The Patriot Post® · Jihadi Murders 5 on Military Base in Chattanooga
Thursday morning, my daily email from Barack Obama’s White House propaganda machine contained a message to all Americans about Ramadan:
“Michelle and I would like to extend our warmest wishes to Muslims in the United States and around the world celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr. As Muslims mark the end of [Ramadan], they are reminded that [it] is a time to reflect spiritually, build communally, and aid those in need. While Eid marks the end of Ramadan, it marks a new beginning for each individual — a reason to celebrate and express gratitude on this holiday. … The morning of Eid is marked with the call to prayer echoing through cities and towns across the globe. Millions of people head to local mosques for special Eid prayers followed by festive gatherings, gift exchanges, and feasts among friends, neighbors and families. As Muslim Americans celebrate Eid across America, the holiday is a reminder to every American of the importance of respecting those of all faiths and beliefs. … Michelle and I hope today brings joy to all of your homes. Eid Mubarak! [Happy Blessed Ramadan]”
What Obama did not mention is that during this “holiday,” there were 2,988 people murdered in the name of Islam, under the banner of “Allahu Akbar,”** and another 3,696 wounded. That toll far exceeded last year’s Ramadan holiday violence, which registered 2,429 murdered and 2,028 wounded.
A few hours after receiving that email, a colleague was joining me for a board meeting in Chattanooga. Just minutes before, he was at a stoplight near our meeting location, and heard what he assumed were fireworks leftover from Fourth of July celebrations. Moments later, a vehicle sped by him in the median.
That vehicle was driven by an Islamic terrorist assailant, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez. He had just fired on one military recruiting center with an AK-47, and was on his way to a second military post where he would kill four Marines: Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan and Lance Cpl. Squire K. Wells. He also wounded three others: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith (who died in surgery), a police officer and a fifth Marine — the latter two in stable condition. Notably, Sgt. Sullivan was an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran who earned two Purple Hearts in combat there. What Islamist insurgents could not accomplish in Iraq, one of their adherents accomplished in Chattanooga.
Make this year’s Ramadan total 2,993 murdered and 3,698 wounded.
I passed by the site of the first assault a minute after my friend — before police were responding to the scene. I regret that I was not there a minute earlier to witness Abdulazeez drive by, because I know the sound of gunfire and would have given pursuit in my personal vehicle – well-equipped for that pursuit. ( My old law-enforcement instincts are irrevocable.) As it was, police would not catch up with the assailant until he was in the midst of his second assault at the nearby Naval and Marine Reserve Center, where they shot Abdulazeez dead.
The deceased and injured at both facilities were, legally, restricted from having any means of self-defense — federal military installations are “gun-free zones,” and there are thousands of locations that have no security force protection, such as recruiting centers.
Fortunately, there were at least two personal weapons belonging to military personnel, which were recovered at the Reserve Center – both used “illegally” to defend Marines and Navy personnel. I have confirmed that my friend, Lt. Cmdr. Timothy White, the senior officer at the scene, used his personal handguns to return fire. In a tragic fate of irony, the personal weapons in the possession of those military personnel on the scene is a violation of UCMJ, and by law Navy JAG will be obligated to review the case and consider charges – which will further drive home the need to reconsider the current regulations. Under the circumstances, I doubt any military court would convict a military officer for this violation.
A DoD directive signed by Bill Clinton in 1993 prohibits military personnel from possessing arms on military bases, installations or offices. In other words, if my active-duty son carried a weapon on his person or in his vehicle onto his military installation, he would be charged with a felony.
Notably, the directive stipulates an exception: “When there is a reasonable expectation that life or DOD assets will be jeopardized if firearms are not carried.” The fact that there were more than 200 Marine assault weapons stored at that Reserve Center, should be reason enough to warrant sidearms on some key personnel. I note, there was no way to get to those weapons during the assault, but I was always trained that your sidearm is to provide cover long enough to get to your rifle. But this assault was over before anyone could get to those weapons.
