Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Political Correctness and the Fort Dix Jihadists

I was shaking my head this morning while reading my hard-copy of the Los Angeles Times and its story on this week's terror convictions in Camden, New Jersey. The piece quotes Ian Lustick, a highly-regarded expert in comparative politics, who suggests that the case represents the "politics of fear" and prosecutorial entrapment:

Ian S. Lustick, a political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania, argued that the federal government has repeatedly overreached when investigating and prosecuting terrorism plots.

"We see a pattern across the country of almost no evidence of anything being done that is actually dangerous, but enormous amounts of evidence of the energy and resources put into entrapment," said Lustick, author of a book on domestic terrorism cases ...
The Times piece concludes with Lustick:

Lustick, the critic of the prosecution, said he was worried the New Jersey case could encourage more such trials unless the Obama administration takes steps to rein in the federal investigators in cases involving small-time groups.

"This is the same story we have seen many times," he said. "These are hucksters, big talkers and adolescents."
Unless Barack Obama "reins in such trials"? It's probably a good bet that he will, unfortunately.

This morning's Wall Street Journal indicates why that would be a disaser for U.S. security:

The jury's verdict is notable because media coverage of the plotters' arrest and trial traveled a familiar arc: After a round of stories noting that a terrorist plot had been rolled up, the media followed up with skepticism and suggestions that the suspects were small-timers or just messing around. The word even went out that, in effect, the government's man on the inside had put them up to it. The implication, as with the Lackawanna Six and Jose Padilla, is always the same: The Bush Administration was advertising phantom threats to justify the trampling of civil liberties and to create a "climate of fear."

Lest we forget, the Fort Dix plotters were finally arrested last year after they moved to buy AK-47s and fully automatic M-16s -- not exactly the stuff of innocent imaginings and idle chatter. Every plotter is an amateur until he pulls off a spectacular attack. This has created a permanent PR problem for the fight against domestic terror plots: If you move too soon, the conventional wisdom comes to doubt that anything serious was averted. But of course, waiting too long means running the risk of another attack on American soil, something we have avoided since 9/11.

The jury found the government had made its case against the Fort Dix crew, with the help of one conspirator who pleaded guilty and cooperated with the prosecution. The other five were not convicted on all counts, but the crimes of which they were convicted are serious enough to remind us that real domestic terror threats exist.
Robert Spencer has more on the poltically-correct reaction to the terror convictions:

The Fort Dix jihad plotters are guilty, and Muslim spokesmen in America are outraged – not at the plotters who have ostensibly "hijacked" their religion, but at the officials who secured the convictions ....

In any case, it is useful to pause and consider how Muslim leaders could be reacting to the verdicts. Instead of hurling reckless charges of "entrapment," they could be taking the hard steps necessary to clean their own house. All these years now after 9/11, most Americans still have no idea that they need do any such housecleaning – even outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff recently told USA Today that "what we’re confronting is an ideological conflict with an extremist world view that I don’t think is an accurate representative of Islam, but uses the language or hijacks Islam for an extremist agenda." Yet while Muslim and non-Muslim spokesmen have spilled oceans of ink since 9/11 asserting that Islam condemns "terrorism" and the killing of "innocents," without defining what is meant by either term, no one has ever produced any examples of authoritative and orthodox Islamic religious scholars rejecting, on Islamic grounds, jihad violence against non-Muslims; rejecting the idea that Sharia law should be instituted in the Muslim and non-Muslim world; and teaching the idea that non-Muslims and Muslims should live together indefinitely as equals.

Thus the Fort Dix verdicts give American Muslim groups who claim moderation an opportunity to demonstrate the genuineness of the claim, or to be further exposed in the eyes of the public. Now is the time for law enforcement and government officials to call upon the Muslim community to institute comprehensive and inspectable programs teaching against the jihad ideology and Islamic supremacism. If they don’t – and they won’t – one thing is certain: there will be more jihad plots like this one in America.
And no doubt we'll see more prestigious academics blathering away about stuff that's "not actually dangerous."


Norm said...

Professor Lustick is a great goto guy for a left wing quote. Upon reading his opinion of the Middle East situation one understands that he is nothing short of an appeaser.
Any military option, or use of power
is wrong. He is very short-sighted and a defeatist....just great for the Los Angeles Times.

AmPowerBlog said...

Thanks Norm. I just find it interesting since I've been blogging about left wing political scientists.

shoprat said...

Lustick may feel this way until it's someone he loves or cares about, or his property being killed or destroyed in a terrorist act, then he will complain that we didn't do enough.

AmPowerBlog said...

Well said, Shoprat.

Anonymous said...

The dinosaur media in it's death throws.

Anonymous said...

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals is one of the best in the country. If there is any question about the conduct of the trial or the evidence supporting the verdict, the verdict won't stand. Justice doesn't mean you get the verdict you want; it means getting the fair trial you deserve.