WHY ISLAMIST TERRORISM IS MORE IMPORTANT TO AMERICANS THAN NON-ISLAMIST TERRORISM
Juan Cole falls below his usual high standards of analysis today with his comments on the ETA bombings in Spain.
"I was struck at how little coverage US news organizations were giving this terrorist strike. If the Bush administration were serious about fighting terrorism, surely the FBI and CIA would be flying off to Madrid and trying to catch the perpetrators? There would be extensive consultations between Bush and Prime Minister Zapatero about cooperation in fighting these groups.
If these bombings had been carried out by al-Qaeda, it would be front-page news and something of concern to Washington.
That it isn't raises the question of anti-Muslimism. Is the difference in the way that the American press responds to ETA from the way it responds to al-Qaeda a form of racism? "
To answer Professor Cole's question, frankly, no it is not. The coverage of foreign news by MSM that does not directly
impact American interests is typically, with the exception of very few media outlets like The Christian Science Monitor, exceedingly shallow. It's self-absorption and lack of curiousity, not racism. Any American who desires to know what is going on outside of the United States is best off regularly reading the direct wire reports of the AP and Reuters and the English editions of the better foreign newspapers.
For historical purposes compare the amount of space given to the terrorism of Italy's Red Brigades in their heyday with the coverage given to them when they kidnapped an American general, James L. Dozier. You would think that a group of Marxists that assassinated a sitting Prime Minister of a major NATO ally would have been better known to Americans prior to the Dozier incident but they were not.
Secondly, aside from the fact that Muslims are not a race ( nor are Arabs really, being a cultural-linguistic group. Somalis and light skinned Syrians alike consider themselves to be Arabs) a hierarchy of prioritization in the GWOT makes eminent rational sense. I'd say the Bush administration like the press follow the same scale of importance:
1. al-Qaida and it's direct affiliates/allied groups like Abu Sayyaf and the Taliban.
2. Other radical Islamist groups - Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Call to Combat etc.
3. Non-Islamist Terror groups that plague our allies enough that they ask for American assistance - Colombia with FARC for example.
The ETA would be a Category III terror group and Prime Minister Zapatero, being an anti-American fool, probably does not have the sense to ask for help. Even if he did, the Bush administration should require that Zapatero ask formally for American aid so as to not further enable Zapatero's spitting in our eye as a political platform. If the request is a public one we should give Spain all asistance because it is a NATO ally, even if their current Prime Minister leaves much to be desired.