Jonah Goldberg, the conservative robot famous for writing the unintentionally-satiric magazine insert Liberal Fascism, stepped dangerously close to the precipice self-awareness today on the unintentionally funny NRO blog The Corner. See, the Goldbot has been trying very very hard to decide if the Fort Hood rampage “counts” as “terrorism” or not. In his journey into the heart of man he came face to face with a conclusion he didn’t like very much at all.
Responding to a reader who is convinced that Hasan’s rampage should be called terrorism because he had intended–according to the reader– “to kill indiscriminately for the sole purpose of punishing those who do not hold [his] beliefs,” Golddroid says wait, wait, slow down a minute. Then, like a guilty man desperate to confess to his crimes and be forgiven, he writes:
“But I think the reader’s definition of terrorism might move us into dangerous territory. In Pakistan, we launch missiles at people’s homes with civilians in or around them to take out al-Qaeda leadership. The attacks are — hopefully — always intended to be something of a surprise. But I wouldn’t call that terrorism.” [emphasis added.]
This is really quite a remarkable paragraph to read in The Corner. Goldberg just acknowledged, in an admittedly cowardly and indirect way, that some US military action is indistinguishable from what virtually all US-mainstream discourse considers “terrorism.”
His repulsive innuendo, that “[t]he attacks are — hopefully — always intended to be something of a surprise,” is a tacit admission that the United States bombs buildings we know contain civilians to achieve military and political ends.
Indeed, as Noam Chomsky has written:
“It’s a very serious analytic error to say, as is commonly done, that terrorism is the weapon of the weak. Like other means of violence, it’s primarily a weapon of the strong, overwhelmingly, in fact. It is held to be a weapon of the weak because the strong also control the doctrinal systems and their terror doesn’t count as terror.” [emphasis added.]
Goldberg is far from ready to embrace the logical conclusion that the United States engages in acts that fit the definition of terrorism, however, as he quickly concludes–referring to bombing targets the military knows contains civilians– “I wouldn’t call that terrorism.” No, Jonah, I doubt you would.