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Jewish World Review
April 23, 2013/ 13 Iyar, 5773
A Crumbling Progressive Facade
Last week was a tough one for progressives. The Boston marathon bombers turned out to be something other than: right wing extremists, Bible or gun "clingers," Tax Day protestors, Patriot Day protesters, Tea party members, or any other check-the-box category that would have satisfied progressives' warped sensibilities. Yet over the weekend, it remained clear that the president was willing to double down on the another warped progressive priority: maintaining a self-imposed blind spot regarding the reality that Boston was victimized by Islamic terrorism. It is a reality that this president has managed to downplay, due to a combination of determined law enforcement efforts--and blind luck.
"They failed because the people of Boston refused to be intimidated," the president said referring to the brothers Tsarnaev. "They failed because, as Americans, we refused to be terrorized." That statement in and of itself is curious. First, the people of Boston were terrorized, even if it was a short-lived emotion. Furthermore, if three people killed and more than 170 wounded, several of whom have had limbs completely blown off, is considered a "failure," one can only imagine what this president considers a "success."
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Moreover, the atrocity itself was only part of the equation. On Friday, the Boston metro area was, for all intents and purposes, placed under marshall law. People were told to stay in their houses and businesses were told to remain closed. In other words, the more than a million people had no freedom whatsoever to come and go as they pleased, as police pursued a single individual thought to be the remaining member of a two man terror cell.
Except that it wasn't a two man terror cell. On Sunday, that quasi-comforting idea crashed and burned, when police announced they were pursuing a 12-person "sleeper cell" allegedly linked to the marathon carnage. "We have no doubt the brothers were not acting alone," a source close to the investigation said. "The devices used to detonate the two bombs were highly sophisticated and not the kind of thing people learn from Google. They were too advanced. Someone gave the brothers the skills and it is now our job to find out just who they were." The source then revealed the most chilling detail of all. "Agents think the sleeper cell has up to a dozen members and has been waiting several years for their day to come," he added. As a result, FBI and DHS agents arrested two more men at the Hidden Brook apartment complex. The arrests occurred after three people from the same location who were believed to be associated with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, were released. An FBI spokeswoman would not provide any information on the two men, referring to the "ongoing" nature of the investigation. "They looked like regular college kids," said local resident Henry Fernandes. "Whenever you see a college-age kid around here, I just figure they are from UMass."
Which brings us back to the president's remarks. "One of the things that makes America the greatest nation on Earth...is that we welcome people from all around the world--people of every faith, every ethnicity, from every corner of the globe. So as we continue to learn more about why and how this tragedy happened, let's make sure that we sustain that spirit."
Yet it is precisely that multicultural, Pollyanna impulse that led directly to 9/11. Every one of those terrorists was welcomed into America on a visa. The 9/11 Commission's "Staff Statement No. 1 Entry of the 9/11 Hijackers" revealed how easy it was for terrorists to gain entry to our nation. "Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals. There were significant security weaknesses in the Saudi government's issuance of Saudi passports in the period when the visas to the hijackers were issued. Two of the Saudi 9/11 hijackers may have obtained their passports legitimately or illegitimately with the help of a family member who worked in the passport office."
Many Americans, convinced that 9/11 was a once-in-a-lifetime anomaly, saw little reason to worry. Even when that media-manufactured complacency was shattered by Maj. Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood, we were assured that the murder of 13 and the wounding of 32 soldiers amounted to nothing more than "workplace violence." Moreover, according to former Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey, "as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that's worse." This utterly bankrupt notion, essentially re-endorsed by the president over the weekend, has not served the nation well. Truth is, prior to last week, we've been lucky. Somali-born U.S. citizen Mohamed Osman Mohamud didn't get to blow up the Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland. Pakistani-born Virginia resident Farooque Ahmed never got a chance to bomb Washington D.C.-area subway stations. Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, a Jordanian legally living in Texas, couldn't take down the 60-story Fountain Place office tower in Dallas with a car bomb. U.S. citizen Rezwan Ferdaus got 17 years in jail before he could fly explosive-laden model airplanes into the Pentagon. Najibullah Zazi, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Bosnia, didn't get to blow up a New York subway car. Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, a Bangladeshi national, didn't get to destroy the New York Federal Reserve. All of those stalwarts tried, but were under surveillance and stopped before they carry out their Islamic jihadist visions. On the other hand, underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian man allowed to emigrate due to sheer negligence, and Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan who entered the country on a F-1 student visa, were victims of their own incompetence. Each of these two men attempted to detonate a bomb that failed to go off.
