Deo volente.

Seattle’s Latest Terrorist Enemy

Since the shooting in Seattle and the surrounding events are happening in my backyard, I’ve been following events very closely. I was guest blogging about it over at Ace’s this weekend as more news came out.

The Seattle Times had this wrap up. It is typical of what we’ve all come to expect from the nuanced left: Muslim slaughters Jews, but it’s not a hate crime. A few choice words:

At approximately 3:50 p.m., a 14-year-old girl, the niece of one of the shooting victims, approached the entrance; Haq came up behind her and put a gun to her back, ordering her to open the door.

Gun to the head of a 14 year old girl – sane and civil. It gets better, really. A pastiche:

Haq told the girl, “I’m only doing this for a statement,” the court documents say … He told Klein to tell the 911 operator to call CNN…Haq gave the operator his name and social security number and announced “this is a hostage situation,” the papers say.

The Times trips over itself to keep from calling it terrorism or even a hate crime:

Haq, 30, has also been charged with first-degree kidnapping for holding a gun to the back of a 14-year-old girl to force his way into the building; one charge of first-degree burglary and malicious harassment, the felony charge for a hate crime.

I think they would have put it in a footnote if they could have.

Let’s look at the slightly bigger picture of what this small media scene indicates. Terrorism relies on the sanction of a society in the form of a complacent and complicit media to fulfill its mission. Strategically and militarily, the targets are often meaningless. But to the myopic viewers of a six o’clock news feed, the horror of innocents being murdered for a cause gives pause. Certainly, the gunman/bomber/thug has some deeper grievance, says the person looking at the pictures splashed above the fold of the morning paper. Certainly this is society’s fault in some way says the well-informed reader watching CNN.

Good intentions aside, what are we to think about the news media being led around by terrorists to see the high-value set pieces served up for the West’s mass media audience? Remember Jenin and how the death tolls deflated even as the UN slowly, carefully arrived the conclusion that Israel had not, indeed, perpetrated a massacre. Or recall the powerful photographs by AP photogs in Iraq in the early days of the insurgency in what were later found to be set ups?

Remember when the Left couldn’t stop explaining how terrorism is a tactic, not an enemy? They are half right – you can’t fight terrorism in general; you need an enemy to kill. The administration has done its part in finding the enemies who fund and fuel terrorism, and we’ve been killing them.But there is a part to this that seems to continually escape the Left. You can fight terrorism specifically, especially the engines that make it work. First, you can kill the people who perpetrate the atrocities. Check. And you can decide, specifically, not to fuel terrorism through the free press and media.

When someone on the left begins the rant of “terrorism can’t be an enemy”, is it time to ask, “what’s in it for you?” Because it is clear that terrorists can be an enemy, and the modus of terrorism can be shut off. You can decide, in other words, for the free press to freely abide by a code of ethics that preserves life and liberty. But this, I think, would require the media to move away from the hollow Left-ism that forms its core principles. And I think the Left clearly – clearly – sees that a media divorced from the post-modernist philosophy that embodies and enervates the Left would be a positive force for America.

As many people wiser than I have recognized, freedom is pointless without the ethics to appreciate it and the resolve to retain it. Imagine what would happen if the media refused to show the foolishness from Jenin or Beirut. Imagine if the above three pieces of information were reported last week in connection with the attack so that the “Terrorist = Brutal Thug = Enemy” could actually sink into the public’s consciousness. Imagine if the AP, instead of deflecting the issue of being mislead with a discussion of timestamps, confronted the possibility that they are acting as willing accomplices.

It should be acknowledged that the Left cannot imagine that the media is a weakness to be exploited or that they are actually complicit with anything or anyone. To them, the media is above ethics, above the fray. More important than freedom, more important even than survival, is the public’s right to know. That alone is worth preserving, or more to the point, worth someone else preserving. But they also see that this viewpoint is very tied up with their “pragmatic” philosophies.

But it’s time to put aside the child’s fantasy – the press are willfully, in the pursuit of profits and its empty ethical postiion, doing the terrorists’ work for them as they deliver images and stories. Even when these aren’t staged, made for TV events, the media is the delivery vehicle for the terrorist message. In America, we rely on grass roots campaigns and blogs. In the pan-Islamic world, nothing says “I love you” like a suicide blast on the 6 PM news.

Should the ability to know really trump the need to know, as the NYT says of the SWIFT affair? More importantly, should the ability to know really trump more fundamental values, such as surviving in the face of a murderous group of fascist hiding behind their religion? And if that doesn’t motivate them, perhaps the notion that the free press is being used as dupes and pawns should give pause. Should a free press collude, explicitly or implicitly with militants who rely on them for succor, aid, and communication?

It is becoming clear that the only way that we can militarily lose the GWOT is through our own lack of resolve. The enemy’s main weapon in attacking that resolve is the free press of the West. We have been told by our free press

  • that we are too “stressed” to continually see the Twin Towers burn and fall
  • that we are too “immature” to see the decapitations of prisoners to the Insurgents in Iraq
  • that we are too “sensitive” to view the burned and mutilated corpses of the security consultants working in Fallujah
  • that we mustn’t let ourselves think that these folks were anything but lone gunmen

Forget for a minute the hypocrisy of the press – we all know that if it had been a blonde Christian entering a Seattle clinic and killing minorities, that we’d never hear the end of it. It would have assumed Natalie Holloway proportions by now. But I, for one, would willingly grant the media their tired position of race baiting and genuflecting if they would simply grant that the free press doesn’t have to serve the terrorist’s interests to be free. You can separate the MSM’s post-modernist, egotist viewpoint from their Leftist roots, and still have a free press.
So we come to a decision point. Forget where the next battle in the GWOT is going to be. The next victory that the West must have must be with itself and its free press. The outcome of that battle will direct the course of the GWOT just as surely as a democratic Iraq. So it is worth considering whether a free press that does not choose its own ethical course is really free. It is also a worthy question to ask whether the press is really free when it is manipulated with such elan by foreign dictators and organizations like Hezbollah. Should the freedom of the press, which is so intertwined with our other freedoms, be given leave to damage those other freedoms? By the same token, is the press that would destroy its own freedom really free?

Freedom is not always freedom from onerous authority. An adult conceptualization of freedom also includes the freedom to make choices, to evaluate, to consider, to plan. It is time for the press in this country to consider that freedom does not equal license, and that there is a responsibility that goes with the gift. We are waiting.


August 3, 2006 - Posted by | Homeland Terrorism

1 Comment »

  1. Well said.

    Comment by Greg Rogers | August 4, 2006 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: