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San Bernardino Shooter Reportedly ‘Radicalized,’ Wife Pledged Support To ISIS, Before Attack

San Bernadino Shooting Aerial

Evidence support the idea that Wednesday’s attack on a gathering of government workers in San Bernardino, California was at least inspired by international terrorism has been building virtually from the moment we began to learn facts about the case. Off the top, the fact that the attack was conducted by multiple shooters who chose to escape rather than wait for police as is typically the case with often suicidal mass shooters suggested from the beginning that this was not a typical mass shooting case along the lines of Sandy Hook, Aurora, or Rosewood, Oregon. When we learned at the end of the day that the main suspect in the shooting was named Sayed Farook, the inclination to jump to the theory that there was some element of Islamist/Jihadist terrorism involved in what happened was, seemingly, only natural. Then, starting yesterday, other clues started to roll in.

First, late in the day CNN reported that law enforcement sources were saying that Farook had been “radicalized” and had at least some contact with people who were at least ‘of interest’ to intelligence analysts:

Law enforcement sources said it appears Syed Farook was radicalized and the belief contributed to the shooting motivation, though other motivations like workplace grievances could also have played a role. President Barack Obama hinted as much Thursday when he said that the attackers may have had “mixed motives.”

Farook was in touch with more than one terrorism subject who the FBI were already investigating, according to other law enforcement officials. But his contacts with them were scant and months old.

David Bowdich, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, told reporters Thursday that Farook had traveled to Pakistan.

And two government officials said no red flags were raised when he’d gone to Saudi Arabia for several weeks in 2013 on the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca that Muslims are required to take at least once in their lifetime. It was during this trip that he met Malik, a native of Pakistan who came to the United States in July 2014 on a “fiancée visa” and later became a lawful permanent resident.

Saudi and U.S. officials said records show Farook also was in Saudi Arabia in July 2014. He was there for nine days, a Saudi official said. A U.S. official described the 2014 trip as Farook’s “last recorded” trip to the country.

Officials had previously said neither Farook nor Malik were known to the FBI or on a list of potentially radicalized people. Nor had they had any known interactions with police until Wednesday.

Yet Farook himself had talked by phone and on social media with more than one person being investigated for terrorism, law enforcement officials said.

The communications were “soft connections” in that they weren’t frequent, one law enforcement official said. It had been a few months since Farook’s last back-and-forth with these people, who officials said were not considered high priority.

Law enforcement also reported yesterday that the couple had a large arsenal of weapons and ammunition, all of which appeared to have been legally obtained, although there were indications that the rifles that were used in the attack may have been originally purchased by another as yet unnamed party and that Farook and Malik took steps to modify the weapons in ways that made it easier to shoot large amounts of ammunition, most of which appear to have been unsuccessful. The search of the home that the two apparently resided in also revealed what law enforcement described as twelve pipe bombs in various stages of construction that appear to be similar to the ones that were deployed unsuccessfully both during the initial shooting on Wednesday and the police chase later that day, as well as thousands of rounds of ammunition for both the rifles that were found with the couple and two handguns that were found at the scene of the police shootout. All of this, of course, suggests both that the incident on Wednesday was pre-planned and that there may have been other incidents planned for either the same day as the Wednesday attack or at some point thereafter.

On top of all of that, it is now being reported that Tashfeen Malik, the wife of Syed Farook, made a video pledging allegiance to ISIS shortly before the attack was launched, a fact which seems to clearly move this into the the terrorism category:

WASHINGTON — The woman who helped carry out the shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., on Wednesday had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in a Facebook posting, according to federal law enforcement officials.

There’s no evidence the group directed the woman, Tashfeen Malik, and her husband Syed Rizwan Farook, to launch the attacks, which killed 14 and wounded 21, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing.

“At this point we believe they were more self-radicalized and inspired by the group than actually told to do the shooting,” one of the officials said.

The posting had been removed from the social media site and it’s not clear when federal authorities obtained it.

“At this point we believe they were more self-radicalized and inspired by the group than actually told to do the shooting,” one of the officials said.

