Holder’s reluctance to deal with radical Islam and his taunt that Americans are too cowardly to talk about race. Classic pattern: criticize those who will feel shame, avoid criticizing those who will feel rage. Another illustration of the principle that the true Islamophobes are those who are afraid to say anything negative about the religion.)

We have seen the product of such an approach in the stunning Department of Defense [!] report on Major Hassan and his attack on Fort Hood, which did not use the word “Jihad,” “Muslim,” or “Islam” throughout the text. (One footnote refers to a [short] article with “Islamic” in the title [no link in the Report]).

So rather than, have radical Islam lead us to turning to Muslims in the USA and saying – “Where do your loyalties lie, with radical Islam or with a civic polity that asks you to renounce the doctrine of dar al Islam and dar al Harb?” – Holder would have us assume that there is no conflict in Islam over these problems, and that “extremist Islam” is not “true Islam.”

The presumption involved in such a formulation, from someone whose awareness of Islam is probably superficial and second hand, seems astonishing from a US Attorney General. Alarmingly so…

SMITH: No, no. I’m not talking about religion. I’m talking about radical Islam. I’m not talking about the general religion.

HOLDER: Right. And I’m saying that a person, like Anwar Awlaki, for instance, who has a version of Islam that is not consistent with the teachings of it…

Its founders? Its “legitimate” spokesmen? Its “teachings of moderation”? Again, alas, Smith cuts Holder off before he can hang himself fully, but to fill in the interrupted silences, isn’t Holder saying, “Look, someone like Awlaki may be an inspiration to someone like Major Hassan, but that’s not a legitimate form of Islam, so calling it radical Islam is inappropriate.”

“And (might I add in parenthesis), calling it radical Islam is unduly provocative.”

SMITH: But…

HOLDER: … and who espouses a radical version…

Even Holder, once on the subject of Awlaki, can’t avoid talking about radical Islam – which is why he’d rather not discuss the subject. “There are a variety of reasons why someone would…”

SMITH: But then is — could radical Islam had motivated these individuals to take the steps that they did?

This is what my daughters, in their teenage years, would call a “No duh.” Can’t get more obvious.

HOLDER: I certainly think that it’s possible that people who espouse a radical version of Islam have had an ability to have an impact on people like Mr. Shahzad.

SMITH: OK. And could it have been the case in one of these three instances?

HOLDER: Could that have been the case?

Stalling for time…

SMITH: Yes, could — again, could one of these three individuals have been incited by radical Islam? Apparently, you feel that that they could’ve been.

HOLDER: Well, I think potentially incited by people who have a view of Islam that is inconsistent with the teachings…

Three times for the second talking point “… a version of Islam inconsistent with the teachings…” We don’t want to say radical Islam. The most we’ll concede on this subject is that, if it claims inspiration from Islam, any extremist version is a perversion, inconsistent with the teachings….”

For further evidence that this is not only a talking point, but a firm position of the administration, see the remarks of John Brennan, top White House counterterrorism adviser in an interview of CNN:

    BRENNAN: Well, we’re still looking at all of the information that is now becoming available to us. But Mr. al-Awlaki has been able to, through his sermons on the Internet, and his rhetoric, to have this appeal to this group of individuals who have unfortunately been attracted to this very distorted and perverse Islamic message that is anything but Islamic. It is just a murderous agenda.

This is a classic false dichotomy like “Dawn: end of the night or beginning of the day?” What’s to say it’s not an Islamic agenda that’s murderous?

Nor is this just Holder, Brennan and Napolitano. It’s the POTUS:

OBAMA: You know, what I want to do is make sure that I’m constantly talking about al Qaeda and other affiliated organizations because we, I believe, can win over moderate Muslims to recognize that that kind of destruction and nihilism ultimately leads to a dead end, and that we should be working together to make sure that everybody has got a better life.

This is vintage Liberal Cognitive Egocentrism. We can win them over by not alienating them by attacking their religion. In the meantime, we give the radicals a free and open field in which to operate because we dare not question. Obama wants to use just carrots, no sticks. Not even hard questions.

This is a frightening exchange. Political correctness has become so dominant within this administration that it is literally impossible to discuss the problem. No one seems to want to walk the path from a discussion of radical Islam’s relationship on the one hand to global, violent Jihad (what Holder denies in the face of overwhelming evidence), and, on the other, to mainstream Islam.

