|The Facts About the Failed Times Square Bomber: Why the Liberal Establishment Can’t Face Reality|
By Ashton Ellis
Wednesday, May 12 2010
The more we learn about failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, the stranger the initial reporting about him becomes. The liberals’ rush to downplay any possible connections to Islam and label him a “homegrown” terrorist were blatant attempts to freeze the story before the truth was known. Now, the facts about Shahzad are showing a liberal establishment that can’t face a reality it created.
First there was New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg dismissing the then-unknown suspect as “a mentally deranged person or somebody with a political agenda who doesn’t like the health care bill (i.e. ObamaCare)” to Katie Couric. Shortly thereafter, MSNBC personality Contessa Brewer was “hoping this was not going to be anybody with ties to any kind of Islamic country” because “[t]here are a lot of people who want to use terrorist intent to justify writing off people who believe in a certain way or come from certain countries or whose skin color is a certain way. I mean they use it as justification for really outdated bigotry.”
So instead the liberal chattering class indulged in updated bigotry. After two terrorist attacks on New York City landmarks in 1993 and 2001 by Islamists, the current mayor of the city immediately points to the most likely culprit in 2010: Tea Party activists upset with the government takeover of healthcare. But why, Mayor Mike, would people angered by federal overreach target a local tourist site like Times Square? The symbolic value would be lost. Then again, maybe attention to constitutional distinctions between different levels of government is the kind of “political agenda” motivating “mentally deranged” people these days.
As for Brewer’s slurs against anyone making the logical connection between Islamic countries and terrorists, the unfolding evidence linking Shahzad to Al Qaeda in Pakistan shows that she is the one blinded by prejudice. Unlike people guided by common sense and recent history, Brewer’s initial reaction is counterintuitive. Only a person committed to an ideology that prefers to suspect a neighbor for a stranger’s bad behavior would try to shield the most likely swath of humanity from scrutiny.
The facts about Faisal Shahzad are these. He is a Pakistan-born, naturalized American citizen. The son of a high ranking Pakistani Air Force official, he spent nearly two decades in the United States in unremarkable obscurity earning technical degrees in business, working as an accountant and starting a family. He lived an ordinary life. But, as Fouad Ajami has pointed out in the Wall Street Journal, Shahzad is one of Islam’s “nowhere men.”
By that he means Shahzad, like the London terror bombers and the Fort Hood shooter, checks all the boxes on the cultural left’s list for integration into a host country, but fails the most basic test of assimilation with it. As Ajami puts it, “[t]he path of citizenship he took gave him the precious gift of an American passport but made no demands on him.”
For men like Shahzad, the benefits of higher education and making mortgage payments can’t compensate for the cultural shallowness they experience in their adopted countries. Their search for something deeper – something capable of making a universal truth claim – leads them to the faith of their grandfathers. For immigrants in Shahzad’s generation, that means rejecting the affluent secularism of their parents in favor of a more demanding expression of Islam. Torn between the comforts of secularized materialism and the dictates of a radicalized faith, many are unable to see a path of peaceful coexistence and choose to end the schizophrenia with a suicide attack.
That kind of death was certainly contemplated by the Al Qaeda operatives who trained Shahzad in Pakistan’s tribal region of Waziristan. Fortunately for Times Square tourists, Shahzad wasn’t quite ready to ensure compliance with his likely mandate, abandoning the car bomb he built before it malfunctioned.
One of the most famous observations attributed to Osama Bin Laden is that when people see a strong horse and a weak horse they always choose the strong horse. The American cultural left has spent sixty years weakening traditional notions of morality and patriotism while encouraging mass immigration. The result is a society that values diversity for its own sake, and mocks or condemns those who search for some type of cultural cohesion. The liberal project to destroy a distinctly American identity leaves some living here looking for something stronger to fill the void.
If the liberal elites insist on labeling Faisal Shahzad a “homegrown” terrorist, they have only themselves to blame.
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