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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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  • I believe this is the case whether or not there were “unconfirmed” reports he said “Allahu Akbar” in the course of the crime

    Surely the well-established aspects of the case establish the religious element–the Awlaki connection, the power point presentation. I’m writing from memory.

    In any case, if you really feel there are no double standards, you’re entitled to your opinion.

    The “double standards” charge for all sorts of political positions is often cheap and glib. There probably is an association in many people’s minds between Muslims and terrorism and sometimes politically-correct reluctance to call anything terror works in favor of Muslims. Life is messy. Nidal Hassan, at any rate, got a fair amount of coverage that tried to argue for the troubled loner goes crazy and shoots his co-workers mold.

  • AJ

    While Sgt. Kimberly Munley became an overnight heroine for bringing down Nidal Hasan and was giving interviews right and left, it turned out that her story was false and inaccurate. Senior Sgt. Mark Todd was the actual man who contained the situation. So here you have a police sergeant that has misrepresented the situation without anyone correcting it until Mark Todd and another witness comes forward but we are expected to believe the “Allahuakbar”? What a farce!

  • If the latest rampaging soldier had been a Muslim (even non-practicing), do you think that would have been ignored? I have a doubt.

    It would have been a strange case since he was a US soldier attacking Afghan civilians. The shared religion but soldier-civilian relationship of the criminal and victims would mean it did not fit the mold of Taliban Muslim-on-Muslim terror, or Lt. Calley type cases, or cases like that of Nidal Hassan. I doubt his religion would have been ignored, but it is hard to say what would have been made of it. Don’t know much about Koney. I think the Lord’s Resistance Army is usually mentioned when his name comes up.

    Khushboo, I wasn’t kidding. No generalization about media coverage is perfect, but the counter-examples should not be CNN, the NY Times, the Washington Post, and the BBC.

  • khushboo

    solid, don’t give up hope youngin’! I know this site can be depressing since it is “Loonwatch” but if you check out Jews For Peace site,,, etc. you’ll feel much better seeing that there are people out there making a difference.

  • khushboo

    Yitzchak, Are you kidding me??!!

    Fox News, bunch of YT links, Peter King who keeps using him as an exucse for his damn hearings, many Christian networks, many news reports incl. CNN, and major networks with commenters linking him to AL Q have called him a “terrorist” just because he may have talked to a terrorist and that he happens to be a Muslim. How many other soldiers do you think may have talked to terrorists in the Middle East? Should we link them all to terrorists? or is that just for Muslims only? There’s definitely a double standard. Let’s get real here!

  • Some of yours don’t seem to quite make your point:

    In the ABC News article, the politician who criticizes “Focusing on the followers of one religion” gets the last word.

    Here is a quote from the LA Times article:

    Of the four cases that did progress to attacks, the worst was at Ft. Hood, Texas, where Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan is suspected of killing 13 people and wounding 32 in 2009.

    (By comparison, the study points out that 73 people were killed in hate crimes in the U.S. between 2001 and 2009 — and more than 15,000 slayings are committed in this country every year.)

    The NY Daily News one, for instance, is what you say it is, but the Daily News isn’t exactly the NY Times.

    The post says the incident “was labeled an act of Terrorism (with a capital ‘T’), unanimously condemned as such in the mainstream media.” Are we agreed that this is not accurate and that it depends quite a bit on the politics of the particular media outlet?

    According to witnesses, Hassan was yelling “Allahu Akbar” as he fired his weapon. Is mention of his religion really something to complain about?

  • @Ilisha

    Responding to me, you wrote,
    What I should have said is: If you find Truth Seeker vexing, I suggest ignoring him.

    If you enjoy refuting him, by all means, carry on. 🙂

    That’s understandable. I really wouldn’t want to let him get under my skin. Thanks for clarifying.

  • According to the post:

    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.

    Here is a CNN article that states “a criminal profiler said the Fort Hood shooting suspect fits the profile of a mass murderer better than that of a terrorist.”

    Here is a NY Times article on Hassan:

    We learn in the second paragraph “Major Hasan began having second thoughts about a military career several years before the shooting, after other soldiers harassed him for being a Muslim, he told relatives in Virginia.”
    The word “terrorism” finally appears in the article in paragraph 7 in which we learn he had “communicated with a terrorism suspect”–meaning Alawki. Several more paragraphs later we learn “Yet the gunman and his motive remain an enigma.” I don’t think the article ever directly applies the word “terror” or “terrorism” to his crime.

    Washington Post:

    It is the worst Jihadist violence on American soil since 9/11, and given that Hasan’s death toll is much closer to Columbine than 9/11, that is commentary on how few Jihadist attacks there have been, not on how deadly Hasan proved.


    No appearances of the “t” word.

    Boston Globe:

    No appearances of “t” word.

  • HGG

    “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…”

    It’s not. I don’t think humanity has ever been better. News aggregators, even well-intentioned ones as LW, don’t paint the whole picture. Yes, there are terrible things happening, as they always have and they are an unfortunate part of human nature. But there is also science and art and amazing tools of learning and innovation that weren’t there before now at our disposal.

