Losing Our Sons


It is, in my view, the defining exchange of our time. It took place, not inappropriately, on Pearl Harbor Day of 2011, at one of the joint House-Senate hearings called by New York Congressman Peter King and Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman  to examine the radicalization of American Muslims. As seen in the You Tube video, Congressman Dan Lungren of California poses a simple, straightforward question to a witness, Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Stockton. “Secretary Stockton,” he asks, “are we at war with violent Islamist extremism?”

What follows is several minutes of the most grotesque and extraordinary dodging, as Stockton, despite unrelenting pressure from Lungren, repeatedly refuses to admit any connection between Islam and the “war on terror”: “We are at war with al-Qaeda, its affiliates and adherents….al-Qaeda are murderers with an ideological agenda…al-Qaeda is a violent organization dedicated to overthrowing the values that we intend to advance…” After a couple of minutes of proding, Stockton explains his dodging: “Al-Qaeda would love to convince Muslims around the world that the United States is at war with Islam. That’s a prime propaganda tool, and I’m not going to aid and abet that effort to advance their propaganda goals….I don’t believe it’s helpful to frame our adversary as Islamic, with any set of qualifiers that we might add. Because we are not at war with Islam.”

At this point, Lungren takes a slightly different tack: according to the Defense Department, it’s important to keep an eye out for certain “behavioral indicators” that can signal an individual’s turn to radicalism. Lungren notes that the Fort Hood jihadist identified himself on a calling card as a “Soldier of Allah.” Would that sort of thing, Lungren asks, be considered a “behavioral indicator”? If he were a soldier, would it be appropriate for him to report such a thing as a “behavioral indicator”? Stockton, though in a roundabout way, finally says yes – implicitly acknowledging something that every American already knows but that the government, perversely, is determined not to say straight out.

Some of us, including yours truly, have watched that exchange over and over again – perhaps because it take multiple viewings for the depth and breadth and likely long-term impact of this horrible folly to really sink in, and perhaps partly because this single brief interrogation tells us something about the nature of the human animal that is at once tragic and absurd. For my part, I had the occasion to view it yet again the other day, because it figures in a documentary I was watching, Losing Our Sons. Released earlier this year, Losing Our Sons is a powerful illustration of the human cost of the categorical refusal of Stockton and his “affiliates and adherents” to look reality squarely in the face.

The film’s point of departure is another encounter between two men – two very young men who came face to face in Little Rock one day in 2009. It’s also about their fathers.  Carlos Bledsoe, a black kid, grew up in Memphis, where his dad, Melvin, owned a sightseeing-bus firm, the Blues City Tours Company. Andy Long, a white kid from Little Rock, joined the Army at twenty-three; his dad, Daris Long, is a retired Marine who spent much of his life in Afghanistan (and whom Jamie Glazov interviewed in August). After Andy finished basic training, Daris explained to him in a heartfelt letter that “your job is to stand watch” and that “for those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never known.” The letter ended: “You are my son, my hero.” While Andy waited to be shipped off to Korea for his first tour of duty, he was assigned to work at a recruiting station in his native Little Rock.

During the time that Andy had spent training to be a soldier, Carlos had been undergoing a different kind of training. Moving from Memphis to Nashville, he discovered that city’s sizable Muslim community, of which the film provides an overview. At Nashville’s leading mosque, an imam warns his congregation not to be influenced by the “kufur” (infidels); at Vanderbilt University, the Muslim chaplain issues similar warnings about Westernization and the dangers of secular society – and, answering a student’s question, affirms that executing gays is entirely consistent with sharia law, which he supports. Meanwhile the religion editor of the local newspaper, the Tennessean, writes articles whitewashing all this mischief.

Long story short: Carlos Bledsoe, raised a Baptist, converted to Islam under the influence of these reprobates, changing his name to Abdulhakim Mohamed. For further jihad study, they sent him to an “institute” in Yemen that has served as a polishing school for al-Qaeda members. Caught with a fake Somali passport and a flash drive containing instructions for bomb-making, he spent four months in a Yemeni jail – after which, astonishingly (or not), he was able to return, apparently without any difficulty, to the U.S., where he began driving around the country in a car full of arms and ammunition seeking out appropriate targets for jihad. On June 2, 2009, he found one – an Army recruiting station in Little Rock, where he shot Andy Long to death.

