If anti-Muslim extremists are treated the same as suspected Islamist radicals, what does this mean for conservative extremists in a post-Oslo world?
In Norway, as the citizenry mourns, the police are hard at work. During interrogations, Anders Behring Breivik has claimed that "two cells in Norway and several cells around Europe and the Western world" stand ready to carry out more terrorist attacks. His manifesto refers to "brothers and sisters in England, France, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Italy, Spain, Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, the U.S. etc." Although we don't yet know if Breivik is telling the truth, his chilling statement begs a question: Will anti-Muslim extremists mount future terrorist attacks?
Asked to wager, I'd bet he's bluffing. But American counterterrorism authorities don't have the prerogative of gambling on such matters. Due diligence demands that they investigate, cognizant that other right-wing acts of terrorism have happened before.
"The biggest terrorist attack in U.S. history prior to 9/11 -- the 1996 Oklahoma City bombing -- was carried out by Timothy McVeigh... That same year, Eric Rudolph bombed the Atlanta Olympics to protest abortion and international socialism," Peter Beinart writes. "In 2009, anti-abortion militants murdered Wichita doctor George Tiller. (He already had been shot once, and his clinic had been bombed). That same year octogenarian neo-Nazi, James Wenneker von Brunn, shot a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Last February, Andrew Joseph Stack, angry at the federal government, flew a small plane into an IRS building in Austin, Texas."