Boko Haram and the failure of obama’s counter-terrorism strategy, Breitbart, Katie Gorka, May 10, 2014
(The same “blame exogenous contingencies,” not Islam, doctrine seems also to apply to other Islamist movements, including Palestinian terrorists in the “peace process” and Iran in her substantially unimpeded march for nukes. – DM)
During Hillary Clinton’s tenure, the State Department failed to designate Boko Haram a terrorist organization, in spite of the fact that Boko Haram had become second only to the Taliban as the deadliest terrorist organization. Clinton will rightly have to bear blame for that, but the lack of a designation also reflects the much deeper problem of the Obama administration’s overall approach to Islamic extremism. It is an approach that has led to bad policies, not only with regard to Boko Haram, but also to Iran, the Syrian rebels, Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Benghazi.
[T]errorism becomes “a mode of contention,” and terrorists are not to blame for their violence; “exogenous contingencies” are at fault. Sources in the Koran, Islamic jurisprudence, or even contemporary calls to jihad are not to blame. . . .
For the Obama administration, Islamist extremism (except for Al Qaeda) is not a categorical evil which stands opposed to America’s good; it is, rather, an extreme expression—among a range of expressions—of protest against legitimate grievances. Islamic radicals such as Boko Haram are not responsible for their actions; they are forced to radicalism by their circumstances. And it definitely has nothing whatsoever to do with Islam, not even a distorted version of Islam.
The heart of the problem is that President Barack Obama and many of his top counter-terrorism advisers see Islamic extremism from the leftist perspective of social movement theory. Originating in the socialist labor movements of the 1800s and revived with the protest movements of the 1960s, social movement theory seeks to understand collective action. Academics concerned with what they saw as the relationship between “cultural imperialism” and “Islamic movements” began looking at Islamist extremism through the lens of social movement theory around 1984. It might have remained an obscure academic pursuit but for the fact that Obama elevated one of its principle proponents, Quintan Wiktorowicz, to the position of Senior Director for Global Engagement at the National Security Staff, where he became an architect of Obama’s counter-extremism strategy.
The singular impact of Wiktorowicz was to shift the focus away from the ideology driving Islamic extremism and to recast it as “Islamic activism.” He argued that Islamist violence is not a function of the call to jihad found in the Qu‘ran or in various contemporary fatwas, but is rather a calculated and rational response to state oppression:
In contrast to popular views of Islamic radicals as fanatics engaged in irrational, deviant, unpredictable violence, we argue that violent contention is the result of tactical considerations informed by the realities of repressive contexts. Islamists engage in a rational calculus about tactical efficacy and choose modes of contention they believe will facilitate objectives or protect their organizational and political gains. Violence is only one of myriad possibilities in repertoires of contention and becomes more likely where regimes attempt to crush Islamic activism through broad repressive measures that leave few alternatives. …From this perspective, violent Islamist contention is produced not by ideational factors or unstable psychological mentalities but rather by exogenous contingencies created through state policy concerning Islamists.
Thus, terrorism becomes “a mode of contention,” and terrorists are not to blame for their violence; “exogenous contingencies” are at fault. Read more…
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