Both Andy’s and Carlos’s fathers testified before the House Homeland Security Committee, and both had the same message: young Americans are being turned by American Islamic leaders into jihadists. Both fathers urged the panel to recognize that Carlos’s killing of Andy had been a terrorist act, pure and simple. “Our country needs to hear the truth,” Daris Long insisted. But some people didn’t want to hear the truth. With breathtaking condescension, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) dismissed the fathers’ testimony as “interesting” but “unenlightening” because it didn’t come from “experts.” Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonogh urged folks not to “stigmatize” Muslims. With very few exceptions, high-level government officials were agreed: to suggest that the Little Rock killing had been a jihadist act was pure Islamophobia. According to the Department of Justice, it not only wasn’t an act of jihad: it didn’t even qualify as a federal crime. The Army agreed, ruling that Andy wasn’t entitled to a Purple Heart. All this, despite the fact that Carlos, after his conviction, admitted to being a member of al-Qaeda – a jihadist out to kill U.S. soldiers and leaders of Jewish groups.

The Army’s position on the Little Rock case was identical to its stance on the murders at Fort Hood. Evidence be damned: neither of these incidents was a terrorist act. As Lieberman complained, “The Department of Defense is still not prepared to call the enemy what it is.” Nor was Attorney General Eric Holder, who, in testimony before the committee, insisted: “I don’t want to say anything negative about a religion.” Not even, obviously, if those negative things are true – and vital to American security.

This denial isn’t a partisan issue: both the Bush and the Obama administrations have bent over backwards, as the film puts it, “to accommodate Muslim sensibilities.” The official 9/11 commission report included repeated mentions of Islam and jihad, but since then government agencies have efficiently scrubbed these word from their accounts of terrorist acts. Faced with U.S.-based imams who openly support sharia law and “Muslim-rights” groups with known ties to terrorist groups, American authorities don’t acknowledge that these are enemies within but, instead, invite them to help instruct police officers about Islam and to serve as consultants to the Department of Homeland Security.

It’s a simple concept: know your enemy. After 9/11 there should have been a major educational effort to explain to American citizens the motives behind the attacks – to help them, just for starters, to understand jihad and its centrality to Islam. Instead what was set in motion under Bush, and intensified under Obama, was a comprehensive disinformation effort – an attempt to whitewash Islam, and to brand as Islamophobes all those who dare to speak the truth about it. As a result of this cowardice, two American fathers lost their sons – one of them transformed into a jihadist by hooligans who should never have been allowed into the country, and the other gunned down in an act of terrorism that officials high and low, trained in the post-9/11 Newspeak, refuse to call by its real name. In presenting its moving account of these sons and fathers, the film is, of course, also telling the story of America today – and of how our leaders’ Big Lie, perpetrated in the name of a misbegotten sensitivity, not only caused the death of Andy Long, but is, right before our eyes, strangling the very freedoms he signed up to defend.

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  • Mary Sue

    It's too bad Bledsoe's father couldn't discourage his son from getting into Islam, though parents rarely have any luck in that regard in general.

  • bluffcreek1967

    A good many of our problems could have been prevented if we had stopped all Muslim immigration into white, Western nations from the beginning – at least since September 2001. I know banning Muslims from our countries will likely never happen, but imagine how many of our problems with these people could have been nipped in the bud had we simply prevented them from bring here in the first place?

    Unfortunately, our political leaders and most people in our western nations are unable to see the danger that Muslims bring when they immigrate to our countries. To think that we actively invite them to live amongst us is the height of insanity – especially when the followers of this murderous religion have such a long history of atrocities against unbelievers!? Things will have to get much worse before we even collectively begin to wake from our multicultural slumber.

    • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

      It is imperative to note that America's leaders, via their utter refusal to name the enemy – Islam – have contributed to many American deaths, as well as others.

