2009: Tipping Point for Domestic Terror?
As I noted here at Pajamas Media after the Ft. Hood massacre, we can expect more of these domestic attacks on the military. One reason is a perverse paradox at work. The success of our military in Iraq and increased troop levels in Afghanistan dramatically increase the risks for would-be jihadists to attack U.S. military targets overseas, while the successful Little Rock and Ft. Hood incidents demonstrate how vulnerable our military personnel are right here at home. No doubt many jihadists observing these incidents are encouraged by their apparent success and the added benefit of waging “legal jihad” in the court system afterwards, appealing to all the rights and protections afforded them by the very same U.S. Constitution they seek to subvert.
Meanwhile, the investigations into the Ft. Hood incident and the attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253 last week have exposed the woeful inadequacy and fundamental incompetence of our homeland security infrastructure. In the Ft. Hood case, the FBI was aware of Maj. Hasan’s email communications with al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, but failed to inform DOD authorities, believing the emails represented legitimate religious inquiries associated with his military duties. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey afterwards expressed his astonishing sentiment that diversity should trump dead soldiers, saying: “As horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.”
And even though the father of the would-be bomber of Flight 253 had informed the U.S. embassy in Nigeria of his fears that his son was being radicalized in Yemen and his name had been placed on a terrorism watch list, the State Department failed to revoke Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s entry visa.
Remember that one of the first acts of the Department of Homeland Security under the Obama administration was to issue a report warning of “right-wing extremism” and the looming terrorist threat of military veterans, pro-lifers, and opponents of illegal immigration. That threat didn’t pan out, while Islamic terrorism has flourished notwithstanding Obama’s “Blame America First” world tour and groveling outreach to the Muslim world.
What 2009 has taught us is how rapidly the nature of the threat from Islamic jihadists is evolving and how utterly unable our government is to recognize and respond to that threat. Sadly, I predict that the coming year will show us how bold, aggressive, and inventive our enemies have become and how little we have learned from the events of the past year. Let’s all hope that prediction doesn’t prove true.