While conducting Internet research over the weekend, I read an article featured on the ultra-conservative media site “Right Side News.” The article, dated December 6, 2010, was entitled “Taking Back Congress: An Interview with Congressman Steve King.” The story focused on the results of the 2010 mid-term elections from a Republican point of view and featured an interview with the Congressman. As expected, Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) made several gloating comments concerning the mid-term election results. Some of his statements about other issues, however, were erroneous.
Right Side News’ aforementioned article portrays Congressman King as “a genuine ‘man of the people’ in the sense he is one of us.” In one response, King rejoices over the mid-term election results commenting that “the people have run up a new flag next to old glory and that is the Gadsden Flag, don’t tread on me. That is the spirit of this renewed America that we have.” The article makes no mention that this same politician indirectly praised the actions of tax protestor Joe Stack soon after his 2010 suicide attack against an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) processing center in Austin, Texas.
On February 18, 2010, Stack flew his small plane filled with fuel and loaded with additional 50-gallon barrels of gasoline into a Federal building housing over 200 Federal employees killing himself, an IRS employee and injuring 13 other Federal employees. The suicide attack resulted in a massive fire ball that was eerily reminiscent of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
The following is an excerpt of Congressman King’s response to a question asked by Think Progress (a liberal blog for the Center for American Progress Action Fund) concerning Joe Stack’s attack on the IRS processing center earlier this year.
TP: “Do you think this attack, this terrorist attack, was motivated at all by a lot of the anti-tax rhetoric that's popular in America right now?”
KING: “I think if we'd abolished the IRS back when I first advocated it, he wouldn't have a target for his airplane. And I'm still for abolishing the IRS, I've been for it for thirty years and I'm for a national sales tax. [...] It's sad the incident in Texas happened, but by the same token, it's an agency that is unnecessary and when the day comes when that is over and we abolish the IRS, it's going to be a happy day for America.”
Given such statements that basically supported Stack’s attack on the IRS, I’ll let Representative King's comment concerning the Gadsden flag speak for itself.
Among other topics discussed in King’s interview is the recent implementation of full-body scans and pat downs of every domestic air traveler by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Rather than challenging the new TSA procedures with the fact that no terrorist has ever boarded a domestic flight in the United States with explosives, King chose once again to display his extreme views with an ignorant and prejudicial remark that has become typical for this new breed of radical Republicanism.
King responds to a question regarding the new and enhanced TSA screening measures stating “After 9-11, we all knew we would have to do airline screening. But I never imagined we would not have some kind of system for identifying high risk passengers. Here is what I would do. I would develop a computer generated model of profiling coupled with special training for our officers. I would set up a scoring system developed by experts, based on a variety of relevant factors such as age, nationality, origin and destination of flight, and physical features like height, weight and eye color. For example, almost every bomber has been a Middle Eastern male between the ages of 17 and 45. We have had only one blue-eyed bomber and that was Timothy McVeigh, and he wasn’t flying” (emphasis added).” These last two sentences not only show King’s obvious bias and prejudice, they are woefully inaccurate and a clear misrepresentation of facts related to terrorist bombings in the U.S.
Congressman King may be surprised to learn that Middle Eastern males represent a very small percentage of bombers in the United States. Furthermore, Timothy McVeigh is not the only “blue-eyed bomber” (i.e. Caucasian) that has carried out attacks in the United States.
Eric Rudolph, a notorious white supremacist and anti-abortion extremist, perpetrated several bombings in 1996 and 1997 including the Centennial Olympic Park attack, the bombing of a gay bar and two abortion clinics. The Spokane Bank Robbers, a group of white supremacists, blew up an abortion clinic and detonated a pipe bomb outside the Spokane Spokesman-Review newspaper office in 1996. More recently, a Caucasian male placed a pipe bomb along the wall of a mosque in Jacksonville, Florida, which detonated a few moments later on May 10. And last December, a father and son, both antigovernment extremists, planted a bomb outside a bank they planned to rob. The bomb, which later detonated, killed two police officers and injured a third. Unfortunately, there are far too many other examples of "blue-eyed bombers" that I could cite.
Finally, I would like to elaborate on the fact that there have been no instances of terrorists boarding domestic flights within the United States with explosives. All incidents involving terrorists, explosives and aviation, such as the infamous "Shoe Bomber" and "Underwear Bomber", have originated from abroad. This simple fact should have provided Congressman King more than enough evidence to criticize the new TSA procedures. But, due to his lack of understanding of domestic terrorism, he misspoke, thus misleading the American public into the false impression that Middle Eastern males were responsible for most bombings within the U.S.
Congressman King, as well as other Republican representatives, would serve the American public better by learning more about the true nature of terrorism in the United States before making misguided, exaggerated and outright erroneous statements. It is unfortunate that some of our nation’s leaders continue exploiting this very important issue for political gain, misleading the American people and unknowingly inciting others toward extremism and violent behavior.
You can read the entire article featuring the interview with Congressman King at: http://www.rightsidenews.com/2010120612252/us/politics-and-economics/rsn-exclusive-a-conversation-with-congressman-steve-king-taking-back-congress.html.