      For if they had, there would hardly be a refusal to engage the enemy with a full frontal attack, both in America and abroad. And it is this cognitive dissonance which has allowed a made up out of whole phobia to be born – Islamophobia.

      And the radical leftist Obama regime is totally on board with silencing the First Amendment and sacrificing it at its altar – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/12/22/first-amendme

      To wit, not only are Americans dying for nothing, but their leaders are helping to install Shariah Law – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/12/26/the-leader-of… they are.

      Adina Kutnicki, Israel – http://www.adinakutnicki.com/about/

    • Judy L Copp

      I think this is a valid conclusion. I think England is realizing they have a problem now, also.

  • Chezwick

    If the murder of Andy Long wasn't an act of terrorism, then what was it? Was it a robbery? No money was taken. Was it a revenge killing for a personal affront? .Bledsoe and Long were total strangers. Was it a mafia hit? Neither had any such ties.

    Was it a random killing with no clear motive? Bingo!!!….(i.e., nothing to see here folks).

    Orwell would be impressed.

  • BUTSeriously

    The entire 100 year conflict was caused by Britain, including 100's of 1000's of deaths and substantially the holocaust as well:

    1. Illegally creating 23 Islamic regimes, in secret, none voted for at the UN, all handed to one Islamic family with no conditions attached. For 30 barrels of oil. Begs the question who won the war with the Ottomans.

    2. The corruption of the Balfour Mandate and the White paper caused the Holocaust.

    Britain walked out whistling. Britain is guilt ridden and has become the most antisemitic Christian country, obsessed with serial 2-states in the same tiny land, transfering the name Palestinian from Jews to Muslims. nd there is none to take her to task – except that Britanistan is heppening.

    AND THOSE WHO CURSE YOU…

    Britain also ravished India, causing the loss of a third of India's lands and the same conflict seen in the M/E.

    • Jimbo

      We can all point fingers … Just look at the PCism and compensation culture that the good old US of A has given birth to, nurtured and given the Western world…
      All countries are guilty of something….The blame game helps no-one. We should be concentrating on the problems and dangers at hand…ISLAM and its more fanatical adherents need to be confronted and STOPPED for the sake of our children and our grandchildren…..
      Our failure to act and speak out now (no matter the consequences) is what gives the muslim enemy within AND without, all the help and encouragement it needs….
      The traitors in our governments and those that support them on the Left need to be shown for what they are….

      • David R

        Oblivious, blind, gutless cowards who will soon see their own children get their throats slit and wonder why they didn't see this coming.
        The Dummies will soon be called Dhimmis and pay dearly for their stupidity!

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "The blame game helps no-one. We should be concentrating on the problems and dangers at hand."

        What precisely do you mean by "blame game?" Sounds like a weasel defense to me. Analyzing specific root causes of failure is critical to optimal problem solving. If that sounds like corporate rhetoric, it also happens to be true. It works for any problems that need to be solved.

        "We should be concentrating on the problems and dangers at hand"

        So "concentration" is good, but "blame game" is bad. Now you've got to make some specific distinctions.

        "ISLAM and its more fanatical adherents need to be confronted and STOPPED for the sake of our children and our grandchildren….. "

        And without comprehensive "blame" analysis, you won't come up with constructive solutions.

        "The traitors in our governments and those that support them on the Left need to be shown for what they are…."

        Correct. Firstly, Islam is based on many verifiable lies. We need to respect people to the extent that they earn it, not ideas. Respecting ideas and the subjective reactions of people who cultivate the idea that we must tolerate their ultra-sensitive emotions (actually it's more often than not an act) is absurd. I will respect people and behaviors according to their merit. This submission to people because liberals tell us they are so sensitive, this is just a fraud on a scale unknown before the present.

        Don't be rude, but don't bite your tongue when someone starts talking about facts that are clearly not true. The best place to confront Islamic supremacists is on Israel. That is where they've committed most of their contemporary lies and they've invested politically in those lies like nobody would believe without seeing it firsthand. Even if you hate Jews (which itself is pathetic), you really need to confront Muslims over lying, and the biggest lies that are the easiest to destroy are mostly centered in Israel.

