Taking a cue from George W. Bush, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said of the Times Square bomber, "We will not be intimidated by those who hate the freedoms that make … this country so great."
Faisal Shahzad sought to
massacre scores of fellow Americans in
Times Square with a bomb made of M-88 firecrackers, non-explosive
fertilizer, gasoline and alarm clocks.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to blow up a U.S. airliner over
Detroit with a firebomb concealed in his underpants. Maj. Nidal Malik
Hasan shot dead 13 fellow soldiers at Fort Hood and wounded 30.
Why did these men attempt the mass murder of Americans who did no
harm to them? What impelled them to seek martyrdom amid a pile of
Though all were Muslims, none seems to have been a longtime
America-hater or natural-born killer. Hasan was proud to wear Army
fatigues to mosque. Shahzad had become a U.S. citizen. Abdulmutallab was
the privileged son of a prominent Nigerian banker.
The New York Times ties
all three to the Internet sermons of Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemen-based imam
born and educated in the United States who inspires Muslims worldwide
to jihad against America. But, following Sept. 11, al-Awlaki had been
seen as a bridge between Islam and the West.
Now President Obama has authorized his assassination.
What do the four have in common?
All were converted in manhood into haters of America willing to
kill and die in a jihad against America. And the probability is high
that there are many more like them living amongst us who wish to bring
the war in the Af-Pak here to America.
But what radicalized them? And why do they hate us?
Taking a cue from George W. Bush, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said of
the Times Square bomber, “We will not be intimidated by those who hate
the freedoms that make … this country so great.”
This was the mantra after Sept. 11. We are hated not because of
what we do in the Middle East, but because of who we are: people who
love freedom and stand for women’s rights.
And that is why they hate us – and why they come to kill us.
In a way this is a comforting thought, because it absolves us of
the need to think. For no patriotic American is going to demand we
surrender our freedom to prevent fanatics from attacking us.
The Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens advances a parallel view.
We are hated, he says, because of our popular culture.
We are loathed in the Islamic world, Stephens writes, because of
“Lady Gaga – or, if you prefer, Madonna, Farrah Fawcett, Marilyn Monroe,
Josephine Baker or any other American woman who has … personified
what the Egyptian Islamist writer Sayyid Qutb once called ‘the American
This hatred is at least 60 years old, says Stephens, for Qutb
wrote even before “Elvis, Playboy, the pill, women’s lib, acid tabs, gay
rights, Studio 54, Jersey shore and … Lady Gaga.”
Qutb’s revulsion at American degeneracy is why his legion of
Islamic followers hate us.
Again, a comforting thought. For, if Lady Gaga is the problem,
there is nothing we Americans can do about it.
Yet, this is as self-delusional as saying the FLN set off bombs
in movie theaters and cafes in Algiers to kill the French because of
what Brigitte Bardot was doing on screen in “And God Created Woman.”
American’s toxic culture may be a reason devout Muslims detest
us. It is not why they come here to kill us. Mohamed Atta’s friends did
not target Hollywood, but centers and symbols of U.S. military and
Marines into Lebanon’s civil war. No Iraqi committed an act of terror
against us before we invaded Iraq. And if the Sept. 11 killers were
motivated by hatred of the immorality of our society, what were they
doing getting lap dances in Delray Beach?
Osama bin Laden declared war on us, first and foremost, to end
the massive U.S. presence on sacred Saudi soil that is home to Mecca and
Some may insist this was not his real motive. But, apparently,
the Saudis believed him, for they quickly kicked us out of Prince Sultan
As for the Taliban, they would surely make short work of Lady
Gaga. But their stated grievance is the same as Gen. Washington’s in our
war with the British: If you want this war to end, get out of our
By Occam’s razor, the simplest explanation is usually the right
one. Looking at America’s wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Maj.
Hasan, Abdulmutallab and Shahzad decided that what we call the war on
terror was in reality a war on Islam.
All decided to use their access to exact retribution for our
killing of their fellow Muslims.
We are being attacked over here because we are over there.
Nor is it a good sign that U.S. intelligence is reporting that
rising numbers of U.S. Muslims are making Internet inquiries about how
and where to get training to bring the war home to America.