Was Tiller Murder ‘Terrorism’?

For the second time in less than a week, Andrew Sullivan has handed out one of his positive awards to someone for whom a different and negative award was named.   This time, Michelle Malkin gets an Yglesias Award for calling the murder of George Tiller “terrorism.”   (For those who don’t keep up with such things, the Malkin Award is given for “shrill, hyperbolic, divisive and intemperate right-wing rhetoric.”)

Amusingly, while I join Malkin in condemning the murder of Tiller, I consider terming it “terrorism” to be rather hyperbolic.  Quite a few bloggers I read, especially those on the left, join her in using it.  Steve Benen, for example, argues “We’re dealing with an act of politically-motivated violence, against a law-abiding American on American soil, intended to scare, intimidate, and change U.S. policy.”

That’s not quite right.  While no universally accepted definition exists, Benen’s is as good as any.  But I’d argue that it constitutes a three-pronged test and that this murder falls short on one prong.   Yes, this act was politically motivated and designed to scare and intimidate.  But, while one hesitates to fathom what a deranged lunatic “intends,” but there’s no way a rational person, even an evil one, would think that murdering abortionists will change public policy.  Indeed, if anything, it’s likely to make people on the fence more sympathetic to abortion providers while putting reasoned critics of abortion on the defensive.

At best, this murder was intended to stop Tiller from providing services he was legally free to provide and to intimidate other current or would-be providers.  But that’s “terrorism” of the same sort carried out by the Ku Klux Klan or the Mafia and so far afield from what those who seek to overthrow governments or induce radical changes in public policy do as to require a different category.

UPDATE: An email from a colleague suggests the above needs clarification.  Obviously, many no-question terrorists — Timothy McVeigh and the 9/11 highjackers were offered as examples — kill with no sane hope of actually changing U.S. Government policy.   But that was at least their direct aim.   My presumption is that Tiller’s murderer was aimed at intimidating other would-be abortionists.

As for the KKK, they no doubt terrorized; I’m not sure that makes them “terrorists.” They’re just criminal scumbags.  Indeed, “terrorist,” like “assassin,” actually conveys some legitimacy in a way “murderer” does not. The former, after all, are fighting for something they believe in.

In terms of the Mafia, they conduct all manner of killings to “send a message” of some sort.  Generally, it’s not a political message, to be sure, but it’s intended to intimidate people who get in their way.

UPDATE 2: Thoreau largely dismisses the title question but makes an interesting point about the discussion.

I see plenty of downsides in letting the government treat terrorism as a special category that “regular” laws can’t address.  (For examples, see the past 8 years.)  So I’m fine with calling things by accurate and descriptive names in public discourse, but I see little advantage to having different laws for a special subset of murders.  There’s an important difference between what we say in open discussions and what we actually do in courtrooms.

Now, there may be a need for some sort of different treatment of terrorism in an international context, to distinguish a soldier attacking a military target under orders (these guys are normally accorded POW status) from a guy attacking a civilian target (these guys normally aren’t).  However, in the domestic context I see no need for a distinction.

That’s a fair point.  McVeigh was a terrorist but, more importantly, he was a mass murderer.  He was convicted and punished accordingly.

UPDATE 3: Ezra Klein argues that Congress should not let Tiller’s killer win by making late-term abortions harder to get.   Hilzoy agrees and lists several steps Congress should take.  Coincidentally, these are policy changes that they already favored.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Bill H says:

    Well, “terrorism” is the word-du-jour and cannot be used too often. Which is, I think, your point. But if it gets used enough it might lose much of its meaning and become mere noise, which would not be a bad thing.

    That has already happened with me. When I see/hear that Obama’s subject is “terror whatever” or “keeping America safe” I tune out and wait for him to say something that has some meaning. That is all blather that has no meaning. It is political posturing to appeal to the bedwetters among us. I’m no great morally courageous lion, but I’m not a bedwetter.

  2. PD Shaw says:

    Is this politically motivated?

    I assume the murderer thought he was acting in self-defense of persons.