The posting had been removed from the social media site and it’s not clear when federal authorities obtained it.

In recent months, the F.B.I. has been particularly concerned about individuals inspired by the Islamic State staging attacks in the United States, law enforcement officials say. Even before the shootings and bombings in Paris last month, the agency had under heavy surveillance at least three dozen individuals who the authorities were concerned might commit violence in the group’s name.

The F.B.I. refocused its efforts on these individuals earlier this year in response to a shift in tactics by the Islamic State, law enforcement officials said. Instead of trying to persuade Americans to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State, the group began calling on its sympathizers and followers in the United States to commit acts of violence at home.

“We’ve especially focused on the portfolio of people we’re investigating for the potential of being homegrown violent extremists,” the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, said last month at a news conference. “That is, people consuming the propaganda. So those investigations are designed to figure out where are they on the spectrum from consuming to acting.”

Within that group we’re trying to focus on those we think might be at the highest risk of being a copycat,” Mr. Comey said, referring to those who may try to follow the attackers in Paris. “And so we are pressing additional resources, additional focus against those. That’s the dozens.”

In the days leading up to the shooting, the couple in San Bernardino took several steps to delete their electronic information, in an apparent effort to cover their tracks, officials said. Those efforts have led authorities to believe that the shooting was premeditated.

Islamic terrorists have used the oath of allegiance, called a bayat, to declare their loyalty to specific groups and leaders. To become a member of Al Qaeda, for instance, terrorists historically swore their devotion to Osama bin Laden.

As investigators search for signs of a political or religious motivation for the massacre, the discovery of Ms. Malik’s Facebook posting has forced them to consider whether any radical impetus for it came from her more than from the husband, or from both. The couple were killed in a shootout with the police after the attack.

F.B.I. officials came up with no hits when they searched agency databases for Mr. Farook’s name, according to law enforcement officials. That is significant because it meant that not only was Mr. Farook never the focus of an investigation, he was also never mentioned by anyone else interviewed by the F.B.I., even in unrelated cases.

The bureau, however, has uncovered evidence that Mr. Farook had contact with five individuals on whom the F.B.I. had previously opened investigations for possible terrorist activities, law enforcement officials said. It was not clear, however, how significant the contacts were.

One individual contacted was associated with the Shabab, the Islamist militantgroup in Somalia. Another was associated with the Nusra Front, the Qaeda wing in Syria. None of the other three were tied to the Islamic State or core Al Qaeda. All five inquiries was closed, and the contacts were made a few years ago, not recently, the authorities said.

Ms. Malik, 27, was born in Pakistan and traveled on a Pakistani passport, but had recently lived in Saudi Arabia. Mr. Farook, 28, was a United States citizen, born in Illinois, whose parents were from Pakistan.

Mr. Farook had posted profiles on Muslim dating websites, and apparently the couple met online. He told co-workers last year that he was traveling to Saudi Arabia to meet his bride, and both American and Saudi officials have confirmed that he spent more than a week in that country in July 2014.

Mr. Farook, was an American citizen, and he and Ms. Malik traveled to the United States together in July 2014, David Bowdich of the F.B.I. in Los Angeles said at a news conference. He said she had traveled with K-1 visa, a special visa that allows people to come to the country marry an American citizen. A couple has to marry within 90 days; after that the K-1 visa expires.

With these reports, it would seem fairly clear that Farook and Malik were motivated in some sense by sympathy to the ISIS agenda and Islamist Jihadist terrorism, even though the manner in which the attack was carried out still stands out as odd in many respects. The fact that this all occurred, at least in what may have just been an initial stage, at a gathering of Farook’s co-workers and people that knew him is why initial reports led many people to theorize that this may have been a case of workplace-related violence, albeit an unusual one in that it involved more than one shooter. At the same time, though, the amount of planning that seems to have gone into this attack, the amount of weaponry and explosives that the couple had access to, and the fact that they had taken steps to close off their lives from others such as by dropping their six month old child off with a family member at the start of the day would seem to indicate that this was more than just a one-off workplace “revenge” scenario that they were contemplating. Add into all of this the reports about Fraook’s apparent radicalization and contacts with Islamist groups, although not necessarily representatives of ISIS, and Malik’s apparent pledge of support to ISIS and there really seems to be only one conclusion one can reach. Namely, that at the very least these were two people who had been radicalized in some respect to commit violent terrorist acts and that what happened Wednesday was somehow part of that scheme.

