Every time. Every damn time.
No matter what the circumstances, how vile the attack is, or how indefensible the actions of Islamic terrorists, liberals will find a way to turn it back on America. The disgusting murder of 12 people in Paris on Wednesday united much of the Western world in support of free speech, bravery in the face of fear, and solidarity against evil. But liberals want to make sure we don’t forget the real enemy.
Sally Kohn, a leftist that Mediaite called the top rising star of cable news, wasted no time taking to her Twitter account in the wake of the tragedy. “Since 9/11,” she said, “right-wing extremists (incl anti-abortion, anti-gov) have killed more Americans than Islamic extremists.” She linked out to a CNN article by Peter Bergen from last April which, indeed, makes that very argument.
In his treatise, Bergen argues that right-wing extremism deserves more attention from the media because it has claimed a higher American death toll in the last 14 years than Islamic terrorism. By Bergen’s count, 34 people have been killed by white supremacists, anti-abortion fanatics, and anti-government militants in the years since 9/11. Islamic terrorists, on the other hand, have only killed 21.
There are so many problems with this comparison that it’s hard to know where to start. First, let’s start with the obvious. It’s gross to drag these comparisons out of the closet while the dead are still lying in their own blood. If there’s a time to talk about right-wing extremism, that time is not in the wake of France’s tragedy.
Second, this isn’t the Who’s Worse Olympics. I think we can all agree that killing innocent people in the name of a fanatic ideology is a bad thing. There aren’t many normal Americans sitting around thinking, “I didn’t mind the Oklahoma City bombing.” It just isn’t happening.
Third, the comparison stinks. If we are going to play the Who’s Worse Olympics, counting the bodies since 9/11 misses a pretty important point, i.e., 9/11 itself. In that one morning, Al Qaeda put to bed any reasonable comparisons between homegrown terrorism and that of the Islamic variety. If we’re going to confront the problems that plague America and the world in 2015, we have to be honest about the context.
An even greater omission is the startling death toll Islamic terrorists have racked up around the world. Okay, so American security forces have kept us relatively safe from further attacks. That doesn’t address the nearly 15,000 people a year who lose their lives to Islamic terrorist attacks around the world. Does a human life count for less if it’s not American? I doubt Sally Kohn or Peter Bergen would agree with that. If anything, knowing their politics, they would say the opposite.
We are never going to defeat this enemy if we continue treating terrorists like they are an oppressed minority. At some point, we have to pump the brakes on the political correctness train. That is, if Al Qaeda doesn’t blow it up first.