After Islamist Abdul Hakim Mujahid Muhammad shot two Arkansas Army recruiters in 2009, and then Nidal Malik Hasan murdered 14 soldiers, security personnel and a pre-born child at Fort Hood, Texas — and wounded 29 others — The Patriot Post made the case that military installations should NOT be “gun-free zones.” We insisted that Congress should immediately authorize weapons at all military installations that do not have their own security forces on station.
However, Obama and his then-Democrat controlled House and Senate would not act. In fact, recall if you will that Obama refused to even acknowledge that the Ft. Hood murders constituted an Islamist attack, and he denied combat death benefits or the awarding of Purple Hearts to families of victims there. Obama claimed it was “workplace violence,” and before the blood of our Patriots had dried he attempted to use that tragedy, as he always does, to further his gun confiscation agenda.
Once Republicans controlled Congress, they forced the issue, and the unarmed victims at Ft. Hood were duly recognized as combat fatalities and injuries. However, Obama’s DoD has yet to authorize military personnel at unprotected installations to possess the means to defend themselves against such assaults.
So, who was Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez?
Abdulazeez was a 24-year old born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents. After his parents immigrated to the U.S. Abdulazeez became an American citizen in 2003 as a minor, through the naturalization of his mother. He had lived with his family in a quiet Chattanooga neighborhood since he was in elementary school.
By most accounts, he was well-liked among his peers, both Muslim and non-Muslim, but came from a troubled home with a father whose faith context for their family was very abusive. Notably, his father had previously been on an FBI terrorist watch list.
He graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) in 2012 and was seeking employment as an engineer. In May of 2013, he was actually hired by a Perry, Ohio, nuclear power plant and worked on sight there for 10 days until there were unspecified issues with his background check. In 2014, he spent 7 months in the Middle East, traveling to Kuwait, Jordan and other unspecified areas. By some accounts from those who knew him, Abdulazeez was “changed” when he returned, and became increasingly disenfranchised. In the last year, neighbors report that his whole family became increasingly estranged.
Abdulazeez traveled on a temporary Jordanian passport issued to Palestinians by the Jordanian government, but the Jordanians emphasized he was not a Jordanian citizen. His only run-in with police prior to Thursday was a DUI in April of this year.
In 2010, Abdulazeez’s sister Yasmeen, then a freshman at the UTC, was interviewed in the local paper about the tensions between Muslims and some of their peers. When she suspected others were curious about her, she said, “I’m not afraid to go straight toward them and ask them, ‘Do you really know what Islam is?’” It is no small irony that she then claimed, “There’s this misconception that Islam is a violent religion. Muslims are actually peaceful.”
Bassam Issa, who heads the mosque called the Islamic Center of Greater Chattanooga, where the Abdulazeez family attended, was quick to call the assault an act of “cowardice and hate,” adding, “We don’t see our community center as a ‘Muslim community.’ We are Chattanoogans first, and we see ourselves as part of the larger community of Tennesseans grieving today’s act.” Across Chattanooga, there has been an outpouring of interfaith condemnation of the assault and support for the families, but there is a deafening silence from other Muslim leaders around the nation. That silence is troubling.
Like many of you, I have Muslims associates in our community, across the nation and around the world. There are about six million Muslims in the U.S., half of whom are practicing Islam (about 1% or our population). Islam is the fourth-largest faith group behind Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism. Unfortunately, some Muslims among us subscribe to the hateful rhetoric of self-proclaimed Muslim leaders such as Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan — much as Barack Obama was stewarded in the hateful racist rhetoric of his “Christian pastor” Jeremiah Wright. Tragically, a tiny but increasing number of Muslims have also been infected with the hateful Islamist rhetoric being effectively propagated by the Islamic State caliphate. However, we should be cautious not to marginalize all Muslims as suspect Islamists, much as Obama and his Leftists marginalized all Southerners interested in our heritage as racist after the recent murders in Charleston, and even endeavoring to remove any vestige of that heritage from public places, including National Military Parks.
The actions of one do not reflect the beliefs of all, but clearly this assault was incited by Islamist hatred – and that should be the target of our outrage.
