April 22 2013

President: How Did these Nice American Kids Go Bad?

Charlotte Hays

From the Boston Globe:

This will open the door to the Islamophobic industry, an industry of ill-educated bigots, to attack Muslim communities,” said the Islamic Society’s Imam William Suhaib Webb, who posted a “Letter of Love to the Boston Community” on his ­Facebook page Friday.

“What is needed now is meeting hate with love, trials with patience, and fear with ­increased worship,” Webb wrote in the letter.

 And maybe not calling people ill-educated bigots?

Americans since 9/11 have a wonderful record of not behaving like bigots.

We haven't had anti-Muslim riots. We have behaved in a civilized manner.

But our own president seems to regard us as a lynch mob in waiting.

In a must-read column yesterday (“Fighting Thugs with Hugs”) Michael Goodwin praised President Obama for the “good, strong stuff” in his opening remarks on the Boston Marathon bombing. But then President Obama ruined it.

Goodwin noted that the president “ suddenly shifted into peevish scold as he warned against a rush to judgment “about the motivations of these individuals” or “entire groups of people.”

Goodwin wrote:

He continued: “One of the things that makes America the greatest nation on Earth . . . is that we welcome people from all around the world — people of every faith, every ethnicity, from every corner of the globe. So as we continue to learn more about why and how this tragedy happened, let’s make sure that we sustain that spirit.”

My immediate reaction was loud and unprintable. Reading the transcript in the light of day didn’t help.

To put it kindly, the president is stuck in deep denial. Shadow-boxing against the truth, he can’t bring himself to say “Muslim terrorists.”

To do so would, in his mind, feed a stereotype and fuel innate American prejudice. So reality must be avoided and important facts omitted about the extraordinary events in Boston. Liberal pieties dictate that the praise for American resilience is mere prelude to a warning against our lesser angels.

It is extremely offensive that the American people are spoken to this way by our president.

Does he think we are a nation of ill-educated bigots who can't make a distinction between the Boston Marathon bombers and the ladies with headscarves who ride the bus with me?

We are filled right now with righteous indignation, a sense of horror, and sorrow for families who have been changed forever. But we are not a populace seething with hatred and blood lust (though we do want justice).

Former attorney general Michael Mukasey, who presided over the Blind Sheik trial after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, has a piece in today’s Wall Street Journal headlined “Make No Mistake, It was Jihad.”

First, the good news: we’ll get justice.

The elder, Tamerlan—apparently named for the 14th-century Muslim conqueror famous for building pyramids of his victims' skulls to commemorate his triumphs over infidels—is dead. The younger, Dzhokhar, will stand trial when his wounds heal, in a proceeding where the most likely uncertainty will be the penalty.

No doubt there will be some legal swordplay over his interrogation by the FBI's High-Value Interrogation Group without receiving Miranda warnings. But the only downside for the government in that duel is that his statements may not be used against him at trial.

This is not much of a risk when you consider the other available evidence, including photo images of him at the scene of the bombings and his own reported confession to the victim whose car he helped hijack during last week's terror in Boston.

But there is still reason to worry.  

[I]f your concern is over the larger threat that inheres in who the Tsarnaev brothers were and are, what they did, and what they represent, then worry—a lot.

For starters, you can worry about how the High-Value Interrogation Group, or HIG, will do its work. That unit was finally put in place by the FBI after so-called underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to blow up the airplane in which he was traveling as it flew over Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009 and was advised of his Miranda rights. The CIA interrogation interrogation program that might have handled the interview had by then been dismantled by President Obama.

At the behest of such Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups as the Council on American Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of North America, and other self-proclaimed spokesmen for American Muslims, the FBI has bowdlerized its training materials to exclude references to militant Islamism. Does this delicacy infect the FBI's interrogation group as well?

Will we see another performance like the Army's after-action report following Maj. Nidal Hasan's rampage at Fort Hood in November 2009, preceded by his shout "allahu akhbar"—a report that spoke nothing of militant Islam but referred to the incident as "workplace violence"? If tone is set at the top, recall that the Army chief of staff at the time said the most tragic result of Fort Hood would be if it interfered with the Army's diversity program.

As you have read by now, the FBI was alerted that the older brother might pose some sort of threat but, after interviewing him, the bureau apparently decided that he had the right to remain in the United States. This is something that must be thoroughly investigated. Did the FBI reach its decision based on what Mukasey calls bowdlerized training manuals?

We are a people sophisticated enough to look at the causes of radical Islamic violence without painting with too broad a brush or going on a rampage.

The horror of the Boston Marathon was a direct challenge to the American left’s view of our country. There is no way to blame Sarah Palin for this, folks.

David Sirota wrote a now infamous piece for Salon hoping that the bomber would turn out to be a white guy. Selwyn Duke wrote on the American Thinker that Sirota got his wish “sort of.” You can’t get more Caucasian than somebody who is, well, really Caucasian, as Chechens are. It's a very bitter joke on Mr. Sirota and his ill-advised column.

Bereft of the automatic meme that Sarah Palin or the Tea Party is to blame, the left is adrift.

The media and the president are ill-equipped to face up to the radicalism of the Tsarnaev brothers. They are trying to paint a picture of them as ordinary American kids who somehow became radicalized. If you read the newspaper profiles of this typical immigrant family, however, you know it immediately that it wasn't just an ordinary family: mom shop-lifted, Tamerlan was arrested for domestic violence, and—oh yes—he spouted radical Islamic bile.

Despite attending one of Boston’s best public schools, the younger brother’s assimilation was spotty. (See John O'Sullivan on why so many immigrants no longer assimilate.) We’re going to be hearing a lot about how the younger brother was led astray by an older brother. Interesting, if true, of course, but it doesn’t change things.

After being talked to as if I am an ill-educated bigot by the president of the United States and the American left, who think I have prejudices I don’t have and and am likely to get excited and take violent actions I am not going to take, I have a message for them: grow up. Take your blinders off. Get real.  

And stop lecturing me. I've had a belly full.

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