The fragility of civilization 2

Hugh Hewitt and Mark Steyn survey an eventful day – yesterday, May 6, 2010 – and cover a lot of ground in their discussion of it. Here’s an extract, ending on a hopeful note as they look forward to the November elections:

HH: What a day, Mark Steyn. The markets went crazy. The Dow dropped at one point a thousand points. It finished off, you know, it was a bad day, but it wasn’t a horrific day. In reaction to what I think is a glimpse of our future, I think that the Greek debacle is simply, you know, the Christmas Future, showing … what’s going to happen to this country if we do not change. Your thoughts?

MS: Yes, I think what it illustrates, as I understand it, it might just have been as simple as one trader typing a B instead of an M for million, typing a B for billion, and it wipes off a thousand points off the stock market, as opposed to being a reaction to what’s happening in Greece, where real people are being killed in what are essentially riots over keeping unsustainable, featherbedded, government jobs. And in a way, what happened in Greece and what happened in New York, I think, both illustrate the kind of fragility of the global economy, and in a broader sense, of civilization …

HH: I think there will be defaults, a rolling series of defaults, … and that people had better look at Greece right now to see what’s coming. But Mark Steyn, that may not be the most important act of violence by a long shot. We had another successful terrorist penetration in the United States. But for their incompetence, a second massacre within four months of Detroit, the fourth under President Obama, counting the Arkansas and Fort Hood terrorist attacks, and still, it does not seem that they can get past the idea of when do we give them their Miranda rights.

MS: Yes, and this idea that it’s a criminal matter involving a few isolated extremists, or whatever the president said in reaction to the panty bomber at Christmas time. The most absurd commentary, I thought, was from the Washington Post, which speculated it was because the guy hadn’t been able to keep up payments on his home in Connecticut, so that this was in fact something to do with actually the Greek story, it’s to do with the global economy, it’s to do with subprime mortgages, that this is somehow an act of subprime terrorism and not Islamic terrorism. This is ridiculous. The guy spent five months in Pakistan, so clearly when a guy is spending five months in Pakistan, we don’t know what he was doing there, that’s the pretty obvious reason for why he isn’t able to keep up payments on his home in Connecticut. It’s because his job in Connecticut, and his house in Connecticut, are not what’s important to him, and are not what he sees as his primary identity. And the stupidity, the persistent stupidity in trying to look for anything other than what is really driving this activity is becoming beyond parody now.

HH: Mark Steyn, today’s profile of him in the New York Times, I don’t know if you had a chance to read it yet, but it’s very much the same. It’s the lonely, Mr. Lonely Hearts. He’s sitting on couches not drinking…and it makes it sounds like he’s depressed, so he became a jihadist.

MS: Yes, and that was the same thing that was said about the panty bomber just before Christmas time. In fact, they’re very similar, they’ve very similar types in a way. They’re not poor people. This idea that we heard after September 11th, poverty breeds terrorism, these are middle class people leading middle class lives. This guy had an MBA and some other super duper degree. He could be holding down a big time six figure salary anywhere on the planet. And instead, he decides that’s not what he wants to do, and instead he wants to blow up Times Square. And at some point, we have to confront the reality of that. And our unwillingness to, you know, when the enemy, which is what they are, by the way, when the enemy read the New York Times and the Washington Post, they draw their conclusions from that kind of coverage.

HH: Mark Steyn, the incompetence displayed in the Gulf after the explosion, and now the gaps in our security system, add the hat trick for the president. We’ve got ideological extremism, plus a hyper-partisan approach to politics, and now incompetence thrown in. That’s a heavy burden for Democrats. I think it’s why David Obey quit yesterday. Do you think the president can escape this, and his party can escape this by November?

MS: No, I think in a way, he’s lucky, he’s as lucky as he’s going to be, because if this had been a Republican in the White House, we would be getting the full Katrina on what’s going on in the Gulf. Instead, he’s got friends at these dying publications like Newsweek that are willing to protect him almost to absurd degrees. But the hyper-partisanship, with the perceived softness on national security, and the willingness to abase himself before thugs and dictators, plus, plus the incompetence issue in the Gulf, I think is just a lethal combination for Democrats this November.

We hope he’s right about November. They say “a week is a long time in politics”, so six months is an age. A lot more harm can be done to civilization by the Democrats in that stretch of time. And if the Republicans return to power in Congress in November, will they, can they, save civilization?

Ten questions that will not be answered 11

Judith Miller asks ten pertinent questions about the Times Square act of terrorism.

Read them all here.

