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Are All Nazis Terrorists?

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Are All Nazis Terrorists?

Mass killer Anders Behring Breivik raises his arm in a Nazi salute as he enters the court room in Skien prison, Norway March 15, 2016. REUTERS/Lise Aserud/NTB Scanpix

Of course not.

Are all “radical Muslims” — whatever that means — terrorists?

Of course not.

“Terror” has gained a political weight this election cycle that it hasn’t had in at least a decade, since George W. Bush shortened it to a grunt — Terr! — and declared an impossible war on it, one that still hasn’t ended (and most likely won’t for a long, long time) and has so far left hundreds of millions of people less secure, homeless, or dead in its wake.

The so-called Global War on Terror also spawned a brutal and irrational torture program, detailed in even more depth in documents released this week from the CIA.

Terrorism has its own casualties, though they certainly aren’t in the millions. The University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database counts 3,264 terrorism deaths in the U.S. since 1995.

Terrorism is used to amplify the threat of its perpetrators. Every act is meant to publicize the danger of future acts. And, thanks especially to one presidential candidate, recent terror attacks have been extremely successful in that regard.

Donald Trump has made the threat of terrorism a central premise of his campaign, doing terrorists’ work for them by inflating the threat they pose. To steal a phrase from The Don Himself about this despicable rhetorical tactic: “He doesn’t get it, or he gets it better than anybody understands.”

Donald Trump does the facts a disservice. Nearly all Nazis alive today are not terrorists. They don’t use illegal violence to amplify a political message.*

And obviously, the vast, vast majority of Muslims are also not terrorists.

But that’s not the point: Even the vast, vast majority of those who express support for strains of so-called “radical Islam” don’t commit any acts of violence in the name of their beliefs. ISIS’s social media fan club is much larger than its fighting ranks.

Most ISIS supporters simply consume propaganda, to the great frustration of ISIS propagandists.

The “radical Islam” label is harmful because it focuses on what we fear, rather than what the real danger is. The government’s term for the real danger is “violent extremism.”

And that’s not “politically correct.” Think about the differences between the terms.

“Radical Islam” doesn’t define anything: What defines a radical? And whose Islam? The Orlando shooter claimed at various points to have been inspired by al Qaeda, ISIS, and Hezbollah — rival groups with wildly different interpretations of Islam, both amongst themselves, and, more importantly, from the vast, vast majority of Muslims. “Radical Islamic extremism” makes no mention of violence, and “radical Islamic terrorism” doesn’t account for the fact that non-Muslims are responsible for more terrorist violence in the U.S. than Muslims.

“Violent extremism” describes people who carry out violence as a result of their extreme views. That’s a lot closer, at least, to what we should be worried about. Though again, terrorism deaths are engineered to make us worry about our own safety much more than we logically should.

What’s extreme? Believing that violence against targets like abortion clinics, Black churches, and gay night clubs could be justified.

I bring this all up to address the awful analogy that many cite to explain the continued use of the term “radical Islam”. I will let Marco Rubio, at around 45 seconds:

Not only were many Nazis during World War II not German, most who follow “radical Islam” as Rubio defines it never do anything more than browse the internet.

As part of the global war on terror, our government has in fact made some attempt at a counter-propaganda campaign aimed at potential supporters of violent extremism, though there is clearly much more, and much better, work to be done.

The Republican nominee has something more blunt in mind: Turn the thing off. (And “bomb the shit out of ’em.”)

Donald Trump’s plan to “shut down” those parts of internet used for terrorist propaganda is not only logistically impossible, doing so would also silence a large chunk of his own support.

The largest destination on the Internet for white supremacists, Stormfront, has credited a huge increase in traffic to Trump’s “America First” brand. In 2014, the Southern Poverty Law Center found that at least 100 hate crime murders had been carried out by the site’s users.

But, of course, the vast, vast majority of the site’s many hundreds of thousands of users aren’t radical Islamic terrorists violent extremists.

As with “radical Islam”: Not only are virtually no Muslims terrorists, nearly no “radical” Muslims are terrorists, either.

Don’t let the actual terrorists win. Don’t let them make you afraid. Don’t let politicians slander an entire religion or distort the facts about its slim ranks of crazies. Don’t be “politically correct” — just be correct.


Photo: Mass killer Anders Behring Breivik raises his arm in a Nazi salute as he enters the court room in Skien prison, Norway March 15, 2016.  REUTERS/Lise Aserud/NTB Scanpix

*(The definition of terrorism changes, a lot, depending on whom you ask.)



