Here’s what actually happened in Bowling Green

Here’s what happened: In 2011, two Iraqi men were arrested on charges related to terrorism in Bowling Green, Kentucky. They were later convicted of trying to get weapons and money from the United States to al Qaeda in Iraq. They were also convicted of helping al Qaeda carry out attacks on American troops in Iraq.

We’ve all seen the smug, sneering social media ‘meme’s about the so-called “Bowling Green Massacre” – claims that the Trump administration “lied”, put out “fake news” and so on. The smugness and sneering, of course, is a tactic the opposition to Trump has come to rely on. It never works, but it generates a great deal of ‘buzz’ on Facebook and Twitter, so it gives the appearance of working very well. Sadly, it always fails. Here’s why.

Instead of calling out the phrase “Bowling Green Massacre” for what it clearly was – an incompetent (or perhaps badly briefed) communications spokesperson getting the short end of the stick and making an error, we were served with an avalanche of mockery.

Trump makes things up. His staff will typically cover for him. But the idea that a media officer would simply ‘make something up’ – something this huge – in an age of Google, at a time when her boss was under such intensive scrutiny, simply did not ring true.

As a consequence, people who had previously known nothing about Bowling Green were let to look closely for the facts. And those facts were certainly not unhelpful to Trump’s overarching narrative.

Let’s examine the facts as discovered by CNN above.

  • There was in fact a terror cell operating in Bowling Green – if this doesn’t worry you, no wonder you’re surprised that others vote Trump.
  • They were in fact planning a massacre – of US personnel abroad, not on US soil. How many readers will be comforted by that fact?
  • It was an active terror plot on US soil – they only did not carry it out because they were caught by the FBI trying to buy weapons from an undercover agent
  • It was very very serious incident – so much so that the terrorists were sentenced to 40 year prison terms.
  • It did support the argument for a travel ban – given that it was one of the incidents used by President Obama to support his decision to review all travel from Iraq (which no one protested against), makes it difficult to argue that Trump was completely wrong to take the view that those traveling from Iraq should not be subject to strict control.

So, there you have the facts. No, there was no massacre, but only because the FBI had the good fortune to catch them before the executed their plan. Is this really something to be smug about?

If you really are trying to argue that it is okay to have violent extremists plotting terror attacks on Americans living in Kentucky, and you’re making comic memes about it only because the FBI caught them in time, then you’re one of the people propelling “Two Terms” Trump back into the White House in 2021.