Sure, New York dodged a bullet this week, big time, but through no fault of the US government. Ironically it was Faisal Shahzad’s own mistakes that foiled the bomb plot that could have cost the lives of hundreds of people in Time Square Saturday night.
First, the terrorist obviously hadn’t mastered the simple art of lighting the candle. A few simple, common sense tweaks in his bomb construction could have made him the most infamous jihadist since the 9-11 terrorists.
Shahzad’s second mistake, keeping in mind that he wasn’t dedicated enough to Bad God to swap his life for 70 virgins and a one-way trip to the Great Brothel in the sky, he didn’t preplan his exit from the US. If he had left the country immediately he would likely have made it.
And finally, he was in the country legally, and, as every undocumented worker in Arizona knows, that is no way to break the law in the United States. We love our illegals here. Okay, that one was a joke.
But it is the government’s mistakes that should really concern us.
Faisal Shahzad’s ten years in the US and his eventual citizenship a year ago should have screamed “jihadist.” He followed a prototypical plan put in place by Muslim extremists decades ago for the insertion of terrorists into this country.
The government’s first mistake was that this 7th century throwback was even in the country to begin with, as are thousands just like him. Drop into your local liquor store and meet one today. If you live in New York take a cab.
Shahzad married into his legal resident status.
FBI files are chock-full with Muslim terrorists who have in the past gained legal status and, in not a few cases, citizenship in the US using the marriage scam. They include bombers in the first World Trade Center attack, African US Embassy bombers, aids to Osama bin Laden, the Hezbollah cigarette-smugglers, and nearly a dozen failed New York bombers.
Americans have long shared a corporate guilt over the internment of Japanese Americans at the beginning of World War II. But Roosevelt’s reasoning in rounding up the Japanese was sound. He had to quickly secure the nation’s West Coast, the most vulnerable location for an invasion.
One can argue his methodology, thousands of good Japanese Americans should have been screened and returned to their homes within a couple of months, but the threat was real and he had no choice other than to ignore that threat.
I have complained for years now that the Bush administration is the real culprit in the failed War of Terror. In the first place we are not at war with terror, we are at war with Islamists, and he should have sought a formal declaration of war against them.
Secondly he should have immediately interred US Muslims and rapidly screened them for ties to subversive groups, and if necessary declared marshal law do it. After quick screening, 90% of them should have been returned to their homes and businesses.
Without a doubt the interment of legal residents, not to mention citizens, violates the Constitution, but it was necessary if the administration was to identify resident enemies. FDR did this by executive order.
The government of course will not do this again, regardless of the fact that it is the only sane way to conduct a war against covert enemies within a broad group of our society. However, if we don’t do something fast, one of these guys is going to get lucky.
There are things the government can do:
1) Cancel all student, tourist and work visas
2) Pass Joe Lieberman’s new legislation revoking citizenship to anyone joining a terrorist organization
3) Tighten qualifications for citizenship to 15 years
4) Revoke marriage as a pathway to legal residency
5) And, since we have a No Fly List, we might actually try using it.