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It’s Only Terrorism When Muslims Do It

After an extensive search, I could not locate the names or faces of the victims of the recent American terrorist attack.

On Sunday, a decorated U.S. military officer systematically (and intentionally) slaughtered sixteen Afghan Muslim civilians.   Nine children and three women were among the dead.  It was “a three-hour rampage [that] was allowed to happen”: the perpetrator “walk[ed] from house to house in the quiet of night opening fire on residents…In one house, he piled eleven bodies together and set them on fire…”

Imagine for a moment if the roles had been reversed, if it had been an Afghan Muslim man who set a house of eleven American civilians on fire, killing them inside.  Would there be any doubt that the U.S. media would be labeling this an act of terrorism and the suspect a terrorist?  Would we not be subjected to panel discussions by “terrorism experts” who would remind us of the dangers of Islamic radicalism and of “homegrown extremism”?

Yet, nary a soul in the establishment (the media or the government) has called the slaughter of sixteen Afghan Muslim civilians–of which nine were children and three were women–an act of “terrorism”.  Nobody has called the perpetrator a “terrorist”.  That label is strictly reserved for Muslims, and is completely off-limits to U.S. soldiers and Americans (unless they happen to be American Muslims, in which case they are “homegrown terrorists”).

What is the name of the American perpetrator and what is his religion?  Does anybody know?  In fact, the media has protected his name from disclosure and there is absolutely no mention of his faith whatsoever.  Could he be one of the many Christian extremist nuts in the U.S. military?  Where is the wild speculation by the American media about the looming threat of Christian radicalism and the danger it poses?

Had this been a Muslim, the headlines would blare “TERRORIST”.  Not only is this not the case with our American soldier, but amazingly, there are articles seeking to justify and mitigate his heinous act of terrorism.  The NY Daily News published this article:

Soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians saw his buddy’s leg blown off the day before the massacre, his lawyer says

Suspect is highly decorated combat veteran who lost part of his foot in Iraq last year

The American staff sergeant suspected of gunning down 16 Afghan civilians saw his buddy’s leg blown off the day before the massacre, his lawyer said Thursday.

“We have been informed that at this small base that he was at, somebody was gravely injured . . . and that affected all the soldiers,” lawyer John Henry Browne said.

The New York Times reported–and other media outlets repeated this claim–that the soldier was “suffering from the stress of a fourth combat tour”.  Another explanation given was that the soldier was simply drunk.

If that were not enough, the soldier must have had a “brain injury” and “marital problems”; ABC News reported:

Soldier Held in Afghan Massacre Had Brain Injury, Marital Problems

The Army staff sergeant who allegedly went on a rampage and killed 16 Afghans as they slept in their homes had a traumatic brain injury at one point and had problems at home after his last deployment, officials told ABC News.

The perpetrator’s “buddy”, a military man and member of an occupying force, had his leg injured (how dare the Afghans fight back!), and somehow this explains why the perpetrator killed sixteen Afghan civilians?  Is it even conceivable that such justifications would have been raised had it been an Afghan Muslim who had killed sixteen Americans on the streets of New York?

Afghan Muslims see their children maimed, their entire families exterminated, and whole villages obliterated.  Yet, the U.S. media wouldn’t let any of this mitigate an act of terrorism committed by an Afghan Muslim against Americans.  On the other hand, “marital problems” explains why the American soldier did what he did.

Remember the Fort Hood Shooting?  A Muslim had killed thirteen U.S. soldiers, who were being deployed to join an occupying force in the Muslim world.  That was labeled an act of Terrorism (with a capital ‘T’), unanimously condemned as such in the mainstream media.  Yet, here we have an American soldier targeting and killing sixteen Afghan Muslim civilians, but I have yet to see the U.S. media labeling this an act of terrorism.

The rule is clear: it’s only terrorism when Muslims do it.  It’s certainly never terrorism when America does it.   As George Orwell put it: “Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.”