There is Muslim outrage in some notable sectors in the Middle East. A colleague who is a Jordanian Air Force pilot wrote with his condolences this morning: “Everybody is talking about the Tennessee attack and the timing of that attack. All righteous Muslims condemn that attack and the Islamist perpetrator, who committed this at Eid, the end of Ramadan. All Jordanians want to work with America against ISIS and all extremists. Salaam Alaikum.”
So why did Abdulazeez get into his car and head out on a mission to murder American military personnel Thursday morning?
We may never have a clear answer because he was on nobody’s watch list, though it is clear that his attack was framed in his Islamic rants. But we do know that the attack occurred on the last day of Ramadan and the assailant blogged and texted about Jihad.
The Obama administration has placed so many “terrorist profiling” restraints on law enforcement that it is easy for an Islamist to slip through the net.
Yes, in recent months Islamist attack plans have been thwarted by law enforcement, but, as just acknowledged by FBI Director James Comey in his congressional testimony about the domestic terror threat last week, “We are stopping these things so far, through tremendous hard work — the use of sources, the use of online under covers — but it is incredibly difficult. I cannot see [the FBI] stopping these indefinitely.” Comey added, “So it’s no longer that someone who’s troubled needs to go find this propaganda and this motivation. It buzzes in their pocket. So there is a device, almost a devil on their shoulder all day long saying, ‘kill, kill, kill, kill.’”
Indeed, in an column last year, “Islamic Jihad — Target USA,” I rhetorically asked, “How concerned should you be?” In answer to that question, I wrote, “The most likely near-term form of attack against civilians on our turf will be modeled after the conventional Islamist assaults in the Middle East, bombings and shootings, as we have now seen in Paris, London, Berlin, Sydney, Toronto, Boston, New York and Washington. This type of attack is low tech but effective in terms of instilling public fear with the long-term goal of civil acquiescence.”
It is this type of attack, inspired not by a human network of terrorists but a social media network of terrorist propaganda, that Director Comey prophetically testified would get by the FBI gauntlet.
In his hollow response to the assault, Obama said, “A lone gunman carried out these attacks.” He concluded, “We take all shootings very seriously.” Even though he knew the name of the assailant, he did not mention his name, much less “Islamic” or “Muslim.” These atrocities are committed in the name of Islam, and for Obama failure to acknowledge that foments an unfortunate suspicion of all Muslims in America. Of course, Leftists build their political platform on all manner of division.
Obama, blinded by his own Islamophilia, would like for you to believe Abdulazeez was a “lone wolf,” in an effort to disconnect the dots between this assailant and radical Islam and assert that there is no connection between Jihadi attacks in the West and the rise of Islamic extremism in the Middle East. That assertion is patently false.
Describing Islamists as “lone wolf” actors constitutes a lethal misunderstanding of the Jihadi threat. Describing their attacks as “criminal activity” or “workplace violence,” and then claiming it’s a “gun problem” as Obama has done after all such incidents, denies the fact that ALL such attacks are tied together by Islamist association.
In every case, those ties include mentors in local mosques and among Islamist peers, and yes, “propaganda buzzing in their pocket saying ‘kill kill kill kill.’”
The fact is, the blood of our Marines here in Chattanooga is on Obama’s hands.
These dots are easy to connect.
In 2008, Obama campaigned on “ending the war in Iraq.” In 2011, having rejected the Bush strategy of establishing a status of forces agreement (SOFA) to secure our hard-won gains in Iraq and the region, Obama declared, “Everything Americans have done in Iraq, all the fighting, all the dying, the bleeding, the building and the training and the partnering, all of it has led to this moment of success. … We’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq.” In 2012, amid the cascading failure of his domestic economic and social policies, Obama centered his re-election campaign on his faux foreign policy successes crafted around the mantras, “Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq. I did,” and, “al-Qa'ida is on the run.”
What Obama did was ignite an entirely new and far more dangerous war, one that is spreading across the Middle East and North Africa, and into the suburbs of Western nations, including Chattanooga, Tennessee.
