Johnathan White Speaks on "the Jihad Movement"

On Wednesday, professor Johnathan White of Grand Valley State University (GVSU) spoke on “the Jihad movement” at a talk sponsored by the Progressive Women’s Alliance. Despite speaking at a “progressive” event, White presented a view that reflected the official United States government position on terrorism.

On Wednesday, September 20 the Progressive Women’s Alliance hosted GVSU professor Jonathan White to speak on “Understanding the Jihad Movement and Homeland Security.” White spoke for about 25 minutes and didn’t address the topic until the final 5 minutes. He did give some figures on global Islam and how many Muslims support acts of terror and how many actually participate in acts of terrorism. None of this data was supported with sources. White spent most of the presentation time talking about the history of Islam.

The Q & A period clearly demonstrated that the audience wanted more information on current US policy and militant Islamic movements. Someone asked about the Christian Fundamentalists in the US, their access to government power and how to counter that. White’s response was for people to “read a book and vote.” This writer asked the question “It is my understanding that since the administration of FDR the US government has had a relationship with militant Islamic groups either by funding them, training them or using them as proxy forces that support US policy in countries like Egypt, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Algeria, and Afghanistan. Would you say that the idea that “they hate us” is due in part to their understanding of how they have been a pawn of US policy?” White’s response was “you are probably right. Just imagine what would have happened in Afghanistan if after the Soviets left we gave people money for development so that they would not have to grow poppies for heroin.” This of course denies the fact that the Mujahadeen were trafficking in heroin while they were a CIA asset before the Soviets left Afghanistan (source).

When asked about the US occupation of Iraq, White said that there are two views, Rumsfeld’s view which is to fight with as few troops as possible and the other to have a total war view which Colin Powell supports. On the matter of government intelligence and foreign policy White said that quite often the government doesn’t know what it is doing because of the bureaucracy and even said that as of 2 years ago the FBI did not offer counter terrorism classes. Someone also asked White about the connection between oil and terrorism. He said that “if we would just let the market do what we claim it does, we wouldn’t have this mess of competing interests that lead to conflicts.”

Lastly, he was asked to make comments about Homeland Security to which he said that one of the best preventative measures would be to have police make more traffic stops. Someone in the audience mentioned that is how we caught Timothy McVeigh, which prompted White to discuss the domestic terrorist groups like the Christian Identity Movement. White also put environmental groups and animal rights groups who destroy property in the same category as “domestic terrorists.” White never defined what terrorism is and didn’t really offer up much analysis that differs from the current administration on who the terrorists are and how to deal with them. White has written a book on terrorism and several articles, one which never mentions any US government/military actions as terrorist nor those of groups or countries around the world that the US has had as allies. White was clearly not a “progressive” on this matter, no matter how one defines progressive. If you compared his analysis to that of Bill Blum, you can see how White is reflecting a Pro- US position on the matter of terrorism.

Author: mediamouse

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