When it’s a Muslim perpetrator, the media will interview the victims’ families and eulogize the dead, personalizing them by giving detailed accounts of their life stories, their dreams and aspirations.  Meanwhile, the Afghan dead are nameless and faceless.  The only images available of the attack are of angry Afghans burning U.S. flags in response–look how violent they are! 

If it’s a Muslim crime, the media will quickly link it to other Muslim individuals and organizations using six degrees of associations.  But when an American soldier does it, then the media reassures us, using official government responses as a cue, that this was a lone wolf or rogue soldier.  This, despite the fact that eyewitnesses say that it was a group of U.S. soldiers who did the deed, not just one man.  This, despite the fact that a nearby U.S. military base allowed the rampage to continue for three hours.

If it’s a Muslim crime, we are told that it fits a sustained pattern of Islamic terrorism.  But when the U.S. soldier killed sixteen, we’re told that it’s a one-off rogue attack.  This, even though “[t]he latest killing of civilians by an American soldier isn’t an outlier” at all.  Political commentator Nima Shirazi writes:

Such “isolated incidents” have been obliterating the lives of Afghan civilians for over a decade.  Between January and May 2010, members of a U.S. Army Stryker brigade, who called themselves the “Kill Team,” executed three Afghans — a 15-year-old boy, a mentally retarded man and a religious leader — and then staged combat situations to cover up the killings, snapped commemorative and ghastly celebratory photographs with the murdered corpses, and took fingers and teeth as trophies. Peggy Noonan might say that they thought barbarity was their right.

To date, 11 soldiers have been convicted in connection to the murders. Last year, one of the soldiers, Spc. Jeremy Morlock of Wasilla, Alaska, was sentenced to 24 years in prison for his role in the killings.  One of the leaked Kill Team photos shows “Morlock smiling as he holds a dead man up by the hair on his head.” At the beginning of his court-martial, Morlock bluntly told the judge, “The plan was to kill people, sir.”  He may be eligible for parole in less than seven years.

Then there was the online video showing four giddy U.S. Marines urinating on the bodies of three slain Afghan men while saying things like “Have a good day, buddy” and “Golden like a shower.”  One of the soldiers was the platoon’s commanding officer.  Just a few weeks later, American troops at Bagram Air Base deliberately incinerated numerous copies of the Quran and other religious texts, sparking mass riots across Afghanistan and leading to a rash of killings of U.S. and NATO soldiers by Afghans armed and trained by NATO.  Just two days ago, in the eastern Afghan province of Kapisa, “NATO helicopters apparently hunting Taliban insurgents instead fired on civilians, killing four and wounding three others.”

Shirazi pointed out elsewhere:

Just last month, on Feb. 8, 2012, a NATO airstrike killed several children in the eastern Kapinsa province of Afghanistan, with “young Afghans of varying ages” identified among the casualties.  Similar strikes were responsible for the deaths — no, murder — of nearly 200 civilians last year alone.  In less than 10 months from 2010 to early 2011, well over 1,500 Afghan civilians were killed by U.S. and NATO forces in night raids, a brutal occupation tactic that has been embraced — along with drone attacks — by President Barack Obama.  According to a September 2011 study by the Open Society Foundation, “An estimated 12 to 20 night raids now occur per night, resulting in thousands of detentions per year, many of whom are non-combatants.” These raids produce heavy civilian casualties and often target the wrong people.

The stories of American atrocities are numerous.  Furthermore, the death count from them is astronomically high: “a reasonable upper bound for Muslim fatalities [caused by the United States]…is well over one million.”  Meanwhile, Muslim terrorists have killed zero civilians in the United States in the entire last decade.  Far more Americans die of lightning and peanuts than Islamic terrorism.

The United States has killed “over one million” Muslims, but when an American soldier kills Muslim civilians, it’s a “one-off event” and does not at all reflect the outstanding work of the U.S. military.  Muslims “have killed zero civilians in the United States” but when a Muslim terrorist does something, then the crime fits a well-established pattern of Islamic radicalism.