  1. Dominick Vila June 19, 2016

    Terrorism is, as the term implies, anything that inspires terror to its victims. The religion, political, or social issue, under whose name heinous crimes are being committed are just a facet of a growing tendency to exact revenge and punish those who are perceived to be a threat, an enemy, or who have committed an act offensive to individuals and organizations determined to use violence to defend their culture and sovereignty.
    Our tendency to generalize the problem, and blame an entire religion for what has been happening is fostered by our refusal to analyze the roots of the problem. From the creation of the Jewish State of Israel, and our unconditional support to that new country, to the assassination of Mossadegh, to our presence near the Holy sites of Mecca and Medina, to the widespread destruction in Iraq, a former ally that had nothing to do with 9/11, the short vision, disrespect for the rights of others, and our failure to understand the long term consequences of our actions, all contributed to the growth and popularity of a movement that would have been unthinkable a century ago.
    At this point, our choices are to destroy terrorist organizations, physically, and identify potential domestic terrorists before they attack and kill innocent people; and engage in a campaign that demonstrates that we are not the enemies of Islam, or anyone else, and that our goals are peaceful coexistence and cooperation between nations. Unfortunately, the latter is not about to happen. Our opinions and actions are influenced by tragedies such as the embarrassing hostage taking in Iran, bombings against U.S. military facilities in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, to name a few, and 9/11.
    Reflection, trying to determine the root causes for the hatred, taking corrective actions, and showing maturity and strength of character are not part of the equation. As a result, the status quo is likely to continue for many years to come, regardless of how successful we may be in destroying the Daesh in Iraq and Syria. By now, ISIS is a movement, with a decentralized command infrastructure, that has shifted tactics from the establishment of a new Islamic state modeled after the Caliphates of the Middle Ages, to attacks similar to those employed by Al Qaeda. The change in strategies is influenced by the fact that they now know that they cannot defeat us militarily, and that their only choice left for them is to carry out isolated attacks to limit the growing influence of the Western culture in Islamic countries, force us to leave, and preserve the ability of the Ayatollahs, Mullahs, and Imams to control the populace the way they have done for centuries.

  2. Box June 19, 2016

    The artilcle is trying and failing to remove religion from the equation, particularly Islam. And I would agree if we were talking about old times and by that I mean just 30-40 years ago. Muslims I knew growing up were the most calm, benign people youd ever meet. But later after 911, the sour and destructive side of Islam came out, and Quranic chapters like Chap 9, Ver. 5 started to be quoted widely by Muslims. The sour side was always there but as a sleeping giant among americanized Muslims, if not others. US, through its foreign policy kept poking the bear and pretty soon the sleepers werent sleeping anymore and here we are. You dont even have to read the Quran to understand, just talk to Muslims in other countries how they feel and think about USA. Tell them you are from some benign place like Iceland so you get a more honest answer. You will here this–some simply dont care, some think US is evil but they dont intend to act on those thoughts, some think US must die by any means possible. It is for this very fact that if you want to drop the term ‘radical islam’ you have to replace it with ‘violent extremist islam” because thats the truth and really does define about 1/3 of them and thats still what, 300,000,000 muslims and plenty enough for concern.

  3. FT66 June 19, 2016

    Terrorists have no religion. This guy Anders Breivik (from Norway) on this photo is not a muslim, he is a christian. He killed more people than Mateen did in Orlando.

    1. stsintl June 19, 2016

      As the background history of the mass murderer has come out, he was a mentally disturbed individual throughout his life, like all other mass killers. He had no connection to any foreign terrorist groups. With exactly the same personal history if his name was Oliver Martin, the media and Donal Trump wouldn’t have reported it as “Radical Christianity” though Christian Radicals have passed dozens of laws in Red States against the LGBT community.

    2. charleo1 June 19, 2016

      Thank you for identifying this Nazi. For a second there I swear, I thought my Aunt Millie’s first husband Ralph had taken his innate a-hole-ism to a whole new level.

  4. Katstiles June 19, 2016

    As horrific as these mass shootings are, the truth is most of us will die from more preventable causes like obesity, smoking, domestic violence, bee stings, lightening strikes, and other stupid accidents. So why are so many Americans living in fear, loading up on guns and ammo, and worshipping at the feet of bigots like Trump? Because they have the common sense of a fungus gnat!

    1. johninPCFL June 19, 2016

      Which is the larger threat, terrorists or your neighbors? Well, let’s check:

      3264 deaths since 1995 due to terrorism, about one every two days. 15,000+ Americans murdered every year by other Americans, about 40 PER DAY.

      Seems like Americans have MUCH more to fear from the neighbors than from terrorists.

      1. Katstiles June 20, 2016

        Exactly John! Do people really care more about being killed by an ISIS sympathizer or your gun crazed white, neo-Nazi, anti-government neighbor? Who really poses the greatest threat? How about vehicle accidents? Bet those kill more people than ISIS sympathizers yet do people wake up every day and worry about getting in a car wreck? Nope, they trot right out to the car, get in and drive away.

    1. Siegfried Heydrich June 19, 2016

      Wow, Otto, you continue to impress me by your willingness to include females in your porn stash, as long as they’re bigots like you. Or at least look to be . . .


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