Opinion: U.S. must do more to fight radical Islam

April 24, 2013


The last time there was a terrorist attack on America, we got the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration. Each entity has spent billions to keep us safe, but neither could stop two brothers, Tamerlan, a permanent resident, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a newly minted U.S. citizen, who lived in America and, reportedly, became radicalized jihadists, from killing and maiming innocent people at the Boston Marathon last week.

According to Dana Priest and William M. Arkin of The Washington Post, “Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States. ... An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances. ... In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings -- about 17 million square feet of space.”

All of that failed to prevent the Boston bombings. The massive manpower, sophisticated equipment and money could not stop the Tsarnaevs from constructing improvised explosive devices (IEDs), including “pressure cooker” bombs. Despite a domestic army of federal, state and local forces, the suspects managed to evade capture for days until Tamerlan was killed in a shootout and David Henneberry, a Watertown resident, found Dzhokhar hiding in his boat in his backyard. Henneberry called 911 and the wounded suspect was taken into custody.

The media have reported on the backgrounds of the two men. The FBI interviewed the older brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan, at the request of a foreign government, probably Russia, which expressed concern about his ties to Chechen extremists. The FBI, reportedly, could do nothing about Tamerlan under current U.S. law because there was no direct evidence of a terrorist plot.

How much confidence should Americans have in their government for keeping us safe when two young men can wreak havoc, shutting down a major city?

One thing the U.S. government should decide is whether or not to allow people into America from countries where radical Islam and “jihad” are taught. The hope has been that letting them live here would lead them to become more like us, more accepting of our way of life. In fact, their stay in America seems to have reinforced a radical brand of religion and its worldview that are intended to destroy countries like America whose freedoms and “libertinism” they despise.

The UK Daily Mirror reported Sunday that the FBI was hunting a 12-member “sleeper cell” they say is linked to the Tsarnaev brothers. Quoting a source close to the investigation, the Mirror reported, “We have no doubt the brothers were not acting alone. The devices used to detonate the two bombs were highly sophisticated and not the kind of thing people learn from Google.”

More must also be done to curtail the admission of radical imams and the construction of mosques and Islamic schools where hatred of America, Jews and Christians is preached and taught. How many sleeper cells are there in America? They must be found and dismantled. As offensive as this may be to some sensibilities, it is either that, or the offense of more terrorist attacks by people who hate us and are willing to die in the pursuit of goals they believe are dictated by their god.

How many more Americans must be killed and wounded before we fight back, not just overseas, but here? Our enemies are fighting us here. It’s our country, not theirs. We must fight for it.

Osama bin Laden’s announced intention was to conduct a “war of a thousand cuts” against America to harm our economy and permanently change our way of life. If he can see from Hell, he must be pleased about the way things are going.

— Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services.


hitme 11 months, 2 weeks ago

IMAGINE: Stealth bombera dropping leaflets over North Korea that read, "Islamist Jihadists hate Koreans!"


Armstrong 11 months, 3 weeks ago

We must practice tolerance for the Muslims, only a few of them have committed acts of violence while we blame all. Blah, blah. Let's apply that to gun owners.


dfybaby21 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm personally a little more concerned with the thousands of people that die at the hands of guns every year than the once a decade possible attack from a Muslim. But maybe I'm the crazy one. Daily Show ran a great piece the other day on how Faux News (and their ilk) couldn't wait to just shred the Constitution over this Boston attack. Sounds like Carl feels the same way.


