Mind The Enthusiasm Gap

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Memo to the FBI: THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN OBVIOUS.

As much as I hate to do anything to increase the enthusiasm gap heading into 2012, there's no way around it - when it comes to counter-terrorism, the only way the Obama administration has improved over the Bush administration is in its ability to bomb terrorists without a trillion-dollar occupation to go along with it.

Which is fine for what it is, but small comfort when you read stories like the one where the FBI, two-and-a-half years into the Obama administration, was basing the content of its anti-terrorism briefings on the "work" of a rabid Islamophobes.

Specifically, we're talking about William Gawthrop and Robert Spencer, a couple of real fuckin' pieces of work. You need to know three things about Gawthrop. One, he is apparently has been an analyst for the FBI for several years. Second, before he joined the FBI, five years ago, he gave an interview to World Net Daily. And third, he was apparently responsible for this chart:

Now, assuming Gawthrop was hired during the Bush presidency, the World Net Daily thing makes sense. Bush's people Googled him, saw that WND took him seriously, and he was probably hired five minutes later. And OK, maybe, just maybe, you can't go cube to cube through the Federal government ferreting out the crazy-ass motherfuckers Bush hired for every job opening he could find. But that chart was shown to people. Regularly.

That chart would make Randall Munroe weep. It would make the inventor of PowerPoint travel back in time and kill his own grandfather. The Y axis goes from "Violent" to "Non-Violent", based on... nothing. Not number of terrorist attacks, not wars, not general crime statistics, not anything. The X axis is time, which, OK, fair enough. Start dates of the three major religions to the present. That's fine. I mean, sure, the scale's off - 613 years is about as much space on the X axis as 12 years, but whatever.

So apparently, all three major world religions started out COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY VIOLENT. Now, Judaism became non-violent at a slightly slower rate than Christianity, but they both achieved a perfect state of non-violence either in the late 90s, or somewhere around the year 1450, depending on how you read Gawthrop's X axis.

Muslims, on the other hand, stopped killing each other just long enough to invent algebra, and haven't gotten any less violent since, if I'm reading the X axis correctly, the year 616. They have somehow managed to maintain a completely flat, unchanging level of violence for fourteen hundred years. You're going to tell me everyone at the Federal Motherfucking Bureau of Investigation who saw that chart looked at it, and decided that it either made perfect sense, or that the guy who made it should at least keep working for the FBI and telling people how terrorists behave? That's ghastly.

Not as ghastly as his use of religious symbol clip art, of course. There's a cluster of Muslim crescents around the modern-day Islam line end-point, and a large cluster of David-Stars, Crosses, and... MORE CRESCENTS around the magical peace-convergence of Judaism and Christianity. And then there's one black star off to the right because I don't fucking know why.

And if all that weren't bad enough, he had to go and put the Official McVeigh Dodge along the lines. You see that text that says "Adherence By Pious And Devout"? That's the dodge. A McVeigh or Breivik don't count as "pious or devout". Nor do the millions of Muslims who go about their lives every day without killing people like it's 599.

Gawthrop's slide might as well have been a red background with flaming yellow letters that said "I AM A FUCKWIT". Yet the FBI had to have this slide, and Gawthrop's content, be uncovered by Spencer Ackerman before they could belatedly say Gawthrop won't be teaching there anymore.

As for Spencer, he's the guy that runs Jihad Watch, pals around with Pam Gellar, and whose ridiculous anti-Muslim book somehow ended up on a recommended reading list, despite him being a known douchebag and associate of douchebags.

How could something like that happen? Well, Obama's director of the FBI is Robert Mueller, who was appointed to the job in 2001. By Dubya. Obama kept him. In fact, back in May, he asked him to stay on for another two years. And that's why, until somebody noticed, World Net Daily, ridiculous charts, and Pam Gellar's drinking buddies were still being used to teach America's law enforcement agencies that all Muslims are potential violent terrorists.

And that's the complete lack of change it's much too easy to believe in.