Brian Birdnow

Buried in the back pages of the American newspapers this past Friday were two news items of great interest to those who believe that we should take seriously the Islamic terror threat, and the danger it poses to our great nation. The first news brief concerned the arrest of a Marine reservist who had been taken into custody after fleeing from police while trespassing at Arlington National Cemetery earlier this month. Yonathan Melaku, 21, behaved suspiciously and prompted an investigation, in which federal authorities found bomb-making materials in his backpack and a video the suspect had taken of himself firing shots outside the Marine Corps Museum last October, while shouting the all-too familiar terrorist cheer, “Allah Akbar”. Melaku has been a Marine reservist since 2007 and his military registration papers list him as a Muslim. A USMC spokesman said that the Marine Corps has initiated proceedings to discharge Mr. Melaku, recognizing, perhaps, the mutual incompatibility of “Allah Akbar” and “Semper Fidelis”.

The second news item of interest concerned the arrest of two American-born Muslims in what police say was a terrorist plot to attack a military recruit processing station in Seattle. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle charges that Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, born Joseph Anthony Davis, and Walli Mujahidh, born Frederick Dominique, bought machine guns and planned to attack the military processing station in Seattle. The pair of men had initially planned to attack the Ft. Lewis army base, but changed their plans when they realized that a recruit processing station presented a softer target than a presumably well guarded army post. Seattle police discovered this plot, tracked the suspects and informed the FBI. Federal agents arrested the suspects last Wednesday, June 22nd.

According to many members of the chattering classes this sort of thing was not supposed to happen anymore. After all, we Americans had repented our mistake of electing the reckless cowboy George W. Bush and had replaced him with the cool, thoughtful, and profound Barack Obama. This messianic, post-partisan, bi-racial chief executive who happened to sound like a Muslim would stand as proof to the world that America was still a beacon to the oppressed and that we earnestly loved all people without regard to race, creed, or color. Unfortunately, some would-be Islamic terrorists neglected to read this memo, presumably being busy acquiring ammonium nitrate and other materials. We can be thankful that alert law enforcement personnel broke up these recent plots, but we can’t always count on such good fortune.

Brian Birdnow

Brian E. Birdnow is a historian and teaches at a university in the St. Louis area.