From the Yahoo newswire, December 9, 2010:
BALTIMORE – A 21-year-old man charged with trying to blow up a Baltimore-area military recruiting center briefly hesitated when he heard about a federal sting operation that nabbed an alleged terrorist in Oregon last month but decided to keep going with his plan, authorities said.
Antonio Martinez, a naturalized U.S. citizen who goes by the name Muhammad Hussain after recently converting to Islam, faces charges of attempted murder of federal officers and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.
This story broke yesterday, and, true to form, the information about Martinez/Hussain (hmm, now where have I heard that name of late? Oh well) converting to the Religion of Peace was omitted from the initial coverage. It wasn't until the comment forums were flooded with "Hah, I bet he's a Muslim!" posts that the press finally revealed that this guy is, indeed, a Muslim. Fancy that.
Why the big secret? Also, this event got nowhere near the press coverage that the Oregon wannabomber earned, or for that matter, the subsequent mosque-torching. In fact, most of the Maryland items were buried at the bottom of news feeds so that you would have to actively search for the information.
It is true that the potential for huge numbers of victims is a bit different when you compare the heavily attended Christmas tree lighting ceremony to the lonely recruitment offices--although once don't ask/don't tell gets erased, the armed forces will be flooded with new recruits, I am sure.
But both targets were deliberately chosen to cripple a feature of American culture. (You don't have to be a practicing Christian, or even a Christian, to put up a tree and get into the holiday spirit.)
This morning, though, I was really surprised that the Baltimore bomber merited a segment on NPR, which, as I have noted before, downplays the motivation behind a lot of our terrorist issues. But NPR then did what it always does, and its focus was on the Hispanic element of this case. Not only that, but the Yahoo coverage featured a lot of comments directing anger toward the incompetence/unethical "entrapment" by our FBI (natch) AND toward immigrants. Bottom line: we need to put up a wall topped with razor wire to keep out the undesirables...and the FBI should be ashamed of itself for preying on the weak-willed.
My response on Yahoo:
I noticed that today NPR played up the Hispanic angle. According to their story, it isn't so much that Hispanics are more likely to convert to Islam, but that they are then fast-tracked to leadership or high profile positions within radical Muslim groups.
This is not about Hispanics, immigration, etc. This is about a dangerous political ideology that uses religion as a beard. Islam is not a race--it is a political movement. It uses the religious aspect to garner protection from people concerned about religious liberty. The Hispanic angle is a diversion and it is now being emphasized to make this about something it isn't.
It is about ISLAM--period.
Osama bin Ladin recently laid out his current strategy, which is to attack on a number of limited fronts within the US and our allies. His goal is to ruin our morale and destroy our resolve--so we will be like a blindfolded person shooting a loaded gun in a house, killing family members instead of the murderer who just walked in. That's what has been happening with Oregon and now Maryland. And we are playing into his hands, doing exactly as he predicted we would: we are turning on each other, turning on the "rednecks" who torched the mosque (if indeed they exist) turning on law enforcement, turning on immigrants--which, no matter how you feel about immigration policy, is a separate issue. But still no one will talk about the elephant in the living room. Or, I guess, the camel in the living room.
It is unfortunate that we are now shifting our focus from one very real imminent threat to another, much more complicated, and only tangentally related, issue.
This is not to say there is no overlap between Islamist strategy and a lot of immigration-related problems. We, in the US, have been lucky so far...our social welfare programs have not been strained as much by Islamists as by sheer numbers, although the effects are often the same. In Britian, France, Germany, and other Western European countries, Islamists have a very delibarate, and increasingly effective, method of draining money away from programs meant to provide a temporary safety net, and instead using that money to fund radical mosques, extended (multiple-wife) families with militant agenda, islamocentric schools, and shariah-based community organizations. The people who are genuinely in need, who have put effort into the system and now can't get a helping hand, respond by aligning themselves with xenophbic far-right groups. It's bait-and-switch: because the government, and the media, won't identify the real enemy--militant Islam--the "skinheads" lash out at ALL immigrants.
This can apparently happen here, too, judging from some of the nastier suggestions on the Yahoo comment board.
Right now we are playing into the hands of al-Qaida, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and our friends in CAIR--we are allowing ourselves to get thrown off the scent of the killers.
The enemy is NOT the family who comes to the US to build a better, safer life. The REAL enemy wants to destroy that sense of safety forever.
Do not forget 9/11--more importantly, do not forget the millions who cheered the 9/11 attacks.
Let's not give them a reason to continue the celebration.