Wednesday, April 17, 2013


I've had strong disagreements with David Sirota at times, but his provocatively titled column "Let's Hope the Boston Marathon Bomber Is a White American," which has right-wingers' knickers in a twist, is essentially correct:
... the dynamics of privilege will undoubtedly influence the nation’s collective reaction to the attacks. That's because privilege tends to determine: 1) which groups are -- and are not -- collectively denigrated or targeted for the unlawful actions of individuals; and 2) how big and politically game-changing the overall reaction ends up being.

... if the bomber ends up being a white anti-government extremist, white privilege will likely mean the attack is portrayed as just an isolated incident -- one that has no bearing on any larger policy debates. Put another way, white privilege will work to not only insulate whites from collective blame, but also to insulate the political debate from any fallout from the attack.

It will probably be much different if the bomber ends up being a Muslim and/or a foreigner from the developing world. As we know from our own history, when those kind of individuals break laws in such a high-profile way, America often cites them as both proof that entire demographic groups must be targeted, and that therefore a more systemic response is warranted. At that point, it's easy to imagine conservatives citing Boston as a reason to block immigration reform defense spending cuts and the Afghan War withdrawal and to further expand surveillance and other encroachments on civil liberties....
Following up on this, here are some questions I want to ask conservatives.

* Regardless of who is responsible for the bombing, should any suspect or suspects we arrest be sent to Guantanamo?

* Should suspects be waterboarded?

* And if you're not willing to say that Gitmo and torture are appropriate without first knowing the identity of the suspect or suspects, why?

I assume that conservatives will say that anyone charged with this bombing who's suspected of Islamist tendencies should be tried by a military tribunal, and probably be held outside the fifty states. I assume, furthermore, that the more provocative right-wingers will say that any apparent Islamist arrested for this bombing should be waterboarded. No conservative who says this will be condemned by any other conservative, John McCain possibly excepted.

And yet if an Islamist bombed the Boston Marathon, it may have been someone who wasn't in contact with anyone else. The ideas are in the air. Bomb-making instructions are widely available. A lone nut could do this.

On the other hand, a far-right political bomber could conceivably be part of a larger plot. And yet conservatives -- who almost universally believe torture is virtuous and effective -- won't argue for torture if the bomber is a white person from the far right. Nor will they believe that the bomber must be sequestered at Gitmo for the safety of innocent Americans.

Right-wingers will say that the difference has to do with citizenship. But they'll urge extreme measures and militarization of the case even if the bombing suspect is an Islamist born in America. By contrast, if the suspect is, say, a right-wing European -- an Anders Breivik living in America -- there won't be any talk of suspending civil liberties.

So, right-wingers, have I said anything that's inaccurate?


Philo Vaihinger said...

All a crock of shit, if you ask me.

And everyone is forgetting there's a pretty good chance this wasn't even terrorism but a mass murder that happened not to involve an assault rifle.

Victor said...

Well, if he ain't white, the waterboarding will be optional.

But, if he's brown, and we feel that we need to flush him down for some shit's and giggles at that time, we'll do it, or rendition his AAAAA-rab ass to one of our pals.

And of course, if he's an AAAAA-rab, we'll send his ass to Gitmo!

Jesus, if a Moozlum can make bombs out of pressure-cookers, imagine what he can make in his American prison-cell metal toilet!!!
You'd rather that smoking bomb in the form of a mushroom cloud be over Cuba, not Kansas!

bjkeefe said...

To your questions, I'd say their silence is deafening.

As you knew it would be, of course.

Ten Bears said...

This past MLK day marked the attempted bombing with the same MO of a Spokane Washington parade. A white dog is on custody.

My friend was running that race.

No fear.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Same MO in Spokane? But they have a suspect in custody?