reality_check79 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Mother on the watch list, felony warrants in this country, and one brother already interviewed by the FBI and nothing happen... that is until the explosion that was a direct attack against innocent people for no reason. Syria is now accused of using chemical weapons on their own people and the world watches on television, he murders and makes his own people starve and everyday we watch... You didn't see radical Muslims complaining in the 80's when the United States was giving them weapons, didn't see them complaining the US stepped in to help Kuwait from being taken off the map, and I never saw kids running when soldiers give them water and food... Radicals exist for every religion all over the world. The radical Muslims (extremely rare) live and think that Christians are the devil, infidels, root of evil, and dirty because we touch with our left hand. They believe when they die taking a few with them that they will get virgins (think 72) and live in paradise.. these radical groups teach people views much like Mormon extremist brain wash their followers, or David Koresh (typo?), Jim Jones, and Manson... The difference is that radical Muslims (again very rare) use explosives and attack for the purpose of killing innocent people, ruining lives, and causing chaos... Unfortunately there is not a lot that can be done other than try to prevent the next one and hope.. the FBI/Military/CIA/ATF/Homeland defense/NSA/and informants have to right 100% of the time, terrorist only have to be right once...


overplayedhistory 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Radicalized profit zealots, in Texas, killed 11 more than the radicalized Islamic terrorists last week. What are we going to do about them?


verity 11 months, 3 weeks ago

This article is off the front page, so probably nobody will see it, but I'm posting it anyway.

Huffington Post published "Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion: Stories Of Victims Of the Blast ." I feel like they are also worthy of notice. Most of those who died were first responders who were trying to control the fire that led to the explosion. They are certainly as much heroes as any dealing with the tragedy in Boston.


jafs 11 months, 3 weeks ago

"There are no good answers" "Damned if we do and damned if we don't" "If you think we learned anything (from WWI), then you're mistaken"

The worldview espoused in these comments is a rather negative one, leading to apathy and cynicism.


Liberty275 11 months, 4 weeks ago

People hate us an will try to kill us. We accept that an move on. In the meantime, we need to do all we can giving full weight to laws that give wide latitude to the people's rights.

We don't change because people want to kill us, we do what we are compelled to and try to stop terrorists from killing us. Win some, lose some.

If terrorism is something we should worry about, the terrorists have already won.


verity 11 months, 4 weeks ago

There is something that keeps bothering me. Two day after the attack in Boston, a fertilizer plant exploded in Texas.

Reuters - "Wilson said 50 to 75 homes were damaged by the explosion and a fire that followed, and that a nearby 50-unit apartment complex had been reduced to "a skeleton standing up". Muska put the number of destroyed homes at between 60 and 80. . . .

The fertilizer plant that exploded on Wednesday, obliterating part of a small Texas town and killing at least 14 people, had last year been storing 1,350 times the amount of ammonium nitrate that would normally trigger safety oversight by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). . . .

Yet a person familiar with DHS operations said the company that owns the plant, West Fertilizer, did not tell the agency about the potentially explosive fertilizer as it is required to do, leaving one of the principal regulators of ammonium nitrate - which can also be used in bomb making - unaware of any danger there."

The Dallas Morning News reported that among the dead were at least 11 emergency responders, three of whom were training at the time of the blast to become EMTs. They valiantly rushed to the growing smoke plume that could be seen for miles around the small community of 2,800 people. It would be, as the paper said, "their last call."

Approximately 200 people were injured by the blast.

One has to make a point of looking for news about this while the Boston tragedy is continuously all over the news. This looks to be a worse tragedy in terms of people killed and injured, and was apparently caused by greed and by the company not following the law. No, they didn't plan to kill people and destroy lives, but they knew that could happen and they took that chance. The end result is the same, whether it was intended or not. Living in the midwest, I feel I have more to fear from this sort of lawlessness than from terrorists.

My question is: Why is the Boston bombing judged so much worse when fewer people were injured and killed?


tolawdjk 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Sorry Cal, I'm not going to agree to chip away at personal freedoms because for gun control and I'm not going to chip away at personal freedoms because someone half a world away doesn't believe in the same things I believe in.

Laws don't stop criminals.


KansasLiberal 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Why do so many people refuse to understand that "radical islam" wouldn't have any problem with America if our government didn't kill so many people in the middle east and support so many brutal dictators over there? They don't "hate us for our freedoms", they hate us because we send our military into their countries to kill their fellow citizens. If we would leave them alone they would do the same to us.


jonas_opines 11 months, 4 weeks ago

"Osama bin Laden’s announced intention was to conduct a “war of a thousand cuts” against America to harm our economy and permanently change our way of life. If he can see from Hell, he must be pleased about the way things are going."