  3. […] was a plain old murder, not “terrorism” or an […]

  4. Steve Plunk says:

    If the guy is a nut job the term terrorism is a stretch and it sounds like he’s a kook.

    Terrorism is hard to define but we generally know it when we see it. This isn’t it. It’s just a stupid crime with tragic consequences.

  5. Brian says:

    Using the wikipedia common def. – “Terrorism is more commonly understood as an act which is intended to create fear (terror), is perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a materialistic goal or a lone attack), and deliberately targets (or disregards the safety of) non-combatants” – which sounds pretty good to me – this is indeed terrorism. I grant it won’t likely make policy change, but it could make people hesitant about offering abortion services.

  6. […] Monday, June 1st, 2009 Shorter James Joyner: Posted at 10:49 by J. A. Baker in Religious Thuggery; GOP Bizarro World; Eliminationist Fantasies; Fixing My Broken Misogyny Radar; The Stupid, It Burns! Was Tiller Murder ‘Terrorism’? […]

  7. Michael says:

    I’m still not convinced that the killer intended to create fear or effect political or social change. The much simpler explanation is that he just wanted to kill someone who’s activities he wanted to stop.

  8. I guess the question hinges on whether or not you think the gunman would have settled for nothing less than a du jour change in policy, or whether he’d be contented with a de facto change. If you think it’s the latter, than this is certainly a very effective form of terrorism; if you make doing the procedure extremely dangerous for the doctor, to the point that few, if any, doctors are willing to do it and women who need/want the procedure are unable to find anyone willing to perform it, then in practice that’s just as good as a legislative ban.

  9. floyd says:

    Was the Tiller murder terrorism?
    No , and the real danger here is the lynch mob mentality that would infringe on every citizen’s rights by asking such a facetious question.
    The equally facetious question at the other end of the same spectrum…
    Was the Tiller killing murder?
    See?

  10. Tlaloc says:

    you can change policy by changing the implementation even if not the stated intent. If doctors quit providing abortion services due to intimidation then it makes no difference if abortion is legal- it is still inaccessable.

    Or what BJ says above.

  11. floyd says:

    “”then in practice that’s just as good as a legislative ban.””
    “””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    Another very effective form of terrorism?

  12. Barry says:

    “But, while one hesitates to fathom what a deranged lunatic “intends,” but there’s no way a rational person, even an evil one, would think that murdering abortionists will change public policy. ”

    By that standard McVeigh was not a terrorist; the various militia movements of the 1980’s and 90’s were not terrorist movements, and 9/11 was not a terrorist act.

  13. legion says:

    OK, I’ll give some credit to Steve P’s and Michael’s comments – If the guy was a nut job, or coming from a ‘crime of passion’ angle, it might not qualify as terrorism. We’ll have to wait for the arraignment & public statements by various folks to get more info on that. But I still believe political/religious beliefs were at the root of this vile act – and a desire to change some part of the world – rather than the more typical motivations for murder, like money, revenge, etc. So I’ll hold onto my ‘terrorism’ tag until we know more…

  14. legion says:

    Barry,

    By that standard McVeigh was not a terrorist; the various militia movements of the 1980’s and 90’s were not terrorist movements, and 9/11 was not a terrorist act.

    No, it just means they’re not very _good_ terrorists. People can be both insane _and_ terrorists. (some would even say it’s a requirement… 🙂

  15. kth says:

    Some of the unwillingness to call this act “terrorism” seems to stem from an unstated or latent tendency to regard Dr. Tiller basically as a combatant. But he was no more of one than the employees in the Murrah Building were. To regard him otherwise is to give into the insurgent frame that there is a war going on, not a political disagreement on which the anti- side has lost.

    (not that anyone here has characterized the doctor as a combatant, nor consciously adopted the insurgent view of the abortion debate, just that there may be an unconscious tendency to view him that way)

  16. Eric Florack says:

    Benen’s response as the majority of the pro-abortion responses to this are overheated.

    It’s interesting; We’re hearing, as you pointed up earlier, James, about how tiller’s death is being blamed on ‘overheated rhetoric’ from such as O’Reilly. If that’s true, what does anyone suppose the overheated rhetoric in response to tiller’s death will cause?

