Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bringing al-Qaeda to New York

By the Editors
November 14, 2009 7:00 AM

Candidate Barack Obama urged a return to pre-9/11 counterterrorism-by-courts. President Obama’s Justice Department overflows with lawyers who spent the last eight years representing America’s enemies. Thus, Friday’s announcement that top al-Qaeda terrorists will be brought to New York City for a civilian trial is no surprise. That doesn’t make it any less inexcusable.

The treatment of jihadist terror as a mere law-enforcement issue, fit for civilian courts, was among the worst of the national-security derelictions of the Nineties. While the champions of this approach stress that prosecutors scored a 100 percent conviction rate, they conveniently omit mention of the paltry number of cases (less than three dozen, mostly against low-level terrorists, over an eight-year period, despite numerous attacks), as well as the rigorous due-process burdens that made prosecution of many terrorists impossible, the daunting disclosure and witness-confrontation rules that required government to disclose mountains of intelligence, the gargantuan expense of “hardening” courthouses and prisons to protect juries and judges, and the terrorists’ exploitation of legal privileges to plot additional attacks and escape attempts.

A picture posted on the website allegedly shows Al-Qaeda's Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and four suspected co-plotters will be tried in a civilian court blocks from where Al-Qaeda hijackers crashed two airliners into the World Trade Center, the US government has announced.

In placing the nation on a war footing after the September 11 attacks, the Bush administration invoked the laws of war to detain terrorists as enemy combatants and to try those who had committed provable war crimes by military commission — measures that were endorsed by Congress despite being challenged in the courts by some of the lawyers now working in Obama’s Justice Department. This military-commission system provided due-process protections that were unprecedented for wartime enemies, including the right to appellate review in the civilian courts. But they protected national-defense information from disclosure.

This commission system is tailor-made for the 9/11 plotters, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suicide-hijacking mastermind who is brazen in taking credit for that and numerous other attacks against the United States. In fact, last December, KSM and his four co-defendants indicated to the military judge that they wanted to plead guilty and move on to execution. But then the Obama administration swept into power and undertook to repudiate many of Bush’s counterterrorism practices, declaring its intention to close Gitmo within a year and forcing a moratorium on military commissions so the process could be “studied.” Friday’s announcement that KSM and the other 9/11 plotters will be sent to federal court in New York for a civilian trial is the most significant step to date in Obama’s determination to turn back the clock to the time when government believed subpoenas rather than Marines were the answer to jihadist murder and mayhem.

It is difficult to quantify how dangerously foolish this course is. As they demonstrated in offering to plead guilty while bragging about their atrocities, KSM and his cohorts don’t want a trial so much as they want a soapbox to press their grievances against the United States and the West. With no real defense to the charges, they will endeavor to put America on trial, pressing the court for expansive discovery of government intelligence files. Having gratuitously exposed classified information on interrogation tactics and other sensitive matters in order to pander to Obama’s base, the Justice Department will be in a poor position to argue against broad disclosure, even if it were so inclined. As the court orders more and more revelations, potential intelligence sources and foreign spy services will develop even graver doubts about our capacity to keep secrets. They will reduce their intelligence cooperation accordingly, and the nation will be dramatically more vulnerable.

Moreover, the transfer of the worst al-Qaeda prisoners into the U.S. will grease the skids for many, if not most, of the remaining 200-plus Gitmo terrorists to be moved here. This will be the worst of all possible outcomes. These are trained terrorists who have been detained under the laws of war, but most of whom cannot be tried because the intelligence on them cannot be used in court. We are still holding them because they are deadly dangerous and because no other country is willing to take them off our hands. Once inside the United States, they will indisputably be within the jurisdiction of the federal courts — which are staffed by judges predisposed against wartime detention without trial. As long as the terrorists were at Gitmo, those judges were reluctant to order them released into the U.S. — a transfer that would violate federal law. If the terrorists are already here, though, judges will not be as gun-shy. Inevitably, some will be freed to live and plot among us.

The Obama Left delusionally argues that running these risks will make us safer. The international community will see how enlightened we are, the fable goes. The hostility of America’s enemies will melt away. They’ll lay down their bombs and stop attacking us. As observed by former attorney general Michael Mukasey — who presided over terrorism cases as a federal judge — “We did just that after the first World Trade Center bombing, after the plot to blow up airliners over the Pacific, and after the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. In return, we got the 9/11 attacks and the murder of nearly 3,000 innocents.”

A jihadist hiding in plain sight

How many deaths are acceptable for the sake of diversity?

Syndicated columnist
Orange County Register
November 13, 2009 12:26 PM

Shortly after 9/11, there was a lot of talk about how no one would ever hijack an American airliner ever again – not because of new security arrangements but because an alert citizenry was on the case: We were hip to their jive. The point appeared to be proved three months later on a U.S.-bound Air France flight. The "Shoebomber" attempted to light his footwear, and the flight attendants and passengers pounced. As the more boorish commentators could not resist pointing out, even the French guys walloped him.

But the years go by, and the mood shifts. You didn't have to be "alert" to spot Maj. Nidal Hasan. He'd spent most of the past half-decade walking around with a big neon sign on his head saying "JIHADIST. STAND WELL BACK." But we (that's to say, almost all of us; and certainly almost anyone who matters in national security and the broader political culture) are now reflexively conditioned to ignore the flashing neon sign. Like those apocryphal Victorian ladies discreetly draping the lasciviously curved legs of their pianos, if a glimpse of hard unpleasant reality peeps through we simply veil it in another layer of fluffy illusions.

Two joint terrorism task forces became aware almost a year ago that Maj. Hasan was in regular e-mail contact with Anwar al-Awlaqi, the American-born but now Yemeni-based cleric who served as imam to three of the 9/11 hijackers and supports all-out holy war against the United States. But the expert analysts in the Pentagon determined that this lively correspondence was consistent with Maj. Hasan's "research interests," so there was no need to worry. That's America: Technologically superior, money no object (not one but two "joint terrorism task forces" stumbled across him). Yet no action was taken.

On the other hand, who needs surveillance operations and intelligence budgets? Maj. Hasan was entirely upfront about who he was. He put it on his business card: "SOA." As in "Soldier of Allah" – which seems a tad ungrateful to the American taxpayers who ponied up half a million bucks or thereabouts in elite medical school education to train him to be a Soldier of Uncle Sam. In a series of meetings during 2008, officials from both Walter Reed and the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences considered the question of whether then-Capt. Hasan was psychotic. But, according to at least one bigwig at Walter Reed, members of the policy committee wondered "how would it look if we kick out one of the few Muslim residents." So he got promoted to major and shipped to Fort Hood, Texas.

And 13 men and women and an unborn baby are dead.