What we don’t know, of course, is whether there was international connection to the attack itself in terms of planning, encouragement, or training. All we seem to know is that Malik is a Pakistani-born woman who was apparently living in Saudi Arabia when Farook traveled there to marry her after having met her online. There are also suggestions that Farook may have traveled to Pakistan at some point during that journey, although that could have been to visit Malik’s family. In any case, there are questions about which member of the couple radicalized whom and at least some suggestion that it may have been the wife who played the most significant role in pushing Farook toward this radicalization that led to violence and death. What this means going forward will depend a lot on what we learn about how and why all of this happened.

Update: At the law enforcement briefing that just concluded an hour ago, the Assistant F.B.I. Director now leading the investigation confirmed that the attack is being investigated as an act of terrorism:

WASHINGTON — The F.B.I. is now treating the San Bernardino shooting by a husband and wife that killed 14 and wounded 21 as an act of terrorism, an agency official said Friday.

As of today, based on the information and facts as we know them,” the agency is investigating this “as an act of terrorism,” David Bowdich, the assistant F.B.I. director in charge of the Los Angeles office, said at a news conference. The agency will be taking over the investigation from local officials.

Mr. Bowdich did not offer any details about why the bureau had made the determination, saying only that “there’s a number of pieces of evidence that has pushed us off the cliff.”

The shift in the investigation game shortly after federal law enforcement officials said the woman who helped carry out the shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., Tashfeen Malik, had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in a Facebook posting.

There is no evidence the Islamic State directed Ms. Milik , and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, to stage the attacks, the officials said. But the Facebook post has led investigators to believe that the couple took inspiration from the group, they said.

“At this point we believe they were more self-radicalized and inspired by the group than actually told to do the shooting,” one official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing.

Islamic terrorists have used the oath of allegiance, called a bayat, to declare their loyalty to specific groups and leaders. To become a member of Al Qaeda, for instance, terrorists historically swore their devotion to Osama bin Laden.

The posting, which had been removed from the social media site, provides one of the first significant clues to the role that Ms. Malik, 27, played in the attacks.

CNN is also reporting on air that accounts associated with what has generally been considered a communications arm for ISIS have announced that the San Bernardino shootings were carried out by “supporters” in the United States. As one analyst pointed out, this differs from the statement released in the wake of the Paris attacks, which ISIS said were carried out by “fighters.” This suggests that Malik and Farook were largely self-radicalized and acting on their own rather than acting at the direction of ISIS itself or after having trained under ISIS in Syria or elsewhere. This obviously raises the same kind of concerns about self-radicalized, self-taught homegrown terrorism that the Boston Marathon Bombing raised, since the Tsarnaev brothers were also largely only influenced by entities overseas rather than in sufficient contact with them for the attack to have been part of an international plan. If anything, this kind of terrorism is more worrisome than a Paris-like attack directed from abroad since, as we’ve seen here, it is much harder to detect in advance that any kind of planning may be going on.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mikey says:

    In any case, there are questions about which member of the couple radicalized whom and at least some suggestion that it may have been the wife who played the most significant role in pushing Farook toward this radicalization that led to violence and death.

    M. Reynolds brought up the same point yesterday, and I’m beginning to think you both are on to something. Did you know when the police chase started, Malik fired first, pretty much guaranteeing she and Farook would die?

    She gave her baby to someone knowing what she and Farook were about to do. What mindset must she have had to do that?

