Hoekstra acknowledges ‘domestic terrorism’

HOEKSTRA ACKNOWLEDGES ‘DOMESTIC TERRORISM’…. Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, spoke to Detroit Public Radio yesterday, and acknowledged a fact conservatives are generally inclined to deny. WDET’s Craig Fahle brought up a variety of recent instances involving U.S. extremists, and it led to this exchange. (thanks to M.D. for the tip)

FAHLE: We’ve had a few incidents in the last year. You had the police officers in Pittsburgh killed by a gentleman who said he was concerned that the Obama administration was going to take away his guns. You have the recent incident where the anti-tax person flew a plane into the IRS building in Texas, killing a Vietnam veteran by the way…. So there have been instances of violence, and stuff that was based on anti- government feelings. Is this something we need to keep better track of, because many would consider these acts of domestic terrorism.

HOEKSTRA: They would, and they would be right. Those are acts of domestic terrorism. You know they’ve resulted in the death of Americans and they resulted, they came about because certain people were just very, very frustrated and angry with government and sure, we do have to keep an eye on that.

At first blush, this may not seem like much of a concession, but I’m actually quite pleased to hear it. For many on the right, an act of deadly, politically-motivated violence doesn’t qualify for the “terrorism” label unless the perpetrator is (a) a non-American; (b) a Muslim; or (c) both.

Indeed, in the case of the deranged Texas man who flew a plane into a building, not only were conservatives reluctant to label this terrorism, but prominent conservative voices joked about the incident, expressed sympathy for the suicide bomber, and in Scott Brown’s case, suggested the terrorist’s motivations reminded him of his own Senate campaign.

Violent incidents from domestic extremists have been common enough of late that it’s become difficult to keep track of them all. It’s politically inconvenient for the right to label anti-government nuts as terrorists, which is why it was all the more heartening to hear Hoekstra acknowledge what is plainly true.

Of course, thinking about all the recent incidents of domestic terrorism, it’s hard not to think back to one year ago. It was last April when the Department of Homeland Security published reports on the threats of potential violence posed by radical extremists. As I recall, conservative Republicans were apoplectic about the reports — which were, by the way, originally requested by the Bush administration — and some GOP lawmakers called for Janet Napolitano’s resignation.

If these same Republicans who whined incessantly at the time wanted to apologize, I’m sure the administration would be gracious about it.