Saturday, March 12, 2011

The King Hearings

Paul Berman is a scholar and writer. He's also a man of the left which makes his book Terror and Liberalism all the more remarkable. In it Berman traces the strange enchantment liberalism has had for terrorists over the last several decades. In Berman's telling the left has been inexplicably blind to the threat posed by Islamic extremists and much too willing to form alliances with those extremists in order to achieve mutual political goals.

I thought of Berman's book when I read about the reaction of the Democrats to the investigation being launched by Rep. Peter King, Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, into the threat posed by Muslim extremism. King is conducting hearings on domestic terrorism arising out of the Muslim community, and, predictably, the left is having a hissy fit. The Democrats on the committee are registering every complaint they (and the Muslim Brotherhood) can think of to discredit the hearings.

Their objections are intellectually vacuous or incoherent, so much so that one would think they'd be embarrassed to make them, but some of our elected representatives, like Sheila Jackson Lee for instance, seem to have an exceptionally high threshold for intellectual embarrassment:
Rep. Al Green (D, TX) objected that King is investigating Muslims but not the KKK, but how many acts of mass murder has the Klan committed in the last fifty years? The Klan has been so compromised by law enforcement that it has long ago ceased to be a significant threat in this country. To waste resources investigating a minimal danger when Islamic extremists plot catastrophic acts of murder is simply asinine.

Perhaps Ms Lee, Mr. Green and their colleagues wish to maintain that attempts by young Muslim men to commit horrifying acts of mayhem are not a serious problem in this country. If they don't think this then what's their objection to holding hearings to learn more about the milieu in which people who want to kill our children are being spawned? If, however, they do think that Muslim terrorism is not a serious threat then they're certainly out of synch with their party's chief law enforcement officer.

U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. once acknowledged that the threat of Islamic terrorism keeps him awake at night. As Rep. King notes, Holder "is not saying he's staying awake at night because of what's coming from anti-abortion demonstrators or environmental extremists or from Neo-Nazis. It's the radicalization right now in the Muslim community" that has him worried.

Certainly no one thinks all Muslims are domestic terrorists, as the lachrymose Rep. Keith Ellison implies (see below), but it is surely the case that almost all domestic terrorists, at least those who have attempted large scale terrorist acts in the last decade, have been Muslims. Let's try to learn why that is and what must be done to stop it, and let's take the problem more seriously than does Mr. Ellison: