New York Times international columnist Roger Cohen smeared Sarah Palin and Republicans in general in a politically opportunistic hit piece, ostensibly about the massacre in Norway, posted to nytimes.com on Monday, “Breivik and His Enablers.”
On one level Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian responsible for the biggest massacre by a single gunman in modern times, is just a particularly murderous psychotic loner: the 32-year-old mama’s boy with no contact with his father, obsessed by video games (Dragon Age II) as he preens himself (“There was a relatively hot girl on [sic] the restaurant today checking me out”) and dedicates his time in asexual isolation to the cultivation of hatred and the assembly of a bomb from crushed aspirin and fertilizer.
No doubt, that is how Islamophobic right-wingers in Europe and the United States who share his views but not his methods will seek to portray Breivik.
We’ve seen the movie. When Jared Loughner shot Representative Gabrielle Giffords this year in Tuscon [sic], Arizona -- after Sarah Palin placed rifle sights over Giffords’ constituency and Giffords herself predicted that “there are consequences to that” -- the right went into overdrive to portray Loughner as a schizophrenic loner whose crazed universe owed nothing to those fanning hatred under the slogan of “Take America Back.” (That non-specific taking-back would of course be from Muslims and the likes of the liberal and Jewish Giffords.)
"Take America Back" is a slogan of ethnic hatred? Somebody better tell Democrat Howard Dean, who spouted the slogan during his 2004 campaign for the Democratic nomination.
There’s no evidence that the mentally disturbed Loughner even saw Palin’s graphic, much less was inspired by it to violence. Whatever politics or views he had seemed a mish-mash of leftist anarchism and atheism -- not exactly Palin's demographic. Is Cohen truly not aware that this is standard issue political rhetoric done by both sides during American political campaigns? A similar target graphic was issued by the Democratic Leadership Council in 2004. And does Cohen realize the word “campaign” is itself a term borrowed from war?
Cohen, an embarrassingly fierce defender of the dictatorship of Iran and an equally fierce critic of Israel, then likened the murdering terrorist Breivik to mainstream Republican politicians like Rep. Peter King.
Breivik has many ideological fellow travelers on both sides of the Atlantic. Theirs is the poison in which he refined his murderous resentment. The enablers include Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, who compared the Koran to “Mein Kampf” on his way to 15.5 percent of the vote in the 2010 election; the surging Marine Le Pen in France, who uses Nazi analogies as she pours scorn on devout Muslims; far-rightist parties in Sweden and Denmark and Britain equating every problem with Muslim immigration; Republicans like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Representative Peter King, who have found it politically opportune to target “creeping Shariah in the United States” at a time when the middle name of the president is Hussein; U.S. church pastors using their bully pulpits week after week to say America is a Christian nation under imminent threat from Islam.