Captain Yee's sympathy circle

Michelle Malkin

4/21/2004 12:00:00 AM - Michelle Malkin

The usual suspects -- plus one holier-than-thou world power -- are calling on the U.S. military to repent for its treatment of Muslim chaplain James Yee (a.k.a. "Yousef" or "Yousif" Yee).

 Refresher: Yee's the Army captain who ministered to al Qaeda and Taliban detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Seven months ago, Yee was arrested on suspicion of espionage. He spent 76 days in solitary confinement; the case didn't materialize; he was convicted on lesser charges of adultery and downloading pornography. Last week, the Army Southern Command chief who oversees military operations at Guantanamo dismissed those convictions.

 What more do Yee and his sympathy circle want? They want the government to grovel and beg forgiveness for being too aggressive in defending against potential terrorist sympathizers and abettors. In a letter to President Bush, Yee's lawyer complained of guards who "refused to provide him with a liturgical calendar or prayer rug and refused to tell him the time of day or the direction of Mecca." Comparing it to the victimization of gay soldiers, commentator Andrew Sullivan condemned the military's enforcement of the Uniform Code of Military Justice against Yee as "disgraceful, foul and malicious." And now, along with Arab-American and Asian-American activists trying to turn Yee into an international human rights poster boy, comes the Communist government of China.

 According to the Zhongguo Xinwen She news agency, the Chinese ambassador to the United Nations, Sha Zukang, blasted the U.S. for "racial discrimination" and cited "the recent case against Chinese American Yousef Yee" as an example of America's "domestic human rights situation." The absurdity of turning this into a racial issue is topped only by the sanctimony of Ambassador Sha, representative of the Falun Gong-torturing, political dissent-steamrolling, one-child-policy pioneers in Beijing, who fulminated that "the United States should look at itself in a mirror." Captain Yee's stateside defenders, such as Cecilia Chang of the San Francisco Bay Area-based grievance group Justice for New Americans, likewise pretend he was viciously singled out for being the child of "immigrant minorities." Chang complained, "Many people who don't look very 'American' are being targeted."

 This is identity-politics opportunism of the worst kind. The fact that Yee was of Chinese descent had about as much to do with the case as his shoe size. The issue is our continued vulnerability to Islamist infiltration, particularly in the armed forces. Yee's race card-playing team conveniently ignores the recent arrest of Ryan Anderson, the white Muslim National Guardsman accused of trying to pass information about military capabilities to al Qaeda over the Internet -- as well as the other alleged espionage cases at Guantanamo Bay involving Ahmad F. Mehalba, an Egyptian-American Muslim civilian interpreter charged with lying about computer CDs in his baggage that contained classified information from Guantanamo, and Air Force Senior Airman Ahmad I. al Halabi. Al Halabi, a Syrian-American Muslim, faces 17 charges of espionage, lying and disobeying orders, and also stands accused of failing to report his contacts with the Syrian Embassy to his superiors and of repeatedly lying to Air Force investigators.

 After the Yee case came to light last fall, I wrote that the military's dangerous deference to radical Islam was a menace to our national security. The outcome of the Yee case does not change my position on this. (And by the way, to those readers who have demanded that I apologize to Captain Yee, I'll send him a condolence card when you apologize for your "Free Mike Hawash" campaign on behalf of the Portland software engineer who pleaded guilty to aiding terrorists and confessed that he and other associates were "prepared to take up arms, and die as martyrs if necessary, to defend the Taliban.") Nor does the dismissal of charges against Yee negate the still-pressing need to subject to heightened scrutiny the rest of the armed forces' Muslim chaplains -- more than half of whom were trained by a terror-linked, Saudi-subsidized institute.

 Once again, the hindsight hypocrites are lambasting the Bush administration for overreacting while excoriating them in the same breath for underreacting to potential terrorist conspiracies. It's a sorry sight.