The media portrays terrorists captured before the act as bumbling small fry. Does that make them innocuous? Mark Steyn’s answer:
Most terrorists seem like bumbling losers if they’re caught before the act: That’s certainly true of the Fort Dix jihadists who took their terrorist training DVD to the local audio store to be copied. It was also true of the Islamists arrested in Toronto last year for plotting to behead the prime minister, one of whose cell members had a bride who wanted him to sign a prenup committing him to jihad. The Heathrow plotters arrested while planning to blow up U.S.-bound airliners included a Muslim convert who’d started out as the son of a British Conservative Party official with a P. G. Wodehouse double-barreled name and a sister who was a Victoria’s Secret model and ex-wife of tennis champ Yanick Noah.
“But then Mohammed Atta and the 9/11 gang would have seemed pretty funny if you’d run into them in that lap-dance club they went to before the big day where the girls remembered them only as very small tippers. Most terrorists are jokes until the bomb goes off.”
Steyn has sobering thoughts for the Fortress America crowd (you know, the isolationists who want to hunker down in the U.S. and forget the enemy abroad):
“The [Fort Dix terrorists] were (if you’ll forgive the expression) illegal immigrants. They’re not meant to be here. Yet they graduated from a New Jersey high school and they operated two roofing companies and a pizzeria. Think of how often you have to produce your driver’s license or Social Security number. But, five years after 9/11, this is still one of the easiest countries in the world in which to establish a functioning but fraudulent identity.
“Consider, for example, the post-9/11 ritual of airline security. You have to produce government-issued picture ID to the TSA official. Does that make you feel safer? On that Tuesday morning in September, four of the killers got on board by using picture ID they’d acquired through the ‘undocumented worker’ network in Falls Church, Va. Half the jurisdictions in the United States issue picture ID to people who shouldn’t even be in the country, and they issue it as a matter of policy. The Fort Dix boys were pulled over for 19 traffic violations, but because they were in ‘sanctuary cities,’ any cop who suspected they were illegals was unable to report them to immigration authorities. Again, as a matter of policy.
“On one hand, America creates a vast federal security bureaucracy to prevent another 9/11. On the other hand, American politicians and bureaucrats create a parallel system of education and welfare and health care entitlements, main- taining and expanding a vast network of fraudulent identity that cor- rupts the integrity of almost all state databases. And though it played a part in the killing of 3,000 Americans, leaders of both parties insist nothing can be done to stop it. All we can do is give the Duka brothers ‘a fast track to citizenship.'”