No, the Capitol Trespassers Aren’t ‘Terrorists’

On September 11, 2001, Mohamed Atta, a radical Islamist of Egyptian descent, snuck a box cutter onto American Airlines Flight 11, which he used to hijack the plane and crash it into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. He was joined by 18 others, who, employing similar tactics, hijacked and crashed three more passenger planes, killing nearly 3,000 people. 

Unless you’re just waking up from a two-decade coma, you’ve probably heard the story. 

At the risk of understatement, 9/11 was a tough day for America. It was a day that changed the course of our nation’s history. 

But in the aftermath of 9/11, something rather remarkable happened. America became more united. 

In fact, “United We Stand” became a sort of unofficial slogan, as Americans of all backgrounds, colors, creeds, and political affiliations came together in solidarity to honor the dead from that horrific day, and move towards an uncertain future. 

Osama bin Laden was the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks. He founded al-Qaeda. 

That group is responsible for dozens of terrorist attacks worldwide, and thousands more deaths besides those it caused on 9/11. American troops were sent to Afghanistan in a full-fledged invasion to bring to heel al-Qaeda and the Taliban, another enemy group in the War on Terror. Precious blood was spilled. American lives were lost. The cost was, and still is, enormous. 

I was a college freshman in 2011 when U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden. I attended a private liberal arts college that can be generously described as left-leaning, or more accurately described as a Marxist indoctrination center where formerly well-adjusted, upper-middle-class teenagers go to be radicalized by tenured middle-aged cat ladies, the Alphabet Mafia, and “social justice” zealots, with most eventually graduating as brain-dead Antifa sympathizers. 

But even there, when we learned that bin Laden caught two American-made bullets in the chest and one in the head, we celebrated. We sang the national anthem as we paraded down Haggard Avenue, which cuts through the center of campus. The campus and town police gladly gave us an escort. We lit off fireworks in the quad. Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” blared from the breezeway balconies of on-campus apartments. 

America didn’t have to live in fear anymore. The world’s most wanted and dangerous terrorist, after a decade on the run, now occupied a body bag. 

So, you’ll have to excuse me if I find it fucking insane that Ashli Babbitt—an Air Force veteran and mother who actually deployed to fight the likes of bin Laden in that very War on Terror and who came home only to be summarily executed by an unidentified police officer inside the Capitol for little more than trespassing—all of a sudden shares the same designation as bin Laden himself: terrorist.

You’ll have to excuse me if I can’t wrap my mind around equating the Proud Boys, a bunch of goofballs who more closely resemble frat bros than airline hijackers, with al-Qaeda. 

You’ll have to excuse me if I’m not buying the “Big Lie” that January 6 was remotely the same as 9/11. 

Because Ashli Babbitt is not Osama bin Laden, the Proud Boys are not al-Qaeda, and January 6 was not 9/11. These statements are obvious to anyone with a functioning brain, which seems to disqualify the political Left. 

I don’t care what Joe Biden says. I don’t give a damn about Christopher Wray or the hyperpartisan FBI’s “threat assessments.” I certainly wouldn’t be caught dead nodding along with Don Lemon as he cries about a phony “insurrection.”

Unlike the aftermath of 9/11, America has not become more united since January 6. In fact, we’ve become more bitterly divided. 

There’s a simple explanation for that: January 6 did not create a common enemy. 

In reality, there is no new enemy at all—just a few hundred upset people from “flyover country” who, perhaps rightly, feel as though they’re not being heard by their elected officials, and who can now be used as political tools by dishonest partisans. 

Like many other words, the meaning of the word “terrorist” is beginning to erode. 

If the guy who kicked his feet up on Nancy Pelosi’s desk is a “terrorist,” what does that make Mohamed Atta? A super-duper terrorist? Is anyone who is being remotely honest actually ready to defend the position that those two people exist on the same moral plane? 

The same goes for the term “our democracy™,” which is really just code for ruthless obedience to the prevailing left-wing narrative. 

“Nazi,” “fascist,” “white supremacist,” “insurrection,” “coup”—all can be safely added to the list of terms that no longer have any real meaning. 

This should concern us for obvious reasons. 

Language is the primary mechanism of communication. If the words that comprise our language lose meaning, it will become impossible for us to understand each other. We will become, and are becoming, inherently less connected and more divided. 

Perhaps more concerning is what the American regime is currently doing to the Capitol trespassers. The regime’s actions are without question more evil and immoral than the act of trespassing at the Capitol itself.

Federal prosecutors and judges are holding mostly first-time offenders without bond in a segregated section of a D.C. jail. The vast majority of detainees have been charged with misdemeanors, not felonies. The Justice Department has yet to charge any of the people they arrested after January 6 with “insurrection” or “terrorism,” let alone “treason” or “sedition.” They are being denied due process. 

Worse, the FBI and the Defense Department are turning the surveillance powers we generously granted them after 9/11 inward, and using them against anyone who might be considered subversive to the official narrative. The regime is quietly using January 6 as a pretext to launch a new “War on Terror” against any American citizen who doesn’t obey. 

We are entering a period of political persecution unlike anything we’ve seen in American history, all premised on the lie that “fascist, white supremacist, terrorist insurrectionists” attempted a “coup” on January 6—a lie constructed using words that no longer have an agreed-upon meaning. 

It can only end badly.

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About Peter D'Abrosca

Peter D'Abrosca is a conservative campaign strategist, author, and columnist. A proud law school dropout, he is not a decorated member of the fancy credentialed class, and that's just the way he prefers it. He considers himself a political outsider who seeks to give a voice to the long-forgotten American working class.

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images