Dear America: The Terrorists Are Already Here — but They Aren’t Who You Think

December 16, 2015   |   Claire Bernish

Claire Bernish
December 16, 2015

(ANTIMEDIA) United States — Three days after the World Trade Center, Pentagon — and, arguably, any delusions of government as protector Americans still clung to — lay in ruins, Congress hastily granted the president the power to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks.”

In fact, that congressional vote would have been unanimous, if not for Representative Barbara J. Lee, whose single tally in dissent admonished the proposal since military reprisal would not secure safety for the United States. Further, she offered the keen adumbration that “as we act, let us not become the evil we deplore.”

At the time, she might have seemed absurdly over-cautious to her colleagues — and, likely, ridiculously unpatriotic to citizens breathlessly anticipating retribution — but Lee’s unintentional prognostication, had it been heeded, could have saved countless millions of lives.

Yet, stunningly, fourteen years later, ‘Americans’ have learned nothing from that eager belligerence; nothing concerning actions’ consequence — and, to their utter detriment — not the faintest detectable cognizance of the repercussions U.S. hubris can impart. And it is this exact inability to learn from our mistakes of action and attitude that brought the rise of Daesh (ISIS, ISIL, IS), and the subsequent quagmire in Syria and numerous other regions in the Middle East. Further, that refusal to grasp the lessons of the past is reflected in the exponential increase in hate crimes within the borders of the United States.

Since the December 2nd mass shooting in San Bernardino by a pair who ‘supported’ the ideology of Daesh, hate crimes — those motivated by prejudice and bigotry against a person’s religion, national origin, etc., which usually employ violence as a means of intimidation — against Muslims in the U.S. have dramatically spiked. In just the past week, a spate of inarguably terroristic acts against Muslims mirrors uncannily the pervasive, accepted culture of intimidation against African Americans in the U.S. South during much of the 20th century — so much so, that the largest white supremacist organization in the country reportedly had to upgrade its servers to cope with the spike in traffic to its website.

All of this, of course, is rooted in intense fear of the ‘other.’ Xenophobiadefined as “an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange” — grandfathers many of the dangerous ‘isms’ that tend to birth violent action. More insidiously, though, xenophobia weaves itself into common and popular culture so thoroughly that those who aren’t its target are often oblivious to — and thus most often in denial about — its presence. This explains systemic racism rather handily. It also explains why Americans largely manage to pull off the appearance of being tolerant and accepting of each other for extended time periods — until incidents like San Bernardino rip off that mask; or, worse, a public figure like Donald Trump entreaties the populace to pulverize it.

Suddenly, bigotry laid bare has become not only publicly acceptable, but arrogantly — and disturbingly — ‘normal.’ But it is neither of these things.

There isn’t anything acceptable about bigotry when it translates into fear-motivated action against an entire group — whether in Trump’s absurd Ban-All-Muslims! immigration push, or in this stupefying (and likely quite incomplete) list of crimes since the California shooting:

  • 12/4: Nearly half of all the windows of the Palm Beach Islamic Center broken overnight; furniture overturned inside
  • 12/ 4: Man threatened to “cut off Muslims’ heads” should they come to his home, voicemails to the St. Louis Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) revealed; FBI arrested a suspect, but he likely won’t face charges
  • 12/5: Man yelled “I kill Muslims!” while repeatedly punching a Muslim store owner in Queens; incident being investigated by police as a hate crime
  • 12/5: Muslim congressman from Indiana received death threat, according to TPM
  • 12/5 – 12/6: Woman driving away from New Tampa mosque in a hijab cut off and nearly run off the road by man who then threw stones at her car
  • 12/6✱: Sikh temple in California defaced with graffiti slurring Islam and mentioning the Islamic State
  • 12/6: Woman yelling anti-Islamic slurs threw hot coffee at group of Muslims praying in a park
  • 12/7: A Gwinnett County teacher asked a 13-year-old, eighth-grade Muslim student if she was carrying a bomb in her backpack
  • 12/7: Man charged with a hate crime after asking employees of a Manhattan restaurant if they were Muslim, proceeding to slap one of them; he returned later to break a glass partition
  • 12/7: New Jersey mosque received several hate-filled letters, including one calling Muslims “evil”
  • 12/8: Pig’s head left outside the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society in Philadelphia; surveillance video shows head being thrown by someone in a pickup truck overnight; FBI and police conducting parallel investigations
  • 12/9: Seattle ride-share driver attacked by passengers who accused him of being a terrorist; police investigating the beating as a hate crime
  • 12/9:  Man confronted a woman at a Brooklyn bus stop, saying, “I can’t wait for the U.S. to get rid of you trash,” then kicked her in the leg; police investigating as a bias crime
  • 12/10: CAIR offices evacuated after receiving a letter containing white powder with a note that read: “die a painful death, Muslims”; substance later tested and found not to be dangerous
  • 12/10: The Islamic Community Center of Phoenix had its windows and a light smashed; incident not being investigated as a hate crime
  • 12/10: Man charged with arson for setting fire to a Somali restaurant in Grand Forks, North Dakota — days after it was spray-painted with Nazi symbols and the phrase “go home”
  • 12/10: Muslim woman’s car came under gunfire as she drove away from a mosque in Tampa, reported CAIR of Florida
  • 12/10: Muslim family in Plano, Texas had windows of their home broken out two times in two days — just six weeks after moving to the area
  • 12/11:  23-year-old man arrested and charged with a hate crime after trying to burn down the Masjid Ibrahim Mosque in Coachella, California
  • 12/12: Armed intimidation protest by around 20 people held outside Dallas, Texas, mosque
  • 12/12: Punjabi clerk shot in the face during armed robbery in Grand Rapids — suspect used ethnic slurs, called him a “terrorist,” said: “I used to kill people like you in Iraq with no problem”; police are investigating, but “are not prepared to call this a hate crime”
  • 12/13: Fence graffitied with the word “Jesus” and a plastic replica hand grenade found inside Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Baitus-Salaam Mosque in Hawthorne, California; “Jesus is the way” painted in front of the Islamic Center of Hawthorne

✱ It should be noted that people’s ignorance of other cultures often ends up targeting groups who have nothing whatsoever to do with their already baseless hatred — Sikhism is not Islam. Both religions employ headcoverings, but appearance does not equate the two.

Soberingly, Barbara J. Lee foresaw the inherent pitfalls of declaring war against something as laughingly nebulous as the term terrorism. The painful, sick irony in this string of continuing crimes, is the fear driving them — paranoid fear that ‘other’ group could be terrorists — has turned those very people into terrorists, themselves.

This article (Dear America: The Terrorists Are Already Here — but They Aren’t Who You Think) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Claire Bernish and Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email

Author: Claire Bernish

Claire Bernish joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in May of 2015. Her topics of interest include thwarting war propaganda through education, the refugee crisis & related issues, 1st Amendment concerns, ending police brutality, and general government & corporate accountability. Born in North Carolina, she now lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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  1. The US governmene's foreign policy has unleashed untold misery in countries all over the World. The blowback has been minor by comparison. The US has now become the lead terrorist nation in the World and the World is just beginning to fight back. If Americans want to truly live in peace they have to find a way to reel in their power and money crazed leaders.

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  4. Finally some truth!! The terrorists our our own imperialistic government. US, NATO, fed bankers, satanists, etc, etc. NOT a religion…..

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  5. most likely…..Remember Bush said "You are either with us or you are a terrorist." So I imagine anyone who stands up to the elitists and their agenda are on 'no fly' lists and thus listed as a 'terrorist'. Christians, conservatives, gun owners….anonymous….

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  7. It's foolish to think we are there for anything other than oil. Do we have any real expectations of establishing a democracy on the foot step of that continent?

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  8. You yourself are a manipulating BIGOT. Manipulating circumstances to gain leverage for your own agenda — how clever.
    American government is the enemy — a liar worse than you. Your image scarred this week for sure.