Well, like they say, it's easy to be wise after the event. I'm not so sure. These days, it's easier to be even more stupid after the event. "Apparently, he tried to contact al-Qaida," mused MSNBC's Chris Matthews. "That's not a crime to call up al-Qaida, is it? Is it? I mean, where do you stop the guy?" Interesting question: Where do you draw the line?

The truth is, we're not prepared to draw a line even after he's gone ahead and committed mass murder. "What happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy," said Gen. Casey, the Army's chief of staff, "but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here." A "greater tragedy" than 14 dead and dozens of wounded? Translating from the original brain-addled multicult-speak, the Army chief of staff is saying that the same fatuous prostration before marshmallow illusions that led to the "tragedy" must remain in place. If it leads to occasional mass murder, well, hopefully it can be held to what cynical British civil servants used to call, during the Northern Irish "Troubles", "an acceptable level of violence." Fourteen dead is evidently acceptable. A hundred and forty? Fourteen hundred? I guess we'll find out.

"Diversity" is one of those words designed to absolve you of the need to think. Likewise, a belief in "multiculturalism" doesn't require you to know anything at all about other cultures, just to feel generally warm and fluffy about them. Heading out from my hotel room the other day, I caught a glimpse of that 7-Eleven video showing Major Hasan wearing "Muslim" garb to buy a coffee on the morning of his murderous rampage. And it wasn't until I was in the taxi cab that something odd struck me: He is an American of Arab descent. But he was wearing Pakistani dress – that's to say, a "Punjabi suit," as they call it in Britain, or the "shalwar kameez," to give it its South Asian name. For all the hundreds of talking heads droning on about "diversity" across the TV networks, it was only Tarek Fatah, writing in The Ottawa Citizen, who pointed out that no Arab males wear this get-up – with one exception: Those Arab men who got the jihad fever and went to Afghanistan to sign on with the Taliban and al-Qaida. In other words, Maj. Hasan's outfit symbolized the embrace of an explicit political identity entirely unconnected with his ethnic heritage.

Mr. Fatah would seem to be a genuine "multiculturalist": That's to say, he's attuned to often very subtle "diversities" between cultures. Whereas the professional multiculturalist sees the 7-Eleven video and coos, "Aw, look. He's wearing ... well, something exotic and colorful, let's not get hung up on details. Celebrate diversity, right? Can we get him in the front row for the group shot? We may be eligible for a grant."

The brain-addled "diversity" of Gen. Casey will get some of us killed, and keep all of us cowed. In the days since the killings, the news reports have seemed increasingly like a satirical novel that the author's not quite deft enough to pull off, with bizarre new Catch-22s multiplying like the windmills of your mind: If you're openly in favor of pouring boiling oil down the throats of infidels, then the Pentagon will put down your e-mails to foreign jihadists as mere confirmation of your long-established "research interests." If you're psychotic, the Army will make you a psychiatrist for fear of provoking you. If you gun down a bunch of people, within an hour the FBI will state clearly that we can all relax, there's no terrorism angle, because, in our over-credentialized society, it doesn't count unless you're found to be carrying Permit #57982BQ3a from the relevant State Board of Jihadist Licensing.

Ezra Levant, my comrade in a long battle to restore freedom of speech to Canada, likes to say that the Danish cartoons crisis may one day be seen as a more critical event than 9/11. Not, obviously, in the comparative death tolls but in what each revealed about the state of Western civilization. After 9/11, we fought back, hit hard, rolled up the Afghan camps; after the cartoons, we weaseled and equivocated and appeased and signaled that we were willing to trade core Western values for a quiet life. Watching the decadence and denial on display this past week, I think in years to come Fort Hood will be seen in a similar light. What happened is not a "tragedy" but a national scandal, already fading from view.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Medicalizing mass murder

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, November 13, 2009

What a surprise -- that someone who shouts "Allahu Akbar" (the "God is great" jihadist battle cry) as he is shooting up a room of American soldiers might have Islamist motives. It certainly was a surprise to the mainstream media, which spent the weekend after the Fort Hood massacre playing down Nidal Hasan's religious beliefs.

"I cringe that he's a Muslim. . . . I think he's probably just a nut case," said Newsweek's Evan Thomas. Some were more adamant. Time's Joe Klein decried "odious attempts by Jewish extremists . . . to argue that the massacre perpetrated by Nidal Hasan was somehow a direct consequence of his Islamic beliefs." While none could match Klein's peculiar cherchez-le-juif motif, the popular story line was of an Army psychiatrist driven over the edge by terrible stories he had heard from soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

They suffered. He listened. He snapped.

Really? What about the doctors and nurses, the counselors and physical therapists at Walter Reed Army Medical Center who every day hear and live with the pain and the suffering of returning soldiers? How many of them then picked up a gun and shot 51 innocents?

And what about civilian psychiatrists -- not the Upper West Side therapist treating Woody Allen neurotics, but the thousands of doctors working with hospitalized psychotics -- who every day hear not just tales but cries of the most excruciating anguish, of the most unimaginable torment? How many of those doctors commit mass murder?

It's been decades since I practiced psychiatry. Perhaps I missed the epidemic.

But, of course, if the shooter is named Nidal Hasan, who National Public Radio reported had been trying to proselytize doctors and patients, then something must be found. Presto! Secondary post-traumatic stress disorder, a handy invention to allow one to ignore the obvious.

And the perfect moral finesse. Medicalizing mass murder not only exonerates. It turns the murderer into a victim, indeed a sympathetic one. After all, secondary PTSD, for those who believe in it (you won't find it in DSM-IV-TR, psychiatry's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual), is known as "compassion fatigue." The poor man -- pushed over the edge by an excess of sensitivity.

Have we totally lost our moral bearings? Nidal Hasan (allegedly) cold-bloodedly killed 13 innocent people. His business card had his name, his profession, his medical degrees and his occupational identity. U.S. Army? No. "SoA" -- Soldier of Allah. In such cases, political correctness is not just an abomination. It's a danger, clear and present.

Consider the Army's treatment of Hasan's previous behavior. NPR's Daniel Zwerdling interviewed a Hasan colleague at Walter Reed about a hair-raising grand rounds that Hasan had apparently given. Grand rounds are the most serious academic event at a teaching hospital -- attending physicians, residents and students gather for a lecture on an instructive case history or therapeutic finding.

I've been to dozens of these. In fact, I gave one myself on post-traumatic retrograde amnesia -- as you can see, these lectures are fairly technical. Not Hasan's. His was an hour-long disquisition on what he called the Koranic view of military service, jihad and war. It included an allegedly authoritative elaboration of the punishments visited upon nonbelievers -- consignment to hell, decapitation, having hot oil poured down your throat. This "really freaked a lot of doctors out," reported NPR.

