Sarah Palin: Bombing Abortion Clinics Is Not Domestic Terrorism

A few days ago, in the same interview in which Sarah Palin defined “elites” as people “who think they’re better than anyone else,” there was this interesting exchange:

Brian Williams: Back to the notion of terrorists and terrorism, this word has come up in relation to Mr. Ayers — hanging out with terrorist – domestic terrorists. It is said that it gives it a vaguely post uh 9-11 hint, using that word, that we don’t normally associate with domestic crimes. Are we changing the definition? Are the people who set fire to American cities during the ‘60’s terrorists, under this definition? Is an abortion clinic bomber a terrorist under the definition?

Sarah Palin: There is no question that Bill Ayers via his own admittance was um one who sought to destroy our US Capitol and our Pentagon — that is a domestic terrorist. There’s no question there. Now others who would want to engage in harming innocent Americans or um facilities, that uh, it would be unacceptable — I don’t know if you could use the word terrorist, but its unacceptable and it would not be condoned of course on our watch. I don’t know if what you are asking is if I regret referring to Bill Ayers as an unrepentant domestic terrorist. I don’t regret characterizing him as that.

Brian Williams: I’m just asking what other categories you would put in there. Abortion clinic bombers? Protesters in cities where fires were started, Molotov cocktails, were thrown? People died.

Sarah Palin: I would put in that category of Bill Ayers anyone else who would seek to destroy our United States Capitol and our Pentagon and would seek to destroy innocent Americans.

It doesn’t surprise me one bit that Sarah Palin doesn’t think people who bomb abortion clinics and murder doctors who provide abortions are terrorists. After all, this is a woman who opposes abortions for 12-year-old girls who were impregnated by their father or other male family member. This is a woman who supported the passage of a law that bans a medical procedure called intact dilation and evacuation, which is used to perform abortions almost exclusively in situations where the pregnancy threatens a woman’s life and the doctor, using his or her professional judgment, decides that method is the least dangerous for the mother.

Ari notes Palin’s carefully chosen words:

Notice in both answers, her wording is VERY specific. She talks about “innocent Americans.” But from everything I’ve read about Palin’s religious beliefs and her views on abortion, I doubt she  thinks doctors who [perform] abortions are “innocent.” Furthermore I doubt she views abortion clinics as “innocent.”

Indeed. “Innocent” in this context takes on a political meaning — and as Attackerman notes, so does “terrorism.”

No one, but no one, would have called the Weather Underground “terrorists” before 9/11 created a new and ugly political salience for doing so. I am against the term entirely — it confuses more than it reveals — and yet my meager attempts (on a blog whose archives have been eaten by a server switch) at substituting the more-descriptive-but-still-imperfect term “anti-western Salafist jihadists” as the proper target of the War On [Something] haven’t gone anywhere. The point is, as many have pointed out, terrorism is a tactic, and the motivations and capabilities of any given terrorist are more important than the employment of that tactic. At least that’s true if you don’t want to be at war with the Tamil Tigers and other such organizations that operate at the extreme periphery of American interests.

So when the right calls Bill Ayers a “terrorist,” the obvious intention isn’t to be descriptive, it’s to associate Ayers with the Evildoers We’re At War With, people he has absolutely nothing in common with in any significant way. It’s much like how you still occasionally hear braying on the right about Saddam Hussein’s ties to “terrorists” generically, because no one in his right mind would contend that an invasion was justified because Saddam offered cash to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers who targeted Israel. Such are the ways in which very big lies are constructed: through euphemism.

Naturally, then, watch Sarah Palin decline to term the bombers of abortion clinics “terrorists,” although such people are far more deserving contenders for that ugly term than is an old, formerly violent hippie.

The point isn’t that one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter, which is also an absurd, lazy and euphemistic statement. It’s that when you start down this path, you lose the ability to draw necessary distinctions, and end up with an overbroad and counterproductive definition of your enemy. That’s a feature, not a bug, of calling something a war on “terrorism.” Bush started it. Palin embraced it. And now she’s trapped in its absurdity.

More commentary, via Memeorandum:

  • The Jed Report: “It’s not just the words she used — it’s the sigh she gave after Brian Williams asked his question, as if she were upset at facing a gotcha’ moment. It was also the shake of her head as she spoke, suggesting she actually felt they weren’t terrorists.”
  • David Neiwert, blogging at Crooks and Liars, gives Palin a “refresher course” in right-wing domestic terrorism.
  • Think Progress reminds us that John McCain — who insisted to Brian Williams that he “does not condone” violence against abortion providers and wants such acts to be punished “to the fullest extent of the law” — actually voted against legislation to protect abortion providers against domestic terrorist violence on at least four separate occasions.
  • Adam Blickstein at The Huffington Post compellingly argues that Gov. Palin’s notion of what constitutes domestic terrorism is bizarre and ludicrous: “He [Eric Robert Rudolph] was a far worse ‘terrorist’ than William Ayers ever was, in both scope of physical damage (Rudolph left a trail of destruction that left 2 people dead, and 120 injured), national psychological trauma (a five-year manhunt shrouded in uncertainty that led to Rudolph’s arrest in the North Carolina mountains) and eventual prison sentence (Rudolph got life, Ayers’ case was dismissed).”