  17. kth says:

    Good question, Eric. I guess the answer is, if anti-choice activists get killed in the wake of the remarks of Benen and like-minded others, then the pro-choice side is just the same. But if Benen’s “overheated” rhetoric results in no violence, then either lefties aren’t like that or his rhetoric wasn’t really all that overheated.

  18. Michael says:

    We’re hearing, as you pointed up earlier, James, about how tiller’s death is being blamed on ‘overheated rhetoric’ from such as O’Reilly. If that’s true, what does anyone suppose the overheated rhetoric in response to tiller’s death will cause?

    The difference being that those sympathetic to Benen’s rhetoric feel that they have an impartial authority from which they can seek justice for this act. The rhetoric coming from O’Reilly and others is that those who are anti-abortion had no ability to appeal for justice, because those authorities were conspiring with Tiller to allow his actions, thus their only hope for justice was vigilantism.

  19. Eric Florack says:

    those sympathetic to Benen’s rhetoric feel that they have an impartial authority from which they can seek justice for this act

    And what authority would that be?
    Surely, not the law.

  20. Michael says:

    And what authority would that be?
    Surely, not the law.

    What reason would Benen’s supports have to not believe that law enforcement and the courts will prosecute Tiller’s killer?

  21. Eric Florack says:

    None. But is that impartial? For that matter are Benen and his supporters impartial? I think not.

    As an example of how the left would treat this case unqeually, let’s take a real case from today’s headlines:

    Fox News:

    DEVELOPING: A gunman opened fire Monday at an army recruitment center in Little Rock, Ark., killing one army recruiter and seriously wounding another, FOX16.com reported.

    A man in a black SUV drove to the recruitment office and began shooting at around 10:19 a.m., a spokesman with the Little Rock police department told FOX News.

    The suspect, who immediately fled the scene, was later apprehended approximately four miles from the center with an assault rifle in his vehicle.

    Little Rock authorities detected a “suspicious device” inside the vehicle and called a bomb squad to the scene, according to FOX16.com.

    Both of these shootings are politically motivated, certainly. Just as certainly, both are undertaken with a political goal in mind. Both result in at least one death. But I wonder how many will consider these attacks as equal?

    (AHA, I see the out already; the perp was driving an SUV!!!!)

    As I say, we have been hearing that the attack on Tiller is the result of being blamed on ‘overheated rhetoric’ from such as O’Reilly. Will we now hear these same folks admit that the attack on the recruiting staion is the direct result of ‘overheated rhetoric’ from such as Air America?

    Will we get the same level of discussion on the left side of the ‘sphere? Will it get nearly the bounce on the cable news channels, even? Somehow, I doubt it.

    I suspect you do, too.

  22. kth says:

    Eric, if Keith Olbermann (or someone else with as big a megaphone as O’Reilly’s) had mentioned the specific Army recruiter by name 29 times (as O’Reilly had with Dr. Tiller) on his show, you might have a point.

  23. Michael says:

    None. But is that impartial? For that matter are Benen and his supporters impartial? I think not.

    Neither of which is related to my claim. I said that Benen’s sympathizers believe the courts will be impartial, meaning they have no reason to believe in a conspiracy to deny them justice.

    Both of these shootings are politically motivated, certainly. Just as certainly, both are undertaken with a political goal in mind. Both result in at least one death. But I wonder how many will consider these attacks as equal?

    I’m not aware of the specifics of that case. Was the victim personally sought as the target, or was the Army in general? Was it even a specific target, or just a target of opportunity? I’m not saying they’re unequal, I’m just saying I don’t know the specifics.

    If the target was the Army in general, and for political reasons, then I would consider them equal. If the recruiter was having an affair with the shooter’s wife, or was given a dishonorable discharge, then they are unequal in intent and effect, though equally appalling.

  24. Eric Florack says:

    Eric, if Keith Olbermann (or someone else with as big a megaphone as O’Reilly’s) had mentioned the specific Army recruiter by name 29 times (as O’Reilly had with Dr. Tiller) on his show, you might have a point.

    And what of the huge amount of traffic from every leftie blog in extsiance, yesterday? Was that without effect, do you suppose?

