The Corner

An Answer to Liberals’ Prayers

Who says that prayers are not answered? David Sirota led the Liberal Tabernacle Choir in beseeching the Almighty that the Boston bombers should turn out to be a couple of white guys, and, lo and behold, we end up with a couple of literal Caucasians.

Unfortunately for Mr. Sirota et al., a pair of Chechen Islamists is not precisely what they had in mind. The prayer of a righteous man availeth much, the Good Book says. I suppose we can each draw our own conclusions from that. But consider Mr. Sirota’s concerns:

If recent history is any guide, if the bomber ends up being a white anti-government extremist, white privilege will likely mean the attack is portrayed as just an isolated incident — one that has no bearing on any larger policy debates. Put another way, white privilege will work to not only insulate whites from collective blame, but also to insulate the political debate from any fallout from the attack.

“Privilege” is one of those handy rhetorical markers that is in itself devoid of substantive intellectual content and identifies its user as suffering an identical condition. But voguish language aside, Mr. Sirota is making a strange complaint: that it is difficult for him and his allies to use a white American terrorist to further their political agenda, whereas a foreigner or a Muslim (never mind, for the moment, his implicit conflation of “white” and “non-Muslim”) is of no use to him politically. What’s the good of a terrorist bombing without some political benefit? That is an odd way to think about a terrorist attack.

Odd thinking on the left has been abundant during this episode. Dina Temple-Raston of National Public Radio, apparently relying on the highly placed sources that speak to her via radio transmissions into her dental fillings, opined: “The thinking, as we’ve been reporting, is that this is a domestic extremist attack. . . . April is a big month for anti-government and right-wing individuals. There’s the Columbine anniversary, there’s Hitler’s birthday.” (Who could forget all those annual celebrations of Hitler’s birthday that spread so much mirth across the fruited plains each year?) An employee of the U.S. Forest Service — a public-relations representative, ironically enough — suggested via Twitter that the Tea Party might be behind the bombs. Leftist filmmaker Michael Moore tied the attacks to Tax Day and Patriots Day.

Of course, it could have been a right-wing extremist. It also could have been a professor at Columbia University, which obviously has a soft spot for murderous left-wing terrorists. But that possibility did not crop up very much at all in the media narrative. Why not?

The unpleasant fact is that the Left has been for many years attempting to use the acts of terrorists and other criminals to discredit legitimate domestic political opposition. Timothy McVeigh, to take one example, was omnivorous in his nuttery, his political and religious views all over the map, with interests ranging from Area 51 to what he viewed as U.S. war crimes during Operation Desert Storm. But Bill Clinton blamed the allegedly incendiary rhetoric of his own political opponents for McVeigh’s crime, and then on the fifteenth anniversary of the bombing updated his remarks to suggest that Tea Party rhetoric was a likely source of terrorist violence. We all remember Brian Ross’s gleeful attempt to link the Aurora shooter to the Tea Party. The list goes on. The tangible desire of the Left for their political rivals to descend into violence is grotesque and unseemly.

What we ended up with in Boston is familiar: suspects with a fondness for Islamic radicalism and sympathy for worldwide jihad, roots in a jihadist hot spot, etc. None of which is of any use to David Sirota. Or Barack Obama.

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