        Show them we are not buying their BS. Any of it. I'm an Islam-o-phobe, if that's the label they want to use. F off and die if you think that's pejorative.

        Do this with anyone who dares try to sell us on these totalitarian lies. Confronting leftists is harder because they can literally get their minds frozen on their future Utopia and see you as the only relic in their way. The way around this is exposing their lies that can be proved false. They lie about history to intensify the desire they hope others will have for their visions of Utopia. Call them on those lies.

        Islamic supremacists and liberals, and in fact virtually all totalitarian ideologs are fantastic liars and the patient conservative will simply wait for or navigate them to a confrontation about those big fat lies.

  • Thomas Wells

    Islam is a thuggee death cult.

    • JacksonPearson

      It's genocidal. All conflicts on earth today, are Muslim related!

  • jewdog

    Petronius, a Roman satirist who live in the first century, once said: "Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur", or "The world wants to be deceived, so let it be deceived". Still true today.

  • Ghostwriter

    Did Petronius realize that some of those deceptions could be lethal?

  • Indioviejo

    Censorship takes on a new tactic.

  • Indio Viejo

    Put my comment in.

  • Jozy

    As a native born European citizen, I'm absolutely positive that deep, deep down every European KNOWS that Islam in Europe is bad. Deep down, Europeans are (like me) gnashing their teeth at the sight of their beautiful, once Christian continent going to heck.
    However, any European calling out on Islam immediately gets laughed at for 'giving into popularism', or gets compared to the likes of Hitler and Breivik. The highest achievement for Europeans is to appear cosmopolitan and sophisticated, so simply saying the truth as you see it is not done. To say that Islam itself is the problem is of course way too simplistic and naive a take on things. It's always more complicated, it always has to do with political grievances, colonialism, youth feeling disenfranchised, racism, local culture rather than Islam, US foreign intervention, Israeli 'expansionism'; everything EXCEPT Islam always seems to be the problem in the eyes of the self-righteous Leftists.
    I fear that at some point within this century all of Europe may be transformed into one giant Bosnia on steroids, where not a few fringe Carlos Bledsoes comit Jihadic attacks every now and then, but constant and relentless Jihadic massacres will occur around the clock. I hope for the day instead that the madness in Europe will end, where Europeans will finally stop deceiving themselves and dare speak truth as they see it, and will see Islam for what it really is and take the bull by the horns.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "…any European calling out on Islam immediately gets laughed at for 'giving into popularism', or gets compared to the likes of Hitler and Breivik. The highest achievement for Europeans is to appear cosmopolitan and sophisticated, so simply saying the truth as you see it is not done. To say that Islam itself is the problem is of course way too simplistic and naive a take on things. It's always more complicated, it always has to do with political grievances, colonialism, youth feeling disenfranchised, racism, local culture rather than Islam, US foreign intervention, Israeli 'expansionism'; everything EXCEPT Islam always seems to be the problem in the eyes of the self-righteous Leftists. "

      My answer is straightforward in situations like yours. I simply say that we've talked enough about our collective guilt in the West and after Islamic imperialists become as open about their past sins, we can perhaps talk again about the crimes of the West when we've achieved some kind of realistic balance.

      As long as they lie, I have no reason to change the subject from pointing out these lies. I have no qualms at all about this position.

    • Thomas Wells

      Europe could also go the way of Troy.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "Europe could also go the way of Troy."

        Those big fat horses keep unloading their 5th columnist warriors year after year. The next phase will reveal a lot about the accuracy of your prophecy.

  • SoCalMike

    Officials like Stockton remind me of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.
    "We are not at war with Islam, we will never be at war with Islam."

    Someone forgot to tell these pathetic boobs Islam declared war on us so all the hand wringing and posing is starting to get old. Why doesn't Stockton or Obama and Hillary or any pro parasite just offer to kitty lick and French kiss the next jihadi who murders in the name of their god.
    That would have a therapeutic effect for them.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "We are not at war with Islam, we will never be at war with Islam."

