Marie Harf’s jobs for jihadis program wouldn’t mean squat to someone like Mohammed Emwazi. He lived a life in better standing than many of his fellow Britons. “Jihadi John” even attended college, earning a degree in computer programming.
So what made him ditch a comfortable life in the United Kingdom to become spokesmodel for the Islamic State?
Reading and listening to any number of mainstream media accounts, the west drove Emwazi to extremism. It’s a typical narrative that confuses cause and effect to support the left’s ceaseless quest to blame the western world for all societal ills. It goes something like this:
“…Emwazi was relentlessly harassed by British security services who interrupted his vacation to Tanzania. They detained him. They interrogated him. After he was released they continued to monitor his activities and whereabouts, driving him against his will towards radical Islamists…”
In other words, if it wasn’t for the overly aggressive British security services, Emwazi would have simply vacationed in Tanzania and then returned to London to create apps for I-phones. The inference is clear. Mean old George W Bush pressured the English to adopt in their country the ruthless tactics used at Gitmo. It’s the west, and especially Republicans and conservatives and probably Christians too, that forced Emwazi to join Islamic State. Emwazi didn’t even want to radicalize. We, the west, made him do it. Our fault. No question about it.
That line of thought requires that the west be cast as the “cause” and Emwazi’s radicalization the “effect”. The left is unfortunately adept at swapping cause and effect in social equations, and then presenting it as proof to support their story.
On the contrary consider that Emwazi himself, already on the path towards radicalization by the time he booked his trip to Tanzania, was the “cause”. The effect was that British authorities began to pay attention to the young man, and take an interest in his activities. If anything, their interactions didn’t drive him to join Islamic State, they merely hastened it. For Mohammed Emwazi, radicalization was a willful decision no doubt fueled by reluctant assimilation into British society and identity politics run amuck. Had British authorities disregarded Emwazi, he still would have radicalized.
Few if any media outlets will venture down this logical path. Little different than the radical Islamists who recently smashed and burned ancient artifacts in a Mosul area museums, the left has to eliminate the real story so that their gerrymandered version of reality remains entrenched and unchallenged.
It can’t be that British authorities were right in watching Emwazi. It can’t be that, as a Kuwaiti emigre, he didn’t fully assimilate into British society and culture. It can’t be that generations of identity politics and multiculturalism created a climate in which the young and disaffected could be drawn towards cultural extremes based on creed, race, orientation, and viewpoint. It can’t be that he and he alone placed his life on a trajectory resulting in his affiliation with the Islamic State. It must be that western excesses forced him to become “Jihadi John”.