This was a devastating assault, not only for the families of our murdered Marines and their fellow Sailor, but on our entire proud Chattanooga community of military Patriots and those across the nation. However, what should be remembered most about this tragedy is the heroics demonstrated that day, which exemplify all that is good and right with America.
There is little being said about the two reasons the casualty list was not much higher. The media has largely ignored the fact that there were many other personnel at the Reserve Center that fateful morning. “Mike Battery” (Battery M, 3rd Battalion, 14th Regiment), had just completed annual training in California, and there were 22 Marines at the center cleaning and conditioning equipment, along with additional Navy staff.
The first reason that more were not murdered, was explained by Marine spokesman Maj. Clark Carpenter: “There were heroic acts by our Marines. They did exactly what we expect Marines to do. They got their Marines to safety. They took care of their Marines first, and then those Marine leaders went back into the fray to make sure that others were protected. They went back into the fight to try to stop him.” Maj. Carpenter added that when the nation looked back on this incident, “It’s going to be a story of heroes, with both our Marines and our Sailors, and without question, the first responders from the police department.”
The second reason there were not many more casualties is because my friend, Lt. Cmdr. White and a Marine, used their personal handguns to defend their peers – providing cover fire. As police arrived, they engaged the assailant where he, himself, was taking cover, and killed him.
We grieve for the families of the five murdered Patriots: Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist (USMC), Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt (USMC), Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan (USMC), Lance Cpl. Squire Wells (USMC) and Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith (USN). Please join us in prayer for their families.
**For the record, all Islamist terror attacks in the West have been perpetrated by a global network of Islamofascist groups and individuals under the banner, “Allahu Akbar.” These include the al-Qa'ida network (the perpetrators of the 9/11 attack), and their contemporary manifestations, ISIL and the Islamic State. For the record, “Allahu Akbar” translates “Allah is the Greatest.” The DemoMSM propaganda machine often reports the translation as something quiet different: “God is great.” As properly translated, Allahu Akbar has been the violent warring cry of jihadi terrorists for generations, in their centuries-long effort to conquer infidels and establish a worldwide caliphate. Under those words, millions have been slaughtered. As such, it perilously dangerous to erroneously refer to contemporary Islamic terrorists in the West as “lone wolves,” because they are connected to worldwide jihad by way of the Qur'an, the foundational fabric linking all Islamist violence.
(UPDATE: Lt. Cmdr. Tim White will not face charges for possessing a firearm on a military installation – the handgun he used to defend his Marines and Navy personnel.)
And a couple Footnotes:
1. After receiving Obama’s White House Ramadan message just hours before the attack Thursday, I note that Friday’s message from Obama made *no mention* of the Tennessee assault, but solicited funds for the Democrat National Committee so that our next president will expand entitlement handouts: “We’ve got to do all we can over the next few months to make sure we elect Democrats who will fight for every single American at all stages of life.” I note, clearly, Obama and his Leftists don’t support “every single American at all stages of life.”
2. Terrorism or not? According to Bill Killian, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, the attack is “an act of terrorism.” According to Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, “I think he was radicalized by these individuals in Syria. This is a new generation of terrorists.” According to Ed Reinhold, FBI Special Agent in Charge, East Tennessee (Knoxville): “We have not classified it as an act of terrorism. … We have no indication that Abdulazeez was inspired by or directed by anyone other than himself.” Seriously? The Obama administration has classified the Chattanooga assault as “workplace violence.”
3. Given that military personnel are subject to “gun free” zones at unprotected installations, and thus, can’t defend themselves against an assailant, let’s subject their Commander in Chief to the same standard at the White House.
4. Thinking back on the violence in Charleston and the diversionary rush to remove the historic Confederate battle flag from all commercial and public venues, including National Military Parks, will Amazon and other online retailers purge their inventories of any and all Islamic symbols? Apparently, some people commit horrendous acts of violence and terror under the Islamic banner. Of course not, because most Muslims in our midst are productive citizens and people of peace, and those citizens should not be cast in with the lot of Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, anymore than those of us who honor the symbols of our Southern heritage should be cast in with a racist sociopath who murdered innocents in Charleston.)