Commentary Magazine


Must We Aid Them?

This report on Anwar al-Aulaqi, Major Nidal Hasan’s e-mail pal and the former imam of a northern Virginia mosque, explains:

The Yemeni American cleric at the center of investigations into last month’s massacre of 13 people at Fort Hood, Tex., became more openly radical in Yemen, following a path taken by other extremists in this failing Middle East nation with a growing al-Qaeda presence, according to relatives, friends and associates in Yemen.

Why was it, then, that we dumped a number of Guantanamo detainees into Yemen? We did, a move that Congressman Frank Wolf decried after the Fort Hood terror attack. It seems not to have been very wise.

And the story also makes clear the power of such figures to recruit and spread the message of Islamic jihadism:

By 2006, Aulaqi’s influence had widened into the world of terrorism through his Web site and Facebook page, even though most Yemenis had never heard of him. Starting that year, investigators have found Aulaqi’s sermons downloaded on the computers of suspects in nearly a dozen terrorism cases in Britain and Canada.

In mid-2006, Yemeni authorities arrested him. Aulaqi was accused of inciting attacks against a man over a tribal matter involving a woman. Aulaqi denied the allegations in an interview with Begg last year and accused the U.S. government of pressuring Yemen to keep him locked up.

Yet we are prepared to give KSM a public forum and nonstop cable and Internet coverage in a New York courtroom to do the same.

It does at times appear that the Obami have divorced themselves from reality. They seem blissfully unaware or unconcerned that their own policies may actually aid fanatics in their effort to spread the message of Islamic fundamentalism. When the Obami stop releasing detainees to hotbeds of Islamic fanaticism and providing free publicity for terrorists, we’ll know that the administration is finally clued in to the nature of our enemy and the requirements of fighting a war against religious fanatics.