Killing America … Twice
June 3, 2007 7:45 AM
Fuel tanks are seen at JFK International Airport in New York Sunday, June 3, 2007. Authorities announced Saturday, June 2, 2007 they had broken up a suspected Muslim terrorist cell to blow up the airport, its fuel tanks and a jet fuel artery, arresting three men, one of them a former member of Guyana's parliament. A fourth man was being sought in Trinidad as part of the plot that authorities said they had been tracking for more than a year and was foiled in the planning stages.
War is about breaking the enemy’s will. Having laid bare the sorry state of our brains and our guts, jihadists are now zeroing in on the will’s final piece: our hearts.
That is the central lesson to be gleaned from Saturday’s news that four Muslim men have been charged with plotting to blow up John F. Kennedy International Airport, and with it much of Queens.
We now learn that for radical Islamists, lovers of death, the heart is the jihad’s most coveted prize. Tear it out, and you get to kill not once but twice. So says 63-year-old ringleader, Russell Defreitas, whose nom de guerre is, of course, Mohammed.
Any time you hit Kennedy, it is the most hurtful thing to do to the United States. To hit John F. Kennedy, wow!... They love John F. Kennedy like he’s the man…. If you hit that, this whole country will be in mourning. It’s like you can kill the man twice.
Defreitas, er, Mohammed is a naturalized United States citizen. He is another splash in that gorgeous mosaic of American Islam — the one over whose purportedly seamless assimilation the mainstream media was cooing just a few days ago, putting smiley-face spin on an alarming Rasmussen poll.
Alas, Defreitas/Mohammed turns out to be the part of the story the press dutifully buried in paragraph 19: He is that nettlesome one of every four American Muslim males who thinks mass-homicide strikes against civilians, like the one he and his cell were scheming, are a perfectly sensible way to settle grievances.
The grounds of John F. Kennedy International Airport is seen in New York, Saturday, June 2, 2007. A suspected terrorist cell planned a 'chilling' attack to destroy John F. Kennedy International Airport, kill thousands of people and trigger an economic catastrophe by blowing up a jet fuel artery that runs through populous residential neighborhoods, authorities said Saturday.
Does this mean he never really assimilated during his long journey from Guyana to treason against the adopted country he so abhors? Not hardly. For that one in four Muslim males turns out to be in pretty much the same place as one of every two members of the United States Congress — already tacking toward two of every three as we look ahead to September. All are content to let Islamist savagery carry the day.
Militant Islam, you see, is mustered in Iraq, where al Qaeda — the inspiration for Defreitas and his cohorts — has called America out. Like Defreitas & Co., Osama bin Laden and his ranks see themselves in a world war between the United States and a vision of Islam shared by tens of millions. (Think one-in-four, writ large). Iraq, they have decided, is their frontline, though very far from their only line. Everywhere, America is their target. Everywhere, terror — the indiscriminate slaughter of innocent men, women, and children — is their weapon of choice.
For the new Democratic Congress and its growing wake of jittery Republicans, that turns out to be a choice worth living with. Oh yes, they’ll sputter about how barbaric and unsavory it all is. But, like those one in four Muslim males, they’re prepared to let terror rule the day. That’s the plan: Al Qaeda blows up things and people; we leave, grumbling all the way home about civil wars and intractable hatreds between the Religion of Peace’s murderous sects; and al Qaeda triumphs … with bin Laden reminding his acolytes: See, I told you, they’re a paper tiger — make it bloody for them and we win.
Naturally, we’ll tell ourselves they’re not winning at all. They want Iraq? Let ‘em have it. Just like — when they killed enough of us — we let ’em have Lebanon in 1983 and Somalia in 1993. Who, after all, needs these hellholes?
Except … militant Islam doesn’t just want the hellholes. It wants everything. It will take the hellholes. For now. But don’t think for a second they’ll be appeased.
The appetite grows as it feeds. Jihadists won’t stop until they break our will. Give them Somalia and they want the World Trade Center. Give them Iraq and they want JFK … and Fort Dix. They’re coming for us, they’re only too delighted to tell us they’re coming for us, and still we’re stunned when their insatiable hatred draws a bead smack in the middle of our shrinking comfort zone — this time, where a thousand flights move 125,000 people every single day.
It wasn’t merely on the flights and the unlucky infidels that Defreitas and his confederates set their sights. The complaint filed by the government explains that the “brothers” wanted to do “something bigger than the World Trade Center.” Defreitas had worked at JFK. He knew its ins and outs. He wasn’t interested in the passenger terminals — that would be child’s play. He homed in on the fuel tanks and pipelines, thousands upon thousands of flammable gallons. Enough to outdo September 11. Enough to decimate the economy. Enough to make of Queens what Ahmadinejad vows to make of Israel … and, eventually, America.
Defreitas and his fellow jihadists, most haling from Guyana but with ties to Trinidad’s ruthless Jama’at al Muslimeen (the Muslim Group), wanted to do their part in what they unflinchingly called “the war for Islam.” They wanted to kill JFK, and kill us. A second time.
They know there’s a war out there. Not just Iraq or Afghanistan, but Dar al Islam and Dar al Harb — jihadists versus civilization. Global. For us to win, it will not be enough to stabilize Baghdad, sow democracy and empower moderates. It’s about breaking the enemy’s will, as they are working feverishly to break ours.
Thanks to excellent police work, this time they were stopped. But there will be a next time, and another. The jihadists know what’s at stake. Do we?
— Andrew C. McCarthy directs the Center for Law & Counterterrorism at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.