    Neither of which is related to my claim. I said that Benen’s sympathizers believe the courts will be impartial, meaning they have no reason to believe in a conspiracy to deny them justice.

    Actually, it’s directly related. Do pro-abortionists figure the courts are impartial, or do they simply figure any rulings will be in their favor?

    I’m not aware of the specifics of that case. Was the victim personally sought as the target, or was the Army in general? Was it even a specific target, or just a target of opportunity? I’m not saying they’re unequal, I’m just saying I don’t know the specifics.

    Well, I think it safe to assume, for the sake of discussion, that each was sought out by their killer as tools of a particular point of view. As we learn more that may change, but to my mind this serves as a good discussional exersize, anyway, for the moment. Fair enough?

  25. Michael says:

    Actually, it’s directly related. Do pro-abortionists figure the courts are impartial, or do they simply figure any rulings will be in their favor?

    Like most people, they assume that their views are right, and thus an impartial judge will likely rule in their favor.

    Well, I think it safe to assume, for the sake of discussion, that each was sought out by their killer as tools of a particular point of view.

    That may indeed be the case, details are still coming in. For the sake of this argument though I will agree with the assumption. In that case, there is no moral difference between the two. Legally, however, the shooter in this case might be subject to a lesser charge, if his victim was not personally targeted ahead of time. I’m not sure how that works.

  26. Eric Florack says:

    Like most people, they assume that their views are right, and thus an impartial judge will likely rule in their favor.

    Well, my obection was that I saw your comment as defining law as impartial, period, as opposed to through their viewpoint.

    I’m not sure how that works

    Depends on the state, as I gather it. But here’s a question which draws a bit of a sharper line around my general point, here… Which of these two murders will be more likely to have ‘hate crime’ attached to it?

  27. An Interested Party says:

    Oh my what a silly discussion…we all know that acts of terrorism are only perpetrated by swarthy people who believe in Allah…

  28. Michael says:

    Which of these two murders will be more likely to have ‘hate crime’ attached to it?

    Presumably only Tiller’s murder, since hate crimes are usually defined as targeting traits of individuals, not members of an organization.

  29. Eric Florack says:

    Oh my what a silly discussion…we all know that acts of terrorism are only perpetrated by swarthy people who believe in Allah…

    Well, let’s examine this.
    First, it’s interesting, particualrly in light of my point of unequal treatment, that the left has suddenly decided ‘terrorism’ isn’t on the list of verbotten words, anymore. Took this killing to accomplish that.

    But let’s see… is it really terrorism?

    Since back in 1993, there have been seven abortion clinic workers killed as such. If this constitutes an organized bit of terrorist activity, I suggest it to be so far below the radar as to be invisible. Certainly, using that lable in this case doesn’t seem reasonable.

    This is at least a misapplication of the term terrorism, in light of the much larger terrorism we’ve seen in the last decade… terrorism that for the most part, the left ignored.

    Presumably only Tiller’s murder, since hate crimes are usually defined as targeting traits of individuals, not members of an organization.

    I agree Tiller’s killing more likely to be so labeled, but not your reasoning. Can being pro-military or for that matter anti-military be called a trait? I dare say it can.

  30. Michael says:

    Can being pro-military or for that matter anti-military be called a trait? I dare say it can.

    I suppose it could be, the class of traits that can be used to charge a hate crime seems kind of fuzzy around the edges.

    Again, though, the question is whether the recruiter was attacked because of his pro-military position, or simply because he was an available member of an organization the attacker hated.

  31. Eric Florack says:

    Again, though, the question is whether the recruiter was attacked because of his pro-military position, or simply because he was an available member of an organization the attacker hated.

    I suspect the same question might be logically raised about Tiller. Certainly, Tiller was well known as an abortionist. But then, again, wearing a uniform tends to identify one as pro-military, that way, as well.

    By the way, no reports on motive in the Little Rock case, as yet.

  32. Michael says:

    I suspect the same question might be logically raised about Tiller. Certainly, Tiller was well known as an abortionist. But then, again, wearing a uniform tends to identify one as pro-military, that way, as well.