Maybe that’s why Smith interrupts Holder before he gets his definition of the “teachings of Islam” with which these violent varieties are sufficiently “inconsistent” as to not deserve mention as Islamic. No one wants to walk through this minefield in public.

Nothing speaks so eloquently to how stupid we have become in the 21st century.

Remember that while some voices argued having terrorism trials of non-citizens in a US criminal court would constitute an enormous boon to Jihadis, Holder saw no problem with pursuing the paradigm whereby global Jihad can be dealt with as a criminal problem.

When the history of Western vulnerability to Jihadi cognitive war is written, this exchange will have a capital place in the narrative, right alongside the ideology of resentment expressed by Baudrillard.

I note with some consternation that Holder was the keynote speaker at my university’s graduation ceremony.

24 Responses to How PC Talk Paralyzes us: Holder before the House on Islamic Radicalism and Home-Grown Terrorism

  1. Markus says:

    Janet Napolitano is the Secretary in the Department of Homeland Security, Robert Gates is the Secretary in the Department of Defense. Also used: Secretary of Homeland Security, Secretary of Defense.

  2. [...] Zobacz resztę artykułu: Augean Stables » How PC Talk Paralyzes us: Holder before the House … [...]

  3. [...] Augean Stables » How PC Talk Paralyzes us: Holder before the House on Islamic Radicalism and Home-G… http://www.theaugeanstables.com/2010/05/17/how-pc-talk-paralyzes-us-holder-before-the-house-on-islamic-radicalism-and-home-grown-terrorism – view page – cached + “Post-Modern” Anti-Semitism: Cognitive Egocentrism, Moral Schadenfreude, and “Progressive” Anti-Zionism * Multiple-Part Essays + PJ (OSM) Media Launch + Mainstreaming Conspiracy Theories + Open Letter to Jostein Gaarder * HERZILYA CONFERENCE + Conceptual Principles + Program with Links + Bibliography * Saïd and Honor-Shame * Richard Landes CV Tweets about this link Topsy.Data.Twitter.User['greatpcdeals'] = {“photo”:”http://a1.twimg.com/profile_images/296264910/blwmn_normal.jpg”,”url”:”http://twitter.com/greatpcdeals”,”nick”:”greatpcdeals”}; greatpcdeals: “Augean Stables » How PC Talk Paralyzes us: Holder before the House …: John Hindraker at Powerline has an astonis… http://bit.ly/bVmZB8 ” 11 minutes ago view tweet retweet Topsy.Data.Twitter.User['america1first'] = {“photo”:”http://a3.twimg.com/profile_images/146874143/USA_logo_normal.JPG”,”url”:”http://twitter.com/america1first”,”nick”:”america1first”}; america1first: “Augean Stables » How PC Talk Paralyzes us: Holder before the House …: The presumption involved i… http://bit.ly/dsJ64l – Keep Watching! ” 4 hours ago view tweet retweet Filter tweets [...]

  4. [...] that when asked if they’d read a book, they respond as above. In my research on the entry I wrote on Holder and the religion whose teachings are inconsistent with violence, I ran across his other [...]

  5. Lorenz Gude says:

    I would question the relevance of the argument about whether we are dealing with traditional Islam as Barry Rubin argues or are a perverted version of Islam as Holder does. To see what I mean recall that the Anbar Suni allied themselves with the US military to get rid of these people because they cut off their son’s hands for smoking while themselves taking drugs and demanded the daughters and sister of the Anbar Sunni and then dishonored them. The Anbar Sunnis are still killing them. They got the leader al Masri about month ago. One difficulty is that while both the Anbar Sunnis and al Qaeda are traditional Muslims, they are socially different. The Anbarese are traditional tribal Arabs while al Qaeda and their ilk are postmodern degenerates fit only for the gallows.

  6. Cynic says:

    Lorenz,

    One had to be in Rio during carnival to witness the post-traditional degenerates (Saudi princes and co.) exhibiting their hypocritic principles imbibing alcohol and lapping up the lascivious femininity being splashed around.
    Maybe E.G. can find some copies of English papers from the summer of 1976 when young boys from an orphanage were being trotted out and sent to the Savoy for the pleasure of the Princes?

    As you say it is irrelevant arguing about traditional or perverted because it is all the same given what is written and the power to interpret the text always in the hands of those who use the text for their own ends.

  7. Eliyahu says:

    Cynic, you are insinuating that an orphanage was pimping boys to Saudi princely pederasts, who were following the path of the most prominent, most perspicacious, most repugnant, palestinian pederast, yasser a. My question is where was the orphanage and which Savoy Hotel were you referring to? One in Rio or London or where?

