When US media outlets speculate on Robert Bales' motives for killing 16 Afghan civilians, they say he had financial and family problems, had served multiple tours of duty, saw a friend's leg blown off, etc. But when Muslims kill Americans, their motives are clear: "they are primitive, fanatically religious, hateful Terrorists," Glenn Greenwald of Salon observes. No matter how often extremists explain that their attacks are responses to US aggression, the media depicts them as acts "of pure hatred or evil."
Americans obviously feel "a desperate need to believe that when an American engages in acts of violence … there must be some underlying mental or emotional cause that makes it sensible," and to believe the opposite of Muslims. Try understanding or explaining Muslim violence, and you'll be "immediately accused of mitigating, justifying, or even defending terrorism." Read Greenwald's full column here.