' Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Sept. 23, 2003 / 26 Elul, 5763

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.

Gaffney
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
MUGGER
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Muslim fifth column?


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Almost exactly six months ago, at the start of the liberation of Iraq, this column warned that a "flagging" incident at the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom "could be the precursor for a far larger and more dangerous problem, both for the military and for American society more generally. Call it the 'Fifth Column syndrome.'"

This ominous forecast was prompted by a disturbing possibility: Sergeant Asan Akbar, the alleged perpetrator of a lethal grenade attack on his superiors who commanded the 101st Airborne on the eve of the unit's "jump off" into Iraq, "could have gotten murderous ideas about America, its armed forces and the Muslim world from a chaplain in the U.S. military."

The column went on to note that, "As of June 2002, nine of the armed forces' fourteen Muslim chaplains received their religious training from [a] Saudi-supported entity, the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences (GSISS) in Leesburg, Virginia. In March of that year, the multi-agency Operation Greenquest raided the offices of GSISS, along with twenty-three other Muslim organizations. Agents also raided the homes of Dr. Iqbal Unus, the Dean of Students at GSISS, and Dr. Taha Al-Alwani, the school's President. According to search warrants issued at the time, these groups were raided for "potential money laundering and tax evasion activities and their ties to terrorist groups such as...al Qaeda as well as individual terrorists...(including) Osama bin Laden."

These troubling facts have, regrettably, just been called to mind once again. This week, the Army arrested one of its Muslim chaplains, Captain James Yee, charging him with five offenses: sedition, aiding the enemy, spying, espionage and failure to obey a general order. According to the Washington Times, it "may also charge him later with the more serious charge of treason, which under the Uniform Code of Military Justice could be punished by a maximum sentence of life" in prison.

Donate to JWR

At this writing, it is not clear whether Captain Yee was one of those recruited, trained and certified by the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences. What is known about him, however, according to a profile that appeared in the New York Times shortly after the 9/11 attacks is that, at the time he was "The newest Muslim chaplain..., a Chinese-American and a West Point graduate who was born into a Lutheran family, took an interest in Islam in college and deepened his convictions while stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky, where he was studying vehicle maintenance during the month of Ramadan alongside four visiting Egyptian army officers. In a telephone interview, Chaplain Yee said he left the military to attend a traditional Islamic school in Damascus, Syria, where he spent four years studying Arabic and religion. He is serving with the 29th Signal Battalion at Fort Lewis, Washington."

The article went on to quote Chaplain Yee as saying that, "Since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, some of the 80 Muslims on his base have come to him with concerns about being deployed to fight Muslims overseas. He said he tells them, "'An act of terrorism, the taking of innocent civilian lives is prohibited by Islam, and whoever has done this needs to be brought to justice, whether he is Muslim or not.'" If true, this would be commendable and helpful to the war effort.

Unfortunately, subsequent to that interview, Capt. Yee was assigned to minister to Al Qaeda, Taliban and other enemy combatants incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. According to press accounts, he is suspected of performing while there a very different service for his co-religionists. When he was arrested, he was reportedly carrying classified documents, including diagrams of the facilities in which the prisoners are being held. He may also have been facilitating communications between the detainees and perhaps fellow terrorists still at large in ways that could undermine U.S. efforts to interrogate the former and counter the latter.

One can only hope that the surveillance that resulted in Yee's arrest is part of a wider effort to ensure that chaplains ministering to Muslims in the U.S. military are promoting the sorts of moderate, pro-American views he purportedly held in 2001, rather than the sort of radical, intolerant and jihadist views of the so-called "Islamists." Otherwise, the danger is very real that serving members of the armed forces could be subjected to ominous proselytizing intended to give rise to clandestine Fifth Column activities in this country and a whole new front in the War on Terror.

These sorts of concerns prompted two of the Nation's legislators who are most knowledgeable about Islamist penetration and influence operations in the United States - Senators Charles Schumer (Democrat of New York) and Jon Kyl (Republican of Arizona) - to call in recent months for just such an assessment by the Pentagon. To date, their appeals for action by the Office of the Secretary of Defense appear to have gone unanswered. If that situation was undesirable before the arrest of Chaplain Yee, it is wholly unacceptable in its aftermath.

Muslims in uniform have a potentially important contribution to make to the national security, just as their civilian counterparts can contribute greatly to the commonweal. We cannot, however, allow Islamists among them to use our guarantees of religious freedom - or, for that matter, other civil liberties - to destroy the U.S. military and governmental institutions established over two centuries ago to promote and safeguard those liberties, and the millions of Americans of all faiths who hold them dear.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


JWR contributor Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. heads the Center for Security Policy. Send your comments to him by clicking here.

