The Stupid, It Burns

Peter King Proclaims His Idiocy

In response to the recent due-process-free killing of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, the following statement was produced by Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee:
The killing of Anwar al-Awlaki is a great success in our fight against al-Qaeda and its affiliates. For the past several years, al-Awlaki has been more dangerous even than Osama bin Laden had been. The killing of al-Awlaki is a tremendous tribute to President Obama and the men and women of our intelligence community.

Despite this vital development today, we must remain as vigilant as ever, knowing that there are more Islamic terrorists who will gladly step forward to backfill this dangerous killer.
So al-Awlaki is replaceable. And there are now more U.S. citizens who will say that they want to violently respond to the terrorism (killing civilians for a political grievance or to promote fear) of the U.S. Government. So how did killing al-Awlaki make us safer?[1]

Even if you completely accept the claim, "al-Awlaki has been more dangerous even than Osama bin Laden had been," that's not saying much. In the past several years, there have been no attempted terrorist attacks attributed to al-Qaeda Central (AQC). Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has been involved in two attempted attacks: the Underwear Bomber and explosives placed in printer cartridges in overseas delivery shipments. The first package wasn't very likely to succeed. The second packages didn't make it over the Atlantic.

What is amazing about post-9/11 deadly terrorist attacks in the U.S. is not that there haven't been any - there have: It is amazing there haven't been more. It would be incredibly easy to copy cat Anders Bering Breivik in America today. Guns and ammonium nitrate are readily available. The only conclusion to draw from the fact there hasn't been one, is that no competent person has wanted to do it.

Two other things to note, five out of the 12 murderers were Muslims. And all but two involved guns, and only guns. A mass shooting by an American is by far the most serious terrorist threat to Americans today, and will remain that way for as far as I can see.

[1] This ignores the Constitutionally more important point of whether killing al-Awlaki was legal. But that's a whole other post.


Anonymous said...

Your list of post-9/11 terrorist attacks leaves out various attempts, such as the Underwear bomber and a host of other failed terrorist attempts. Al-Awlaki's death leaves us safer by a reduced jihadist capability to recruit homegrown extremists. Al-Awlaki understood US, as well as Arabian and Islamic, cultures and was able to manipulate them to radicalize the susceptible.

Norwegian Shooter said...

I explicitly said deadly attacks. Are you really scared by someone injecting a hastily mixed plastic explosive with a syringe? Or trying to light a shoe on fire? Or throwing a bunch of crap into the back of a car and hoping for the worst?

If Awlaki was such a super-radicalizer, then we'd have had more deadly attacks by now. And, btw, all of Awlaki's sermons and speeches are already online and will get radically more attention now that he is a martyr. We are not safer.

Finally, do you acknowledge that it takes more than a speech to prompt violence? That is, if the US wasn't occupying two Muslim countries, wasn't bombing two others, and wasn't killing and detaining in a third, could Awlaki make anybody do anything?

Norwegian Shooter said...

Zazi, Abdulmutallab and Shahzad were the only American post-9/11 plots mentioned in your link that weren't FBI stings.