I mean seriously, the irony dripping from this is palpable. Osama would be smiling because his goal was to harm our economy and "permanently change our way of life"? Cal, you're ADVOCATING a policy that would permanently change our way of life!


jonas_opines 11 months, 4 weeks ago

I wonder if, going back through Cal Thomas's editorial archives, we'd ever find something of this nature on, say, a gun control column:

We must resist these attempts by the government to control our freedoms in order to make us safer, because those intent on criminal action will find ways around our laws.

The argument has some validity in both cases.

Cal has written enough about constitutional freedoms -- of speech, religion, etc. -- that he should feel ashamed to have written this. Or, he should simply, openly admit that what he wants is freedom for himself and those who think like himself, rather than freedom for everybody.


autie 11 months, 4 weeks ago

If the thought is we should step efforts to combat the radial Islamist, we should also consider stepping efforts to curtail the heinous activities of the radical Christians. They intrude into our private lives at every turn and attempt to turn all government into some temporal good ole boys club. The same jihadists that killed a man in the lobby of his own church in Wichita.


voevoda 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Cal Thomas himself often condemns the US as it is, and insists that it must change or it will be totally destroyed. He despises the US government. He claims that he is motivated by a religious world view that is superior to any other, and he advocates suppressing religions different from his own. Although he says that he is in favor of freedom, he has no qualms about trampling his fellow citizens' Constitutional rights--the rights of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, and (perhaps most onimously) the principle of innocent until proven guilty. Cal Thomas' worldview is remarkably similar to the "jihadists" (as he calls them).


Agnostick 11 months, 4 weeks ago

I can teach "radical Islam" in Lawrence, Kansas ... by embedding the right YouTube code in this message. Just a friendly little YouTube video with a lecture or sermon from a Muslim or Taliban cleric, and I'm teaching "radical Islam" in Lawrence, Kansas .

That assumes, of course, that my students are actually somewhere in or near Lawrence, Kansas, when they fire up their web browser or YouTube app and watch the video, right?

Funny. Cal Thomas would probably be just fine with letting three-year-old boys and girls play with fully-loaded AK-47 rifles under a new NRA education program... but then he wants to stop all Americans from traveling, and cut off all Internet access.

Because if you want to cut off "radical Islam"... you're going to have to be like Communist China ... and severely curtail travel and Internet access.

Smart, Cal. Really smart.


2manyshoes 11 months, 4 weeks ago

We should get our renegade FBI and CIA under some kind of control too. From 9-11, to the OK City bombings, to the Boston Bombings, to the Texas explosion that shows a missile strike, there are just way too many unanswered questions. These questions cannot be ignored.

Radical islam is a nice excuse but really this unnatural disaster stuff is coming from within our own government agencies. These repeats are just too much to ignore.

And BTW, Cal, the mainstream media lies. That is why they have been eliminated as valid news sources. If you need an example, Iraq did NOT have WMDs that posed an "imminent threat", with the NYT apologizing for presenting it as a fact. But that apology still doesn't stop them from being a state mouthpiece. Meanwhile, the Koch brothers have now purchased the Tribunes and the LA Times, leading to even more future misconceptions regarding actual events.

Meanwhile, Cal, the CIA was the concept-creater of radical muslimism anyway, when they started and educated and trained the mujahideen, the precursor to al Qaeda, leading me to believe that the al qaeda is a mere tool of the CIA. While we fight al qaeda in some areas of the world, the CIA pays them to create havoc in other parts of the world like some countries in Africa and in Northern Iraq.


Paul R Getto 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Works both ways, sir. Some countries are banning our MIC terrorists, like Rummy and the Dark Lord Cheney. Fair is fair, eh?


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