Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and a columnist for National Review. His book Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad (Encounter Books, 2008), has just been released in paperback with a new preface. Check out a description from Encounter Books.
FP: Andy McCarthy, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.
The Obama administration has now named a CAIR-trained supporter of convicted terrorist Sami al-Arian to be its envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference. What gives here?
McCarthy: Jamie, as always it’s a great pleasure to be here.
It’s not such a great pleasure, however, to talk about what is happening to our country. What we are seeing is the domestic version of the Obama administration’s dangerously loopy “engagement” strategy. Basically, if you’re a friend of the United States, say Israel or Poland, prepare to be screwed; if you despise America as, say, Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood do, prepare to be wooed. What’s happening here is wrong on so many levels it’s hard to unwind.
The OIC is an insidious organization dedicated to the imposition of Sharia (i.e., the evisceration of liberty) and the destruction of Israel. Yet, as Claudia Rosett’s recent brilliant column in Forbes observes, we are subsidizing its activities and giving it a propaganda victory every time we repeat its claim to be a “57-nation bloc” (one of those “nations” is the Palestinian territories, which do not constitute a nation). We shouldn’t have an envoy for it at all. We can thank the Bush administration’s pandering for that, but the Obama administration takes every Bush misstep and increases it geometrically. So now we will have an envoy whose credibility with the OIC will lie in the fact that he shares its disdain for the American government’s national defense measures against Islamic terrorists.
FP: What’s with Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano and her cozy relationship with Muslim Brotherhood’s U.S. affiliates?
McCarthy: This is a continuation of what President Obama started in Cairo, when the Muslim Brotherhood was invited to attend his ballyhooed speech. There are many people on the Left who have argued for years that we should be engaging the Brotherhood — that they are the “good” Islamists who are willing to work through a political process rather than resort to terror. Putting aside that they actually do support terrorism (against U.S. forces in Muslim countries and against Israel, at the least), shouldn’t we be concerned about what these “moderates” want to achieve through the political process? They are dedicated to the installation of Sharia law, the necessary precondition, in Islamist ideology, to the Islamization of society.
Many of the groups for which Napolitiano has rolled out the red carpet — the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim American Society, for instances, are Muslim Brotherhood tentacles. Like CAIR, they were shown in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism finance trial to be part of what the Brotherhood described as “grand jihad” to “sabotage” America from within. When you know that, the idea would be to keep them out. We’re inviting them in. I strongly recommend that people check out Richard Pollock’s report at Pajamas Media about Napolitano’s meeting with these groups.
FP: Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan has come out with some curious comments on the recidivism rates of released Gitmo detainees. Tell us about those comments and other aspects of this story that need more attention.
McCarthy: Well, the recidivism comment is just staggering. First of all, to say the rate at which former Gitmo detainees recidivate (i.e., go back to the jihad) is “20 percent,” as Brennan said, is preposterous. We don’t know if someone is a recidivist unless we either encounter him on the battlefield or get reliable intelligence that he has rejoined the terrorist groups. That is, we can’t account for people we haven’t encountered on the battlefield or otherwise gotten good intelligence about.
This is not a criminal trial such that you have to suspend common sense and give those unaccounted for jihadists the benefit of the doubt. The only safe assumption is that the real recidivism rate is higher — no doubt much higher — than 20 percent. Moreover, even if it were lower, we are talking about people who go back to mass-murder, not shop-lifting. For Brennan to say 20 percent is fine because it compares favorably to the recidivism rate for ordinary criminals utterly misconstrues the difference between a national security challenge (which must be defeated) and a mere criminal justice problem (which has to be managed by good policing but can never really be eliminated). That would be a stupid remark for a cop or an analyst to make; for a high national security official to make it is inexcusable.
Beyond that, why is Brennan going to NYU to pander to Islamist activists like Omar Shahin? Michelle Malkin has an excellent piece on this unnoticed aspect of Brennan’s performance. Shahin was the ring-leader of the Flying Imams. He was also the leader at one of the most notorious Islamist mosques in the United States, the Islamic Center of Tucson. His predecessor there was Wael Hamza Julaidan, an al Qaeda founder designated by the Treasury Department as an international terrorist. Shahin gave fiery anti-Semitic “sermons” while at the mosque, the worshippers at which included 9/11 suicide bomber Hani Hanjour, bin Laden’s secretary Wadi el-Hage (since convicted in the embassy bombing case), and two young Saudis (Hamdan al-Shalawi and Muhammad al-Qudhaieen) who just happen to have been implicated in a 1999 “dry run” for the 9/11 attacks — engaging in the same sort of antics Shahin and the other Flying Imams engaged in. Shahin was the Arizona coordinator for the Holy Land Foundation (a charity later shuttered for supporting Hamas) and later became a representative of “Kind Hearts,” another Hamas charitable front. Yet, here is a top presidential adviser not only giving this guy the time of day but seemingly agreeing with him that our post-9/11 counterterrorism has been too aggressive. It’s shameful.
FP: What is happening in all of these developments and what threat does it pose?
McCarthy: The Muslim Brotherhood’s “grand jihad” — as it describes the plan in a 1991 memo — is to “sabotage” the United States from within. These developments show we’re not only failing to defend ourselves. We’re helping them along.