On The King Hearings

Congressman Pete King: A former apologist for Irish Terrorist

Legitimate Business or Witch Hunt?

Do we need hearings on the threat of domestic terrorism in the USA? Well, given our recent experience with terrorist attacks, an investigation of their sources to assess the level of danger faced by unsuspecting, law abiding, American citizens is certainly a legitimate function of government.  However to be effective such an investigation must be broadly based and driven by the known facts.  Measured by this standard the present hearings being conducted by Peter King – a right-wing Republican ideologue, bigot and shameless hypocrite who refused to criticize IRA terrorism – does not measure up.

According to an extensive 2009 report on the sources of domestic terrorism in the US issued by the Department of Homeland Security: “Right-wing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first African American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new members, mobilize existing supporters and broaden their scope and appeal through propaganda, but they have not yet turned to attack planning.”

The report goes on to say, “The current economic and political climate has some similarities to the 1990s when right-wing extremism experienced a resurgence fueled largely by an economic recession, criticism about the outsourcing of jobs and the perceived threat to U.S. power and sovereignty by other foreign powers.”  In view of this assessment, compiled by the most knowledgeable authorities the nation has on this question, why is Congressman King confining his inquiry to the Islamic community?

How does one justify holding a hearing on the sources of domestic terrorism that does not even deal with the clear and present danger emanating from armed radical right-wing Christians, who are forming militias and using our President’s picture for target practice, recruiting members from combat veterans of wars in the Muslim world, and planning attacks against the institutions of our government –which they consistently portray as the enemy of the American people.

There is nothing that Al Qaeda has said about our President that these white racist radicals have not also said…and far worse!  The comedian Wanda Sykes made this point brilliantly when she performed at the annual White House Correspondents Ball and noted that Rush Limbaugh’s wish for our President to fail echoed the objectives of Osama bin Laden.

Thus while I think those who argue against any investigation of the activities of radical Muslim Jihadists are dangerously naïve – because the Jihad is real and we are their favorite target for understandable historical reasons – I am also certain that the white racist armed fanatics on the right pose a clear and present danger to the internal security of this country.  for all we know there could well be  legions of lost souls like Timothy McVey hovering about in the shadows waiting to make their move.

These paranoid wingnuts – whom the intelligence community calls “lone wolves” – are being incited by the rancid rhetoric of hate and paranoia emanating from the verbal arsonists in right-wing media: Fatty Limbaugh, Greasy Head Sean, Potato Head Beck, et al.  Any investigation that does not examine the symbiotic relationship between these mass media provocateurs and violent political actors is a farce.

Since the very Republicans who denounced the Homeland Security Report’s fingering of these right wing white American nuts now applaud the King Committee’s investigation of Muslin extremist, the rest of us must look at this biased charade with a jaundiced eye.  Prudence dictates that we treat the event like circus performers who hold their nose and kiss a pig because they can’t stop the show.

 

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Playthell Benjamin

Harlem, New York

February 11, 2011

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