In other words, nothing but sheer luck interrupted their attempts to kill hundreds, maybe thousands, of innocent people.
Given that most of the aforementioned would-be terrorists, as well as the two men who perpetrated the carnage in Boston, were foreign nationals, who either obtained citizenship or were living in the country with no worries of being deported, Americans might have second thoughts about the Gang of Eight immigration bill. It is yet another eight hundred pages of largely unread details, being fast-tracked for passage.
The inevitable pushback began early. "Before I get to the bill, I'd like to ask that all of us not jump to conclusions regarding the events in Boston or try to conflate those events with this legislation," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to his fellow Senators. "In general, we are a safer country when law enforcement knows who is here, has their fingerprints, photos, et cetera, background checks," he added. Not exactly. On Sunday, the FBI finally admitted that it was Russia who had expressed concern about Tamerlan Tsarnaev. A press release by the agency revealed that "in early 2011, a foreign government asked the FBI for information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The request stated that it was based on information that he was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer, and that he had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country's region to join unspecified underground groups." During the subsequent investigation, which included interviews Tamerlan and his family, the FBI "did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign, and those results were provided to the foreign government in the summer of 2011."
Furthermore, the story regarding six month trip that Tamerlan made to "Russia" last year, has since been revised. As the New York Times reveals, federal investigators "are hurrying to review a visit that one of the suspected bombers made to Chechnya and Dagestan, predominantly Muslim republics in the north Caucasus region of Russia. Both have active militant separatist movements." Hence, the FBI's newfound focus. "It's a key thread for investigators," said Kevin Brock, a senior FBI counter-terrorism official.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is now in custody, and almost at once a debate ensued about the administration's decision to withhold his Miranda rights, based on public safety exception that would prevent him from getting a lawyer. Yet that exception expires 48 hours after the arrest. A group of Republican Senators urged the administration to declare Dzhokhar an "enemy combatant" so that interrogation can proceed--giving investigators a chance to learn about other possible attacks. "The events we have seen over the past few days in Boston were an attempt to kill American citizens and terrorize a major American city," Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) John McCain (R-AZ) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) said in a statement. "The suspect, based upon his actions, clearly is a good candidate for enemy combatant status. We do not want this suspect to remain silent."
Naturally, the ACLU had elevated concerns about Tsarnaev's rights as well. Executive Director Anthony Romero contended that, absent a continued threat to public safety, there is "not an open-ended exception" to the Miranda rule. Since Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is a U.S. citizen, he cannot be tried by a military commission. Furthermore, House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) also urged the administration to ignore "hasty calls to treat the suspect as an enemy combatant."
On Monday the Obama administration satisfied progressive concerns: the White House announced that
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will not be treated as an enemy combatant, once again citing the reality that U.S. citizens cannot be tried by military commissions. Left unanswered is why Tsarnaev's naturalized citizenship cannot be revoked, considering he may have obtained it precisely for the purpose of avoid enemy combatant status. Also left unanswered is why what an act of terror is considered a crime, as opposed to an act of war that might be grounds for such a revocation.
Sunday's New York Post offered the most likely explanation. "The rationale for trying suspects as enemy combatants in military tribunals is that they were 'seized on the field of battle,'" the paper reports. In other words, there is no chance that the Obama administration is willing to admit something that would completely shatter the carefully crafted illusion under which they continue to operate: just like every other part of the world, the United States of America is also
the "field of battle"--in the war against Islamic terror.
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