Nor was this the only incident. "The psychiatrist," reported Zwerdling, "said that he was the kind of guy who the staff actually stood around in the hallway saying: Do you think he's a terrorist, or is he just weird?"

Was anything done about this potential danger? Of course not. Who wants to be accused of Islamophobia and prejudice against a colleague's religion?
One must not speak of such things. Not even now. Not even after we know that Hasan was in communication with a notorious Yemen-based jihad propagandist. As late as Tuesday, The New York Times was running a story on how returning soldiers at Fort Hood had a high level of violence.

What does such violence have to do with Hasan? He was not a returning soldier. And the soldiers who returned home and shot their wives or fellow soldiers didn't cry "Allahu Akbar" as they squeezed the trigger.

The delicacy about the religion in question -- condescending, politically correct and deadly -- is nothing new. A week after the first (1993) World Trade Center attack, the same New York Times ran the following front-page headline about the arrest of one Mohammed Salameh: "Jersey City Man Is Charged in Bombing of Trade Center."

Ah yes, those Jersey men -- so resentful of New York, so prone to violence.

September 10? It’s Worse Than That

We are ignoring the best tools we have for fighting terrorism. Why?

By Andrew C. McCarthy
November 13, 2009, 0:00 p.m.

‘September 10 America.” The phrase signifies a reprise of the “terrorism is just a crime” mindset that reigned in the years before the 9/11 attacks. Like other observers, I’ve groused in recent months that we are back to that self-destructive ethos. I was wrong. If the Fort Hood atrocity tells us anything, it is that things are much worse than they were before 9/11.

For one thing, 9/11 has happened. Before it did, perhaps we had an excuse. But we’ve experienced the wages of consciously avoiding Islamism. To have retreated into puerile fantasies about a religion of peace is, at this juncture, unfathomable.

Fathom it, though, we must. In 2008, I wrote a book called Willful Blindness to describe government’s stubborn refusal to deal with the nature and magnitude of jihadism when it first emerged as a domestic threat in the early Nineties. For a long time, I’d resisted writing about the experience of prosecuting Muslim terrorists. I’m very proud of what we did, but the story is a painful one of warning signs missed and lives lost. Having lived it, I wasn’t anxious to relive it.

Yet, more than a decade after Muslim terrorists declared war on the United States by bombing the World Trade Center, we were still making the same errors, with wishful thinking about Islam still substituting for sober analysis. It seemed important to go back to the beginning, to explore why jihadism is a profound threat, why we’ve underestimated it, and why it is so perilous to treat a national-security challenge as if it were a mere legal problem. In a display of my own wishful thinking, I subtitled the book “A Memoir of the Jihad” — memoir conveying the hope that the worst of the willful blindness was behind us, and that the misjudgments of the past would yield wisdom in the here and now.

Wrong again.

The word incomprehensible does not do justice to the FBI’s conclusion that jihadist saboteur Nidal Hasan’s numerous communications with jihadist imam Anwar al-Awlaki were either (a) not significant enough to warrant further investigation or (b) significant but immune from further investigation on First Amendment grounds.

The first possibility would not pass the laugh test if this were a laughing matter. Anonymous government officials have suggested that the substance of the conversations was innocuous. That remains to be seen — we can’t know until we learn exactly what was said, how it was acted on, who else may have been in the loop, and so on. But even if you buy the innocent-substance theory (I don’t), the occurrence of the communications — between an Islamist infiltrator in our armed forces and a known al-Qaeda recruiter who ministered to some of the 9/11 hijackers — could not be more significant. The mere circumstances were more than enough to turn up the investigative heat.

That’s so palpable that we must worry that about the second possibility: That the FBI and the Justice Department have convinced themselves that the Constitution really is a suicide pact — that a mainstream construction of Islam, calling for our demise as a free people, is somehow insulated from inquiry because we don’t want to confront the stubborn fact that Islamist terror is instigated by Islamic doctrine.

Journalism in the last week has been a feast of fables about Islam, libels about military culture, and gut-wrenching accounts of sorrow and heroism. But the most disturbing thing I’ve read is Ron Kessler’s Newsmax column. It addressed little not already known about the mass murder, but Ron has singularly good sources in the FBI. He provides a window into Bureau thinking that makes the mind reel.

Besides grossly low-balling the number of U.S. mosques that propagate Islamist ideology — the Feebs say it’s about 10 percent of 2,000 mosques; it’s actually about six to eight times that amount — a top FBI counterterrorism official told Kessler:

Those who actively support extremist causes, say America is evil and deserves what it gets, and celebrate the death of soldiers, know they may come to our attention. So they don’t do it as openly now . . . . There was much more of that [before 9/11] because all of it was considered by Justice Department guidelines to be purely protected speech. We do not have incitement laws in America, but once an imam facilitates someone else taking action, he has crossed the line into material support and becomes our business.

Where to begin? Almost 17 years ago, after the Trade Center was bombed, the Justice Department did not believe a Muslim cleric had to “cross the line into material support” before he became the FBI’s business. Indeed, there were no “material support” laws until 1996. In 1995, as detailed in Willful Blindness, I led the team that convicted Omar Abdel Rahman, the “Blind Sheikh.” In essence, we prosecuted him for inciting terrorism­ — the thing the senior official tells Kessler isn’t a crime. Specifically, the Blind Sheikh was convicted of (among other things) soliciting an attack against a U.S. military installation (like Hasan just committed) and soliciting the murder of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

Solicitation is still a federal crime — and there’s no requirement that the incitement actually lead to a terrorist act. Moreover, even before anyone in America ever heard of al-Qaeda — even before there was a 9/11, or bombings of Khobar Towers, the U.S. embassies in eastern Africa, and the U.S.S. Cole — some of us realized that terrorists fueled by viscerally anti-American Islamist ideology, were at war with the United States. And guess what? There’s a statute for that, too: The Civil War–era seditious-conspiracy law makes the waging of such a terror campaign a 20-year felony. And there’s no carve-out for imams.

How was the Blind Sheikh convicted? By presenting to the jury his fiery sermons and private meetings with the faithful, often in mosques where he urged barbarous strikes against America, swaddled in accurate quotations of the Koran and other Muslim scripture. Of course, he claimed that such exhortations were protected speech. That is, he made exactly the same arguments the Islamist Left has spent the last eight years beating into the country, including into the Justice Department and the FBI. But back in 1995, those arguments were seen for the nonsense that they were.