    True. It seems pretty obvious that Tiller was specifically targeted, while not necessarily so for the recruiter. Which, in my mind, makes the recruiter shooting more in line with the reasoning for hate crime laws than Tiller’s.

  33. anjin-san says:

    Both of these shootings are politically motivated, certainly.

    Well, I think it safe to assume, for the sake of discussion, that each was sought out by their killer as tools of a particular point of view

    Hmm. First it was a “certainty” now its “safe to assume”. Can’t even keep your own BS straight?

    One thing that is pretty clear is that you are trying to exploit the tragic murder of the recruiter for political gain, which is pretty scummy, but no big shock coming from you…

  34. anjin-san says:

    in light of the much larger terrorism we’ve seen in the last decade… terrorism that for the most part, the left ignored.

    Right moron, “the left” ignored 9/11. If you were not a congenital idiot, this would be pretty offensive, but an aspiring right wing hate blogger pretty much has to spew utter garbage to say something their target audience can actually grasp, no?

  35. Herb says:

    If one were talented enough, one could write the Great American Novel about our era, saying that all the evils of the world came down to one thing:

    Hyperbole.

    I mean, why say a doctor was killed by a psychopath when the “murderer” was blown away by the “terrorist” sounds so much better.

  36. […] Was Tiller Murder ‘Terrorism’? James Joyner | Monday, June 1, 2009 For the second time in less than a week, Andrew Sullivan has handed out one of his positive awards to someone for whom a different and negative award was named. This time, Michelle Malkin gets an Yglesias Award for calling the murder of George Tiller “terrorism.” (For those who don’t keep up with such things, the Malkin Award is given for “shrill, hyperbolic, divisive and intemperate right-wing rhetoric.”) Amusingly, while I join Malkin in condemning the murder of Tiller, I consider terming it “terrorism” to be rather hyperbolic. Quite a few bloggers I read, especially those on the left, join her in using it. Steve Benen, for example, argues “We’re dealing with an act of politically-motivated violence, against a law-abiding American on American soil, intended to scare, intimidate, and change U.S. policy.” That’s not quite right. While no universally accepted definition exists, Benen’s is as good as any. But I’d argue that it constitutes a three-pronged test and that this murder falls short on one prong. Yes, this act was politically motivated and designed to scare and intimidate. But, while one hesitates to fathom what a deranged lunatic “intends,” but there’s no way a rational person, even an evil one, would think that murdering abortionists will change public policy. Indeed, if anything, it’s likely to make people on the fence more sympathetic to abortion providers while putting reasoned critics of abortion on the defensive. Quote: […]

  37. G.A.Phillips says:

    Oh my what a silly discussion…we all know that acts of terrorism are only perpetrated by swarthy people who believe in Allah…

    Nope they come in all shape, sizes, colors, politics and religions, Or they have at one time.

    But hey if you murder little babies and throw them in the garbage, you might be a terrorist.

    If if you mug and car jack people for a living, you might be a terrorist.

    If you burn down residential developments cause you don’t like them in the woods
    you might be a terrorist.

    If you murder rival gang members to get them off your turf, you might be a terrorist.

    If you sacrifice other people in satanic worship services you might be a terrorist.

    If you put spikes in trees to maim and kill lumberjacks you might be a terrorist.

    If your union uses intimidation, threats, violence, and murder as bargaining tactics, you might be a terrorist or a supporter.

    Too. and so on and so on.

    Where we taking this? How many people liberal type people have murdered or terrorized on a daily basis vs the ones conservative types do, you donkalopes ain’t going to like the data.

  38. PD Shaw says:

    Some of the unwillingness to call this act “terrorism” seems to stem from an unstated or latent tendency to regard Dr. Tiller basically as a combatant

    I’m pro-choice. I operate first from experience with people on death row. People on death row tend to feel they are justified by what they have done; that the victim deserved it. (at least in part)

    Here, the simplest explanation is that the murderer thought he was justified in saving lives from ongoing, continual acts of infanticide.

