What compels politicians like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. President Barack Obama and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to deny the reality that Islamist terrorism was a key part of the Orlando massacre?
Why do they offer up public statements about what happened that are classic examples of doublethink, right out of George Orwell’s 1984.
Why do they deny the evidence in front of them?
Evidence such as the transcript of Omar Mateen’s call to 911 and subsequent conversations with crisis negotiators in the middle of his ISIS-inspired massacre.
The transcript Obama’s administration initially didn’t want released without prior censorship, because the contents showed Mateen, who called himself an “Islamic soldier”, was clearly under the influence of ISIS and radical Islam.
Not recruited directly, that we know of, but turned by its hateful theology into a mass murderer, carrying out exactly the kinds of attacks in the West ISIS has called for, with homosexuals being prized targets.
If another mass murderer had repeatedly invoked the name of U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in carrying out a massacre of Muslims or Hispanics, the way Mateen invoked the name of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, do you think politicians like Trudeau, Obama and Wynne would be telling us now that Trump had nothing to do with the tragedy?
That Trump’s rhetoric had nothing to do with pushing an already unstable person over the brink?
That Trump is a “man of peace” whose message has been distorted by violent extremists?
In fact, we all know the word “Trump” would have been in every post-massacre statement they made.
Anyone capable of critical thinking realizes Mateen’s attack was due to a combination of factors.
They include Islamist terrorism and its teachings, the hatred of gays it preaches, the easy availability of assault weapons in the U.S. and the dire lack of health services for mentally disturbed individuals.
(Which is not to say most mentally ill people become mass murderers. In fact, the mentally ill are far more likely to be victims of crime than perpetrators.)
These four factors are not mutually exclusive. The presence of one does not negate the others.
The reasons someone becomes a mass murderer are complex, as are the reasons someone commits suicide.
So why then this head-scratching effort by Trudeau, Obama, Wynne and company to deny what is right before their eyes, the role played by Islamist and ISIS rhetoric in this massacre?
I submit it has to do with their political agendas.
Trudeau, Obama and Wynne are comfortable blaming the Orlando massacre on assault weapons and generic terrorism and homophobia, because it fits their liberal world view that they are wise elites, who can lead the unwashed masses (us) away from our naturally violent and racist natures, through gun control laws and ever more intrusive human rights commissions.
But confronting the fact that Islamist/ISIS ideology played a key role in this tragedy doesn’t serve their political ends.
Why? First, because they think the rest of us aren’t capable of distinguishing Muslims from Muslim terrorists.
Second, because acknowledging the role played by ISIS suggests solutions that involve increased military action and intelligence-gathering abroad, and increased surveillance at home of communities from which today’s terrorists come.
And the first instinct of an ideologue, when confronted by facts that don’t fit his or her world view, is to pretend they don’t exist.
Which is what Trudeau, Obama and Wynne are doing.