What do the following recent news items have in common? c Sen. John Warner returns from a weeklong excursion to Iraq in the company of inveterate defeatist and Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin to announce the United States must begin withdrawing 5,000 troops from Iraq by Christmas. The Virginia Republican says he wants to use this symbolic step — which he might or might not try to impose legislatively in coming weeks — to pressure the Iraqi government to make more progress on various fronts.
c Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell revealed to the El Paso Times that the United States had caught Iraqi terrorists trying to get into the country across its still-unfenced southern border. According to a report subsequently published in WorldNetDaily, Adm. McConnell’s office revealed that, “During fiscal 2006, there were 14 Iraqi nationals caught trying to enter the U.S. illegally, while so far in 2007, that number is 16.” The online publication quoted the DNI as saying, “The goal is for terrorists to gain admittance to the United States, and then produce ‘mass casualties.’ ”
c Outgoing Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ Justice Department is paying the Islamic Society of North America for the privilege of having government lawyers man a booth at ISNA’s upcoming annual convention in Chicago. The Washington Times’ indefatigable Audrey Hudson broke the story, noting that federal employees at Justice are concerned this “outreach” to the Muslim-American community will jeopardize an important terrorism trial now under way in Dallas. After all, ISNA is one of a large number of Islamist front organizations identified as an unindicted co-conspirator by federal prosecutors in the Holy Land Foundation terror-financing case.
These three developments actually have several things in common:
(1) They each shed light on the magnitude of the threats we face in what truly is a War for the Free World. Mr. Warner’s trial balloon is a reminder of the greatest danger we face in waging that war — the prospect of being defeated politically on the home front. Adm. McConnell’s revelations make it clear that our enemies overseas are not waiting for such a defeat, and the humiliating withdrawal from Iraq it will precipitate, to try to attack us here at home. And the hash-up by the Justice Department calls attention to the fact that, even if no more foreign-based terrorists get into our country, we already have in our midst organizations that are sympathetic with, if not actually serving the interests of, our Islamofascist foes.
(2) Each of these news items tends, if anything, to understate the problem. Mr. Warner’s is not only the latest of congressional demands to begin the surrender of Iraq to those who wish us ill there. It is also perhaps the most modest. The more irresponsible seek the immediate removal of all U.S. forces — a logistical impossibility and strategic disaster. Others envision changing the mission at once, quickly removing some of our troops and putting the rest on remote bases, effectively ceding much of Iraq to the terrorists and their enablers.
For his part, Adm. McConnell’s admission raises the obvious question: If we caught more than a dozen Iraqi terrorists slipping into the U.S. during each of the last two years, how many were not intercepted? Typically, the ratio is something like for every one nabbed, 10 get through.
Indeed, WorldNetDaily reports that “the U.S. Customs and Border Protection intercepted 60 Iraqis crossing the nation’s southwestern border in 2006 who were seeking asylum in the U.S., while that number so far in 2007 is 178.” What is interesting is that the El Paso Times was told by a U.S. intelligence analyst, “There’s been evidence that human smugglers, or coyotes, are telling Iraqis to ask for amnesty if they are caught.” How many desiring to do us harm are among those seeking amnesty (caught and uncaught) — and whose wish might be realized if extraordinarily ill-advised legislation like H.R. 2265 recently introduced in Congress is adopted? (For a troubling analysis of this bill, see https://www.vigilantfreedom.org/910blog/2007/08/06/faq-on-hr-2265/).
The problem with the Islamic Society of North America is but the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens of such groups in this country. Most were established by, funded from or otherwise lashed up with Saudi Arabia. They typically are vehicles for promoting the intolerant Wahhabi strain of Islam, inculcating a sense of separateness and grievance among American Muslims and advancing the insidious, even seditious, agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The three headlines also, regrettably, indicate a certain cluelessness in the U.S. government. Congressional figures, intelligence officials and bureaucrats in various governmental departments are neither fulfilling their sworn obligations to defend the Constitution of the United States nor serving the American people well by their failures to recognize — let alone deal effectively with — the great and growing dangers we face, abroad and at home.
It is past time for an honest rendering of the facts suggested by “connecting these dots”: America will not be made more secure by surrendering in Iraq. Our porous borders pose an open invitation to terrorists. Our continuing failure to secure them will, in due course, make possible not just “mass casualties” but possibly national calamity. And Islamist organizations may declare themselves the self-appointed leaders of the Muslim-American community, but no good can come from our government associating with or otherwise legitimating them.
Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy and a columnist for The Washington Times.