Up

09/09/03: 'No more war in '04'
09/03/03: The Air Force's new lease on life
08/26/03: Don't go wobbly, George
08/12/03: Divided loyalties
08/05/03: The dot-connector
07/31/03: Wishful thinking about Islamist terror
07/22/03: Horatius Pipes
07/15/03: Making Saddam's day
06/17/03: UNDESIRABLE INFLUENCE
05/29/03: 'ROAD TRAP' FOR AMERICA, TOO
05/20/03: Saudi terror watch 05/13/03: 'Transformation, part deux'
04/29/03: Shooting the messenger
04/22/03: ISLAMIST POWER PLAY
04/15/03: Who's next?
04/08/03: Winning the peace
04/01/03: 'EMBED' FREE IRAQIS, NOW!
03/05/03: A friend in need
02/25/03: The plot thickens
02/18/03: Who's 'with' President Bush?
02/11/03: Islamists' White House gatekeeper
02/04/03: The Powell report
01/28/03: Bush's finest hour
01/14/03: North Korean scorecard
01/07/03: Nuclear meltdown
12/17/02: Serious about defending America
12/03/02: Defining 'regime change'
11/26/02: With friends like the Saudis...
11/19/02: The Jayna Davis files
11/12/02: Could Israel die of thirst?
11/04/02: Against us
10/22/02: Too clever by half?
10/17/02: 'Drain the swamps'
10/08/02: The temptations of George Bush
10/01/02: Return of the San Francisco Dems
09/24/02: The next crusader?
09/17/02: It is no accident that advocates of coercive inspections have opposed prez's goal of regime change
09/10/02: A model for Iraq
08/27/02: Beware 'consensus leadership'
08/20/02: To Iraq or not to Iraq?
08/13/02: Trading with the 'enemy'
07/30/02: Who's trashing Ashcroft?
07/23/02: Wall Street's 'poisoned apples'
07/16/02: Back on the China front
07/09/02: See no evil?
07/02/02: Rethinking peacekeeping
06/25/02: Political moment of truth on defense
06/19/02: Inviting losses on two fronts
06/12/02: Make missile defense happen
06/04/02: The next 'Day of Infamy'?
05/29/02: Bush's Russian gamble
05/21/02: The 'next war'
05/15/02: Ex-presidential misconduct
05/07/02: When 'what if' is no game
05/02/02: Careful what we wish for
04/24/02: The real 'root cause' of terror
04/02/02: First principles in the Mideast
03/26/02: 'Renounce this map'
03/20/02: The inconvenient ally
03/12/02: Adults address the 'unthinkable'
03/05/02: The Saudi scam
02/26/02: Rumsfeld's 'now hear this'
02/19/02: Where's the outrage?
02/12/02: Post-mortem on 'Pearl Harbor II'
02/05/02: Spinning on the 'Evil Axis'
01/29/02: A challenge for the history books
01/22/02: Who pulled the plug on the Chinese 'bugs'?
01/15/02: No 'need to know'
01/08/02: Sentenced to de-nuclearize?
12/18/01: Missile defense mismanagement?
12/11/01: Is the Cold War 'over'?
12/04/01: A moment for truth
11/29/01: Send in the marines -- with the planes they need
11/27/01: 'Now Hear This': Does the President Mean What He Says?
11/20/01: Mideast 'vision thing'
11/13/01: The leitmotif of the next three days
11/06/01: Bush's Reykjavik Moment
10/30/01: Say it ain't true, 'W.
10/23/01: Getting history, and the future, right
10/16/01: Farewell to arms control
10/05/01: A time to choose
09/25/01: Don't drink the 'lemonade'
09/11/01: Sudan envoy an exercise in futility?
09/05/01: Strategy of a thousand cuts
08/28/01: Rummy's back
08/21/01: Prepare for 'two wars'
08/14/01: Why does the Bush Administration make a moral equivalence between terrorist attacks and Israel's restrained defensive responses?
08/07/01: A New bipartisanship in security policy?
07/31/01: Don't go there
07/17/01: The 'end of the beginning'
07/10/01: Testing President Bush
07/03/01: Market transparency works
06/27/01: Which Bush will it be on missile defense?
06/19/01: Don't politicize military matters
06/05/01: It's called leadership
06/05/01: With friends like these ...
05/31/01: Which way on missile defense?
05/23/01: Pearl Harbor, all over again
05/15/01: A tale of two Horatios
05/08/01: The real debate about missile defense
04/24/01: Sell aegis ships to Taiwan
04/17/01: The 'hi-tech for China' bill
04/10/01: Deal on China's hostages -- then what?
04/03/01: Defense fire sale redux
03/28/01: The defense we need
03/21/01: Critical mass
03/13/01: The Bush doctrine
03/08/01: Self-Deterred from Defending America
02/27/01: Truth and consequences for Saddam
02/21/01: Defense fire sale
02/13/01: Dubya's Marshall Plan
02/05/01: Doing the right thing on an 'Arab-Arab dispute'
01/30/01: The missile defense decision
01/23/01: The Osprey as Phoenix
01/17/01: Clinton's Parting Shot at Religious Freedom
01/09/01: Wake-up call on space
01/02/01: Secretary Rumsfeld
12/27/00: Redefining our Ukraine policy
12/19/00: Deploy missile defense now
12/12/00: Sabotaging space power
12/05/00: Preempting Bush
11/28/00: What Clinton hath wrought
11/21/00: HE'S BAAAACK
11/14/00: The world won't wait

© 2001, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.