Feature

The comfort of incompetent terrorists

It's tempting to assume that all jihadists are as bungling as Faisal Shahzad, argues Sahanand Dhume in The Wall Street Journal—but we do so at our peril

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."

Read the entire article at The Wall Street Journal.

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