This is War Propaganda 101.  The threat posed by one’s “enemy” is exaggerated to no end (even though you have a higher chance of dying from lightning or peanuts), whereas the atrocities committed by one’s own country are glossed over or denied altogether (you can’t possibly compare American military intervention to Islamic terrorism!).  (When it comes to the United States, “intervention” is the proper term, not “terrorism.”)

This double standard comes to mind with the recent reporting of a Moroccan man being arrested for allegedly plotting to bomb a synagogue in Italy.  The media used such titles: “Italian police arrest terrorism suspect.”  Compare that title to this one: “After U.S. soldier allegedly kills 16 civilians, Afghans voice rage and Taliban vows revenge.”  Could we ever expect to read a major news outlet using the title “After U.S. terrorist kills…”  It’s simply unthinkable.

Notice too how the latter title makes it sound as if it is the Afghans who are the violent ones: they are in a “rage” and “vow revenge”.  Americans respond with “steadfast resolve” and “demand justice”, but Afghan Muslims respond with “rage” and “vow revenge”.

American coverage of this most recent U.S. atrocity focused on: (a) finding justifications for the attack, and (b) the “violent” reaction of the victim population.  Little attention was given to the act itself, and nowhere was it called terrorism.  The Moroccan suspect killed zero people.  He is from the start a “terrorist”, whereas no body count–no atrocity (other than converting to Islam)–could earn the American soldier that title.

That zero civilians died from this latest (alleged) Islamic terrorist plot is unsurprising: in fact, the vast majority of Islamic terrorist plots are foiled or otherwise unsuccessful.  There have been very few deadly attacks of Islamic terrorism in the West. But, that doesn’t stop the media from talking about them endlessly or hyping their threat.  Meanwhile, American atrocities are very “successful” and result in casualties in the thousands or even hundreds of thousands yet they do not warrant much discussion at all.

We live in a truly Orwellian time: ants are portrayed as menacing beasts, while the elephants that routinely stomp all over them are made to look like their hapless victims.

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.

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  • @Ilisha

    Responding to Ahmed you wrote,
    Truth Seeker is a prolific sock puppet, best known as Halal Pork…but also as Cartoon, Milad, and Lawrence.

    Only a fraction of his rants are published. I suggest ignoring him (or her).

    I’d take that advice, except for the fact that I enjoy power owning him/her too much. That and the fact the more people refute him, the move obvious it will be that he/she is full of it. Besides Truth Seeker doesn’t stand a chance here. We have the facts on our side, and he’s totally outnumbered.

  • Truth Seeker,

    You wrote,
    The Muslims in future should never be allowed to get away with terrorism started 1400 years ago .There is no time left to turn the other cheek.The Muslims must be reminded the consequences if they continue their terrorist attacks and feel that they will get away with it.People like Danios who defend the Muslim terrorist are in fact their worst enemies.He himself could be a party to those acts of terrorism.He will be found out eventually and face the wrath of the victims in the West.He can never keep hiding for ever.Every Muslim should be cosidered a terrorist,untill proven otherwise.All the Muslim countries are a Terrorist domain and should be left alone to live as sub-humans.

    Most Muslims who commit terrorist acts do not get away with it.

    Loon Watch has also already debunked the claim that all terrorists all Muslims, even the idea that most terrorists are Muslims, remember.

    All Terrorists are Muslims…Except the 94% that Aren’t

    Also, do you want to insist that all Muslims who denounce terrorism are suspect, we can easily find countless Muslims denouncing the taking of innocent life.

    Muslims Condemn Terrorism

    Injustice Cannot Defeat Injustice:

    The American Muslim:
    ARTICLES BY CATEGORY – Muslim Voices Against Terrorism and Extremism –

    Tell me “Truth Seeker,” why should we assume that all of these people are lying just because they’re Muslims? The idea that Taqqiyya and Kitmen are lying for Islam, is nonsense, and there is no evidence that Muslims are more likely to lie than anyone else.

