Aren't conservatives supposed to be hawkish on terror? They tend to be when it comes to foreign terrorists, but many are taking umbrage at a new West Point report on violent far-right extremists home-grown right here in the U.S. Earlier this week, the Combatting Terrorism Center (CTC) at America's leading military academy published an extensive report on the "dramatic rise in the number of attacks and violent plots originating from individuals and groups who self-identify with the far-right of American politics." Christian fundamentalists, Militia movement groups, Skinheads, neo-Nazis, and violent anti-abortionists were all cited in the report, titled Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America's Violent Far-Right. These factions may harbor different ideological goals, but as this chart shows, they've all ramped up their violent tactics in trying to achieve them:
"Although in the 1990s the average number of attacks per year was 70.1, the average number of attacks per year in the first 11 years of the twenty-first century was 307.5, a rise of more than 400%," writes Dr. Arie Perliger, Director of Terrorism Studies at the CTC.
In short, this report makes a convincing case about extremists trying to inflict harm upon innocent Americans, and it's full of alarming data and clear policy recommendations. Conservatives love appealing to these kinds of studies when arguing that we need to get tough on terror, right? Well, not in this case. One Republican congressional staffer—who thinks only Muslims can be terrorists—told The Washington Times' Rowan Scarborough:
If [the Defense Department] is looking for places to cut spending, this junk study is ground zero. Shouldn’t the Combating Terrorism Center be combating radical Islam around the globe instead of perpetuating the left’s myth that right-wingers are terrorists?
The National Review's John Fund also wants to change the subject to terrorists in other parts of the world:
The world is beset by terrorists—witness the American hostages taken in Algeria this week—but portions of our federal government continue to obsess about alleged home-grown threats from the "far right" ... My sources inside Congress tell me they continue to worry that efforts to monitor domestic Muslim extremists as well as interdiction efforts against radical Islamists crossing the U.S. border are sometimes put on the back burner. The government denies this, but it seems to me its protestations would be more persuasive if it spent less time producing half-baked warnings about the danger of "right-wing extremists."
World Net Daily's Michael Carl extensively quotes blogger Pamela Geller in his article on the report. "This is another appalling attempt to demonize loyal Americans and whitewash the Islamic threat," Geller says. "West Point probably is working on orders from higher ups. Or else it has bought into the dominant PC culture." Over at Newsmax, Christiana Lilly buries the lede—turning a story about far-right terrorists into a story about liberals:
The U.S. Military Academy at West Point released a paper calling far right groups anti-federalists while describing liberals as “future oriented,” the Washington Times reports.
And yes, you better believe Drudge sirened it:
West Point cites dangers of 'anti-federalists' in U.S.... drudge.tw/WnbwBW— DRUDGE REPORT (@DRUDGE_REPORT) January 18, 2013
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.