The myth of the poor, oppressed jihadist never dies. Secretary of State John Kerry is the latest Obama administration official to peddle this odious narrative. Cue John Lennon’s cloying “Imagine,” don your plaid pajamas and curl up with a warm cup of deadly naivete.
While meeting with Catholic Church officials at the Vatican in Rome last Monday, Kerry expounded on their “huge common interest in dealing with this issue of poverty, which in many cases is the root cause of terrorism or even the root cause of the disenfranchisement of millions of people on this planet.” In other words: If only every al-Qaeda and Taliban recruit had a fraction of Kerry’s $200 million fortune, they’d all be frolicking peacefully with infidels on jet skis sporting “Coexist” bumper stickers.
This wasn’t a one-off. Kerry delivered a similar Kumbaya-style discourse at the Global Counterterrorism Forum last fall: “Getting this right isn’t just about taking terrorists off the street. It’s about providing more economic opportunities for marginalized youth at risk of recruitment.”
Naturally, the Foggy Bottom apple doesn’t fall far from the Pennsylvania Avenue terror-excusing tree. President Barack Obama subscribes to the very same “midnight basketball” theory of counterterrorism. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Obama asserted that jihad “grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.”
The chronic cluelessness of the root-cause apologists of jihad never ceases to amaze. Britain’s MI5 reported in 2011 that two-thirds of the United Kingdom’s jihad suspects were from middle-class backgrounds, “showing there is no simplistic relationship between poverty and involvement in Islamist extremism.” Thorough reviews of the empirical evidence shows, as the RAND Corp. reported, that “(t)errorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated or afflicted by mental disease. Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy (within their environment). Terrorist leaders actually tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.”
Here’s a refresher cheat sheet:
» Christmas Day underwear bomb operative Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab was an elite Nigerian engineering student who studied at one of Britain’s leading universities and “lived a gilded life.”
» Jihadist Samantha Lewthwaite, the notorious “White Widow” British Muslim convert linked to last year’s Westgate mall massacre in Nairobi, was the daughter of a soldier and a former University of London student.
» Seven upper-middle-class jihadi doctors were implicated in the 2007 London/Glasgow bombings.
» Al-Qaeda mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed attended Chowan College in Murfreesboro, N.C., and then transferred to North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, where he earned his degree in mechanical engineering along with 30 other Muslims. Mohammed applied his Western learning to oversee the 1993 World Trade Center bombing plot (six Americans dead), the USS Cole attack (17 U.S. soldiers dead) and the 9/11 attacks (3,000 dead). He also has been linked to the 1998 African embassy bombings (212 dead, including 12 Americans), the plot to kill the pope, the murder of Pearl and the Bali nightclub bomb blast that killed nearly 200 tourists, including two more Americans.
Bin Laden, of course, was dedicated to spending every last penny of his inherited Saudi fortune — estimated at $50 million to $300 million — to wage war on the West. Al-Shabaab jihadists have amassed their own terror campaign chest through the illegal ivory trade.
Privileged jihad funders from Qatar and other Gulf states heap their petro-dollars on al-Qaeda. The Taliban raised $400 million in one year, according to a 2012 United Nations report, not just from opium, but largely from “donations, taxing local economies and extorting money from such targets as drug dealers, cell phone operators and aid projects.” Indeed, since 2006, “the Taliban have managed to finance an ever-increasing number of attacks, reflecting a year-on-year increase in income,” the U.N. report said.
Memo to stupidly rich elitist Kerry, richly stupid progressive Obama and his administration’s bleeding-heart bureaucrats in a bubble: Financial bankruptcy is not, and has never been, the “root cause” of Quran-inspired hatred and violence against nonbelievers. Lack of intellectual stimulation is not, and has never been, the “root cause” of radical Islam’s centuries-old and never-ceasing imperative to establish a worldwide caliphate and conquer the West. The root cause of civilizational jihad is unmitigated evil and arrogance, not lack of compassion, understanding or social justice.
Islamic terrorism never had such dutiful tools as the American fools who rationalize it.
— Michelle Malkin is author of Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Twitter: @michellemalkin, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.