(Note to Jihad Watchers: I wrote this a few weeks ago and thought I would reproduce it here for comments.)
by Gregory M. Davis
We learn today that the FBI and DHS have been handing out bulletins to law enforcement across the country warning that jihadists may be targeting US schools. Terrorism analyst Lt Col Steve Grossman recently warned that the US is vulnerable to a Beslan-style attack. Beslan, you will recall, is the southern Russian city where in 2004 Muslim jihadists took over a school and killed 332 people, 178 of them children. “The enemy is infiltrating us at all levels, and certainly school bus drivers are one area to look at,” Col Grossman warns. “And how about high school, middle school and elementary school cafeteria workers? Janitors? Delivery people?” Not a comforting thought.
Vice-president Dick Cheney, echoing the sentiments of many of our public officials, sometime ago pronounced that, “Another attack is a matter not of if, but when.” This coming from the second elected representative of the executive branch, whose very reason for existence is to protect us from such attacks. This is a little like your doctor telling you that malpractice is a not a matter of if, but when.
Should something like Beslan occur in this country with hundreds of American schoolchildren dead, those in government will be guilty of nothing short of criminal negligence.
A terrorist conspiracy on the order of Beslan or 9/11 only becomes inevitable when the powers that be willfully choose not to take the necessary steps for its prevention. Those necessary steps today would entail common-sense ideological profiling: pay special attention to those adherents of ideologies bent on our destruction. The most powerful such ideology in the world today is Islam. Thus, putting two and two together, place restrictions on Muslims that would forestall the development of a major terrorist conspiracy.
But instead of taking the necessary, modest, and overt measures that would protect the US from Muslim terrorism, Washington has chosen to aggrandize its power at home and abroad while leaving us open to attack. It is almost unbelievable to reflect on the fact that, five and a half years after the most spectacular terrorist attack in world history, US borders and ports remain effectively unguarded. We should bear in mind that 9/11 would never have come off had we simply enforced the laws that were already on the books — several of the hijackers would have been picked up on visa violations. Perhaps instead of spending half a trillion dollars trying to bring “democracy” to Muslim Mesopotamia, we could spend a tenth or a hundredth of that keeping jihadists off US soil.
The vague, ill-named “war on terror” amounts to a titanic power grab by the national security establishment in the service of its own — rather than the nation’s — interests. After another attack, can we expect an even more sweeping “war on evil?” But we are not at war with some shadowy “terror” lurking in every closet, we are war with Islamic jihad. The natural course is to name the enemy, fight jihad, and prevent the seeds of jihad — namely, Islam — from taking root in this country. But such an approach would deprive the national security establishment of the justification for its worldwide cloak-and-dagger game as well as the military expansionism we have been practicing since the collapse of the Soviet Union — to the tune now of 700 overseas US military bases.
The Founding Fathers warned against precisely the sort of thing that has transpired since 9/11: handing over the keys of the kingdom to a national security apparatus that operates outside effective constitutional controls. We should not be surprised that the Pentagon, CIA, NSA, FBI, etc., etc. are hungry for greater powers, but we should be outraged that our elected representatives have so cravenly give it to them. Handing our welfare over to largely secret and gigantically complex institutions while trusting them to act in our best interests is naÃ¯ve at best and, for a free society, potentially suicidal. Instead of aggrandizing the national security establishment that so failed us on 9/11, we should have culled the herd. Who in our defense and intelligence agencies was fired for failing to stop 9/11? Not the heads of the CIA, NSA, FBI, or DOD. Was anyone?
Washington today is seriously off the rails. That in and of itself is not too surprising. But instead of mishandling the environment, transportation, or health care, Washington is now recasting the very foundations of our civil society and leaving us exposed to the jihadist enemy. It is a crisis of the republic.