Cliff May
“All warfare is based upon deception,” instructed Sun Tzu, the great Chinese military strategist of the 6th Century B.C. But when it comes to the Global Jihad of the 21st Century, the extent to which we in the West insist upon deceiving ourselves would shock even Sunny. Five brief examples follow.

1: Yonathan Melaku was charged in federal court with shooting at the National Museum of the Marine Corps. The officials who arrested him later searched his home and found a videotape in which he is shouting “Allahu Akbar!” They also found a notebook in which he’d written about Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, the Taliban and “The Path to Jihad,” a book of lectures by Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born Islamic cleric who was widely considered a moderate before he fled to Yemen where he is now a top al-Qaeda commander.

So it’s pretty obvious what Melaku was up, right? Not if you’re a federal employee, it’s not. “I can’t suggest to you his motivations or intent,” James W. McJunkin, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington field office told reporters at a news conference. “It’s not readily apparent yet.”

Many in the mainstream media also expressed befuddlement. A Washington Post story carried the headline: “Pentagon Shooting Subject Not Known to Law Enforcement.” (Really? That’s the news here?) The article told readers that “a motive for the shootings — and why Melaku had possible bombmaking materials — remains elusive.” So does that mean we can’t rule out a crime of passion -- or a paint ball competition that got out of hand?

To be fair, if you read to the very end of the story you will learn that it has occurred to some law enforcement officials that Melaku’s “writings and the contents of his laptop” might “indicate a desire to be involved in jihad.” Ya think? And not jihad in the sense of a struggle for individual self-fulfillment?

2: A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a column arguing that there was no evidence to support the mainstream media narrative that Muslims in America face increasing discrimination and persecution – as do, for example, religious and ethnic minorities in most Muslim-majority countries, a situation the mainstream media assiduously avoid. I received many angry letters in response. My favorite included three newspaper stories meant to prove I was wrong.

Cliff May

Clifford D. May is the President of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.