13 Responses to “Sarah Palin: Bombing Abortion Clinics Is Not Domestic Terrorism”

  1. nabalzbbfr says:

    Bombing an abortion clinic is morally equivalent to bombing Auschwitz or Dachau

  2. Liberty11 says:

    If you’re trying to say Sarah Palin supports bombing Abortion clinics, that’s ridiculous. She clearly does not.

  3. Rev Don says:

    Bombing babykilling abortion mills is not terrorism. You babykilling pro-aborts are the real terrorists.
    You seem to imply there is something wrong if a babykilling abortion mill is burned or bomb. Which do you prefer, a pile of bricks or a pile of dead babies? Innocent unborn babies deserve to be protected just as born children deserve to be protected. You would have no problem protecting born children if they were about to be murdered.
    SAY THIS PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I am a sinner and am headed to eternal hell because of my sins. I believe you died on the cross to take away my sins and to take me to heaven. Jesus, I ask you now to come into my heart and take away my sins and give me eternal life.

  4. Kathy says:

    nabalzbbfr: You are morally equivalent to a roach.

    My grandmother and 75 percent of my father’s extended family died in Nazi death camps. That you could equate the death of a fetus to the murder of millions of men, women, and children — the near-extermination of an *entire people* — is so vile that it simply defies language.

    It would be the easiest thing in the world to delete your comment, but I won’t do that. I want everyone who comes here to see you for the vermin you are.

    Rev. Don: You are a fucking idiot.

  5. Geoff says:

    Anti-abortionists like to call themselves “Pro-lifers” but evidence shows that are overwhelmingly PRO nuclear weapons, they were PRO the Vietnam war and now they are PRO the occupation of Iraq (one million dead and counting) and they are PRO death penalty. So let’s hear no more of this “Pro-life” nonsense. Anti-abortionists are just anti-abortion and that’s all.

  6. Ken Maddox says:

    If I believe life begins at conception then for me abortion is murder. If I dont stand up for what I believe in I am weak.

  7. tas says:

    Serving replies in kind…

    nabalzbbfr: Fuck you, asshole

    Liberty11: Fuck you, dickhead.

    Rev Don: Fuck you, fucktard.

    Ken Maddox: Fu.. Well, you don’t come out bluntly defending bombing of abortion clinics, but the jury is still out on you.

    As for you other three, I hate you. No seriously, I do — you’re the problem with this country, and I really wish y’all would move to a country that’s more convivial to your overall ideologies. Like Saudi Arabia, or post-Weimar Germany, perhaps; if you can build a time machine. Assholes like you would find it more welcoming there.

    Ciao, fascists.

  8. Kathy says:


    There’s a huge difference between sincere, honest belief or conviction, and trying to force those beliefs on others, via law, physical harassment, or violence. Abortion is a hot issue, but even so, it’s possible to separate what you believe to be true about abortion and what you believe to be true about women who have abortions and doctors who provide them. The same is true on my side. I respect your beliefs without equivocation, until the point where you force me and other girls and women to be bound by them. At that point, you are my opponent.

    So far, you appear to be on the correct side of that line.

  9. Brenda Kula says:

    This simply blows my mind. I’m 51 years old and an educated woman. We women ALONE should choose what we want done to our own bodies. Otherwise, it is simply a rape, whether it be by a common rapist. Or some man who thinks life begins as a mere thought and forces a woman to carry a baby to term that is unwanted, unfeasible, or the product of rape or incest. My husband is a psychiatrist at a state hospital. And some of you “pro-lifers” sound exactly like the patients he sees on a daily basis. Zealots are dangerous, dangerous people. Get a life and get off your damned soap box. Do as I do if you have extra time. Volunteer for a good organization. Mine happens to be for Meals On Wheels. If you want a bunch of poor little children to enter the world that will consequently go hungry, then go do a route with me sometime.

