Barack Obama has admitted that the homeland security apparatus failed in the case of Nigerian terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. He had no choice, really – nearly 300 people are still alive only because passengers aboard the flight took matters into their own hands. He went on to say that he wasn’t going to tolerate any finger-pointing – another over-the-top assertion he cannot back up short of having feds arrest me and a few thousand other bloggers. Goes to show where the thought process is heading, I think.
Unfortunately, the Abdulmutallab case isn’t going to be the last of its kind. Not by a long shot. As Abdulmutallab himself said, Islamic terrorists will keep coming and coming and coming until they are given sufficient incentive to stay in their homelands.
As with any motivational question there are two ways to make that happen: make home a more attractive place to be and make America more dangerous for terrorists. Unfortunately religious zealotry is what motivates Abdulmutallab and his ilk rather than poverty or any misbegotten sense of entitlement. These causes liberal Democrats made their own long ago. But Islamic terror doesn’t fit the pattern Dems call their plays from and no amount of foreign aid or glad-handing – read “carrot” – will bring an end to the new Islamic jihad.
The other mechanism for discouraging terrorism – the stick – probably won’t work either for the same reason. What many Americans, including too many of our national leaders, fail to fully understand is that these young men truly want to die in the service of their so-called prophet. Certainly some of the weaker ones can be scared away, but not all and, in my opinion, not even most. They will keep coming until an end is made of the war they’ve declared on western society, one way or the other.
Understanding this is essential to formulating a response. It becomes clear, therefore, that the Democrats have not accepted this unpleasant bit of reality when one looks at their policies. Trying KSM, et al, in civilian court is a mistake because it legitimizes the actions of mass murderers and puts our national security community on the defensive while achieving precisely nothing in terms of a carrot/stick to terrorists. Neither KSM nor Abdulmutallab deserve to plead their case in a public courtroom. Their war crimes preclude this right reserved for civilian offenders.
The Obama administration got it partially right by slapping travel restrictions on Nigerians, albeit too late, though I have to wonder if it will do any good. Yes, Nigeria is one hotbed of Islamic terror, but radical Muslims there have largely confined themselves to murdering their own countrymen until now. It’s still more likely that terrorists will come from Saudi, Yemen, or Pakistan, this incident notwithstanding. Meanwhile, the traveling public feels safer because they are forbidden to pee during the last hour of their flights.
Alejandro J. Beutel, the government liaison with the Muslim Public Affairs Council, makes a good point when he says that Americans can’t allow themselves to lose trust in their Muslim countrymen. The U.S. has a sizable Muslim population, the vast majority of whom are willing to obey our laws and behave as responsible members of society. We must keep that fact firmly in the back of our collective mind.
Nevertheless, such generosity must be a two-way street. Muslim Americans must recognize that their sons, brothers, cousins, and uncles are disproportionately engaged in treasonous, anti-American acts when compared to the population at large. It therefore stands to reason that Muslim Americans must be subjected to scrutiny in proportion to the probability of terrorism emanating from their sliver of society.
Beutel doesn’t believe this. Instead he defends Muslim hostility toward recent police investigations of domestic terrorists, including Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, the young man who attempted to blow up a skyscraper in Dallas last year, claiming that local community and religious leaders would have stopped Smadi if they hadn’t been “worried that they, too, would become subjects of an investigation”.
Perhaps, though it’s speculative to say the least to claim either that Smadi could have been turned from his purpose or that any local leader would have answered the call even in a perfect circumstance. In the final analysis, Smadi did commit the act of terrorism he is accused of and no one save the FBI did anything to stop him.
Sarah Palin today identified the elephant in the room that the White House and other Democrats have been tiptoeing around as if hoping it would go away. It won’t.
We are at war with radical Islamic extremists and treating this threat as a law enforcement issue is dangerous for our nation’s security. That’s what happened in the 1990s and we saw the result on September 11, 2001. This is a war on terror not an “overseas contingency operation.” Acts of terrorism are just that, not “man caused disasters.” The system did not work.
There is a very serious downside to treating them as criminals: terrorists invoke their “right” to remain silent and stop talking. Terrorists don’t tell us where they were trained, what they were trained in, who they were trained by, and who they were trained with. Giving foreign-born, foreign-trained terrorists the right to remain silent does nothing to keep Americans safe from terrorist threats. It only gives our enemies access to courtrooms where they can publicly grandstand, and to defense attorneys who can manipulate the legal process to gain access to classified information.
Palin was been judged unworthy to be president in the last election cycle, but she’s reached the correct conclusion with regard to the right way to handle terrorism cases. We are in a war of attrition with a small but implacable enemy utterly unlike anything we’ve faced before and treating foreign enemies with respect they do not deserve only serves to lessen our security and long-term prospects for peace.
Moreover, it it long past time to move past political correctness and recognize that our national security depends on addressing foreign and domestic threats based on actual facts, without respect to whose feelings might be hurt. This means acknowledging the reality that most terrorist threats to this country originate from Islam and that our national counter-terrorism, immigration, and foreign relations policies must be shaped accordingly.