  39. […] James Joyner […]

  40. Steve Plunk says:

    As for update 3. Does Klein now want to exploit this murder for his political gain? Congress should make law without considering singular acts such as this. I doubt they will but they should.

  41. An Interested Party says:

    …terrorism that for the most part, the left ignored.

    What a stupid thing to type…that statement is as bad as trying to libel the right as giving acquiescence to Tiller’s murder…

  42. DL says:

    With the nation swinging against abortion 51% -one could just as easily assume a pro-abortion nut did this to blame to pro-life folks, particularly when one hears talk about making protection for late term abortion stronger.

    Murder is evil – whether it is of 50 million innocent pre-borns or of one man who chooses to kill them. Life is life and precious and not ours to terminate for convenience!

  43. An Interested Party says:

    Murder is evil – whether it is of 50 million innocent pre-borns or of one man who chooses to kill them. Life is life and precious and not ours to terminate for convenience!

    Under this logic, doctors who perform abortions are mass murderers and the women who have them are also murderers…for anyone who really believes this, don’t you have the moral obligation to do everything you can to stop abortions? It’s no mystery why a zealot who believes this would take the next step to stop a person he felt was a mass murderer…as someone wrote elsewhere, it’s surprising that this doesn’t happen more often…

  44. Steve Plunk says:

    An Interested Party,

    Yes it is surprising. I guess pro life really means pro life. They usually explain a life is not theirs to take.

  45. Eric Florack says:

    Hmm. First it was a “certainty” now its “safe to assume”. Can’t even keep your own BS straight?

    The concept of ‘context’ just gets right by you, doesn’t it?

    One thing that is pretty clear is that you are trying to exploit the tragic murder of the recruiter for political gain

    No, Swifty… what is clear is that you feel your position cannot withstand the comparison. Know what? You’re right; It can’t.

    What a stupid thing to type…that statement is as bad as trying to libel the right as giving acquiescence to Tiller’s murder…

    Heh. Try this on someone who wasn’t paying attention. You may notice that the first thing Obama did with the war on terror was to … ready?… change the name.

  46. anjin-san says:

    The concept of ‘context’ just gets right by you, doesn’t it?

    The context is very clear. You exploiting the murder of a soldier to pick up a cheap political point.

    what is clear is that you feel your position cannot withstand the comparison. Know what? You’re right; It can’t.

    Since I have not stated a position, the stupidity of your statement is obvious. But here, I will clue you in. My position is that a soldier serving our country has been tragically murdered. I hope the DA goes for the death penalty. We should honor his memory and service and not try to exploit his death for political gain.

  47. G.A.Phillips says:

    Under this logic, doctors who perform abortions are mass murderers and the women who have them are also murderers…for anyone who really believes this, don’t you have the moral obligation to do everything you can to stop abortions? It’s no mystery why a zealot who believes this would take the next step to stop a person he felt was a mass murderer…as someone wrote elsewhere, it’s surprising that this doesn’t happen more often…

    I once called for retro active abortions for all who support them, but it was a joke, but then again would it be so bad, under your own logic? Under your logic witch is not logic, it could be rationalized. This is actually what the logic of a liberal thinker comes down to –>.

    Baseless rationalization of thing you want to do, or want others to do. IT COULD NOT BE MORE SIMPLE.

    But it goes deeper and is far more sinister.

    why cant you see this. I do have a theory, well I would call it an observation of a truth, but being a liberal you would ether not understand it or deny it so I won’t wast it on you.

    You know, I am anti murder not literally pro life, even that I am very fond of it, life that is,and I do think that all should get the choice to live.

    To me the truth is also that if you think murder you commit it.

    So luckily you aren’t our judge in this even though you probably want to be and I’m sure some of your leaders are working on laws for.

  48. Bithead says:

    The context is very clear. You exploiting the murder of a soldier to pick up a cheap political point.

    The fact is, your argument is so shallow it can’t withstand the comparison. Clearly, one must be in the political favor of the left to garner their concern when they get murdered, and Pvt Long being military… and the left being anti-military and pro-abortion as a rule, Pvt Long’s murder doesn’t merit the leftist outrage that George Tiller’s murder does. The Memeorandum tracker shows us that fairly clearly, your denial not withstandng.

