THE THREAT - AT 8:01 A.M. ET: We observe December 7th, as our generation has observed it for decades, as the "day of infamy," when the United States, in the midst of peace negotiations with Japan, was suddenly attacked by that nation. Pearl Harbor was the center of the assault, with attacks elsewhere in the Pacific as well.
Since December 7, 1941, the notion of a sudden, sneak attack has resonated with Americans.
On September 11, 2001, we learned again the reality of a sneak attack. More Americans died that day than at Pearl Harbor.
The threat is still very real. The great Ed Lasky of American Thinker alerts us to a piece in the Los Angeles Times that reports on just how real it is:
Reporting from Washington - The Obama administration, grappling with a spate of recent Islamic terrorism cases on U.S. soil, has concluded that the country confronts a rising threat from homegrown extremism.
Anti-terrorism officials and experts see signs of accelerated radicalization among American Muslims, driven by a wave of English-language online propaganda and reflected in aspiring fighters' trips to hot spots such as Pakistan and Somalia.
Europe had been the front line, the target of successive attacks and major plots, while the U.S. remained relatively calm. But the number, variety and scale of recent U.S. cases suggest 2009 has been the most dangerous year domestically since 2001, anti-terrorism experts said:
And yet, there has also been a studied indifference by much of the mainstream media. Indeed, it often goes beyond indifference. After the Fort Hood massacre, mainstream journalists did backflips to avoid mentioning the possibility that this was an act of terrorism, although the evidence was plainly there. We were assured that Major Hasan, the shooter, was just one stressed out guy.
Just a few days ago, a professor in Binghampton, New York, was shot to death by a Muslim graduate student. News reports say the student had made extremist comments, believed he was persecuted, and, today, we find out he ridiculed his Christian roommates over their religion. The deceased professor was apparently a Muslim convert to Judaism, and his wife worked for a Jewish organization. Yet, we look in vain this morning for any detailed examination of this murder by the mainstream media. Nothing to see here folks, nothing to see.
Last week, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano issued her strongest public comments yet on the homegrown threat.
"We've seen an increased number of arrests here in the U.S. of individuals suspected of plotting terrorist attacks, or supporting terror groups abroad such as Al Qaeda," Napolitano said in a speech in New York. "Home-based terrorism is here. And, like violent extremism abroad, it will be part of the threat picture that we must now confront."
Officials acknowledged that her tone had changed, though they said terrorism has been her focus since becoming Homeland Security chief.
Some feel radicalization in the United States has been worse than authorities thought for some time.
"People focused on the idea that we're different, we're better at integrating Muslims than Europe is," said Zeyno Baran, a scholar at the Hudson Institute, a think tank in Washington. "But there's radicalization -- especially among converts [and] newcomers, such as the Somali case shows. I think young U.S. Muslims today are as prone to radicalization as Muslims in Europe."
Why not? On some college campuses their extreme views are portrayed as just "another narrative."
In contrast to the heightened extremist activity in the United States, Europe has remained relatively calm this year. But the West needs to keep up its guard on both sides of the Atlantic, said Farhad Khosrokhavar, an Iranian French scholar who interviewed jailed extremists for his book "Inside Jihadism."
"You can be middle-class and have bright prospects but become a jihadist," he said. "We have to broaden the analysis. This idea of American exceptionalism, the comparison with Europe, should not blind us to the fact that we are going toward a broader participation in jihad."
COMMENT: The Los Angeles Times, a very liberal paper, is to be commended for this report. Please read the whole thing.
December 7, 2009