    Never despair. Don’t “coast” through life. You are young, with a long road ahead of you. Learn. Think. And maybe you’ll be able to make the world a little bit better.

  • Nabeel

    Excellent analysis as always Danios

  • khushboo

    I really really really doubt that most US soldiers want to go and blast civilians or support what this guy did.”

    Yup. I blame the President and Congress for putting our troops in danger for nothing. Most military men were against these wars because there is no military purpose to it. Why are they still there? because war businesses are making lots of blood money.

  • rookie

    “It’s Only Terrorism When Muslims Do It”


    Did anyone hear of this bombing case before?

    It drew media attention because of death sentence.

    Now, imagine they were muslims…

  • rambo
  • Géji

    Jack Cope says: “I really really really doubt that most US soldiers want to go and blast civilians or support what this guy did.”

    @Jack, it’s not a matter of what US “soldiers” want or don’t want, it doesn’t really matter what the occupying forces “want”, ’cause at the end of the day, they’re killing innocent people that never provoked them, and occupying a country that never provoked their’s, and that my friend, IS as much deplorably and tragic as the terrorist actions this guy did. To me, the whole occupation and killings that resulted, are pure terrorism.

  • khushboo

    In the meantime, Obama’s celebrating St. Patty’s day drinking and having fun. Imagine if the Afghanis get a hold of this video. They’ll be thinking he’s celebrating their death. Sounds kinda familiar doesn’t it?

  • Géji

    CriticalDragon1177 speaking of @Truth Seeker, says: “That and the fact the more people refute him, the move obvious it will be that he/she is full of it.”

    @Critical, I’m afraid it’s already too late friend, one does not need to go far into reading his rants to immediately see he/she is full of it, beside refuting such a waste of thought would be endangerment to our IQ’s, every time I see his/her rants, I feel my IQ going down few points.

  • khushboo

    According to the Afghani Investigation team who interviewed witnesses, there were about 15-20 American soldiers who killed and injured many civilians, not just one soldier. According to CNN, the victims’ loved ones don’t care for compensation; they just want justice. They want soldiers punished in Afghan soil only. I doubt US will go for that. Also, Karzai wants American soldiers out of the villages but Obama said no. I have no idea why they’re still there and what their mission is. Without a mission, more and more soldiers will go nuts just like the Ft. Hood soldier did.

  • Solid Snake,

    Sorry, I was just thinking of the REM song, everybody hurts. Your heart is in the right place. You will be ok.

  • NurAlia

    Other media are reporting the accounts of witnesses, including a teen boy who is a resident of one of the homes and ‘played dead’ after being shot in the leg.

    The boy says that the soliders (notice the plural) came into his home woke everyone, and shot them, but not before tearing the women’s clothes.

    Another witness said that his father was ‘shot in the face’ when he looked out of the window to see what was happening in a home nearby. This witness said that the soldiers (notice again plural) were laughing and drunk.

    No matter how many soldiers did this crime, it seems to be a pattern of dehumanization of the Afgan people.

  • Seeker

    The terrorist (or rather, as Norwegian media refers to him, only “the soldier”) is one Robert Bales. I hear that his lawyer denies that he has marital problems, but here the excuse is that he was stressed and drunk. If that is an excuse for slaughtering innocent women and children, the world is in a slightly worse state than I thought.

  • @Mahmoud

    No matter what the excuse he may have, unless it is determined that that solider who went on that killing spree was criminally insane, he ought to be punished severally. Stress is no excuse for committing murder, and even people who are drunk, who deliberately kill innocent people are murderers.

    Unfortunately you’re probably correct, if he were a Muslim, “counter Jihadists” everywhere would allow no excuse for his actions, but because his victims were Muslims, with few exceptions, they either don’t care, or they’re praising his actions.

  • Mahmoud

    “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”;”

    Had this been a muslim, all those explanations would have been viciously mocked. Anyone who dared suggests this was anything other than terrorism would be crucified in the media and by the anti-muslim blogosphere.

  • Truceman

    we arent supposed to complain.that was a collateral damage.long live america and its atrocities and muslims,u continue to try for modernists,im not a jihadi ,etc certificates from the mighty us.
    we need a SALADIN.

  • Soild Snake, no need to give up hope. Most people are not that bad… we just hear about the bad ones because they sell lots of newspapers. Especially not at your age 😉

    As for this particular solider managing to get off base, really it is not that hard. So long as you are in the uniform then you should be good to go. Plus he is a reasonably high rank so he can pull rank on any sentry (who is normally some poor sod private).

    I really really really doubt that most US soldiers want to go and blast civilians or support what this guy did.

  • sasanid

    a Veteran said, he was not working alone,

    “No vehicle could possibly leave the gate of an American facility without the permission of an officer after midnight unless it were on an authorized military action.”

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