    And of course the liberals caterwalling over this the last ouple days and calling it ‘terroris’ aren’t trying to score cheap political points? Or did that fact just slide right by you, as so very many do, these days? Or maybe the whole thing just cuts a little too close to home for you, eh?

  49. Michael says:

    the left being anti-military and pro-abortion as a rule

    I don’t think it is a rule that the left is anti-military. Preferring non-military solutions does not make someone anti-military. Being anti-{specific war} does not make someone anti-military. Most people on the left have a high level of respect and appreciation for our armed forces and those who serve in them.

  50. Eric Florack says:

    I won’t say anything against your statement, here, mike, but I will say it depends on just how far left you go.

  51. Michael says:

    I won’t say anything against your statement, here, mike, but I will say it depends on just how far left you go.

    Well that’s a given, the closer you get to the fringe, the more fringe elements you will find. If you go far enough right, you’ll find the same kind of anti-military elements as you will on the left.

  52. DavidL says:

    With the two man made disaters, the killings of George Tiller and Private William A. Long, United State Army, has presented a test to the President To wit, can the President muster two appropariate, but consistent responses to the two murders? So far the answer is no.

  53. hln says:

    I would like to posit that the killer probably didn’t look any further than stopping Dr. Tiller from performing more abortions.

    That’s if he’s sane at all, and who knows.

  54. anjin-san says:

    With the two man made disaters, the killings of George Tiller and Private William A. Long, United State Army, has presented a test to the President To wit, can the President muster two appropariate, but consistent responses to the two murders? So far the answer is no.

    Can you express yourself coherently? So far, the answer is no.

  55. An Interested Party says:

    You may notice that the first thing Obama did with the war on terror was to … ready?… change the name.

    So, changing a name (I doubt you’ll notice the silliness of waging war on a tactic) proves that Obama is “ignoring” our terrorist enemies? It’s no wonder that people who think like you hold so little political power anymore…

    re: G.A.Phillips | June 2, 2009 | 01:02 pm

    Awful ironic that someone who has no problem passing judgment on people he doesn’t even know is trying to lecture me about judging people…by the way, if you are “anti-murder” I assume you are also opposed to the death penalty…

  56. Michael says:

    Can you express yourself coherently? So far, the answer is no.

    Anjin-san, please try pointing out contradictory evidence or making counter-arguments, instead of simply insulting people. You used to do that, and it made for better discussion.

  57. Eric Florack says:

    Well that’s a given, the closer you get to the fringe, the more fringe elements you will find. If you go far enough right, you’ll find the same kind of anti-military elements as you will on the left.

    But therein lies the rub… Based on the chatter we see on the usual left-o-sphere, the ‘fringe’ isn’t all that far out of the center of the Democrats, anymore. Now, it’s down to putting a face in the leading edge of that.

    So, changing a name (I doubt you’ll notice the silliness of waging war on a tactic) proves that Obama is “ignoring” our terrorist enemies?

    “terrorism’ is the truth of what’s happening, there. Changing the name, (As David suggests, “man -made -disasters”) ignores that truth, and tries to hide it under a pile of euphimistic nonsense.

  58. Michael says:

    Based on the chatter we see on the usual left-o-sphere, the ‘fringe’ isn’t all that far out of the center of the Democrats

    You must be viewing a different “left-o-sphere” than I do.

    “terrorism’ is the truth of what’s happening

    The problem is that “terrorism” is not something you can shoot, bomb, or capture, so saying we’re at war with it is silly. Not that “main made disasters” is any better.

  59. Grewgills says:

    But, while one hesitates to fathom what a deranged lunatic “intends,” but there’s no way a rational person, even an evil one, would think that murdering abortionists will change public policy.

    If we exclude deranged lunatics then there aren’t many terrorists at all.

  60. Eric Florack says:

    If we exclude deranged lunatics then there aren’t many terrorists at all.

    Careful, here.
    As Obama so vividly demonstrated recently, with victory, you get control of the label gun. Thereby, the victor gets also to control who gets labeled things like ‘deranged lunatics’.