There is no bar to the use of speech as evidence. The First Amendment generally prohibits the criminalization of speech itself — i.e., the act of communicating. But settled law holds that when prosecutors use your speech to prove crimes, there is no First Amendment violation. When the mafia boss tells the button-man “Whack him!” he doesn't get to lodge a First Amendment objection to the introduction of that statement at his murder trial. He’s not being tried for saying “Whack him!” He’s being tried for murder. The statement is evidence.

Nor does the principle change just because the speech happens to implicate religion. In America, you can believe whatever you want, but your actions must be lawful. Not surprisingly, the Blind Sheikh contended that his incitements to terror were beyond prosecution because he was practicing his religion: Specifically, he claimed he had simply been performing the traditional role of an Islamic cleric called on to determine whether proposed courses of conduct (in this instance, mass-murder plots) were permissible under Islamic law. Fourteen years ago, that contention was properly seen as frivolous. In America, we are not under sharia law — not yet. There is no religious exception for violent acts, conspiracies, and incitements to violence that violate American law.

So what has happened? Why did we know these rudimentary, commonsense principles in the Nineties but not now? Because incitement explodes the government’s “religion of peace” narrative. The incitement to Islamist terror is Islamic scripture. The Blind Shiekh was not a hypnotist or a particularly compelling speaker. His authority over terrorist organizations was rooted exclusively in his acknowledged mastery of sharia. Islamic scripture was the source of his power over Muslims.

To concede this would be to concede the obvious but unspeakable fact that there is a nexus between Islam and terror. That would harpoon the lovey-dovey dream that Islam and Western democracy are perfectly compatible. It would upset Muslims — especially the well-organized, deep-pocketed Islamic grievance industry. Today’s hip, progressive FBI, like Gen. George Casey’s modern, slavishly “diverse” military, doesn’t want to upset Muslims. Besides souring State Department cocktail parties and drying up funding for presidential libraries, upsetting Muslims would put a damper on our government’s lavish “Islamic outreach” efforts. These initiatives are premised on the delusion that we’ll stop more terror by having unindicted co-conspirators like CAIR teach Islamic “sensitivity” to our agents than by turning our agents loose to investigate CAIR and its ilk.

So the FBI ignores the significance of a terrorist cleric’s influence over an unabashed Islamist in our midst. After all, their contacts seemed to be religious in nature. We’re told, moreover, that we can’t do anything about the anti-American vitriol oozing out of Islamist mosques under the guidance of our friends the Saudis. After all, the vitriol hasn’t yet “crossed the line into material support.” By the time it does, you might have 13 corpses to tend to, but at least there will be lots to talk about at the next outreach conference — or the next time the attorney general decides to speak at a CAIR-fest.

The post-9/11 era was supposed to be about knocking down walls that obstructed effective counterterrorism. But behold the new wall, more insidious than its suicidal Nineties forerunner: the arbitrary barrier separating terrorism from “protected” incitement — the cagey, generalized, non-specific jihadist rhetoric that is the Islamist cleric’s stock-in-trade. Aside from not being required by law, this new wall will usually mean you can't go after the worst actors (the Islamic authorities and the terrorists they inspire) until after an attack has happened and Americans have been killed.

In other words, be prepared for more Fort Hoods. We’re not in September 10 America. We’ve managed to land in a much more dangerous place.

National Review’s Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and the author of Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad (Encounter Books, 2008).

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Mark Steyn on Culture
Tuesday, 10 November 2009

from November 2, 2009 issue of National Review

A few weeks ago, Zachary Christie of Newark, in Joe Biden’s Grand Duchy of Delaware, joined the Cub Scouts. In the course of so doing, he acquired one of those combination knife-fork-spoon utensils that come in so useful when you’re in tucking in to a hearty meal round the camp fire. Zachary is only six so he can’t be blamed for not knowing that the Scouts are systemically homophobic and that it’s dangerous to sit round camp fires without wearing protective gear at a distance of at least 200 yards and with a federally-licensed fire control operative supervising conflagration.

Zachary Christie: "Armed and Dangerous"

But six-year old Zachary is to blame for finding his knife-fork-spoon utensil so cool he decided one October morn to take it to school to eat lunch with it. Knives are banned. Because they’re weapons. The First Grader was summoned to a disciplinary committee hearing and sentenced to at least 45 days in reform school. Don’t get at the “educators”. “We have to follow the policy as it is written consistently because this is the code of conduct that is applied to all of our students in our district,” droned the School District spokesdrone Wendy E Lapham.

Indeed. This is the same Christina School District that in April attempted to expel Sixth Grader Kasia Haughton. Kasia took a cake to school for her fellow students, and, in helping her pack it, her grandmother helpfully put a knife in the bag. Her teacher placed the cake on the desk, used the knife to cut it, passed round the slices, and then reported Kasia for bringing a “deadly weapon” to school. The grandmother packed the knife. The teacher used the knife. Kasia never touched it. But like those hapless Thai tourists who foolishly agree to serve as couriers of prohibited substances, she’s the one who has to swing for it. As the self-same spokesdrone Wendy E Lapham droned on this occasion, any knife three inches or longer is classified as a deadly weapon. Have to follow the policy. Can’t make any exceptions. Despite requiring years of expensive credentialization to qualify to serve in positions of authority, School District officials are prohibited by law from exercising any discretion, using any judgment, demonstrating any sense of proportion, or displaying other qualities hitherto associated with sentient human beings.

A cake knife is not a “deadly weapon”: It is a kitchen utensil. To cite another case, a plastic fireman’s ax is not a deadly weapon or even a deadly utensil: It is a toy. Wouldn’t any responsible adult feel a sense of shame at doing what the Christina School District does to Zachary Christie and Kasia Haughton? Well, sure, but what you gonna do? You could make like the Japanese and fall on your ceremonial sword, but unfortunately the School Board classifies three-inch plastic knives as “ceremonial swords” and they don’t really do the job.

In my travails with Canada’s “human rights” commissions, I find myself increasingly struck by the regime’s less likely targets – for example, the gay b&b owner with sinusitis subject to a “human rights” complaint from a blind diabetic with a seeing-eye dog. Wow. Who’s the good guy there? Silly question: It’s the government as sole legitimate arbiter of societal conduct. If the law is a ass (Dickens), micro-regulation is one giant ass pocked with a million oozing pustules and dropped on you from a great height - and so crushing that, in the Christina School District, spokesapparatchiks seem befuddled when asked why even their most basic human impulses no longer function.

Regulation strips law of the “reasonable man” standard. There is nothing “reasonable” because there is no longer reason: The School District officials are forbidden (even if they’re still capable) from reasoning that a person in possession of a knife and cake might reasonably be intending the former to assist in the division of the latter. Instead, all must submit to the diktat of regulation.

