Before Norwegian authorities arrested a sole, Norwegian suspect in today’s murders, America’s professional bullshitters stroked themselves into quite the, er, terrection, if you will. A sampling:
This is a sobering reminder for those who think it’s too expensive to wage a war against jihadists. …
Some irresponsible lawmakers on both sides of the aisle — I will point the finger at Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee and yet backed the Gang of Six scheme to cut $800 billion from defense — would have us believe that enormous defense cuts would not affect our national security.
Oslo Peace Process. Nobel Peace Prize. Today’s attacks show how little terrorists respect countries that pursue peace.
ran with the unsubstantiated Muslim-terrorist angle and [edit: this article was from July 13, 2010; see Update 2 below] scoffed at any suggestion that the Norwegian government’s ongoing involvement in two wars in Muslim countries might have anything to do with an attack by Muslims:
It may be pointless to search for a single grievance to explain the recent plot. Most likely, a combination of factors placed Norway on the jihadists’ radar. In al-Qaeda’s binary worldview, Norway is part of the “Jewish-Crusader alliance.” Not a platinum member, perhaps, but a member nonetheless. If you’re not with al-Qaeda, you’re with the United States.
(Perplexed hat tip to Jesse Walker, whose reading recommendations will be taken less seriously in the future.)
There are plenty of other examples of this war-on-terror-justifying gun-jumping; feel free to post the most egregious in comments. And who knows? Maybe blondie really will turn out to be a Muslim, as The Daily Mail hopefully suggested*. But even if that’s so, as Glenn Greenwald put it:
[T]hese kinds of civilian-targeting attacks are, as I said, inherently unjustifiable (though if NATO declares the leader of Libya a “legitimate military target” and air bombs his residence, what’s the argument as to why the office of the Prime Minister whose country is at war with Libya is not a legitimate target?). The point is that it’s completely unsurprising that a nation at war — whether Norway or the U.S. — is going to be targeted with violent attacks. That’s what “being at war” means, and it’s usually what it provokes. And the way this fact is suppressed (“a coordinated assault on the ordinarily peaceful Scandinavian nation” = the post-9/11 why do they hate us?) highlights how we view violence as something only those Others commit, but not we.
*UPDATE: The Daily Mail, with characteristic integrity, has revised the linked story without notice to remove the original suggestion that the suspect might be — cross your fingers! — Muslim.
UPDATE 2: In haste, I jumped the gun on dissing The Atlantic. I missed the date and read it as background on today’s attacks.