The Boston Marathon bombings have dominated U.S. news for the past week, prompting fresh calls for ignoring constitutional protections in the face of “Islamic terrorism.” But the reality is that politically motivated violence has declined in America over recent years, notes Lawrence Davidson.
Just when it seemed the U.S. news media had learned some lessons from earlier “terrorism” misreporting, CNN rushed out – and then retracted – a report about the arrest of a “dark-skinned” suspect. But a related problem is the compulsion to draw broad conclusions about a rare event, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
One problem in assessing blame for terror attacks in the Middle East is that governments have political interests in linking these outrages to enemies and then pushing that case in public forums. That dynamic may now be influencing the probe of a terror bombing in Bulgaria, reports Gareth Porter for Inter Press Service.
After the 9/11 attacks, the United States lurched off in pursuit of an unattainable goal, perfect security for the American people. Along this bloody route, the nation lost sight of a crucial question: what American actions are generating the fury that fuels the terrorism, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
The Obama administration’s plan to remove a group of violent Iranian émigrés from the U.S. terror list suggests a readiness to pursue the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend strategy that put the United States on the side of Osama bin Laden and Islamic extremists in Afghanistan in the 1980s, says ex-FBI agent Coleen Rowley.
The label “terrorist” has been bent to political use so often the word has lost any semblance of objective meaning. American politicians and pundits like to hurl it against perceived enemies, but now it appears a group can escape the opprobrium with enough high-priced lobbying, Danny Schechter writes.
Over the years, the U.S. “terrorism list” has become less an objective assessment of groups that use violence against civilians than an ideological battlefield littered with blatant hypocrisies and outdated hatreds. The list has even complicated strategies for reducing political violence, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Western powers test out harsh economic sanctions on Iran. Israel pins the blame for a bus bombing in Bulgaria on Iranian agents, presumably retaliating for Israeli assassinations of Iran’s scientists. As tensions ratchet up – Syria’s unraveling, too – the chances for a disastrous war escalate, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Exclusive: When U.S. Special Forces raided Osama bin Laden’s compound last year, they grabbed al-Qaeda documents describing internal debates, including how the terror group should continue exploiting Israel’s abuse of Palestinians as a crucial recruitment pitch, reports Robert Parry.
By definition, “terrorism” applies to attacks on civilians for political ends. But the U.S. government has revised the term to cover any attack on Americans, including soldiers fighting anywhere in the world, a misuse of the concept that is hampering a deal to free a U.S. POW, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.