Unless, of course, you’re a Sikh. Sikhs like to carry their traditional kirpans –knives up to eight inches – and the New York City Board of Education and the Supreme Court of Canada, among many others, have ruled that boys are permitted to take them to school. Why? Because in the ideological hierarchy, multiculturalism trumps “safety”. A cake knife is a “deadly weapon” but a deadly weapon is merely the Sikh symbol for “the power of truth to cut through untruth”. If that isn’t reason to ban it from public schools, I don’t know what is. Nevertheless, if you’re taking a cake to school, ask a Sikh classmate to cut it up for you. And be grateful that the FDA hasn’t yet classified the cake as a deadly weapon.

Can such a society survive? I doubt it. After all, if you raise your young in such a world, what sort of adults do they grow into? A couple of years back, a neighbor’s kid was given a plastic sword and shield as a birthday present. Mom refuses to let her boy play with “militaristic” toys, so she confiscated the sword but, in a moment of weakness, let him keep the shield. And for a while, on my drive down to town, I’d pass the li’l tyke in the yard playing with his beloved shield, mastering the art of cringing and cowering against unseen blows from all directions. In a hyper-regulated world, it’s a useful skill to acquire. But I’m not sure it will be enough.

The King

By on 11.12.09 @ 6:07AM
The American Spectator

The notorious No.6 died this past February, and this has made for a quiet autumn rutting season nearly concluded among the elk (C. Canadensis nelsoni) on Yellowstone's northern range. The late bull has been described in the local media as the "Elvis of elk." He was quite popular with the girls, er, cows. "It was certainly eerily calm this fall compared to when No.6 was around," Yellowstone elk biologist P.J. White told AP. When found last winter, it seems No.6 had attempted to jump over a barbed wire fence on a ranch just north of the Park, got tripped-up, and ended up on his back with his great antlers underneath him, and suffocated while trapped between two boulders. He was approximately fifteen years old (some elk live to be twenty, so he was on the cusp of old age) and weighed 725 pounds (average mature bull -- 700). No.6 got his numerical moniker because he was studied and eartagged by wildlife biologists a few years ago as he was maturing to be the dominant bull in the area around Mammoth Hot Springs, the administrative headquarters of Yellowstone National Park.

No.6 had a long tenure as King of the Bull Elk. In his heyday during the annual fall rut he was attended by a large harem of cow elk (approximately 25), and his instinctual possession of them made him the jealous type, normal for the species. Every year, No. 6 jousted with up-and-coming bulls by the common ungulate modus operandi of locking horns in a pushing and shaking struggle, and he always prevailed. When bulls engage in these contests, the level of testosterone-fueled aggression is extreme. Hence the Darwinian theory of survival-of-the-fittest plays out. The dominant bull breeds with many cows over a period of weeks (as he attracts the harem by high pitched "bugling"), and is responsible for the births of many healthy calves in the late spring. Thus the gene pool is strengthened. But No. 6 took his paternal-pugilistic instincts a bit too seriously.

Something in his walnut-sized brain couldn't come to terms with certain aspects of life in the modern world. Nothing in millions of years of elk evolution had prepared No. 6 to understand the essence of a motor vehicle. Cars have been cruising through Yellowstone for almost a century, rolling past mostly unimpressed wildlife, especially the bison that habitually stand in the middle of roads serenely eyeing the traffic jams they initiate.
Although No. 6 wasn't the first elk on record ever to do it, he excelled at an activity that only enhanced his legend. During the rut he routinely terrified tourists by attacking their cars.

He stood by the road or in it near Mammoth and watched vehicles slow down and crawl by him. Sometimes visitors stopped for a photo op, occasionally annoying him. He seemed to zero in on SUVs, as if the bigger the automobile, the more of a threat it was to him and Yellowstone's future elk gene pool. No. 6 took them head on, his favorite approach was lowering his massive horns and charging straight at the front grill and headlights. He punctured radiators as if he knew that doing so would disable the vehicle.
He caused thousands of dollars worth of insurance claims to be filed. He attacked two men in separate incidents; knocking down one man, and causing another to need stitches. It got so bad in his prime that Yellowstone elk biologists tranquillized him twice -- in 2004 and 2005 -- and cropped his antlers to make them less dangerous. Bulls shed their antlers in early winter and grow new ones (initially in "velvet") the following summer, so for every rut they sport new horns.

According to AP, No. 6's dressed carcass is in possession of the woman who owns the ranch near Gardiner, Montana, where he died. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is offering the services of a taxidermist to do a head and shoulder mount, as it seeks permission to display No. 6's regal head at its headquarters in Missoula. So if all goes well, No.6 will attain the sort of elk immortality that would have suited his bull elk ego.

After the usual genetic head-butting among surviving bulls this fall, another dominant one has emerged in the Mammoth Hot Springs area. The Yellowstone wildlife pointyheads have identified him as the previously tagged No.10. As far as anyone knows, No. 10 -- though an impressive bull -- has never attacked a motor vehicle.

No. 10, I knew No.6. No. 6 was a friend of mine. And you, sir, are no No. 6.

Bill Croke, formerly of Cody, Wyoming, is a writer in Salmon, Idaho.


By Ann Coulter
November 11, 2009

The massacre at Fort Hood last week is the perfect apotheosis of the liberal victimology described in my book "Guilty: Liberal 'Victims' and Their Assault on America."

According to witnesses, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan entered a medical facility at Fort Hood, prayed briefly, then shouted "Allahu akbar" before he began gunning down American troops. Now I don't know which to be more afraid of: Muslims or government-run health care systems.

President Obama honored the victims by immediately warning Americans not to "jump to conclusions" -- namely, the obvious conclusion that the attack was an act of Islamic terrorism. As conclusions go, it wasn't much of a jump.

But the mainstream media waited for no information -- indeed actively avoided learning any information -- before leaping to the far less obvious conclusion that the suspect's mass murder was set off by "stress."

The day after the slaughter, The New York Times ran one editorial and two of three op-eds asserting as much -- which was at least one more than the Times usually runs about psycho-killer soldiers going on rampages.

Two days after the mass shooting, the Times' laughably predictable headlines about the Fort Hood bloodbath were:

-- "Preliminary Inquiry Finds No Link to Terror Plot"

-- "Painful Stories Take a Toll on Military Therapists"

-- "When Soldiers' Minds Snap"

The Los Angeles Times jumped to the exact same conclusion, running an article on the massacre titled: "Fort Hood Tragedy Rocks Military as It Grapples With Mental Health Issues." Time magazine followed suit, posting an article titled: "Stresses at Fort Hood Were Likely Intense for Hasan."

Inasmuch as Maj. Hasan had never been deployed overseas, much less seen combat, liberals seem to have discovered the first recorded case of "pre-traumatic stress syndrome."

