There was a disturbing story about home-grown Islamist terrorists on 60 Minutes Sunday evening. It was disturbing in its content, and also in the way the entire narrative was presented by 60 Minutes. One heard of the danger of “radical websites,” “home-grown terrorism,” a “global movement,” “lone wolf” terrorists, “sophisticated” and “magnetic” messages, young expatriate youths “at risk for being recruited,” and the general dangers of “terrorist organizations.” But there was very little discussion of the fact that the one link, the one unifying commonality, among all these recent U.S.-based terrorists is radical Islamic ideology, and its hate-filled doctrine that seeks to blame the self-inflicted miseries of the Middle East on the supposed sins of the West and Israel. There was even less discussion on 60 Minutes of how some mosques and madrassas located in America either wink at such radical Islamism, or have far more knowledge of it than they let on. One did not hear much about why there were more terrorist plots against the U.S. in the last 15 months than at any comparable period since 2001, or why exactly the Islamists in the post-Cairo-speech, post-apology-tour, post-reach-out-to-Syria-and-Iran, and post-snubbing-of-Israel era seem more, not less, prone to kill us here at home.
The one interesting artifact was an interview with Secretary of State Clinton. She conveyed three messages: one, in a tough-talking mode, she announced that we will hold parties abroad responsible for terrorism that they project onto U.S. soil; two, she lamented her weakened diplomatic hand due to the undermining of the U.S. financial position by uncontrollable deficits; and three, she admitted that she was shocked at the invitation to be Obama’s secretary of state, and at first demurred.
Thus, one might conclude that our secretary of state is tougher on Islamist terrorism than the president, is more worried about the strategic consequences of ballooning U.S. debt — and was not initially keen, as of late 2008, on working for the president. Sounds like one member of the administration who polls far higher than the president might be surveying the new political landscape come November with particular interest.