A story that got some reporting, but not enough, was the sentencing earlier this week of would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad. As expected, he got life imprisonment.
President Obama has said time and again that we are not at war with Islam. He has been less specific about what it is, exactly, that we are at war with. His Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, has observed that we seem to be confronting "man caused disasters." The specific source of these mysteriously appearing "disasters" seems to elude her.
Mr. Shahzad is not similarly confused. His words at sentencing were, inter alia:
"Brace yourselves, because the war with Muslims has just begun," 31-year-old...Shahzad told a federal judge. ... "We are only Muslims trying to defend our religion, people, homes and land, but if you call us terrorists, then we are proud terrorists and we will keep on terrorizing you until you leave our lands and people at peace."
Andy McCarthy, the man who convicted Omar Abdel-Rahman (the "Blind Sheik") for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, notes that we ignore Shahzad at our peril. Among other things, Andy observes:
[W]hether they are right or wrong, there are millions upon millions of Muslims who believe exactly what Shahzad believes about the nature of jihad and the demands of sharia. It is of no moment to them that we do not see ourselves as at war with Islam, or that we see the victims of terrorism as "innocent." They see things as Shahzad sees them, even if they are not willing to go the next step of commiting acts of terrorism, as Shahzad is.
From the perspective of American national security, it does not matter if those Muslims are wrong about Islam. What matters is that there are a lot of them and they constitute a mainstream current of Islamic thought. They have the support of influential Islamic scholars who tell them Islam is under siege, and they don't care in the slightest whether Western intellectuals (at whom they scoff) or Muslim reformers (whom they regard as apostates) think they have interpreted Islam incorrectly.
One need not agree with everything Andy says to understand that the administration needs to take the jihadist threat a great deal more soberly than its complacent and self-congratulatory position suggests.