Tag Archives: Terrorism

Letter: Major Hasan and the Holy War

Dear Editor:

Reuel Marc Gerecht astutely points out that President Obama has missed a critical opportunity to militate against Holy Warriors in our midst (Opinion, Nov. 22). But Mr. Gerecht fails to connect the dots on a larger trend: American reluctance to admit that we are at war.

Major Hasan was not merely one of many soldiers suffering from PTSD, any more than Khalid Sheik Mohammed was a common criminal. Both should be treated as terrorists not, as Mr. Gerecht suggests, because they are “Muslim radicals,” but because they have committed terrorist acts.

We are living in a September 12th world, and language has evolved. “War” no longer means uniformed soldiers lined up for battle; it should now include extremists wielding airplanes as weapons. Similarly “terrorism” should have evolved to include making jihadist threats against soldiers and attempting to contact Al Qaeda, as Hasan did.

As long as the government refuses to classify terrorist acts as acts of war, terrorist activity will continue and it will get worse. Only by removing his head from the sand now can the President reverse this trend.

Try KSM as a war criminal. Label Hasan as the jihadist he is. Admit we are at war now, or keep bowing until the terrorists remove any doubt.

Kathryn Ciano

Arlington, VA


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Journalists Held in North Korea

Two journalists arrested in North Korea this March found their sentences upheld by N. Korea’s highest court yesterday.  The women were arrested for entering the country and for committing a “grave crime.”  See news reports here and here.

One report claims the “grave crime” charged was spying.  The Americans entered the country and spoke to refugees attempting to escape to China.  Officials took the jouranlsits into custody when a border guard objected to being filmed.  While it seems it should have been obvious that the women were in dangerous territory — this was hardly the French/Italian border — CNN’s report includes an indication that the women only decided to cross into North Korea after arriving at the border:

“When the girls left the United States, they never intended to cross into North Korean soil. And if they did at any point, we apologize,” Ling’s sister, Lisa, a special correspondent for CNN, said last week. 

Relevant news reports characteristically refer to officials by their country names (making it difficult to know who among country officials are negotiating), but apparenty “North Korea” has encouraged America’s suggestion that Al Gore visit Pyongyang to discuss the journalists’ release.  North Korea clearly hopes to use this incarceration as a bargaining chip with the United States.  

(Note: Why Al Gore?  Shouldn’t it be Hillary Clinton responsible for this relationship?   This seems squarely within State affairs.)


Demonstrators in South Korea vy for the journalists release

Demonstrators in South Korea vy for the journalists' release



The women were arrested in March and the highest Korean court only upheld their final — now unappealable — sentence this week.  Between March and now US/North Korean relations have declined.

The ruling, nearly three months after their arrest, comes amid soaring tensions fueled by North Korea’s nuclear test last month and signs it is preparing for a long-range missile test. On Monday, North Korea warned fishing boats to stay away from the east coast, Japan’s coast guard said, raising concerns more missile tests are being planned.

North Korean courts sentenced these women to the harshest allowable sentence (12 years of hard labor), ostensibly as a response to America’s threats to erect more stringent trade sanctions and put N. Korea back on the list of most-watched state sponsors of terrorism.

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No Federal Hate Crime?

Converted Muslim kills a soldier outside of an Army recruiting center, then pleads not guilty to all state (Arkansas) charges, including hate crime charges.  The interesting thing is that there’s no federal charge yet, and officials seem hesitant to press federal charges at all.  The assailant claims he shot the soldier “because of what they had done to Muslims in the past.”

An FBI-led joint terrorism task force based in the southern United States has been investigating Muhammad since he returned to the United States from Yemen, a law enforcement official said. The suspect had been arrested and jailed in Yemen at some point for using a Somali passport, the official said. The time of that arrest was not immediately clear.

I know it’s much more interesting to investigate the meaning of torture, but at the risk of being unpopular let’s consider what it means not to charge this man with any federal crimes.  Was this a “terrorist act”?  Even if it was not an overt act of terrorism, he killed an American soldier for being an American soldier.  Killing is killing, but this man killed someone in his official capacity as a national officer, paid with federal tax dollars to protect the national public.  Even if this wasn’t terrorism, this act was clearly federal in nature.  

Even federalism arguments totally fail here.  Framers squarely rejected the idea of state level militia and opted instead to pay a national Army.  This was the result of a huge amount of negotiation and several sub-compromises to install this agreement.  There is no state nature at all to an act against a soldier.  “Terrorism” maybe fails, but that makes this an act of war.  Which also fits a federal (not state) crime.

Link to story.

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U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency Over Swine Flu Outbreak

WASHINGTON — Federal officials declared a health emergency on Sunday, as they confirmed 20 cases of swine flu in five states, mobilized medicine stockpiles, and warned the public that the number and severity of incidences were likely to increase.

The officials urged calm, saying the declaration was largely meant to free up resources and precautionary in nature. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, appearing with other officials at a news conference at the White House on Sunday, compared it to the kind of alert that goes up before officials know how severe a gathering storm might become.

Swine Flu Smooch

Swine Flu Smooch

Officials said they didn’t believe the outbreak is related to bioterrorism.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan warned that the virus had the potential to cause a pandemic, but cautioned that it was too early to tell whether it would erupt into a global outbreak. On Sunday, she held teleconferences with staff and flu experts around the world but stopped short of recommending specific measures to halt the disease beyond urging governments to step up their surveillance of suspicious outbreaks.

The scary thing about all of this is that it’s the what…fourth such “potential pandemic” that’s broken through our borders in as many years. An Arlingtonian — home to the Pentagon, a major CIA training site, parts of Walter Reed, part of the FBI training group, and at least one gigantic military base, not to mention yours truly — need only drive to the corner of Glebe and Route 1 to see that Arlington’s water supply sits there vulnerable and uncovered, clearly denoted as the aquifer for all of Arlington county. If the tagline on every “potential pandemic” article will from now on clarify whether or not this is a terrorist attack, shouldn’t we at least consider covering our water?

Source: WSJ (link)

See also this NYT article on the Spanish flu; and Megan McArdle: How Worried Should We Be?

Still, this seems more worrying than SARS was, and SARS was pretty worrying. And if it gets much bigger, it will deal a heavy blow to an already struggling world economy, because this will have deep impacts on global trade flows.

and finally, nothing more needs to be said:

When Pigs Flu
But…but…Mexico has socialized medicine!

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