Headline Inversion: The Consequences of a Jennifer Rubin Mindset on Terrorism


Wikimedia Commons

Washington Post neoconservative and big government cheerleader Jennifer Rubin published her latest bit of agitation for a renewed War in Iraq under the misleading headline: "The consequences of a radical mindset on jihadist terror." The word radical is evidently code for anyone who disagrees with Jennifer Rubin, which she makes much clearer in the Twitter version of the headline: "The consequences of the libertarian/leftist view of terror fighting."

According to Rubin, those consequences include foreign fighters flocking to ISIL's cause. Rubin cites some instances of this—American Douglas McAuthur McCain was killed in Syria fighting for ISIL last weekend—before deciding:

This should put radicals who object to effective anti-terrorism on defense. We don't know whether this specific jihadist killed anyone, but he reportedly had taken up arms in league with an enemy of the United States. So let's play out what would happen at various stages in his evolution as a jihadist if anti-government extremists got their way.

Rubin then concludes that we should all be grateful for the NSA, drone strikes against American citizens, torture, and Guantanamo Bay:

But if we rip out the National Security Agency surveillance program or make it so cumbersome that intelligence officials can't detect developments in real time, any chance to stop the jihadist wannabe before he left the country would be lost. I suppose the libertarians would shrug and say that's acceptable.

Shrug? Last I checked, the NSA was still merrily spying on American citizens, obviously failing to catch McCain in time. (According to this report, McCain even tweeted to another jihadist, "I will be joining you guys soon," so he clearly hadn't passed terrorism 101.) As my colleague Jesse Walker points out on Twitter, it is hard to say which of Rubin's intrusive, unconstitutional, statist policies would have actually stopped McCain, given that most of them are currently in effect and none of them did.

But this gets at the larger point: We are not living with the consequences of a libertarian foreign policy. We are living—right now, at this moment—with the consequences of a Jennifer Rubin foreign policy. The new bad guy, ISIL, has arisen from the situation her neoconservative policies created when the U.S. deposed the old bad guy, Saddam Hussein.

At the close of her screed, Rubin sneeringly asks:

What, then, do they favor — more ambulances for the next 9/11-type attack on the homeland?

We favor fewer body bags, how about that? Not because we are ideological or naive, but because we were around the last dozen times the war-agitators got their way.