I’ve been stocking links over the past week of particularly idiotic, asinine statements made by American commentators and politicians about the April 15th Boston bombing and the identification of the Tsarnaev brothers as the perpetrators. The bombing was certainly horrible but in terms of casualties was not quite on the same level as what happens on an ordinary day in Syria or Iraq. And it was not comparable to the wave of terrorist bombings in France in 1986 or 1995—or even of Mohamed Merah last year—, though which did not provoke in France anything approaching the unhinged reactions of high-profile US pundits and pols in the wake of Boston.
Of all the idiocies mouthed over the past week, the one whose author most deserves to be punched in the face for—figuratively if not literally—is Bill Maher. Maher—whom I will admit to having found amusing and on target on occasion over the years—is apparently considered a liberal, but what he says here about the “dangerous doctrines” of Islam—as if “Islam” is some organic being that thinks for itself and above and beyond its 1.5 billion or whatever believers—is proof in the pudding that liberals can be as idiotic as conservatives. Anyone who can mouth such essentialist bullshit—and on national television no less—is not only an idiot but a raving idiot, and who is forever discredited in my intellectual book.
Another liberal idiot is Bob Beckel, Fox News talking head and onetime Dem politico, who says that the US should suspend the granting of visas for a period of time to foreign Muslim students wishing to study at US universities. So US visa forms will henceforth ask applicants to state their religion—as do a handful of countries in the world, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran—and with consular officials no doubt posing the question orally… Sure. I’m sorry but anyone who can seriously advance this proposition—and again, on national television no less—is an idiot. And a bigot too. End of discussion.
Despite these two nominally liberal nitwits—and I’m sure there are more—the great majority of idiotic statements have, of course, come from the right. E.g. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is considered a hot prospect for ’16, also evoked a visa suspension. If Rubio is indeed elected POTUS down the road, how much would one like to bet that he implements this? My personal assets are not considerable but I will lay them all on the line that he will have no memory of having made such a statement back in ’13. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), for his part, was the first off the bat last week, with his batty statement about 19 year-old American citizen Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s “ties to radical Islamic thought” justifying him being tried as an “enemy combatant.” Likewise with Sen. Dan Coates (R-IN), which prompted IR prof and blogger Daniel Drezner to ask “Will the Senator from the state of half-assed thinking please go sit in a corner?”
Um, whatever happened to the US Constitution and its Bill of Rights? I thought these people considered it to be a quasi sacred document.
And then there were the digs at Boston liberals, notably by Arkansas state rep. Nate Bell, who tweeted that they were probably cowering at home wishing they had AR-15s with high-capacity magazines. When I read stuff like this my visceral view that the wrong side won the Civil War—that America would be a much better country without the South and Southerners—is reinforced.
But there are plenty of boneheaded idiots in the North as well, e.g. NY state senator Greg Ball—a GOPer, of course—, who asserted that not only should torture be applied to Dzhokhar T. but that he (Ball) would administer it personally. I would submit that Sen. Ball should be strapped up to the gégène himself. Pourquoi pas?
Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter have also said crazy ass stuff but that’s normal for them and requires no mention, let alone links.
On the overall Weltanschauung of the right on the Boston bombing, Jon Stewart summed it up here. Touché!