    • Almond says:

      Yes your on time with this post it’s sad but true. There is so much more hate & abuse that you didn’t even cover I’m sure that was out of respect for folwolers of Islam. I know if I was following something that mentally, pyhs, verbal, sexual abuse the female folwolers, not to mention that Islam is the orginal racist. I would be mad that someone said something about my harm that I was causing my fellow human. And for goodness shake if I was a follower of Islam I would not want anyone to know that Islam kills you for so many things like trying to get out of the crazy Islam faith or marrying someone out of the faith and so much more. Bottom line Islam is like being married to a wife beater who can take your life if so desired and they do this under the name of faith . Very sick people that follow Islam cult..it is not a faith based anything just pure hate.

  8. incognito says:

    I would question the relevance of the argument about whether we are dealing with traditional Islam as Barry Rubin argues or are a perverted version of Islam as Holder does.

    Scriptures require interpretation. Given that they were written in completely different times and in a state of ignorance relative to the current state of knowledge — indeed, religions were an attempt to understand reality in a state of ignorance about it — it follows that different current interpretations are possible, and they are usually structured to fit one’s immediate circumstances and interests.

    One had to be in Rio during carnival to witness the post-traditional degenerates (Saudi princes and co.) exhibiting their hypocritic principles imbibing alcohol and lapping up the lascivious femininity being splashed around.

    See what I mean?

    As you say it is irrelevant arguing about traditional or perverted because it is all the same given what is written and the power to interpret the text always in the hands of those who use the text for their own ends.

    Bingo. That’s the genius of religion. Instead of just doing what you want you now do it in the name of some god.

  9. Cynic says:

    Eliyahu,

    London, 1976. The principal, whatever one calls the manager of the orphanage was pimping them out.

  10. [...] so smart cause we’re so stupid: A medievalist’s guide to the 21st century. Think Eric Holder, and John Brennan, and the Department of Defense, and the list of useful infidels goes on and on. [...]

  11. [...] groups in Islam, then the conclusion is doubly alarming: the radical Islamists, those folks that Eric Holder and John Brennan don’t even think we should mention, much less analyze, are a “large [...]

  12. [...] a president who thinks he can charm the Muslim world, and whose advisors think that it’s best not to even speak of “radical Islam” lest we offend “true Muslims” who know that any violence is against the “true [...]

  13. [...] Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington, which I find perfectly plausible. And given the paralyzing political correctness of the current administration, which couldn’t recognize a “radical Islamist,” much less denounce him or her, [...]

  14. Solomonia says:

    Dupes or Demopaths? Homeland Security wants to deport “Son of Hamas”…

    [The following, by Richard Landes, is crossposted from Augean Stables.] I’ve seen various items on this and couldn’t believe that it was true (or at least, that it would continue very long). It would be just too stupid and vicious………

  15. [...] he reflected an attitude which needs to concern Muslims and infidels alike. In this sense, the Obama administration’s attitude – that to even speak of radical Islam is an insult to Muslims – enables and empowers [...]

  16. [...] religion.” Well thanks for telling us about what “real Islam” is. Shades of the US Attorney General. Meantime, Fareed Zakaria assures his ample audience that the moderate Muslims have defeated the [...]

  17. [...] and to worry when his administration, under his direct guidance, makes imbecilic remarks like “to speak of radical or violent Islam is to insult moderate Muslims.” With approaches like that not only could Major Hassan pursue his personal Jihad against his own [...]

  18. [...] (and more broadly speaking) from Muslims (which would mean testing, and possibly finding wanting, the moderation they insist is there). Instead of telling the Turks to grow up and learn to live with people you are having honor-shame [...]

  19. [...] against terrorists? Over a decade later and we don’t really know whom we’re fighting, partly because we’ve been forbidden certain discussions. But from the point of view of cognitive war, 9-11 has been an enormous, almost incalculable and [...]

  20. [...] deeply toxic brew of tribal warrior psychosis and millennial cult of death and murder. And yet we, as our President and his top officials insists, should not discuss “radical Islam” lest we insult Muslims. Then we get slapped in the face on [...]

  21. [...] our own government officials are banned from using terms like “radical” or “extremist” Islam, from even teaching our law-enforcement about the very enemy they need to defend us from. When [...]

  22. [...] our own government officials are banned from using terms like “radical” or “extremist” Islam, from even teaching our law-enforcement about the very enemy they need to defend us from. When [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>