Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, more than 2.3 million Americans have volunteered to go overseas to combat the war on terror. But despite the heroism these men and women have shown this country by putting themselves in harm’s way overseas, they do not have the luxury of feeling safe once they return to their homes here in the United States.
According to an investigative report (IR) on “Homegrown Terrorism,” issued by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, the U.S. Homeland is the second most dangerous place for a G.I.—second only to outside foreign war zones. The Department of Defense considers violent Islamist extremists—who are penetrating U.S. defenses by enlisting in the U.S. Armed forces—the top threat to these American soldiers. These military personnel have been growing in number and “pose a serious danger to their brothers and sisters in arms who wear the same uniform.” For example, consider the alleged Fort Hood mass murderer, Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan.
The report goes on to list facts and figures of threats, plots, and strikes against U.S. military communities since the attack on 9/11 and indicates that there has been a surge of “homegrown terrorism.” The investigation resulted in findings that 70% of the plots against military targets have occurred since 2009.
This report was issued just before a joint House-Senate hearing on Homegrown Terror [held by the House of Homeland Security panel, chaired by Rep. Peter King (R-NY), and its Senate counterpart, chaired by Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT)]. Even though King and Lieberman appeared to agree regarding the jihadist threat, the Obama Administration and congressional Democrats appeared to take issue with the premise of the report—especially the information within the report which demonstrates that the people targeting American soldiers were violent Islamist extremists.
The Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Stockton made clear that the Administration wishes to avoid “imprecise terminology that may cause confusion and may unjustifiably give credence to the falsehood… that we are waging a war on Islam.” Stockton reiterated that this threat to military communities was serious and that there is an obligation to keep these men and women safe at home.
House Committee Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), on the other hand, suggested that the hearing was grounded on stereotyping innocent Muslims, stating that “[a] congressional hearing that identifies one religion as a likely threat within the military is not only inaccurate, but unwise.”
It is difficult to conclude that the committee’s report is simply grounded in anti-Muslim stereotyping when they speak of honoring those Muslim-American heroes who have been killed in action and indicate that some have even been buried at Arlington National Cemetery for “making the ultimate sacrifice in service of our nation.” However, along with these reverences, “[t]he Committee’s Majority Staff has determined that nine or more Muslim-Americans who are current, former or would-be military insiders have been convicted since 2001 or stand charged with national security crimes. An additional two Muslim-Americans convicted of planning terrorist attacks against military targets inside the U.S. had earlier tried and failed to join police departments or the FBI and CIA.”
The Obama administration’s reluctance to discuss Islam’s role in targeting the military continued even after the report was issued: Watch here as the Department of Defense refused to acknowledge that al-Qaeda is engaged in violent Islamist extremism. The Obama Administration’s approach to Islamist terror is further illustrated by its handling of the Fort Hood massacre and the June 1, 2009, murder of Private William Long at a Little Rock, Arkansas military recruiting center by a radicalized Muslim. The investigative report indicates that the Administration refuses to say that either of these attacks is evidence of violent Islamist Extremism. As a result, the soldiers were killed and/or wounded have yet to receive Purple Heart medals, despite pleas by their survivors. (IR)
The question thus remains: how do we keep this country’s armed forces safe without targeting innocent Muslim-Americans who truly care about this country? …And not just military personnel, but how do we keep all people within the United States safe? For a country that reveres the phrase “all men are created equal,” it would be difficult to justify that certain people have more rights than others. We all have certain inalienable rights, so how can we single out certain types of individuals without going against those morals and beliefs that this country has been founded on?
Read the U.S. House of Representatives Majority Investigative Report Here.