Sen. Joe Lieberman was right to sound the alarm about Yemen in the wake of the Undy-Bomber's Christmas Day terror attack over American skies. But he was wrong to call it "tomorrow's war." The Yemen-based jihadist network has been at war with us for years -- since before the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions, since before Sept. 11 and well before our current commander in chief had begun his vaunted work as a community organizer.
The bleeding-heart ostriches of the left are blaming (who else?) cowboy George W. Bush for radicalizing poor, oppressed Yemenis. But the killer fruits of botched bomber Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab's loom have nothing to do with poverty, social injustice, Western imperialism or Bush Derangement Syndrome. The fundamentalist Muslim is the privileged son of a Nigerian public official. He lived a "gilded life," as the Independent of London described it, studying engineering at one of Britain's most prestigious universities before training for terror in Yemen.
Media sympathizers have spotlighted Abdulmutallab's web postings bemoaning his "loneliness." But more compassion and empathy -- the remedy Barack Obama prescribed in an infamously clueless Chicago community newspaper op-ed after the Sept. 11 attacks -- are useless salves to the terrorist's damned soul. Like so many of his wealthy, educated jihad brothers and sisters before him, from Osama bin Laden to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to Fort Hood mass killer Nidal Hasan, M.D., Abdulmutallab targeted us for who we are -- dirty, unbelieving infidels -- not anything we've denied him.
And for his failed act of self-eunuchery and mass murder, the all-too-enlightened leaders of al-Qaida in Yemen and beyond hailed Abdulmutallab as a "hero."
Another of these "heroes" in Yemen is Jamal Muhammad Ahmad Al Badawi, the convicted mastermind of the U.S.S. Cole bombing that took the lives of 17 American sailors in October 2000. Despite being sentenced to the death penalty, escaping twice from jail and being indicted in the U.S. on terrorism charges, the Yemeni government freed him in 2007 in exchange for a promise that he renounce his old infidel-murdering ways. More than two dozen of Badawi's jailbreak buddies, including bin Laden's former secretary, Nasir al-Wahayshi, reunited to form the jihadi training team that now claims it supplied Abdulmutallab with his incendiary device.
Yemen human rights activist and blogger Jane Novak has reported for years on how Yemeni intelligence and military officials have facilitated al-Qaida training camps -- often providing "safe houses, training and passports to the jihadists that travel to Iraq to attempt to kill U.S. troops."
The Yemeni government, Novak points out, has also used al-Qaida mercenaries to fight northern rebels and train tribal militias. Jihad spiritual advisor Anwar al-Awlaki, linked to the Sept. 11 hijackers and Fort Hood mass killer Hasan, also calls Yemen home -- and reportedly blessed the Crotch Bomber attack, according to The Washington Times.
Now, the Yemen government has the gall to blame the West for not providing enough assistance to stop the breeding of hundreds of future flying Crotch Bombers.
America, unfortunately, is hardly in a position to criticize Yemen's jihadi revolving door. ABC News reported this week that two of the four jihadi leaders behind the Christmas Day terror plot were released from Gitmo during the Bush administration in November 2007. (What a quandary for Bush-bashers who have stubbornly denied that Gitmo recidivism threatens our national security.) The freed detainees were shipped off to terror-friendly Saudi Arabia, where they underwent "art therapy rehabilitation" -- the ultimate bloody brainchild of the jihadi-as-victim mindset.
In January 2009, the two "rehabilitated" recidivists released a video vowing to wage jihad to "aid the religion," "establish the rightly guided caliphate" and " fight against our enemies." One of the duo, Said Ali al-Shihri, is suspected of involvement in a deadly bombing of the United States embassy in Yemen's capital, Sana, in September 2008.
Another Yemeni at Gitmo, Ali Hamza al-Bahlul, was convicted by a U.S. military tribunal in the last days of the Bush administration for conspiring with al-Qaida, soliciting murder and providing material support for terrorism. He had scripted the videotaped wills of two Sept. 11 hijackers and boasted of making a two-hour al-Qaida commercial designed to recruit suicide bombers, according to FBI testimony. The recruitment ad celebrated the U.S.S. Cole bombers in Yemen.
Hundreds of Yemeni detainees at Gitmo abandoned the benefit of the doubt years ago. Yet, Attorney General Eric Holder's law firm, Covington and Burling, has provided dozens of them pro bono legal representation and sob-story media relations campaigns. True to form, former Covington and Burling lawyer Marc Falkoff dedicated a book of Gitmo detainee poetry to his Yemeni suspected terrorist "friends inside the wire." And the White House is rolling out the red carpet to bring them to U.S. soil for civilian trials.
At a time when we should be disabling the jihadi revolving door, its rotating shaft is spinning out of control.