A wave of anti-Muslim “McCarthyism” among Republican politicians in the wake of the Fort Hood shooting is not only not helping make America safer, it may actually be frustrating anti-terrorism efforts, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow says.
In a segment on The Rachel Maddow Show Thursday night, Maddow aired numerous clips of Republican and conservative figures advocating for racial profiling, or even suggesting infiltration of the US government by “Al Qaeda sympathizers.”
Maddow equated the recent political trend to the McCarthyism of the 1950s, when Sen. Joe McCarthy used fear of communist infiltration to gain political power and influence.
But Maddow’s most salient point came in pointing out that the anti-Muslim sentiment being aired on the nation’s newscasts could frustrate a recent effort by the CIA to recruit more Arab-Americans, in an effort to better prosecute the war on terrorism.
Those potential recruits’ “language skills alone are considered a vital tool for America fighting terrorism,” Maddow said.
According to the Associated Press, the agency has begun airing new recruitment ads in Michigan, and plans to take them nationwide in the next few months.
The ads are “part of an ambitious outreach effort to communities the CIA deems critical to reducing the threat of terrorism in the US. The agency has a five-year plan to boost fluency in Arabic and other languages,” AP reports.
AP’s own analysis backs up Maddow’s claim that the anti-Muslim atmosphere being whipped up in Washington could harm the CIA’s efforts.
“Resistance could come from US Arabs who have felt the sting of suspicion since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Many Arabs and Muslims have been dubious of the government’s intelligence gathering and believe spying is going on in mosques and other places,” the news agency reported.
Maddow’s report began with footage of televangelist Pat Robertson declaring that Islam is “not a religion” but rather a “violent political system.” She moved on to a clip of ex-Alaska governor Sarah Palin advocating in favor of racial profiling.
And she noted that Attorney General Eric Holder was “momentarily rendered speechless” during Senate hearings this week when Republican senators suggested that the Justice Department had been infiltrated by Al Qaeda sympathizers.
“The decision to bring [Guantanamo] detainees to the United States and afford them civilian trials is highly questionable,” said Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA). “I want to know more about who is advising you on these decisions. There are attorneys at the Justice Department working on this issue who either represented Guantanamo detainees or worked for groups who advocated for them.”
Maddow played a clip of Holder responding to the accusations. “I don’t even know where to begin,” the attorney general said.
This video is from MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast Nov. 19, 2009.