It’s easy to dismiss the Hutarees as a group of insane, out of touch rednecks driven by a radical ideology. It’s an accurate assessment, as far as it goes. The Hutarees were a self-isolated rural group with a radical ideology. It’s plausible to suggest that some Hutaree members are suffering from mental illness of some sort, given the way that the group works with paranoid ideas.
To merely accept this explanation that the Hutarees are just a bunch of kooks, and look no farther, is a mistake. To do so would be to miss the larger problem in American society, of which the Hutaree militia is one symptom.
The Hutarees are extremists, but their beliefs are shared by many Americans, and are but an extreme version of an ideology that was developed and spread from within the Bush White House. Elements of this ideology continue to be spread even from within the Obama Administration.
I’m talking about the ideology of Homeland Security.
One of the videos made by Hutaree Kris Sickles makes it clear that the Hutaree was obsessed with the idea that Muslim terrorists could be anywhere, even setting up sleeper cells in rural Michigan. The Sickles video serves as a warning of the pervasiveness of violent Islamic invaders, and a justification for the Hutarees’ own violent plans.
The extreme fear of Muslim terrorists wasn’t just an individual obsession by Khristopher Sickles, either. Just before the Hutaree arrests this last weekend, Muslim groups in Michigan indicated that they were the targets of violent threats by the Hutarees.
The U.S. government has worked to convince the American people of a ubiquitous Muslim terrorist threat for years. Recent testimony in the U.S. Senate includes the guarantee by top intelligence and military officials that a Muslim terrorist attack will happen in the United States before this August.
Conspiracy theorist Juval Aviv has claimed multiple times that nuclear attacks on the United States, conducted by Islamic terrorists already within are borders, are imminent. Every time he’s made this warning, Aviv has been dead wrong, but that hasn’t stopped members of Congress from repeating his assertions as if they’re fact. Aviv’s claims have also been heavily promoted by mainstream corporate media as if they’re credible.
For years, the American government and corporate media have accepted on faith the idea that another Islamic terrorist attack will certainly occur unless extreme measures are taken. Is it any wonder, then, that groups like the Hutarees have been preparing to take extreme measures?
The Homeland Security mentality has encouraged Americans to act out on the basis of the paranoid belief that Muslim terrorists could be anywhere. Years after Americans were told to get ready to put duct tape and plastic sheeting on their windows, and shopping malls came up with terrorist attack response plans, our government is still urging farmers to be on the lookout for terrorist plans to destroy our nation’s food supplies. The Eagle Eyes program has encouraged Americans to spy on their neighbors, just in case. The FISA Amendments Act, which Barack Obama voted for as Senator and continues to use as President, justifies the gathering up of huge amounts of Americans’ private communications, with the assertion that any one of us could be in cahoots with murderous Islamic evildoers.
Homeland Security has been a poisonously paranoid ideology. It’s encouraged us all to live like Hutarees to some extent, suspecting our fellow travelers to the extent that they must submit to full body scans for explosives and weapons, expecting to see a Muslim jihadist hiding behind every trash can. Our entire nation invaded Iraq on the plainly false belief that the Iraqi government was in cahoots with Osama Bin Laden. Remember how Americans were dumping French wine down the drain in the belief that doing so would help protect them from terrorists?
Almost a decade has gone by without a serious terrorist threat. It’s long since time that America stops waiting for the other shoe to drop. There is no other shoe. The Homeland Security ideology is doing us more harm than good. It’s transforming Americans into a fearful, hateful, violent people. Until we have the courage to abandon the paranoia of Homeland Security, we can expect to see more extremist groups take its faith-based fear over the edge into violence.