The jaw-dropping court testimony by Faisal Shahzad, the would-be Times Square
bomber, singlehandedly undermines Obama administration efforts to ignore the
dangers of Islamism.
Shahzad’s statements stand out because jihadis, when
facing legal charges, typically save their skin by pleading not guilty or plea
Consider a few examples:
• Naveed Haq, who assaulted the
Jewish federation building in Seattle, pleaded not guilty by reason of
• Lee Malvo, one of the Beltway Snipers, explained that “one
reason for the shootings was that white people had tried to harm Louis
Farrakhan.” His partner John Allen Muhammad claimed his innocence to the death
• Hasan Akbar killed two fellow American soldiers as they slept
in a military compound, then told the court: “I want to apologize for the attack
that occurred. I felt that my life was in jeopardy, and I had no other options.
I also want to ask you for forgiveness.”
• Mohammed Taheri-azar, who
tried to kill students on the University of North Carolina by running over them
in a car, and issued a series of jihadi rants against the US, later experienced
a change of heart, announced he was “very sorry” for the crimes and asked for
release so he could “reestablish myself as a good, caring and productive member
of society” in California.
THESE EFFORTS fit a broader pattern of
Islamist mendacity; rarely does a jihadi stand on principle.
Moussaoui, 9/11’s would-be 20th hijacker, came close: His court proceedings
began with his refusing to enter a plea (which the presiding judge translated
into “not guilty”) and then pleading guilty to all charges.
acted in an exceptional manner during his appearance in a New York City federal
court on June 21. His answers to Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum’s many questions
(“And where was the bomb?” “What did you do with the gun?”) offered a dizzying
mix of deference and contempt.
On the one hand, he politely, calmly,
patiently, fully and informatively described his actions. On the other, he in
the same voice justified his attempt at cold-blooded mass murder.
judge asked Shahzad after he announced an intent to plead guilty to all 10
counts of his indictment: “Why do you want to plead guilty?” A reasonable
question given the near certainty that guilty pleas will keep him in jail for
long years. He replied forthrightly: I want to plead guilty and I’m going to
plead guilty 100 times forward because – until the hour the US pulls it forces
from Iraq and Afghanistan and stops the drone strikes in Somalia and Yemen and
in Pakistan and stops the occupation of Muslim lands and stops killing Muslims
and stops reporting the Muslims to its government – we will be attacking [the]
US, and I plead guilty to that.”
Shahzad insisted on portraying himself
as replying to American actions: “I am part of the answer to the US terrorizing
[of] the Muslim nations and the Muslim people, and on behalf of that, I’m
avenging the attacks,” adding that “we Muslims are one community.”
was that all; he flatly asserted that his goal had been to damage buildings and
“injure people or kill people” because “one has to understand where I’m coming
from, because... I consider myself a mujahid, a Muslim soldier.”
CEDARBAUM pointed out that pedestrians in Times Square during the early
of May 1 were not attacking Muslims, Shahzad replied: “Well, the
people select the government. We consider them all the same.”
reflects not just that American citizens are responsible for their
democratically elected government, but also the Islamist view that, by
definition, infidels cannot be innocent.
However abhorrent, this tirade
does have the virtue of truthfulness. Shahzad’s willingness to express
Islamic purposes and spend long years in jail for them flies in the face
Obama administration efforts not to name Islamism as the enemy,
lame formulations as “overseas contingency operations” and “man-caused
Americans – as well as Westerners generally, all non- Muslims
and anti-Islamist Muslims – should listen to the bald declaration by
Shahzad and accept the painful fact that Islamist anger and aspirations
motivate their terrorist enemies.The writer (www.DanielPipes.org) is
director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting
fellow at the
Hoover Institution of Stanford University.
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