There seems to be a new rule in the Department of Homeland Security and the national security community:
“No individual attack can be considered a terrorist act unless there is clear public evidence tying it to Al Qaeda.”
Sounds like Janet Incompetanto, doesn’t it? Homeland contingency operations, man-made disasters, Â anyone?
This comes in handy for those federal agencies which forbid their employees to use sensitive words such as “jihad”. For example theÂ National Counterterrorism Center:
Never use the terms “jihadist” or “mujahideen” in conversation to describe the terrorists. A mujahed, a holy warrior, is a positive characterization in the context of a just war. In Arabic, jihad means “striving in the path of God” and is used in many contexts beyond warfare. Calling our enemies jihadis and their movement a global jihad unintentionally legitimizes their actions.
The media are ready to jump on the bandwagon. According to theÂ guidelinesissued by the Society of Professional Journalists for its members:
Avoid using terms such as “jihad” unless you are certain of their precise meaning and include the context when they are used in quotations. The basic meaning of “jihad” is to exert oneself for the good of Islam and to better oneself.
We can be thankful that our government and our journalists are out there keeping an eye on these tricky semantic details. With their help, American citizens are well-informed and can be alert for “violent extremism”. Or whatever terms we’re allowed to use to describe the people who hijack a great religion and distort the tenets of their faith in an attempt to kill American citizens on American soil.
Yes, we get the picture: No “jihad”, no “terrorism”, no problem. Right?
That’s apparently what happened last night in Times Square. No “terrorism” was involved, despite the fact that the Taliban has claimed credit for an amateurish car bomb planted in a parked van in the heart of New York City. According toÂ The New York Daily News:
A Taliban official in Pakistan took credit Sunday for parking the crude yet powerful car bomb in Times Square but police were looking into all angles â€” including possible retaliation for a South Park cartoon lampooning censorship about Mohammed.
Mind you, the fact that the Taliban claimed credit doesn’t carry much weight. After all, if Obama fell down in the bathtub and cracked his skull, they’d phone the BBC immediately and claim their mujahideen were responsible.
But “officials” are doing more than doubting the Taliban’s bragging. They’re doubting that any terrorism was involved:
Officials were skeptical of linking the foiled attack to international terrorist groups, calling it more likely a “one-off” or “lone wolf.” Preliminary signs suggest “that this was not part of any plot by al Qaeda or another known terrorist organization,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
This is a routine characterization for virtually any attempted or successful act of violence by a follower of the prophet Mohammed. If there’s no obvious immediate connection with Al Qaeda, it’s not “terrorism”. And wearing an “I â™¥ Osama” t-shirt doesn’t count. If he’s not carrying an Official Al Qaeda Shahid Field Operations Manual at the moment of detonation, he’s not a “terrorist”.
As I’ve pointed out numerous times in the past, the mantra “No Connection With Terrorism” is recited by DHS spokesbeings almost before the 911 caller hangs up.
They did it with the Killer Shrink of Fort Hood. They did it with the Christmas lap bomber. The pesky connections with Anwar Al-Awlaki and the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda can be overlooked â€” these guys weren’t “terrorists”, they were psychologically disturbed “lone wolves” who got a bit overwrought and decided to kill Americans while shouting “Allahu Akhbar!”
The Times Square non-terrorist incident might have been pretty lethal if an alert street vendor hadn’t noticed the smoke in time:
The materials were primitive, but if the van had blown, officials said the inferno would have eclipsed the blazing lights of the Crossroads of the World.
“I think the intent was to cause a significant ball of fire,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
“We are very, very lucky,” said a police source.
And the DHS take?