Faisal Shahzad, the U.S. citizen accused of attempting to bomb Times Square, made a laughably inept attempt at a jihadist attack, writes Sahanand Dhume in The Wall Street Journal. Not only was his "car bomb" seemingly designed by Wile E. Coyote, he left a paper trail so obvious authorities tracked him down in less than 48 hours. But for every Shahzad, there's a Mohamed Atta, "another privileged young man educated in the West and drawn to radical Islam." It does not pay to ignore that threat, warns Dhume. An excerpt:
"On the face of it, the sloppiness of Mr. Shahzad and his ilk ought to be welcome. Who in his right mind would prefer a terrorist threat metastasizing among punctilious Japanese, hard-charging South Koreans, or the relentless Vietnamese? But there's also a downside to someone like Mr. Shahzad transitioning seamlessly from a smoking SUV to the late-night routines of Jon Stewart and Jay Leno. It inadvertently bolsters those who pooh-pooh radical Islam—the sharia-minded version of the faith that spawns jihadists around the world—as a threat not worth taking seriously.
"Unlike Nazi Germany with its Panzers and SS divisions, or the Soviet Union with its cosmonauts and nuclear physicists, the Muslim world is marked by sloth, squalor, and inefficiency. As a result, the threat from radical Islam—unlike past threats to free societies—represents a Third World totalitarianism, difficult to grasp and easy to dismiss. Against this backdrop, bumblers like Mr. Shahzad help perpetuate a false sense of security."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- Why the Supreme Court is allowing Texas to hold an unconstitutional election
- Gamergate has backfired spectacularly on its nincompoop perpetrators
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- How 1,000-year lifespans could remake the economy
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Rise of the machines
- Why you should absolutely watch this confounding, wonderful World Series
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
Subscribe to the Week