Media bias can be subtle. But there it is.
Take this from The Associated Press today:
A radical American imam on Yemen’s most-wanted militant list who had contact with two 9/11 hijackers praised alleged Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan as a hero on his personal website [today].
The posting on the website for Anwar al Awlaki, who was a spiritual leader at two mosques where three 9/11 hijackers worshipped, said American Muslims who condemned the attacks on the Texas military base last week are hypocrites who have committed treason against their religion.
Awlaki said the only way a Muslim can justify serving in the U.S. military is if he intends to “follow in the footsteps of men like Nidal.”
“Nidal Hassan [sic] is a hero. He is a man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people,” Awlaki wrote.
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, is accused of killing 13 and wounding 29 in a shooting spree [on] Thursday. Hasan’s family attended the Dar al Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Va., where Awlaki was preaching in 2001.
Hasan’s mother’s funeral was held at the Falls Church mosque on May 31, 2001, according to her obituary in the Roanoke Times newspaper, around the same time two 9/11 hijackers worshipped at the mosque and while Awlaki was preaching.
Awlaki is a native-born U.S. citizen who left the United States in 2002, eventually traveling to Yemen. He was released from a Yemeni jail last year and has since gone missing. He is on Yemen’s most-wanted militant list, according to three Yemeni security officials….
Wow. So we are more or less associating Hasan with 9/11 because Awlaki has praised Hasan on Awlaki’s website and Awlaki might have known some of the 9/11 hijackers. Irresponsible.
But most of all, I have a problem with the casual use of the word “radical.”
What a loaded term, “radical.”
I just Googled “radical,” and the first online dictionary definition of the word “radical,” as the AP story above uses it, that I see is this:
3 a : marked by a considerable departure from the usual or traditional : extreme b : tending or disposed to make extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions c : of, relating to, or constituting a political group associated with views, practices, and policies of extreme change d : advocating extreme measures to retain or restore a political state of affairs <the radical right>
OK, so maybe we accurately can call Anwar al Awlaki “radical,” but what about the United States of America?
On Sept. 11, 2001, 19 Arab/Muslim hijackers — 15 from Saudi Arabia, two from the United Arab Emirates and one each from Egypt and Lebanon — attacked targets on U.S. soil, killing under just 3,000 people.
In response, the unelected Bush regime (stealing a presidential election — that’s pretty radical in my book) launched wars against Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Bush regime did not treat 9/11 as what it was — terrorist attacks — meaning that you hunt down the terrorists responsible for the attacks — but instead repeatedly called it a “war,” a la Big Brother in 1984. (Just repeat a lie often enough…)
The U.S. may declare war on another nation legally only when that nation has provoked a war. The U.S. had no legal grounds on which to go to war with Iraq, which is why the Bush regime gave the United Nations Security Council — which had refused to rubber-stamp the Bush regime’s Vietraq War like a good little Security Council should — the middle finger and in March 2003 invaded Iraq anyway, against the United Nations’ wishes.
That seems pretty radical to me — to launch wars upon Iraq and Afghanistan, killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians, when those nations didn’t even have any of their citizens participate in the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
And it’s pretty fucking radical to expect Muslims and Arabs not to have a problem with this illegal, immoral, unjust, unprovoked and indiscriminate slaughter of Muslims and Arabs on their own land.
I don’t blame Hasan for having had a problem with it, because I have a problem with it, and I’m not even Arab or Muslim. I just have a conscience. (And I can reason and I have some idea of what actually is going on in the world because I don’t watch Fox “News.”)
Killing people when it is not in clear self-defense is radical, whether the killers are “Islamofascist” suicide bombers or shooters like Hasan — or members of the United States military who continue to kill innocent civilians throughout the Middle East to this day. (It’s still killing even if it’s high-tech.)
I agree with the “radical” Awlaki that Hasan apparently “could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people” — that seems rather obvious — and it is my understanding that the conflicted Hasan tried to leave the U.S. military, but that the U.S. military not only would not release him, but decided to ship him off to Afghanistan.
If we are going to argue that Awlaki or Hasan is “radical” or “insane,” then we also should take a look at the actions of the United States of America, which only continues to fuel the flames of the “war on terror” that it claims it wishes to extinguish. That is radical and that is insane.
(Of course, it’s debatable whether the powers that be want the “war on terror” to ever end in the first place; it’s great business for the war profiteers and the oil mega-corporations.)
It’s pretty radical that I, who do not subscribe to Islam or Christianity (or the other Gang for God, Judaism), am caught up in the war between the three feuding bullshit religions whether I want to be or not, because with the launching of some nuclear missiles, this “holy” war could change things radically for every living thing on the planet.
It is the media’s job to tell us what’s going on — not to take sides and to get us also to take sides in “holy” wars.
If the AP is going to refer to those outside of the United States who act beyond the pale as “radicals,” then it should start referring to those within the United States who act beyond the pale as “radicals” as well.
You know, to be fair and balanced…