Faisal Shahzad's Protective 'Normalcy' — An American Wife, Kids, U.S. Passport

I find this ironic.

Much has been made of the fact that this man — who allegedly parked a truck in Times Square and hoped to blow it up — is a U.S. citizen, someone who obtained both his undergraduate and graduate degrees in the United States. His wife is a U.S. citizen and he has two kids — all of whom now live in Pakistan.

He had hit all the middle-class, conventional metrics that typically reassure Americans someone really is an OK guy: marriage, parenthood, home ownership, undergrad and graduate degrees (an MBA, even) from American colleges. And naturalization.

Americans are very big on legal aliens —  those of us who legally work and live here and pay full taxes and follow American laws and customs — becoming citizens. The very word “naturalized’ — no matter how its inherent patriotism quickens the heartbeat for some — is deeply offensive to me. It suggests we “aliens” (love that word, too) are somehow “less than” because we can’t step into a voting booth and won’t be called to jury duty. That’s about it, except for all the goverment jobs (even Census work) and grants and fellowships we are denied access to without citizenship.

But simply acquiring a U.S. passport, clearly, is no guarantee you’ve just handed the keys to the kingdom, as it’s viewed, to the people you really most want as your permanent neighbors.

So much for that.

Writes conservative columnist, Michelle Malkin:

America’s homeland-security amnesia never ceases to amaze. In the aftermath of the botched Times Square terror attack, Pakistani-born bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad’s US citizenship status caused a bit of shock and awe. The Atlantic magazine writer Jeffrey Goldberg’s response was typical: “I am struck by the fact that he is a naturalized American citizen, not a recent or temporary visitor.” Well, wake up and smell the deadly deception.

Shahzad’s path to American citizenship — he reportedly married an American woman, Huma Mian, in 2008 after spending a decade in the country on foreign student and employment visas — is a tried-and-true terror formula. Jihadists have been gaming the sham-marriage racket for years. And immigration-benefit fraud has provided invaluable cover and aid for US-based Islamic plotters, including many planning attacks on New York City. As I’ve reported previously:

* El Sayyid A. Nosair wed Karen Ann Mills Sweeney to avoid deportation for overstaying his visa. He acquired US citizenship, allowing him to remain in the country, and was later convicted for conspiracy in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing that claimed six lives.

* Ali Mohamed became a US citizen after marrying a woman he met on a plane trip from Egypt to New York. He became a top aide to Osama bin Laden and was later convicted for his role in the 1998 US embassy bombings in Africa that killed 12 Americans and more than 200 others.

* Embassy-bombing plotter Khalid Abu al Dahab obtained citizenship after marrying three different American women.

She goes on to name many others.

Now that the state of Arizona is stopping anyone who looks Hispanic to prove their legal right to remain in the U.S., maybe people are looking in all the wrong places.

Shahzad, as the BBC and this Pakistani newspaper have reported, comes from an educated family, his father a retired Air Force officer.

It is comforting, and apparently falsely so, to believe that would-be terrorists are only found barefoot and economically desperate in dusty foreign villages. If the charges prove to be true — and even if this one is not — they may well be sitting next to you at your kids’ soccer match or at the playground or sitting in the same college classroom.

The Hurt Locker — On-Screen Winner, But How True to Life?

The Hurt Locker
Image via Wikipedia

Not so true?

Here’s what some soldiers in-country had to say about the veracity of “The Hurt Locker”, Oscar’s Best Picture.

From The Globe and Mail:

But the film’s admirers don’t include those who actually do the job – defusing or destroying makeshift bombs. Canadian explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) soldiers in Kandahar, one of Afghanistan’s most volatile and bomb-laden provinces, say their life is no Hurt Locker.

“First reaction was, ‘This is pretty Hollywood,’ ” says EOD soldier Lieutenant Caroline Pollock. “All of us were laughing at the movie, at parts in the movie where no one else would laugh. Like, this is ridiculous.”

The Canadians, for example, think Guy Pearce’s character – killed early on while wearing the heavy bomb suit and running from an explosion – shouldn’t actually have died.

“The guy was 100 metres away and running when it exploded? I was surprised he died,” said Leading Seaman Doug Woodrow, a 13-year Forces veteran who has donned the suit himself.

In one scene, the boys get into a sniper fight alongside some mercenaries. Sniper and EOD skills are not typically offered as a joint course, nor are bomb experts expected to clear massive industrial buildings on their own, as Sgt. James and his team do.

“I was like, ‘Who the hell does this? Can I have their job?’ ” Lt. Pollock says, laughing. “It was a good movie, but I didn’t think it was that great … I don’t think it was accurate of what EOD operators do.”

Here’s a book by a British soldier about his job defusing bombs.