Their point was: The real victim of Fort Hood was Maj. Hasan. Indeed, all Muslims were the victims that day.

The media quickly set to work assembling lachrymose accounts of taunts Hasan had been subjected to in the military for being a Muslim, the most harrowing of which seems to have been his car being keyed at his off-base apartment complex.

I suppose we should be relieved that liberals weren't claiming Hasan snapped because of the dimming prospects for a health care bill by the end of the year.

The evidence for the manifestly obvious conclusion we were supposed to avoid jumping to is rather more extensive.

According to numerous eyewitness accounts, Hasan denounced the "war on terror" as a war against Islam, said Muslims should attack Americans in retaliation for the war in Iraq, defended suicide bombers and said he was "happy" when a Muslim murdered a soldier at a military recruiting center in Arkansas earlier this year.

Stranger still, he wasn't auditioning for his own show on MSNBC when he made these statements.

Hasan shared a "spiritual adviser" with two of the Sept. 11 hijackers, Imam Anwar al-Awlaki, whose unseemly enthusiasm for jihad got him banned from speaking in Britain, even by video link.

A few years ago, Hasan delivered an hour-long PowerPoint lecture to an audience of doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, arguing that non-Muslims should be beheaded and have burning oil poured down their throats.

He had tried to contact al-Qaida, and at least one U.S. intelligence official says the Army knew it.

Despite being well aware of Hasan's disturbing views and conduct, the Army did nothing.

Far less offensive speech has been grounds for discipline or even removal from duties in the military. In the aftermath of the Tailhook scandal, for example, two Navy officers were reprimanded and reassigned after putting up a sign with the words of a nursery rhyme altered to include a vulgar sexual reference to liberal congresswoman Patricia Schroeder.

But a Muslim Army doctor can go around a military installation somberly advocating the beheading of infidels, and the girls running the military treat him like he's Nicole Kidman and they're press junket reporters.

The Army's top brass, Gen. George Casey, responded to the military's shocking decision to keep a terrorist-sympathizing Muslim in the Army by announcing: "Our diversity ... is a strength." And I thought gays couldn't openly serve in the military.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Muslims moved to the top of liberals' victim pantheon on the basis of having slaughtered 3,000 Americans. Muslims were "victims" of Americans' displeasure with them for the biggest terrorist attack in world history. The only American deserving of more coddling than a Muslim is the first African-American president.

So, now any dyspeptic expression toward a Muslim is grounds for calling in a diversity coordinator. And when the "victim" attacks, as at Fort Hood, the rest of us are supposed to feel guilty because Hasan's car got keyed once. As with all liberal "victims," it is the victim who is massively guilty.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Diversity Is Strength! It's Also...Major Hasan And The Unravelling Of America

By Patrick J. Buchanan
November 09, 2009

Nidal Malik Hasan was two men.

One was the proud Army major who wore battle fatigues to mosque; the other, the proud Arab who wore Muslim garb in civilian life.

What brought Hasan's identities into fatal conflict was his belief that Iraq and Afghanistan were unjust wars, and his shock that he, a Muslim, was to be sent to serve in one of those wars, against fellow Muslims—a sin against Allah meriting damnation.

Hasan was conflicted by a dual loyalty—to the country he had sworn to protect, and to his perceived duty as a Muslim. When Hasan told his neighbor that morning, "I am going to do good work for God," the call of jihad overrode his oath of loyalty as an American soldier.

Hasan proceeded to shoot, wound or kill 44 U.S. soldiers, and die on what he saw as the side of right, the side of Islam, against America. "Allahu Akbar!"—"God is great!"—Hasan shouted as he began firing.

An Internet posting by "Nidal Hasan" compared suicide bombers to Medal-Of-Honor winners who throw themselves on grenades to save fellow soldiers. Hasan had decided to become a suicider for Allah.

Though this was an act of treachery against his fellow soldiers, of treason in wartime, of terrorism and mass murder, Hasan must have seen himself as a hero and martyr.

Few ever commit atrocities like this. But conflicts in identities and loyalties are common in the cauldrons of war.

"Let none but Americans stand guard tonight," said Washington at Valley Forge. Irish Catholics deserted the Union army to fight beside Mexican Catholics in the San Patricio battalion against what they thought was American aggression. Honored today by Mexico, the San Patricios were hanged when captured by Winfield Scott's army.

In Scott's march to Mexico City was Robert E. Lee. The hero of Buena Vista was Col. Jefferson Davis, who had married the daughter of his commanding officer, future President Zachary Taylor. Davis went on to serve in the Cabinet of Franklin Pierce and the U.S. Senate.

Yet, in 1861, Davis and Lee would depart the service of their country to wage war against the United States on behalf of their new nation and the kinfolk to whom they belonged and whom they believed had a right to be free of the Union. Were they traitors—or patriots?

This is not to compare the deeds of the San Patricios, Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, all of whom declared themselves openly and fought heroically and honorably, with the crimes of Maj. Hasan.

But it is to raise the issue of conflicting loyalties in the hearts of men in a nation that has declared religious, racial and ethnic diversity to be not only a national good but a national goal.

Whence came this idea? No previous generation believed this.

In World War I, Wilson feared that if he went to war, German-Americans might march on Washington. FDR was so fearful that the blood ties of Japanese citizens and residents would trump their loyalty to the United States he ordered 110,000 transferred from California to detention camps for the duration of the war.

In Arkansas last year, a Muslim opposed to the U.S. wars shot two soldiers at a recruitment center, killing one. In Kuwait, before the invasion of Iraq, a Muslim soldier threw a grenade into the tent of his commanding officer, killing two and wounding 14.

This is not to suggest that all American Muslims or Arabs should be citizens under suspicion. Muslims have died fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, as German-Americans died fighting against Germany in two world wars. But it is to say this:

America is unraveling. No longer are we one nation and one people. Tens of millions have come and tens of millions are coming whose first loyalty is to the kinfolk and country they left behind, and to the faith they carry in their hearts. And if, in our long war against "Islamofascism," we are seen as trampling on their nation, faith or kinsmen, they will see us, as Hasan came to see us, as the enemy of their sacred identity.

There is no American Melting Pot anymore. It was discarded by our elites as an instrument of cultural genocide. Now we celebrate America as the most multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural country on earth, the Universal Nation of Ben Wattenberg's warblings.

And, yet, we are surprised by ethnic espionage in our midst, the cursing of America from mosques in our cities, the news that Somali immigrants are going home to fight our Somali allies, and that illegal aliens march under Mexican flags to demand American citizenship.

Eisenhower's America was a nation of 160 million with a Euro-Christian core and a culture all its own. We were a people then. And when we have become, in 2050, a stew of 435 millions, of every creed, culture, color and country of Earth, what holds us together then?