We are most interested in the answers to these, the last five, though we don’t expect to get them:

  • On Sunday just after the failed Times Square attack, why did DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano describe the failed terrorist attack as a “one-off”? And what on earth did she mean by that? [Actually, we know what she meant: “don’t even suggest that this attack is part of the jihad” – JB.]
  • Why did members of President Obama’s national security team – Napolitano, Holder, and Robert Gibbs (who as press secretary seems to be an insider even on national security issues and operating way beyond his pay grade) go out of their way to avoid using the term “terrorism” to describe the failed attack until the obvious could no longer be denied? And why, to this day, has the term “Islamic” never been linked with Shahzad or his plot?
  • If Shahzad really got some terrorist training up in Waziristan, what on earth did they teach him? How to pick a fertilizer for a bomb that could not explode? How to leave your own car and house keys in the ignition of the vehicle you intend to blow up in Times Square? And how can Washington ensure that all aspiring terrorists enroll in such classes?
  • But seriously and most important – when, where, why, and how was Faisal Shahzad radicalized? How did a happy-go-lucky Facebook guy, married with two kids and apparently doing OK in America, go from watching “Everyone Loves Raymond” – listed as one of his favorite TV shows – to Peshawar for terrorist training and back to Times Square to kill his fellow Americans? Was he radicalized during his stay in Pakistan by the steady stream of deadly American drone attacks on Muslim extremists as some newspapers are now suggesting? Or, more likely and as some of his neighbors have alleged, was he already withdrawing from society and being radicalized in Shelton, or Bridgeport, Connecticut?
  • Finally, as former deputy police commissioner Michael Sheehan has asked, if “home-grown” radicalization is the challenge we believe it to be, why have local police forces in areas with large clusters of young Muslim residents – yes, in Connecticut and New Jersey and Rhode Island — not mimicked the NYPD by investing at least SOME resources in trying to spot radicalized, potentially dangerous people and prevent terrorist organizations from establishing a presence in their communities? This is not rocket science. As Sheehan argues, we know how to do this.

Until we know the answers to these and other vexing questions surrounding our latest terrorist near-miss, self-congratulation is, to say the least, premature. Let’s remember that [the] Faisal Shahzad alleged deadly plot failed not because America’s law enforcement and homeland defense systems are effective, but because he was incompetent.

Armed with apologies and shielded with hope 8

No satire could surpass the reality of the Obama administration’s stupid pretense that the attempt by the Muslim terrorist, Faisal Shahzad, to set off a car bomb in New York had nothing to do with Islam’s jihad against America and the whole non-Muslim world.

Ann Coulter – whom we like for making us laugh, though we stop our ears when she beats her Christian drum – writes here about the administration’s non-existent strategy for combating terrorism while refusing to notice the common motivation of the terrorists.

Extract:

It would be a little easier for the rest of us not to live in fear if the president’s entire national security strategy didn’t depend on average citizens happening to notice a smoldering SUV in Times Square or smoke coming from a fellow airline passenger’s crotch.

But after the car bomber and the diaper bomber, it has become increasingly clear that Obama’s only national defense strategy is: Let’s hope their bombs don’t work!

If only Dr. Hasan’s gun had jammed at Fort Hood, that could have been another huge foreign policy success for Obama.

The administration’s fingers-crossed strategy is a follow-up to Obama’s earlier and less successful “Let’s Make Them Love Us!” plan.

In the past year, Obama has repeatedly apologized to Muslims for America’s “mistakes.” …

He has apologized to the entire Muslim world for the French and English colonizing them — i.e. building them flush toilets.

He promised to shut down Guantanamo. And he ordered the mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, to be tried in the same courthouse that tried Martha Stewart.

There was also Obama’s 90-degree-bow tour of the East and Middle East. For his next visit, he plans to roll on his back and have his belly scratched like Fido.

Despite favorable reviews in The New York Times, none of this put an end to Islamic terrorism.

So now, I gather, our only strategy is to hope the terrorists’ bombs keep fizzling. …

If our only defense to terrorism is counting on alert civilians, how about not bothering them before they board airplanes, instead of harassing them with useless airport “security” procedures?

Both of the attempted bombers who sailed through airport security, I note, were young males of Middle Eastern descent. I wonder if we could develop a security plan based on that information? …

Who on earth made the decision to allow Shahzad the unparalleled privilege of becoming a U.S. citizen in April 2009?

Our “Europeans Need Not Apply” immigration policies were absurd enough before 9/11. But after 19 foreign-born Muslims, legally admitted to the U.S., murdered 3,000 Americans in New York and Washington in a single day, couldn’t we tighten up our admission policies toward people from countries still performing stonings and clitorectomies?