The American Taliban Strikes In The Central Valley

There’s been some discussion of Markos Moulitsas’s new book, American Taliban, with some DC bloggers claiming that Markos overstates the case and that you can’t really compare American conservatives and the Afghanistan Taliban. Here’s Matt Yglesias trying to make that argument:

So, yes, the Taliban is misogynistic and so are most religious traditionalists. And, yes, the Taliban is nationalistic and so are right-wing political parties in most democracies. And, yes, the Taliban is enthusiastic about war-fighting as a way to achieve policy aims and so is Bill Kristol. This is all true and somewhat important. But it’s also true that American progressives and American conservatives are  peacefully coexisting in a functioning republic, whereas the Taliban is waging an extremely violent military campaign against its ideological antagonists.

Sorry, Matt, but this “peaceful coexistence” claim is dangerously naive and ignorant of the violence being committed in the name of right-wing oppression. We can look to the Central Valley to see two recent and frightening examples of the American Taliban in action, both from the city of Madera.

As reported by KFSN TV in Fresno, a Planned Parenthood clinic in Madera was firebombed on Thursday – just days after a similar attack was made on a local mosque:

Madera’s Planned Parenthood clinic is closed Thursday after someone firebombed it with a Molotov cocktail. The FBI is investigating this case as it continues to search for clues in an attack on a mosque last week on the other side of town….

Madera Police do not have anyone in custody but a spokesperson with Planned Parenthood says she has a good idea of who it might be.

“I believe it’s extremists who are, want to make a statement.” said public affairs director Pasty Montgomery.

This attack comes just one week after someone targeted a local Muslim mosque across town. Investigators found a brick thrown through the window and anti-Muslim signs posted on the walls.

Across California, various acts of hate, whether a firebombing of a Planned Parenthood clinic or a protest against a proposed mosque in Temecula, are on the increase. Even in a state where abortion rights are enshrined in our Constitution, those who provide abortion services and the women who seek to use them have to go through a lot of security procedures to protect against what should rightly be called terrorism.

When a fellow Californian such as Markos goes to the trouble of describing not only these violent acts, but also the troubling worldview behind them that is fundamentally like the worldview shared by the Taliban, their work ought to be embraced and spread as a valuable rallying point against these extremists. Otherwise what happened in Madera last week will become more common, and more violent.

10 thoughts on “The American Taliban Strikes In The Central Valley”

  1. One could argue that it is the Taliban that should be insulted by Moulitsas’ moniker, not the Radical Right of the US, as the Taliban never advocated invading other nations as the Radical Right did with Iraq, Iran, and so on, and actually accomplished in Iraq, killing hundreds of thousands. (Some might claim that the Taliban have invaded Pakistan, but the Pakistani Taliban appears to be distinct from the Afghan Taliban.)

  2. With the combination of FOX propaganda 24/7, wealthy supporters like the Koch Brothers and the capture of the government by wealthy corporations here and overseas, we are the David against Goliath.  Good for Markos that he puts out some of their strong talk without the threats like wearing a gun and promising violence if he loses at the ballot box.

  3. that the American right – as despicable as they are – are exactly the same as the Taliban?  Really?  Does the degree not matter at all (as was Matthew Yglesias’ point)?

    I understand the argument that many on the right are violent, and they get plenty of encouragement from their leaders.  But they don’t send out suicide bombers, force women to wear borquas – an iconic leader of the Tea party right is Sarah Palin, a woman – or kill them because they have been victims of rape.  Oh, they also don’t ban music.

    Look, I don’t want to defend the right!  I despise them.  But to paint the entire American right with a broad brush like this is no better than when people from other countries paint Americans with a broad brush and call us all violent gun nuts.

  4. I don’t think it’s important whether American fundamentalists are precisely as bad as the Taliban. They don’t stone adulterers. But they do kill abortion doctors.

    But I don’t really want to argue degrees of guilt.

    Because this shouldn’t be happening in the United States at all. This is a country where people are supposed to be free to express themselves within the law. Where legal practices, no matter how much they offend anybody else, are protected. That is the country we’re supposed to live in.

    The fact that vigilantes are taking the law into their own hands and trying to enforce their morality on others with acts of violence is deeply frightening and abhorrent to me. It is so against American culture that it should revolt everybody–whether or not it’s as bad as it is elsewhere. It is simply not the American way. And I think that’s what Markos means.

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