Esteban Santiago, the FBI, the U.S. Military, and the Abandonment of Commonsense

 In Featured, International, News, Religion, U.S., Uncategorized

esteban-santiago-mental-healthThe FBI and U.S. Military dropped the ball when it came to Fort Lauderdale Shooter Esteban Santiago who killed 5 and wounded 8. Independent investigative reporting by Charles Johnson of Got News reveals some fascinating information about Santiago. Santiago had a MySpace page in 2007, where he identified himself as Aashiq Hammad. He “recorded Islamic religious music on the site, 3 years before he ever deployed to Iraq as a U.S. soldier. . .” Santiago’s family reports his mental problems surfaced during his tour of Iraq. If Santiago was a Muslim convert, he did not belong in Iraq. Whatever problems he had were worsened by his Iraqi tour.

America’s politically correct intelligence forces failed our nation. Santiago’s Islamic conversion and his troubled history should have set off red flags for FBI investigators and military officials. This is especially true for the FBI, after Santiago told field investigators in November 2016 the “CIA had taken control of his mind and was forcing him to watch ISIS videos.” A little bit of commonsense would have gone a long way in preventing Santiago from taking innocent lives.

Santiago’s background brings to mind warnings I issued in Chapter 5 of Be the People: A Call to Reclaim America’s Faith and Promise (Thomas Nelson, 2011), pp. 162-165. The excerpt below is from a chapter titled: “Immigration, The Rule of Law, and National Sovereignty,” pp. 162-165. In this section, I question the wisdom of using foreign-born soldiers and Muslim soldiers in military situations where conflicts of interests can easily arise.

The United States Military: The Abandonment of Commonsense

Our military leaders no longer exercise commonsense when it comes to military recruitment. Leo Shane, a reporter for Military.Com, cites Department of Defense statistics of seventy thousand foreign-born troops in the US military. This number includes legal permanent residents, as well as illegal immigrants who hope to receive expedited citizenship. The US military, in its desperation to fill quotas in its all-volunteer ranks, has enlisted tens of thousands of foreign-born troops, some of whom are illegal immigrants promised an expedited citizenship for their service. Deborah Davis, a reporter for In These Times, alleges that recruiters have falsely told Latino recruits that the military service would grant legal status for their entire family, which is a blatant lie. In 2006, an estimated 69,300 were immigrants. These troops come from different nations. While their willingness to die for our country is admirable, their desperation to achieve citizenship makes exploitation a possibility worth considering.

When the US abandoned a national draft, it made the recruitment of foreign-born soldiers a necessity. Offering expedited citizenship to illegal aliens who serve in the military places them in the unique situation of having to risk their lives for a nation other than their own. The offer strikes me as morally wrong and fraught with risks.

In December 2009, five Muslim soldiers were arrested at Fort Jackson for their part in a plot to use food to poison troops at the base. The soldiers were part of the Arabic translation-training program. In light of America’s war on terrorism, many US citizens find it stunning that the military enlists anyone who is not a permanent resident of the United States. But because we have abandoned the draft that ensures Americans from all socioeconomic backgrounds serve our country, we are now a nation desperate for recruits to serve to defend us.

Radical Islam and America

Some of the Muslim recruits who have proved harmful to fellow soldiers were American-born recruits who hate their country. In 2007, the Pew Research Center released a report that showed nearly half (47 percent) of American Muslims self-identified as Muslims rather than Americans. Youths were found to have “pockets of sympathy for Islamic extremism” and “a much-higher-than-average expression of support for suicide bombing. Fifteen percent of the Muslims under thirty years of age said that suicide bombing could be justified “often” or “sometimes,” as compared to “less than five percent among Muslims over thirty years of age.” The FBI has estimated that at least 10 percent of the more than two thousand mosques in American have links to radical terrorist groups.

Radical clerics and al Qaeda operatives in the United States have radicalized an unknown percentage of Americans. Several, including Nidal Hasan and Abdulhakim Muhammad, enlisted in the US military and then attacked, murdered, and maimed fellow soldiers. Hasan, an army psychiatrist, killed thirteen people in a shooting spree at Fort Hood military base in Texas. Abdulhakim Muhammad, who shot two soldiers and killed one at the Arkansas Recruiting Center, was an African-American Muslim convert who changed his name from Carlos Bledsoe. He was reportedly upset about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the killings of Muslims. In 2003, Hasan Akbar, a black sergeant who converted to Islam, used a grenade to kill two fellow officers in Iraq.

It is foolish for the US military to place Muslim recruits in situations where they must engage in actions condemned by their religion. In August 2010, Pfc. Naser Abdo, recognizing the inherent conflict of his faith and military expectations, filed for conscientious objector status rather than be deployed to Afghanistan. The exchange is listed below, and the reply is now disabled. I cut and pasted the exchange in December 2009.

Abdo posted, “Are Muslims allowed to join an un-Islamic military such as that of the United States, where they may be put in a position to kill a fellow Muslim brother or sister? Also what is Allah’s Punishment for this if such thing happens? Because I hear some Muslim leaders say it is okay to join the US Military?”

Sheikh Faysal Mawlawi, vice chairman of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, replied, “No doubt that the American Muslim soldier is between the devil and the deep blue sea and he is facing a difficult situation . . . As a basic rule in Islam, a Muslim is not allowed to fight against his fellow Muslim brother. This is also a stated fact in the Shari`ah.
Clearly the dictates of religion place enormous burdens on soldiers. Abdulhakim Muhammad told an Associated Press reporter that his attack on fellow soldiers at the Arkansas Recruiting Center was “an act, for the sake of God, for the sake of Allah, the Lord of the World, and also a retaliation against the US Military . . . US soldiers are killing innocent Muslim men and women. We believe in eye for eye. We don’t believe in turning the other cheek.” Information that has surfaced about Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood psychiatrist who killed thirteen of his fellow soldiers and wounded others, indicates that he was motivated by Islamic extremism. Evidence about Hasan includes statements he allegedly made in justification of suicide bombings and in support of Muhammad’s shooting at the recruitment center. Hasan reportedly yelled “Allahu Akbar” (Arabic for “God is Great”) before he began his rampage.

In an October 2010 interview on ABC’s This Week, British radical Muslim activist Anjem Choudary said, “We do believe, as Muslims, the East and the West will one day be governed by the Shariah . . . Indeed, we believe that one day, the flag of Islam will fly over the White House.” According to Princeton University’s WordNet, sharia is “the code of law derived from the Koran and from the teachings and example of Mohammed; sharia is only applicable to Muslims; under Islamic law there is no separation of church and state.”

Prudence would suggest that the US military must carefully consider when and where it deploys Muslim soldiers and the subsequent level of risk for fellow soldiers. This type of reasoning, of course, involves a tradeoff between the religious freedom rights of the soldiers and the needs of the military. Concerns regarding political correctness and fear of discrimination charges should not impede old-fashioned common sense when it comes to recruiting and deploying Muslim soldiers when we are at war with Muslim-dominated nations. Our nation must acknowledge the tenets of the Islamic religion that view us as infidels or else relinquish the upper hand to our proven enemies.”

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