As Americans enjoy the peace and comfort of Thanksgiving weekend, be grateful that the U.S. has suffered no significant terror attack since the September 11 massacre. As the Heritage Foundation demonstrates, this is no accident.
Since 9/11, officials have thwarted at least 19 terrorist bids to kill Americans. (Additional dismantled plots may remain classified.) These 19 include:
‐ The Lackawanna Six. These Americans of Yemeni descent from upstate New York pleaded guilty in 2003 to training with and providing material support to al-Qaeda. They are locked up for seven to ten years.
‐ The Virginia “Jihad” Network’s 11 members had ties to al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and Lashkar-i-Taiba, a terror group that opposes India’s government. Since 2003, they have been imprisoned for conspiring and training to commit terrorist acts.
‐ Dhiren Barot ran a terror cell that planned to assail the New York Stock Exchange, Prudential’s Newark, New Jersey headquarters, and Washington, D.C.’s World Bank. Pakistani police found car-bomb plans on Barot’s laptop computer in July 2004. Barot is serving 40 years in a British jail for masterminding what he called a “memorable black day for the enemies of Islam.”
‐ James Elshafay is serving five years and Shahawar Matin Siraj 30 for endeavoring to blast Manhattan’s Herald Square subway station during the 2004 Republican National Convention.
‐ Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain — both Albany, New York mosque leaders — agreed to help an FBI informant purchase a shoulder-fired grenade launcher to kill a Pakistani diplomat in New York City. Aref and Hossain were convicted of conspiracy, money laundering, and concealing material support to terrorists.
‐ Also on ice are “shoe bomber” Richard Reid, so-called “dirty bomber” Jose Padilla, and Iyman Faris, who sought acetylene torches to cut the Brooklyn Bridge’s cables and plunge it 119 feet into the East River.
‐ Among those arrested and awaiting trial are suspected terrorists who allegedly videotaped the U.S. Capitol while preparing to assault it, and others who planned to strike California synagogues. Officials say one cell hoped to hit New Jersey’s Fort Dix Army base, while still others aimed to bomb New York’s JFK Airport, Chicago’s Sears Tower, and 10 passenger jets crossing the Atlantic between London and America.
This chilling roster proves that Islamo-fascism is real, not just “a figment of the neocon imagination,” as writer Paul Krugman claimed in a recently published hallucination. He also believes he sees “fear of dark-skinned people in general” as Republicans’ rationale for fighting militant Islam.
Defeating Islamo-fascism is not about color. It’s about carnage, such as what Americans collectively experienced on live TV seven Septembers ago. If Krugman cannot fathom this, he should put down his quill pen and pick up Heritage’s report.
While the conservative think tank merits praise for publishing this document, it’s a shame it ever needed to do so. The Bush Administration’s maddening sense of modesty is among its greatest failings. Unlike its critics’ ceaseless heckling and catcalls, the president and his top aides rarely proclaim their victories, even in this vital area. Rather than trumpet terror plans unraveled and bombs defused, the White House emits a passing mention here and a presidential mumble there. Into this relative silence stroll Krugmanite detractors who denounce Team Bush as paranoid cranks who worry too much about a supposedly minor terrorist challenge. So, they argue, let’s all just move on to universal health care.
The White House needs a constant communications effort — from presidential speeches to TV, print, and the Internet — to highlight the deadly danger that Islamo-fascism poses and how U.S. laws, intelligence, policing, interrogation, and military action jointly stop Muslim fanatics from murdering Americans and innocents abroad.
“The best means to prevent terrorist attacks is effective intelligence collection, information sharing, and coordinated, determined counterterrorism operations that can stop attacks before they are mounted,” concludes Heritage Foundation foreign-affairs specialist James Carafano, this report’s author.
Americans have been kept secure by laws and initiatives like the Patriot Act and the Terrorist Surveillance Program that have foiled schemes to kill us by the tens, hundreds, and thousands. The fact that none has transpired reflects the diligence of U.S. and allied cops, spies, soldiers, and concerned citizens who have said something when they have seen something. This Thanksgiving, they all deserve every American’s undying gratitude.
– Deroy Murdock is a New York-based columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution.
© Scripps Howard News Service