    Everything you have written is as nonsensical as it is bigoted.

  • Danios,

    Good post. A lot of people out there seem to not even understand that most terrorists aren’t even Muslims. If it wasn’t for sites like Loon Watch, I might not know that even now. Part of the problem maybe the double standard that unfortunately exists today.

  • fox news

    There has also been past reports of US military men mutilating Afghans to take home their body parts as a trophy.

  • Solid Snake

    @Garry Ladoucer

    Thanks Im trying, the thing is Im only 21 years old and I am feeling like humanity is in decline already.. stuck in a freefall…I will be satisfied to make it through until my 30th birthday…Oh and I am sorry when you say REM are you talking about the group? which song?

  • solid snake.

    it is actually a good world lad. Hang on. I like the REM song best.


    Well, he is an officer in a way, but he has his commission from the army and not from the state. But in the main, I agree.

    They have named the guy by the way. Robert Bales.

  • Solid Snake


    Im not exactly a Tom Clancy here, but from what I have read this certain base is a ‘forward’ base. Usually you have tall walls with barbed wire and sentries posted maybe even someone patrolling the perimeter. I would think anyone leaving the base would have to check with a CO and leave through the main exit where there are guards posted. he couldn’t have just simply jumped the wall, it doesnt happen like that, Not to mention heavily armed.

    I believe the whole base knew what was going on, the CO’s to the mess hall chef. One simply doesn’t sneak out at night and go on a killing spree in a foreign country. I believe it was premeditated and maybe some of them couldn’t wait until nighttime.


    A whole database of collateral damage, lone nuts, lone squad of nuts, lone nut apache unit,lone nut snipers pissing on corpses.

    Its all a big sham, these guys are animals. Its the bravery of fighting goat herders, or calling in airstrikes from a distance, or being in a room in Colorado controlling a drone.

    I dont know I am sick of it. I’ve stopped arguing with those who wish to be a subject of the Empire. Super-apologists and those who attempt to justify war crimes used to make me go on a fact-filled rant on why they are idiots. I’ve since stopped because they have evolved. They dont deny it anymore, they justify it. The only thing that will probably change that is when these same troops are rolling down your neighborhood in a humvee and patriot-drones are streaking across the sky. you kno…for national security and stuff.

    ugh Im tired of the world…

  • Daniel

    Solid Snake, I also wonder if just one soldier did this. Even if only one actually pulled the trigger, how exactly did this soldier leave a heavily guarded military base in a war zone, in the middle of the night, armed for bear, and no one was alerted in time to stop him from walking a mile to the nearest village? It strains credulity.

  • Daniel

    Danios, great as usual. However, one correction–the Soldier was a non-commissioned officer (a staff sergeant) not an officer.

  • Ali
  • Solid Snake

    From RT:

    An Afghan parliamentary investigation team has implicated up to 20 US troops in the massacre of 16 civilians in Kandahar early on Sunday morning. It contradicts NATO’s account that insists one rogue soldier was behind the slaughter.
    The team of Afghan lawmakers has spent two days collating reports from witnesses, survivors and inhabitants of the villages where the tragedy took place.
    “We are convinced that one soldier cannot kill so many people in two villages within one hour at the same time, and the 16 civilians, most of them children and women, have been killed by the two groups,” investigator Hamizai Lali told Afghan News.
    Lali also said their investigations led them to believe 15 to 20 US soldiers had been involved in the killings. He appealed to the international community to ensure that the responsible parties were brought to justice, stressing the Afghan parliament would not rest until the killers were prosecuted.
    “If the international community does not play its role in punishing the perpetrators, the Wolesi Jirga [parliament] would declare foreign troops as occupying forces,” he said.
    The head of the Afghan parliamentary investigation, Sayed Ishaq Gillani, told the BBC that witnesses report seeing helicopters dropping chaff during the attack, a measure used to hide targets from ground attack.
    Gillani added that locals suspect the massacre was revenge for attacks carried out last week on US forces that left several injured.