      I can understand (while disagreeing) with this position when building a coalition. Bush should have woken up after a few years at the latest. To keep repeating the lies as the evidence piles on is ridiculous. It also justified the lying traitor 0'Bama in extending this lie because he can point to Bush's approach and statements. Bush is actually truly deceived by the Saudis and probably other huge, fat lazy liars who were born knowing that destroying the West was their life mission.

      Actually, FDR showed the Saudis how stupid American politicians can be, especially when it comes to dealing with people from backwards cultures. It doesn't mean they're not dangerous or sophisticated enough to use deception to achieve their long term strategies. and then the leaders are typically allowed to rule till their death, they have habits and tactics that exploit this ability to remain patient.

      The Saudis f-ed us more than any other nation in history. They still do.

      • Gabrielle

        I agree with all of what you said and I would add that Bush's refusal to name Islam as the enemy also allowed voters weary of Republicans to reach the level of comfort that they needed to vote for a person who many believe is a Muslim.

        Why is it that we in the West always feel the need to show how tolerant we are when all our tolerance gets us is dead?

        • objectivefactsmatter

          "Why is it that we in the West always feel the need to show how tolerant we are when all our tolerance gets us is dead?"

          The short answer is that enormous strength can lead to enormous arrogance among individuals and collectively. Tolerance is also a huge part of Judeo Christian teaching, but the full teaching is supposed to include discernment.

          As usual, the enemies of righteousness twist the truth just far enough to cause harm without making it too easy to spot their moves.

  • Kevin Stroup

    We blame Islam for the the fact that we Westerners are bent over grabbing our ankles and getting royally screwed. We have become decadent. Charles Krauthammer defined decadent as an assailant has his hands around your throat, choking you, and you cannot be bothered to raise your arms and try to defend yourself. We, in the West, deserve the bloodbath that is coming our way. If it was not the Muslims, it would be someone else. We are totally corrupt. We are jellyfish: no brain, no balls, no backbone. Jellyfish.

  • Drakken

    Kevin, make no mistake, there is going to be bloodbath alright and the decadent left/progressives will be getting their well earned Darwin Awards. Sooner rather than later the muslims will tip their hand because they feel extremely confident that we will stand by and do nothing and so far we are letting them, but as they say nature abhors a vacuum and that warfare gene tucked away in every Europeans DNA will rise to the fore front and unleash the Balkans on steroids. Sit in any coffee shop or pub in Europe these days and you hear natives getting extremely restless and they are getting angry at the establishment parties letting it happen, a few years ago it was just whispered. The natives of Europe are making the pols very nervous and of course they will overreact and drive the moderates away and the most ruthless will take over and bring the muslims and their leftist enablers their well earned and well derserved fate. War is on the horizon only those in denial can't see it.

  • N.T. Riisgaard, DK

    Losing our sons in Afghanistan, losing our childrens future in their homeland, liberal democracies lost, not much more to lose. Heart lost, European leaders have shown no leadership for decades. Inside the EU or outside, like Danmark and Norway, doesn't matter. Capitulation to PC all over, and preparing for sharia laws in another brave new European utopia. Orwellian Ministry of Truth is running, the past is edited incl. Islam's bloody history, bravehearts speaking against PC are taken to court. Again, again, the Europeans must be saved from themselves. In a way, our democratic leaders should be examined for radicalization. In a way, they are at war with their electorates. In a way, it would be helpful to frame our adversary as Islams useful idiots.

  • http://twitter.com/Brett_McS @Brett_McS

    Refusal to face reality is – and looks like – weakness. Young men, especially, don't want to be associated with any form of weakness. Thus the administration, by refusing to face up to reality, is actively pushing young men toward 'radicalization' while purporting/pretending to do the opposite.

  • The Infidel Alliance

    Here's what we must face:

    Islam is a sadistic sociopathic civilization founded on the values of the sadistic sociopath Muhammed.

    This sadistic sociopathy emanates from Mecca.

    We are in THE ISLAMIC WORLD WAR.

    The war emanates from Mecca. The war is with Mecca.

    Islam won't stop until it's stopped. THE ISLAMIC WORLD WAR end unless it Islam is defeated.

    THE ISLAMIC WORLD WAR. It's real. Islamo delende est!

    ~ The Infidel Alliance