Last for this week is our other regular feature, the Outrage of the Week.
And this in a way refers back to what I was talking about earlier, both about the knee-jerk Islamophobia that doomed al-Jazeera America from the start and about our lovely little wars exclusively in majority-Muslim nations.
In 2011, the Air Force Research Laboratory released a report titled "Countering Violent Extremism: Scientific Methods and Strategies." It was reissued this past summer and the revised version was made available online in January. A preface says "the wisdom contained in this paper collection is more relevant than ever."
Many of the articles are written by academics and researchers in the field of counterterrorism. But one, titled "A Strategic Plan to Defeat Radical Islam," written by a self-described former Islamic extremist, contains what The Intercept called "a number of bizarre prescriptions for how to defeat terrorism, few of which appear to be supported by empirical evidence."
It was written by Dr. Tawfik Hamid, a fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.
One of his assertions is that militancy is primarily a product of sexual deprivation - put more crudely, people turn extremist because they don't get laid enough. That is strange enough - I can't help but wonder if Dr. Hamid is generalizing from this own experience - but it's not the only thing to make you blink.
Another claim is that our problem with our poor reputation among Muslim nations is not due to our policies, but to a lack of good PR. So I suppose if we painted smiley faces on our bombs people wouldn't mind getting blown up. And he argues that we shouldn't worry too much about killing innocent civilians in our bombing runs because
in war, as in medicine, good cells die when we treat bad ones ... "it is unfair to blame the doctor for killing good cells."But the part that struck me the oddest was his assertion that wearing a hijab, the traditional head scarf worn by Muslim women, is a form of "passive terrorism" - whatever the hell that means - and represents an implicit refusal to "speak against or actively resist terrorism." Wear a hijab and you're an accessory to or at least not an opponent of, terrorism. Put more directly, be a Muslim woman and you are at best a silent supporter of terrorism.
Okay, the guy's a flake. So why the outrage? Because, again, this spluttering concoction of Islamophobic bilgewater undeserving of publication as any sort of research is in an official report that is intended to help government agencies formulate anti-terrorism programs, a report whose preface praises Hamid as offering a "soup to nuts strategic plan" for combating radicalism that "addresses the components of the Islamist terrorism cycle at ideological, psychological, social, and economic levels."
In other words, it is something that appears to be, in the words of one scholar, nothing more than "an attempt to supply national security agencies with bogus surveillance rubrics," rubrics being take seriously by our government.
That is frightening. It is immoral. And it is an outrage.
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