15 April 2009

James Dobson Defends ELF and ALF (Sort of)

On Sean Hannity's show yesterday, James Dobson, head of the conservative Focus on the Family, was speaking with Hannity regarding the new Dept. of Homeland Security report on "right-wing extremists." Both took exception to the notion that returning veterans could become quite dangerous if they join a right-wing, militant group--especially since the report mentioned Tim McVeigh as an example of what could happen.

Dobson commented: "there are no Timothy McVeighs out there right now. They're making a big deal out of something that hasn't happened and may not happen." I hope so, but this brings up the worries that many have had about so-called eco-terrorism, which shows up in the DHS report on left-wing extremist threats.

In testimony to the House Resources Committee on 12 February 2002, James Jarboe (Domestic Terrorism Section Chief) said that "despite the destructive aspects of ALF's operations, its operational philosophy discourages acts that harm 'any animal, human and nonhuman.' Animal rights groups in the United States, including the ALF, have generally adhered to this mandate."

Yet, Rep. Greg Walden, a Republican from Oregon said on 12 September 2001 that ELF and ALF are capable of acts "no less heinous than what we saw occur yesterday here in Washington and in New York." And Republican Sen. James "I-have-a-lot-of-weathermen-and-economists-who-don't-believe-in-climate-change-and-I-call-them-scientists" Inhofe said: "FBI counter-terror experts have warned time and again that ecoterror is the most dangerous domestic terror threat our nation faces, and I applaud our Federal agents’ ongoing efforts in cracking down on groups like ALF, ELF and SHAC in the name of protecting property and saving lives." Property first, lives second. (Except ALF and ELF never hurt or killed anyone.)

Which brings me back around to Dobson. It seems to me that all this "Operation Backfire" and hand-wringing over the danger to human lives from eco-terrorism is "making a big deal out of something that hasn't happened and may not happen."

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