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  9. First and definitely foremost, Israel and its Zionist operatives in the US government and corporate-America (currently, mostly one-in-the-same) were responsible for 9/11 and the destruction of the World Trade Center. Then, of course, the subsequent cover up, which was admitted to by the majority of the 9/11 Commissioners themselves! The stories of Arabs being responsible is a total misrepresentaion of how 9/11 took place. Once we finally come to terms with this reality we can then go on to point number two…

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  10. Is America the great Satan?

    The great Satan: America needs to be seen as the good guy once again, because we really are the good guys; we have just been living too much in our heads, and we have gotten lost.

    Have it all: America now is the most materialistic and least spiritual country in the world. When Americans learn the ultimate truth, they will become the most spiritual country almost over night. We will have it all, material and spiritual, and we will be in a position to give it all to the rest of the world, and we will.

    Once we start being who we really are, we will not have any problems, only solutions.

    We are the leaders of the world. We have to start leading in the right direction. People in the world are looking at us and wondering if we are the great Satan as some people are saying, or if we are an angel that will save the world. It is time to show them the truth. We are an angel that is going to save everyone we can.

    Help ourselves: Before we help the rest of the world, we have to help our own country. We should concentrate our resources on straightening out our own country first to build a model for the rest of the world to see and follow.
    First, help yourself spiritually, then America, then the rest of the world.

    If the people of the world see us doing the right thing and how it is benefiting us, they will want to be like us. They will see what we do, because worldwide communication will make that possible. We just have to make sure the leaders of their country are not stopping the truth from getting to them.

    I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crises. The great point is to bring them the real facts. Abraham Lincoln

    The news lately has focused on Mexicans illegally coming across our southern borders and using our education and medical system. We do not like that, so we are planning to build a big, expensive wall to try and stop them and do all sorts of things to make their pitiful lives even worse than they are. It will not work, and in the long run, it will cost us more than helping them costs us now. Doesn’t the Statue of Liberty invite everyone to come here?

    It says, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

    We should remove the invitation and statue if people are no longer welcome. Instead of seeing how we can make those poor peoples’ lives worse, shouldn’t we do the opposite and see how we can make their lives better? The problem is that their country is so corrupt and disorganized that they cannot live a decent life there. That is the real problem. We should either help them change things in their country, or let them come to ours.

    Everyone should go to downtown Tijuana and then go to downtown San Diego a few miles away. You will see one of the worst places and one of the best places on earth. It is an outrage. Mexico could be a beautiful place. The weather is better than it is here, and the cost of living is much lower. If the place were not so corrupt, they would have to build a fence to stop Americans from going south.
    We have to learn that the better other people do, the better we do.

    We want everyone in the world to do better and make more money, because it will come back to us. Half of the human race is very poor and lives on less than two dollars a day. If we just doubled that, they would have double the money to spend. They would live better, and they would spend double the money they are now spending, doubling the value of the economy of half the world. Prosperity will create prosperity, if we wake up to the truth.

    Work creates something out of nothing. If you build a house, you have a house where you did not before. Making things better, makes them better.

    That work benefits the people the work is done for, the people doing the work, and generates more money and more work. Work makes things better, which is why the work is done in the first place, to fix something or make it better. You cannot get too many workers; it is a delusion.

    A rising tide lifts all boats.
    John F. Kennedy

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  11. Yeah real terrorists threw coffee and stones and you are afraid of them ….yeah right!!!!!! 32 people died in Brussels you Idiot who wrote the article… those guys were terrorists. They Kill people and they play victim and Idiots like you supports them. I used to read your posts on facebook.Not any more anti media (Not really…), this is the kind of media we have in India who always shows them as Victims and shows the rest of us communal fringe elemets. You are no good. Suck the victim card

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  12. All I see is that not all Muslims are terrorists, yet all the terrorist I hear about are Muslims. I have read some of the Koran, and I don't care what anyone may say to you. Islam is not a religion of peace, read it for yourself.Also why don't you mention what Muslims do to Christians in a majority Muslim country.

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