Mocked by Rush Limbaugh I wait to hear his explanations of how worldwide terrorist networks radicalize asylum seekers who live among us…that is if he can think that deeply about the issue.

I heard today I was getting mocked by Rush Limbaugh for referring to the signs of PTSD in Tamerlan Tsaraev that his kindergarten teacher referenced in a Russian language newscast… Well Rush you need to wake up and start thinking about how these things happen, because they aren’t going away. 

 Terrorist groups, their ideologies and the degrees of social support for terrorism that individuals find on the Internet and in various parts of the world (Dagestan potentially) all play upon the individual vulnerabilities of potential recruits turning them into evil actors. 

 Some don’t want to hear about the vulnerabilities of terrorists retrospectively, feeling it extends sympathy for them, but if we don’t empathetically try to get into their heads and begin to understand the reasons why they could ever buy onto a terrorist ideology we will never defeat terrorism. 

And in the case of Tamerlan’s PTSD it could make him sympathetic to the terrorist narrative of Muslims under attack and also make it easy for him to dissociate from any normal emotions about doing violence to those he lived among and had decided are his enemies.

Regarding the ritualized murders he may be linked to, it would be much like what happened to Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands an evil act carried out by Mohammed Bouyeri, a second generation immigrant also vulnerable for other reasons to turning to a militant jihadi ideology.

 Only careful study including retrospective analysis of the cases we encounter will allow us to come up with thoughtful solutions that can actually work to defeat terrorism.  Mock away Rush, some of us are spending decades of our lives journeying into war torn areas and taking the risks necessary for such study.

 Anne Speckhard, Ph.D. is Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry in the Georgetown University Medical School and author of Talking to Terrorists: Understanding the Psycho-Social Motivations of Militant Jihadi Terrorists, Mass Hostage Takers, Suicide Bombers & “Martyrs”  In the last decade she interviewed over four hundred terrorists, suicide bombers, terrorist supporters, family members, close associates and hostages.  She also conducted psychological autopsies with a Chechen colleague on over half of the 112 Chechen suicide bombers investigating what put them on the terrorist trajectory and what motivated them to explode themselves.

5 thoughts on “Mocked by Rush Limbaugh I wait to hear his explanations of how worldwide terrorist networks radicalize asylum seekers who live among us…that is if he can think that deeply about the issue.

  1. Donald Frazier

    The last thing Rush wants is for this, as you put it, to ‘go away.’

    A clown? Nah, Glenn Beck is a clown. But Rush is actually evil. He thrives on hatred, anxiety, fear, and dread. The more he can whip up these emotions, the more money he makes from the advertisers who covet his loyal listeners. This is the TV celebrity who says nasty, demeaning things on the air about children. Of course that’s just rhetoric. He also flat-out lies all the time.

    Understanding itself is his foe. That would make it hard for him to depict the entire world, all its people, countries, religions, and ideas, as a series of stick figures in his puppet theater. If they had any substance he couldn’t knock them down with the usual sneering innuendo and vainglorious strutting.

    Reply
  2. William Barrett

    I saw your interview on Fox News and decided to try to learn more about you so I looked on the internet and found your website. Then I saw this article you’ve written about Rush Limbaugh and the terrorists.

    Your disdain for Rush Limbaugh reveals a closed-mindedness I wouldn’t have expected. I would think you would be interested enough in what the number one radio show says about you to find out what was said. But you say here that you heard he said something and didn’t even say you’d tried to find out exactly what. That says a lot of negative about how you do your research.

    I looked up what he said about the interview on Fox News that you did. His point is very worth considering. He is more concerned about catching terrorists and making sure they are punished than why they do what they do.

    You appear to think that understanding why they do terrorist acts will help get them to stop doing them. Unfortunately people who are that sick, for any reason, are not going to change just because we understand them. They are not interested in being understood. Your point implies that it’s not their fault or that America might even be the cause of their actions. This is not about us causing them to do what they do. That is a ridiculous idea that comes from a naïve worldview. And regardless of why they do these things, they are adults and should be accountable for their actions, which is a concept far removed from too much of American thought.

    It has been a proven fact for centuries, in fact for thousands of years, that harsh punishment is the best way to deter future bad behavior. Since America has moved away from that our problems with violence in our country have gotten worse.

    The real question is whether you want to stop the terrorism in America or try to heal the terrorists of their mental problems. My advice is for those who want to heal them, go live among them and give them therapy and see if you can help them. I doubt it will work. I don’t think they want help. They only want to hate. In the meantime, America needs to take a strong stand for security which will only come through vigilance and deterrents.

    Reply
    1. Anne Speckhard, Ph.D. Post author

      Dear William thanks for your comment. I did actually look for what he said and all I found on the web was a rant… I don’t follow people who rant and I don’t like to be the object of their disdain either. I prefer careful analysis. Of course we should be concerned with catching terrorists but if we don’t also concern ourselves with understanding how they think and what motivates them to act our efforts at prevention and deterrence will suffer from our lack of understanding. Understanding can lead to effective counter-measures. I have never said America is the cause of terrorism, although I would say we do at times engage in behaviors or rhetoric that might incite terrorist ideologue and actors–such as when we have a high collateral damage rate to our drone kills for example or when we torture or have situations like Abu Ghraib staining our record… If we know ahead of time what may be the results of our actions–gained from study– then we can act and decide in advance if that is worth it and if our objectives are being achieved. Knowledge gained through careful study can guide our decisions. As far as healing persons–yes I would love to see our entire world become a more peaceful place and we can all do our parts toward that and for me ranting doesn’t add much positive in that regard. Thank you for taking the time to comment. With respect, Anne

      Reply
  3. profjamiehh

    I’m with you all the way, Anne. The answer is, of course, that none of us know why he did it but if we’re looking for explanations then my money, what there is of it, feels much safer if put on you than it wouls if I’d put it on many others. You have not been into places in which most of would not dare to tread but you also have a greater insight into the mind of terrorists than anyone else I know. The concept of childhood trauma having lifelong effects is well established, and you seem to have found corroborating narrative and witness evidence in this case. Besides, just wo, exactly, is Rush Limbaugh anyway?

    Reply

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