Patrick J. Buchanan needs no introduction to VDARE.COM readers; his book State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America, can be ordered from His latest book is Churchill, Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World, reviewed here by Paul Craig Roberts.

Blind Diversity Equals Death

By Michelle Malkin
November 10, 2009

The violence at Fort Hood, President Obama told mourners on Tuesday, was "incomprehensible." The "twisted logic that led to the tragedy," he reiterated, may be "too hard to comprehend." If the Bush administration suffered a systemic failure of imagination on homeland security, the Obama administration is suffering a willful failure of comprehension.

A fallen soldiers memorial at Fort Hood, Texas. US President Barack Obama has vowed justice as he eulogized those who were killed at the base and warned that even twisted faith could not explain such "craven" mass murder.(AFP/Jim Watson)

What exactly is so hard to comprehend? Fort Hood jihadist Maj. Nidal Hasan made his means, motives and inspiration all too clear for those willing to see and hear. In his 2007 slide presentation to fellow Army doctors on "The Koranic World View As It Relates to Muslims in the Military," Hasan spelled it out: "We love death more then (sic) you love life!"[Slideshow Gallery]

Hasan exposed the deadly tension between his adherence to Islam and his service in the U.S. military. Slide 11 stated: "It's getting harder and harder for Muslims in the service to morally justify being in a military that seems constantly engaged against fellow Muslims." Slide 12 cited Koranic sanctions for killing fellow believers. And Hasan made clear he wasn't alone among Muslim soldiers who "should not serve in any capacity that renders them at risk to hurting/killing believers unjustly."

Slide 13 ominously listed "adverse events" involving Muslim soldiers—including the fatal 2003 fragging attack on American soldiers in Kuwait by Sgt. Hasan Akbar (who was sentenced to death but remains alive while his case is on appeal); the desertion case of Lebanon-born Muslim Marine Wassef Ali Hassoun; and the espionage case of Muslim chaplain James Yee (the charges were dropped, but the case raised lingering security concerns about Muslim chaplains at Gitmo and elsewhere trained by terror-linked Saudi-subsidized institutes).

Hasan missed a few "adverse events" that have faded from public memory in our reflexive age of "Islam is peace" emotionalism-over-comprehension:

* John Muhammad, the Beltway jihadist put to death Tuesday night, was a member of the Army's 84th Engineering Company. As I've reported previously, Muhammad was suspected of throwing a thermite grenade into a tent housing 16 of his fellow soldiers as they slept before the ground-attack phase of Gulf War I in 1991. Muhammad was admitted to the Army despite being court-martialed while serving in the Louisiana National Guard for willfully disobeying orders, striking another noncommissioned officer, wrongfully taking property and being absent without leave.

Although Muhammad was led away in handcuffs and transferred to another company pending charges for the grenade attack, an indictment never materialized. Muhammad was honorably discharged from the Army in 1994. He later brainwashed young Lee Malvo in black nationalism and jihad—and the two carried out the three-week killing spree that left 10 dead in 2002 in the name of Allah.

* Muslim American soldier Hasan Abujihaad was convicted last year on espionage and material terrorism support charges after serving aboard the USS Benfold and sharing classified information with al-Qaida financiers, including movements of U.S. ships just six months after al-Qaida operatives had killed 17 Americans aboard the USS Cole in the port of Yemen.

* Jeffrey Leon Battle was a former Army reservist, convicted of conspiring to levy war against the United States and "enlisting in the Reserves to receive military training to use against America." He had planned to wage war against American soldiers in Afghanistan.

* Egyptian Ali A. Mohamed joined the U.S. Army while a resident alien despite being on a State Department terrorist watch list before securing his visa. An avowed Islamist, he taught classes on Muslim culture to U.S. Special Forces at Fort Bragg, N.C., and obtained classified military documents. He was granted U.S. citizenship over the objections of the CIA. Honorably discharged from the Army in 1989, Mohamed then hooked up with Osama bin Laden as an escort, trainer, bagman and messenger.
Mohamed used his U.S. passport to conduct surveillance at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi. He later pleaded guilty to conspiring with bin Laden and admitted his role in the 1998 African embassy bombings that killed more than 200 people, including a dozen Americans.

Political correctness is a gangrenous infection. My generation has submitted to a toxic diet of multiculturalism, identity politics, anti-Americanism and entitlement. The problem festered under the Bush administration. Despite 9/11, government at all levels refused to screen out jihadi-apologizing influences in our military, at the FBI, in prisons and even fire departments. Despite the bloody consequences of open borders, the Bush Pentagon allowed illegal aliens to enter the military. The grievance lobby has plied the Muslim jihadist-as-victim narrative for nearly a decade now.

They prevail. In June, Muslim domestic terror suspect Abdul Hakim Mujahid Muhammad went on another shooting spree at an Arkansas recruiting station that left one serviceman dead. The Obama Justice Department response: to redouble its efforts to use "criminal and civil rights laws to protect Muslim Americans."

Next week, Attorney General Eric Holder will speak at a banquet featuring the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an unindicted co-conspirator in the terrorism financing case against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development.

How did Fort Hood happen, obtuse Washington asks. Simple: Blind diversity equals death.


Michelle Malkin [email her] is the author of Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores. Click here for Peter Brimelow’s review. Click here for Michelle Malkin's website. Michelle Malkin is also author of Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild and the just-released Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Today's Tune: U2 - Where The Streets Have No Name (Live)

(Click on title to play video)

I wanna run, I want to hide
I wanna tear down the walls
That hold me inside
I wanna reach out
And touch the flame
Where the streets have no name

I want to feel, sunlight on my face
I see the dust cloud disappear
Without a trace
I want to take shelter
From the poison rain
Where the streets have no name

Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
We're still building, then burning down love
Burning down love, and when I go there
I go there with you, it's all I can do

The city's aflood and our love turns to rust
We're beaten and blown by the wind
Trampled in dust
I'll show you a place
High on a desert plain
Where the streets have no name

Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
We're still building, then burning down love
Burning down love, and when I go there
I go there with you, it's all I can do

Our love turns to rust
We're beaten and blown by the wind
Blown by the wind, oh, and I see our love
See our love turn to rust

Oh, we're beaten and blown by the wind
Blown by the wind
Oh, when I go there, I go there with you
It's all I can do


By [Mark Steyn]
Monday, November 09, 2009

For the purposes of argument, let's accept the media's insistence that Major Hasan is a lone crazy.

So who's nuttier?

The guy who gives a lecture to other military doctors in which he says non-Muslims should be beheaded and have boiling oil poured down their throats?

Or the guys who say "Hey, let's have this fellow counsel our traumatized veterans and then promote him to major and put him on a Homeland Security panel?