  • I always disliked the peeing incident. And I realized why. I used to be a cop and and supplemented this function with a law degree.

    While the deaths of the people in the photo of the snipers peeing may have been an incident of war and legal, peeing on them later, extended the death into another sphere of law, i.e. it becomes part of the incident of killing and through this act, these men may have converted the event into a murder.

    I realize that it is a question of fact, but a serious question for prosecutors is that perhaps these men who were peed upon were killed in order that the snipers might pee on them for example. All the facts have to be examined as a result.


  • mindy1

    @Ibn Mikael, actually brain damage has been shown to be a risk factor in cases of violence-it’s not an excuse of course, but sometimes people with brain damage have been shown to act irrationally, espcially if something triggers it-his whole unit might have had those thoughts,but his brain damage made him less likely to be able to control his impulses. Again, I am not excusing what he did

  • TheBig-T
  • TheBig-T

    @ Sh*tseeker

    this is for you (inbred idiot)

  • Ahmed

    I have come to the conclusion that “Truth Seeker” is a troll.

    I believe in freedom of speech and alternative viewpoints, but I do believe that off-topic comments and trollish posts should not be published

  • Truth Seeker

    The Muslims in future should never be allowed to get away with terrorism started 1400 years ago .There is no time left to turn the other cheek.The Muslims must be reminded the consequences if they continue their terrorist attacks and feel that they will get away with it.People like Danios who defend the Muslim terrorist are in fact their worst enemies.He himself could be a party to those acts of terrorism.He will be found out eventually and face the wrath of the victims in the West.He can never keep hiding for ever.Every Muslim should be cosidered a terrorist,untill proven otherwise.All the Muslim countries are a Terrorist domain and should be left alone to live as sub-humans.

  • khushboo

    Fareed Zakaria on CNN this morning complaining about the conspiracy theories President Karzai mentioned about being more than just one shooter who killed the Afghani villagers. I was waiting for him to mention the conspiracy theories against Nidal Hassan linking him to Al Qaeda but sadly, he didn’t utter a word. However, he did mention that this happened in a “previous incident”. Why couldn’t he just SAY IT?!

  • Géji

    > Truth Says: “Both sides kill the innocent”

    Mr/Ms @Truth, there cannot be “both sides” here, in less of-course there are an Afghan army equally occupying American soil that are killing American civilians, that I’m not aware-of, and if this is the case, then please bring proof of it, but otherwise there cannot be “both side” on this matter, but only one side fully and solely occupying the other and killing an occupied civilians, period.

  • Ismail

    Beside the double standard Danios so beautifully brought to light in the above article, it is also important to remember that in many of these cases of alleged Muslim terror plots, entrapment is a factor. In other words, some are lured into committing such acts by informants who may goad them to utter one incriminating word after another or the informant would encourage them to obtain harmful materials which will then be used as evidence against them. Many of these alleged plotters rarely get a fair representation or a fair hearing because a verdict was pronounced on them long before they even set foot in a court of law.

    Moreover, if you scrutinize any large community the way the Muslim communities have been scrutinized, one can easily uncover many real or pseudo plots. Yes, we are living in a “truly Orwellian Times”! An excellent post Danios!

  • Ibn Mikael

    That disgusting piece of trash soldier needs to be executed, plain and simple. I am getting sick of all these pathetic excuses being tossed around to justify his barbaric murder of 16 people, 9 of them sleeping children!! Oh he was drinking! Oh, he had a concussion three years earlier!! Oh, he saw a friend get wounded!! Boo hoo!! A lot of soldiers experience those same things, yet don’t murder children while they sleep. Kill him and kill him now. Trash like that don’t deserve the air we breathe.

  • mindy1


  • Truth

    Both sides kill the innocent, it doesn’t justify that terrorist attacks on the innocent civilians are right.

  • fox news

    Good post. Double standards of the media are obvious. But I’m not sure if there will ever be a unbiased media.

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