  10. Keith Berdak says:

    To all “Pro-Lifers:” You can’t claim to be “Pro-Life” unless you Put Up, Shut Up and Adopt! Each of you should be required by law to adopt ALL children in foster care, no matter what their congenital or mental difficulties are. As long as there are kids in foster care, your kind are hypocrites.
    Harassing people for nine months is easy; rather than help out with problems YOU create trying to control the lives of people you don’t even know, you “Pro-Fetals” are off screeching at someone else, taking no responsibility for the growing number of poor, uneducated and increasingly violent offspring of people who are not qualified to be parents. Imagine the irony when one of these neglected little darlings is old enough to commit armed robbery and shows up at your doorstep; we’ll know how “Pro-Life” you really are when a “Post-Fetal” organism, or “Child,” is pointing a gun at you.
    One unfortunate consequence of a kid being adopted by one of you is that he will be raised with your simplistic beliefs. But maybe some day, your adopted child might say, “Hey, Mom and/or Dad, I know that we are supposed to harass people at the clinics and I know you have love in your heart when you push me in front of moving cars, screaming, ‘Don’t Kill Me! Don’t Kill me!’ But, couldn’t we just once go to the playground instead?”

  11. Ken says:

    I wonder if some of you ever thought about abortion and realized it is a human life and murder to kill it, Then would you change your views or would you just not care?

    It escapes any reasoning process how someone that is against abortion and speaks out about it is a hater and the ones that would try to protect a womans right to kill it are filled with peace and love. You guys are screwed up.

    I’m pro-life and I am proud of it. You call yourselves pro-choice but it makes you pro-death.

    Just like the Nazi’s one day you will be reviled for your deathcamps.

    PS. Planned Parenthood was founded to eliminate the blacks, or “human weeds” as PP founder Sanger referred to them as. Ever wonder why 90% of the clinics are in the low-income black neighborhoods?

    Don’t argue on this subject till you read her books, there on Amazon. Support of abortion is not only murderous, its also racist. They have most likely already killed the next Martin Luther King.

  12. Ken says:

    I would never support bombing abortion clinics. I am pro-life.

  13. Nathan Harris says:

    First to those that are pro-life tell me what is birth? I have done many studies on abortion and it is a touchy topic that can’t be avoided! I am Pro-Choice but also Pro-Capital Punishment as well. Some think that is contradicting, how? Big difference when someone commits a hence crime against another and can’t be rehabilitated or live within society. In 1973 the U.S. Supreme Court decided that as long as the baby lived in the womb, she would henceforth be the property of the mother. So what do you call property of a women when you state it’s my body but what about the body inside you what right’s does the baby have? Do believe that suicide is a sin? What about killing unborn? The question can be answered spiritually, philosophically, or biologically. Much of today’s confusion arises from mixing these disciplines. Each is valid but only one can make law. Read the blogs above, I can’t disagree more with Rev. Don. I don’t believe that individual had any relatives that were in eliminated. She is just one of those pro-choice radical that rallies to hear her voice and make notion that t her grandmother and 75 percent of my father’s extended family died in Nazi death camps when there next to her rallying with her with picket signs. That you could equate the death of a fetus to the murder of millions of men, women, and children — the near-extermination of an *entire people* — is so vile that it simply defies language. What is Vile is people like you one life is a human being is not? Death of one would be consider murder but many more would be catastrophic incident! Is that what’s going on here? There has been many abortions and in that case it’s just like that, call it Abortion Holocaust!

    Let me ask you this Kathy (nabalzbbfr) Jewish Lady if you are? What is Human life and “should we give equal protection under the law to every human in this nation from the beginning of his/her life until each individuals’ natural death?” Someone that has relatives that died in Holocaust I would have to say “YES”!
    Let’s talk about facts then feelings lady; Day One-Conception
    1 week-Attaches to wall of womb
    2 weeks-Stops mother’s Menstrual period
    3 weeks-Heart is beating (IT’S ALIVE!)
    6 weeks-Brain waves measurable Moves and responds to touch
    8 weeks See other side-can listen to heart beat.
    21/2 months Body completely formed, even fingerprints!
    3 months-All Organ system functioning.
    After 3 months nothing new develops or functions –There is only growth in size and maturity. I wish I could upload pictures of 8 week suction and show you what it looks like it’s body just like you and I! The baby screams when being sucked out and yes it feels PAIN! Of course you used the term fetus as nothing compare to the millions that died in Holocaust just like it was nothing. Well that’s just like the German Nazi’s thinking that the Jews are nothing and no comparison either! Human life is a Human!!! So who is the ROACH NOW?
    So is abortion violent? Absolutely it is next time the pro-choice state the feelings they need to see what the suction does and how graphic the nature is.

    Fact: In series of 327 women at the University of Szeged Hungary, mothers who wanted abortions were allowed to listen to the “fetal heartbeat.” After hearing it, 16% refused abortion. Ref. Congress of psychosomatic Medicine OB & GYN, London, 1971. If you don’t want a baby or you’re not planning parenthood then use a condom! My sympathy to those for complications or raped victims. Not to those that are careless and live a reckless lives and destroying another.


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