In an interview aired tonight between journalist Brian Williams and Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Palin repeatedly refused to define as “terrorists” the people who bombed abortion clinic, firebombed clinics, shot doctors and killed nurses.
When you read this transcript of Palin’s remarks, pay special attention to the way that Sarah Palin relies on the adjective “innocent:”
Brian Williams: Is an abortion clinic bomber a terrorist under this definition?
Sarah Palin: [Sighs] There’s no question Bill Ayres, under his own admittance, was, um, one who sought to destroy, er, our US Capitol and our Pentagon. That is a domestic terrorist. There’s no question there. Now, others who would want to engage in harming innocent Americans or facilities, that, uh, er, that would be unacceptable. Uh, I don’t know if you’re going to use the word “terrorist” there, but it’s unacceptable and, uh, um, it, er, would not be condoned, of course, on, on our watch, but [sigh] I don’t know what you’re asking is if I regret referring to Bill Ayres as an unrepentant domestic terrorist. I don’t regret characterizing him as that.
Brian Williams: I’m just asking what other categories you would put in there. Abortion clinic bombers, protesters in cities where fires were started, molotov cocktails were thrown, people died.
Sarah Palin: I would put in that category of Bill Ayres anyone else who would seek to campaign to destroy our United States Capitol and our Pentagon and would seek to destroy innocent Americans.
At that point John McCain stepped in to interrupt the Sarah Palin and move the conversation in a new direction.
“Innocent”? “Innocent”? Who else qualifies discussions of abortion bombings and shooting doctors in the head with arguments about who is and who is not “innocent”? Oh, right:
Since 1993 some members of the anti-abortion movement began ascribing to the belief that assaults against abortion doctors could be “justifiable homicide.” The philosophy of the movement evolved in the late 1980s from violence against property to violence against individuals.
The idea was first publicly floated by Roman Catholic priest David Trosch of Mobile, Ala. Later, the Rev. Paul Hill publicly justified the murder of abortion provider Dr. David Gunn with a petition, signed by about 35 others, to the effect that killing abortion providers was justified in defense of innocent lives. The following year, Hill murdered Dr. John Britton and an escort and seriously wounded another. Hill is now on Florida’s death row for Britton’s killing.
Around this time, a law student at Regent University (founded by televangelist Pat Robertson) named Michael Hirsh formally presented the theory of justifiable homicide as his thesis paper. He argued–based on Florida law and his notion of biblical law–that Gunn’s murder was indeed justifiable homicide. Army of God leader Bray later credited Hirsh’s paper as informing his thinking in his influential 1994 book “A Time to Kill.” This book has served as perhaps the main theoretical text justifying anti-abortion violence and theocratic action against a government deemed out of sync with biblical law.
REV. DONALD SPITZ: The reason I said that, that he was a hero – he or she was a hero – is this: Doctor abortionist baby killer Slepian has had a history of murdering unborn babies, so whoever the sniper was, male or female, that shot this abortionist, that shot this baby killer, saved those innocent human beings from being murdered by Dr. Slepian.
“We have shed the blood of the innocent in the womb, and we are now reaping it in the streets.” — Rev. Flip Benham, Operation Rescue
“No, you pro-abortion baby killing fanatics are the terrorists. What is a terrorist? Someone who murders innocent people. That is YOU. You pro-abortion babykillers murder innocent children each and every day.” — Rev Donald Soitz.
But Sarah Palin wouldn’t know about all that stuff when she’s talking adding her caveats “innocent Americans,” would she? I mean, after all, she isn’t part of that whole movement and its actions…
… oh, wait:
I am pro-life. With the exception of a doctor’s determination that the mother’s life would end if the pregnancy continued. I believe that no matter what mistakes we make as a society, we cannot condone ending an innocent’s life.
and who was the local politician who participated in pickets of Dr. Susan Lemagie’s family planning clinic that got so aggressive that Lemagie’s 12 year old daughter suffered threats and Dr. Lemagie started talking about buying a bulletproof vest to go to work? Yes, that would be Sarah Palin.
And who is the national political candidate who voted against a bill to prosecute the killers of doctors and nurses at abortion clinics? Who is the national political candidate who voted to let those found guilty of terrorizing doctors and nurses off the hook for fines and restitution?
In this case, it’s not Sarah Palin. It’s John McCain.