Or the Army Chief of Staff who thinks the priority should be to celebrate diversity, even unto death?

Or the Secretary of Homeland Security who warns that the principal threat we face now is an outbreak of Islamophobia?

Or the president who says we cannot "fully know" why Major Hasan did what he did, so why trouble ourselves any further?

Or the columnist who, when a man hands out copies of the Koran before gunning down his victims while yelling "Allahu akbar," says you're racist if you bring up his religion?

Or his media colleagues who put Americans in the same position as East Germans twenty years ago of having to get hold of a foreign newspaper to find out what's going on?

General Casey has a point: An army that lets you check either the "home team" or "enemy" box according to taste is certainly diverse. But the logic in the remarks of Secretary Napolitano and others is that the real problem is that most Americans are knuckledragging bigots just waiting to go bananas. As Melanie Phillips wrote in her book Londonistan:

Minority-rights doctrine has produced a moral inversion, in which those doing wrong are excused if they belong to a 'victim' group, while those at the receiving end of their behaviour are blamed simply because they belong to the 'oppressive' majority.

To the injury of November 5, we add the insults of American officialdom and their poodle media. In a nutshell:

The real enemy — in the sense of the most important enemy — isn’t a bunch of flea-bitten jihadis sitting in a cave somewhere. It’s Western civilization’s craziness. We are setting our hair on fire and putting it out with a hammer.

11/09 10:13 AM

Islamist Perfidy and Western Naivety: Which Is More Lethal?

When the president favorably quotes a Koranic passage popular among jihadists, the answer should be clear.

by Raymond Ibrahim
November 9, 2009

In a blog entry for Islamist Watch, David J. Rusin shows how the word “jihad” continues to be euphemized in the West. Despite Islamic law’s unequivocal portrayal of it as a military endeavor to empower Islam, jihad is still being peddled as “nothing more than a student laboring to pass algebra, a mom driving her kids to soccer practice, or, in the words of the Cambridge study, a civic-minded person engaged in ‘lobbying, activism, and writing’ — a community organizer of sorts.” Rusin concludes by observing: “Why Islamists peddle such specious definitions should be clear. More baffling and disturbing is why they gain traction among so many Westerners.”

Indeed, therein lies the irony: Islamist perfidy is only to be expected; Western naivety, on the other hand, which, if anything, should have begun to dissipate in our post-9/11 world, has burgeoned to the point of nearly making the former unnecessary. For while there is no doubt that Islamists (and their misguided Western cronies) distort the meaning of jihad, increasingly, even when the true meaning is in plain sight, America’s leaders and media still fail to discern it. In other words, apathy — or willful blindness — regarding jihad has become so deep-seated in the West that Islamists need no longer actively dissemble.

Consider: When President Barack Hussein Obama addressed the Islamic world from Cairo on June 4, 2009, he said: “As the Holy Koran tells us, ‘Be conscious of God and speak always the truth’ [Sura 9:119]. That is what I will try to do — to speak the truth as best I can, humbled by the task before us.” Let us for the moment put aside the fact that Sura 9, from whence Obama quotes, contains the most violent and intolerant exhortations in all the Koran (which is saying something). The problem here is that the original Arabic text of Sura 9:119 says absolutely nothing about “speaking the truth.” The word “speaking” is nowhere in the text, and “truth,” as an abstract, is a wrong translation for sadiqin, which refers to people. The verse most literally translates as “fear Allah and be with the truthful.” In other words, Muslims should stand firm with fellow Muslims (“truthful” serving as a Koranic epithet for “Muslims” the same way “believers” often does). It is, as ever, a call for divisiveness — of Muslims (the “truthful”) versus infidels (the “false”).

Had Obama or his Mideast advisors and speechwriters simply bothered to read this verse in context — verse 9:111, a jihadi all-time favorite, looms just above, promising believers paradise in exchange for their killing and being killed — or if they had bothered consulting mainstream Muslim exegeses, they might have known that this verse is part of a Koranic segment that deals exclusively with fighting infidels: Muhammad and several Muslims were preparing to invade Byzantine territory. Some Muslims wanted to stay behind. It was then that Allah/Muhammad threatened them with this verse to “fear Allah and be with the truthful” (i.e., join ranks with your fellow Muslims on the warpath).
Sentences later, this exhortation culminates in one of the most famous calls to violence in all the Koran, regularly evoked by modern-day jihadis: “O you who believe, fight those infidels who dwell around you, and let them find harshness in you!” [9:123].

Incidentally, the infidels mentioned here are the Christians of Byzantium (or in Arabic, al-Rum, “the Romans”). That modern-day jihadis, such as Osama bin Laden, often liken the United States to Byzantium, which for long thwarted the caliphate’s expansionist designs into Christendom, makes Obama’s choice of verse — “be[ing] with the truthful” — further ironic.

Speaking of infidels and irony, here is a more recent, a more comical, anecdote: On September 11, 2009, NPR ran a story called “For NYC Muslims, a New Kind of Police Attention,” which tells of how “the NYPD hosts an annual Ramadan program, during which the police get to know members of the Muslim community and Muslims are free to speak their minds.” Lest the theme of this story eludes you, words such as “outreach,” “diversity,” and “building bridges” predominate.

Here’s the problem (first brought to my attention by the Washington TimesDiana West): In the audio version of this report (around 0:25-0:50), the NPR narrator says that “there was not an empty seat to be had at the NYPD’s auditorium at One Police Plaza. NYPD brass, Muslim clerics, and community members all stood and listened to the cadences of the call to prayer from the NYPD’s imam,” Khalid Latif. While this is being said, you can hear part of the imam’s Arabic recitation from the Koran in the background.

The narrator’s enthusiastic talk of NYPD brass standing in awe of the “cadences of the call” makes it difficult to discern exactly which verse is being recited. Only the last few words — qawm al-kaffirin, “nation of infidels” — are crystal clear, raising red flags. Thanks to my trusty Arabic Koranic concordance, I have placed this phrase as part of Koran 2:286, which supplicates Allah “to make us [Muslims] victorious over the nation of infidels.” Bear in mind that, from an Islamist point of view, the United States is the “nation of infidels” par excellence.

And there it is: From an American president who publicly defines his mission by quoting a jihadi-related verse, to American-Muslim leaders who publicly pray for the subjugation of non-Muslims (in the middle of an NYPD auditorium, no less), it is clear that the ultimate threat comes more from Western carelessness and indifference — in a word, naivety — than it does from active Islamist machinations. In short, Islamists peddling misleading interpretations for the word “jihad” is but the very tip of the iceberg.

Raymond Ibrahim is the author of The Al Qaeda Reader, translations of religious texts and propaganda.