Obama: al Qaeda is Racist

Posted on July 22, 2010

A recent post at longwarjournal.org ended with the following insight:

[T]he administration’s “al Qaeda is racist” comments seem uniquely American in outlook. That is, one unstated assumption underlying these remarks is that being racists might be worse than being mass murderers.

This perspective on the current labeling practices of the Obama Administration makes being on the President’s racist list approach the status of an honor.  Shirley Sharrod could go down in history along side Osama Bin Laden who has been all but canonized by the actions of three American Presidents. Obama and his minions are, no doubt, as inept at choosing who is racist as they might be in choosing a fine wine for a diplomatic dinner.  He and his liberal associates in Congress are are tasteless and tactless.  These two qualities lead to skewed assumptions and and a sub-standard world view.

But is al Qaeda racist? There are racist elements in the varied groups associated with al Qaeda around the globe.  But over all, one has only to count the countries and add up the numbers of races that al Qaeda has slaughtered indiscriminately to answer that question:

To begin with, the claim that al Qaeda is racist because of its willingness to kill Africans ignores the fact that the terrorist group has shown a real lack of regard for the value of life of virtually every ethnic group and nationality on the planet. The Global Terrorism Database (GTD) maintained by the University of Maryland’s START program attributes 105 terrorist incidents to al Qaeda through the end of 2008. These attacks struck Afghanistan (31 incidents), France, Great Britain, Indonesia, Iraq (24 incidents), Kenya, Morocco, Pakistan (18 incidents), Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, the U.S., the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Yemen. This GTD list does not include attacks carried out by al Qaeda affiliates, nor does it include foiled plots, or the country list would be far longer. But one common thread that the various attacks have in common is the “willingness to sacrifice innocent life to reach their targets” and to “kill innocents without regard to long-term consequences for their short-term tactical gains”; in no way can it be said that al Qaeda is uniquely dismissive of the value of African life. (As a side note, the execution of al Qaeda’s Iraq campaign was in fact the product of unique bigotry. However, this too was not the result of racism but rather the group’s religious animus against the Shia, whom Abu Musab al-Zarqawi called “the most evil of mankind … the lurking snake, the crafty and malicious scorpion, the spying enemy, and the penetrating venom.”)

It is doubly absurd to argue that al Shabaab is racist, since it is a Somali-led organization. Though it is true that virtually all of Shabaab’s brutality has been inflicted upon Africans, this is a matter of geography: when an insurgency is based in Africa, it is a certainty that the vast majority of its victims will be Africans.

Many strong lines of criticism can, of course,  be directed at al Qaeda. I need not elaborate on the fact that the organization is brutal, reprehensible, imperialistic, and totalitarian. But the notion that its attacks are uniquely anti-African is spurious, and one hopes the administration will soon abandon this disingenuous claim.

In the US, Obama has broken his campaign promise to bring us all together and has, in stead, called the opposition racist at every turn.  This is perhaps the strongest charge that can be brought against anyone in a country that has not fully recovered from its history of slavery.  He is cool and calculated in his program.
The target of the most recent labeling of an individual as racist, was Shirley Sharrod of the Agriculture Department who made a tape that was edited to make her appear to have made racist remarks.  Obama backed his Secretary of the Department of Agriculture in his determination to dismiss Ms. Sharrod rather than reassign her pending an investigation.  The presumption of innocence was never there.  No investigation was carried out.
When the context of the Ms. Sharrod’s remarks was later made clear to everyone, Obama did not step from behind his Ag Secretary to take part of the blame for the rush to judgment, neither was he among the first to personally phone Ms. Sherrod to apologize.  He is very careful how racism is doled out in his administration.
By his own words and actions, the President has shaped the national discussion of race and some instances have been documented in posts to this blog.  Regardless, Ms. Sherrod knew instinctively that the orders for her dismissal must have originated with the White House.  She had been a government worker for over 20 years.  Barack’s own history of leading the troops in hurling this hateful epithet at individuals and institutions confirms it.