Michelle Malkin
The myth of the poor, oppressed jihadist never dies. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is the latest Obama administration official to peddle this odious narrative. Cue John Lennon's cloying "Imagine," don your plaid pajamas, and curl up with a warm cup of deadly naivete.

While meeting with Catholic Church officials at the Vatican in Rome on Monday, Kerry expounded on their "huge common interest in dealing with this issue of poverty, which in many cases is the root cause of terrorism or even the root cause of the disenfranchisement of millions of people on this planet." In other words: If only every al-Qaida and Taliban recruit had a fraction of Kerry's $200 million fortune, they'd all be frolicking peacefully with infidels on jet skis sporting "Coexist" bumper stickers.

This wasn't a one-off. Kerry delivered a similar Kumbaya-style discourse at the Global Counterterrorism Forum last fall: "Getting this right isn't just about taking terrorists off the street. It's about providing more economic opportunities for marginalized youth at risk of recruitment." Naturally, the Foggy Bottom apple doesn't fall far from the Pennsylvania Avenue terror-excusing tree. President Obama subscribes to the very same "midnight basketball" theory of counterterrorism. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Obama asserted that jihad "grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair."

The chronic cluelessness of the root-cause apologists of jihad never ceases to amaze. Britain's MI5 reported in 2011 that two-thirds of the U.K's jihad suspects were from middle-class backgrounds, "showing there is no simplistic relationship between poverty and involvement in Islamist extremism." Thorough reviews of the empirical evidence shows, as the RAND Corporation reported, that "(t)errorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated or afflicted by mental disease. Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy (within their environment). Terrorist leaders actually tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds."

Here's a refresher cheat sheet:

--9/11 lead hijacker Mohammed Atta went to Hamburg University to study urban planning.

--Convicted al-Qaida scientist Aafia Siddiqui is a Pakistani who studied microbiology at MIT and did graduate work in neurology at Brandeis.

--Osama bin Laden did a summer school stint at Oxford.

--Christmas Day underwear bomb operative Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab was an elite Nigerian engineering student who studied at one of Britain's leading universities and "lived a gilded life."


Michelle Malkin

Michelle Malkin is the author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies" (Regnery 2010).

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