...in a World Defined by Jihad
In the World as it is now defined by Global Jihad, it may be time that some very hard decisions must or will be made. A week ago when Faisal Shahzad showed how little he had learned in the bombing making training classes that he claims to have attended, some things became brutally clear and obvious. Certainly, the prompt response of enforcing the airlines to update their no fly lists more than once a day is one change that makes sense. But another, much more politically incorrect change that seems to be indicated and which is on the immediate horizon are the rules of naturalization and the ways in which we respond when a naturalized citizen turns on his or her adopted country.
In 2009, Shahzad became a newly minted naturalized Pakistani-American. He was a homeowner with a mortgage that outstretched his resources. He was married and his wife left him, disenchanted about the financial problems that beset them. He was, as some people described, a "regular guy." But unlike most "regular guys," it is suspected that Faisal traveled to Pakistan to take training from the Taliban to learn how to make car bombs. Despite the position of many that the "system worked" because this simpleton left many clues and enabled law enforcement to arrest him as his escape airplane was backing away from the gate at JFK Airport, we were lucky, were we not? Actually, we were doubly lucky because if Faisal actually did attend bomb making school, he clearly wasn't paying attention in class.
But how does a free and open society deal with security and safety in a World that has been redefined by Jihadism? It is said that in the United States we are all immigrants and we encourage immigrants to come and be part of our free society ("Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free").
Now there is legislation being contemplated that deals with the revocation of citizenship of a naturalized citizen if they become terrorists.
The Terrorist Expatriation Act would let the State Department revoke the citizenship of people who provide "material support or resources" to a foreign terrorist group. The ruling could be appealed.
Of course, it is correctly noted that, threatening to strip native born or naturalized Americans of their citizenship is hardly something that would stop them becoming "turncoats." Even further, the question of revocation of citizenship is at best problematic. Does a person who is a citizen, natural born or naturalized, remain protected by the Constitution if their citizenship is taken away. Hopefully, if a person's citizenship is revoked they would stand trial or be brought in front of a tribunal, and not be deported as an illegal. Certainly another defensibile position would be that a citizen, naturalized or natural born, who attempted to wage terror on U.S. citizens was potentially guilty of treason, a crime punishable by death. However, as with many issues relating to this War on Terrorism (or is it the "Overseas Contingency Operation"), there is not a clear answer.
There are myriad soft targets in the United States. Over 400 airports along with the thousands of relatively unprotected private airstrips and the thousands of shopping malls around the country offer a target rich environment.
We were lucky last weekend. A lot of that luck came from Shahzad's ineptitude at building a bomb and by using his cell phone and email to purchase the Nissan SUV from Craig's List. So through a series of bungled mistakes, someone who tried to kill hundreds of New Yorkers was caught, but flaws in the system were shown. How many more times will we be lucky before one of these attempts becomes successful?
Clearly as the year progresses and the mid-term election nears a number of hot button issues present themselves. How the United States deals with the immigration problem in general, and not just the "1070 Issue" will be debated long and hard in the coming months. Even now, it appears that the Administration via Eric Holder is considering a change in the way in which suspected terrorists are "read their rights."
It has become accepted wisdom that the United States is engaged in an unconventional war against terrorist forces. Yet the Obama administration's response to attempted acts of domestic terrorism has been consistently conventional: Suspects are apprehended, perhaps questioned under a public-safety exception to Miranda rights and then read their rights hours later and charged in a civilian court.
This is a complicated set of issues. It is unlikely that the passage of time will make things any less complicated. Frankly, the question of who is a citizen, how an immigrant can become a citizen, and what happens to that person when or if they decide to fight against their adopted country, all remain open. A few things however are pretty clear.
Fighting terrorism in the new World as defined by the jihad requires different thinking. Is it profiling to make it more difficult for people of certain suspect countries to become a naturalized American? Shahzad provides an answer to that one. Given the asymmetric threats and tactics employed by our enemies, our International & counterterrorism policies need to become more aggressive and proactive. It may not make everyone happy, but our peace and safety could well require the will to take "irregular steps" against known threats.
A few final thoughts... "If you aren't pre-emptive, you could be pre-empted." So, a concern over political correctness could get a lot of Americans killed. Our Founding Fathers never contemplated having to deal with a Global Jihad. Lastly, as we learned in Times Square last weekend when Duane Jackson, a Vietnam veteran saw something and alerted law enforcement, if you see something that "Doesn't look right" report it.