What explains the intellectual dishonesty and myopia about Islamism on the part of so many U.S. government officials?
The Terrorist Next Door: How the Government is Deceiving You
About the Islamist Threat
By Erick Stakelbeck
(Regnery Publishing, 256 pages, $27.95)
THERE PROBABLY have been few more bafflingly stupid exchanges between a government official and a congressional committee than the May 2010 question-and-answer session between Attorney General Eric Holder and members of the House Judiciary Committee. This took place a few days after a would-be mass murderer, Faisal Shahzad, was arrested upon attempting to set off a car bomb in New York’s Times Square. Shahzad, a recent American citizen of Pakistani birth, had traveled to remote Taliban-controlled regions of Pakistan, which U.S. authorities knew even before his arrest. He had been on a “no-fly” list since at least 2004, but, at the time of his attempted bombing of Times Square, the U.S. government had apparently no surveillance of him. Shortly after setting the bombs, which mercifully malfunctioned, Shahzad boarded a plane to Dubai and nearly got away.
At the hearing called to investigate how a dangerous terrorist could have evaded almost all official efforts to protect the country after 9/11, Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas asked the attorney general if radical Islam might have been one of Shahzad’s motivations. The following banter ensued:
Holder: There are a variety of reasons why people—
Smith: But was radical Islam one of them?
Holder: There are a variety of reasons why people do these things. Some of them are potentially religious-based—
Smith: But all I’m asking is if you think among those variety of reasons, radical Islam might have been one of the reasons that the individuals took the steps that they did.
Holder: You see—radical Islam—I think those people who espouse a version of Islam that is not—
Smith: Are you uncomfortable attribution any of the actions to radical Islam? It sounds like it.
Holder: No, I don’t want to say anything negative about a religion.
Obtuseness can be infectious. Before Shahzad’s arrest, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano opined that the Times Square incident had been a “one-off” event, as though a major bomb plot were simply an example of road rage.
Even the terminally silly mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, speculated that the unknown perpetrator might have acted out of irritation with the Obama health care bill. Fortunately, such collective idiocy was given the coup de grâce by Shahzad himself. He wore a white Muslim prayer cap at his sentencing, shouted “Allahu Akbar!” and said he would “sacrifice a thousand lives for Allah.” “War with Muslims has just begun….the defeat of the U.S. is imminent, God willing.”
For the U.S. attorney general to deny that Islam had anything to do with a dangerous mass murder plot by a known Islamist is tantamount to a law enforcement official of the FDR administration denying that saboteurs who had landed by German submarines in 1943 had anything to do with the Nazis. Mercifully, patriotic U.S. government officials at that point in history were more clear-eyed about the dangers America was facing.
Erick Stakelbeck’s book is an intriguing—but frightening—illustration of two points of well-established fact: 1) the extent to which Islamists have already penetrated American society at many levels with an agenda totally inimical to the U.S. Constitution and 2) how liberal political correctness has blinded a huge component of American officialdom to the threat that America faces.
First, it’s important to note that Stakelbeck displays not a smidgen of animosity toward Muslims already within the U.S. He praises many of them for their steadfast opposition to the “grand jihad” of Muslim Brotherhood supporters who simply want to undermine American constitutional democracy. The author notes how much of the motives of MB operatives surfaced clearly during the 2007–2008 trial of members of the Holy Land Foundation, a secretive and dishonest organization that collected money to support the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas. During the trial—after which five men were sentenced to long jail terms—a 1991 memorandum from one Mohammed Akram, member of the board of governors of the Muslim Brotherhood, was read into the court record. The memorandum, whose authenticity and provenance has never been challenged by the Muslim Brotherhood worldwide, called for a “grand Jihad” aimed at subverting Western societies from within. This would be done by “sabotaging its miserable house [Western democracies] by their hands and the hands of the [Muslim] believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
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H/T to National Review Online