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  2. Larry Faragut says:

    Guess this is no longer a workplace violence issue. I still would never expect Obama to call this what the whole world knows. Islamic Terrorism

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  3. Stan says:

    We are at war with Islamic extremist groups and at the same time giving their supporters in the US the wherewithal to slaughter scores of innocents. If people need guns for personal protection or hunting, ways can be found of accommodating them without giving them the ability to perpetrate massacres, as shown by Israeli laws on gun ownership. Our present gun laws are insane, and they’re supported by otherwise rational people like Doug Mataconis. Every time he writes on his God given Second Amendment rights I feel like puking. And the same goes for Jack and LeFrak.

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  4. CSK says:

    The fact that they left the baby in her grandmother’s care was a pretty strong indicator that they either intended to die fighting or that, if they escaped death, intended to flee–go underground. The fact that they were so heavily armed indicated that the shooting at San Bernardino was only the first in an intended series. This was radicalized Islamic terrorism.

    I would say that Malik’s video pledging support to ISIS pretty much answers the question.

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  5. C. Clavin says:

    @Larry Faragut:

    I still would never expect Obama to call this what the whole world knows. Islamic Terrorism

    Did you call the Robert Dear abortion shooting, last week, christian terrorism?

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  6. michael reynolds says:

    As I said yesterday in a comment thread, sexism was blinding people to the obvious: He’s not the terrorist, she is. She’s the main actor, he’s the useful dupe. In fact, it is quite possible that since they “met” online, and since he had conveniently ID’d himself in his dating profile as a guy who liked to shoot, she was tasked with using him to gain entry to the US. Not proven, just possible.

    When I took a stand against taking in Syrian refugees, the leftward edge of the OTB commentariat attacked me fairly viciously for days. They insisted I was in a pants-wetting terror. I wasn’t. As I said at the time, statistically I’m more likely to be killed by the cigar in my mouth. (Montecristo white label, in case you’re wondering.) But the official liberal line was that only irrational terror could explain opposition to this plan.

    My position was that this policy was:

    A) Potentially disastrous to Hillary if an ISIS attack occurred in the US, whether or not it was Syrians per se.

    B) Would give support to the far right in this country and in Europe, which would damage the Muslim communities even more than the wider community.

    C) That it did in fact represent a risk because a substantial number of those refugees would be ISIS supporters, ISIS fellow travelers, or ISIS active members actually detailed to penetrate the US.

    So, let’s review, shall we? No less than Steven Taylor assured me it was hysterical to imagine that ISIS could strike in the next 11 months before the election. Actual elapsed time between Paris and San Bernardino? Two weeks. Two weeks for the first such attack, with no guarantee it’s the last.

    We have seen poll numbers going south in the EU as resistance to the refugee flow builds. And Donald Trump has now broken through his 25% ceiling and according to CNN now sits at 36%.

    And of course I was endlessly assured that we were vetting the hell out of these refugees. Yeah. The same exact vetting process that let this terrorist come from Pakistan by way of Saudi Arabia and into the US.

    And besides: the refugees were mostly women. And hey, what kind of a huge whimpering coward would be worried about a woman? Especially a mommy? Amiright? Is wittle Michael scared of the wittle women with children? Hah hah hah.

    Uh huh.

    I said the vetting was nonsense, and it is nonsense. I said we had to look at the political impact if ISIS hit us in the next 11 months, and they hit us almost immediately. I said it would help the very people most opposed to accepting refugees and that it would hurt Muslim communities in the US and Europe, and check and check.

    Which would make me right. Evil, heartless, paranoid, bed-wetting Michael Reynolds, was right, right and right.

    Thank God this happened now and not in six months during the general. But the amount of ammo, the phone contacts, etc…, all suggest to me that these two were part of a larger cell. I do not believe this was the action they planned, I think they were probably looking elsewhere and popped off early. So more may be coming, and if Hillary is still babbling about the refugees, she’s going to be hurt, possibly badly.

    To my friends on my left who’ve spent the last two weeks hating on me, a piece of advice: don’t analyze from ideology. Don’t analyze from emotion. Don’t analyze from some base of team loyalty. Look at facts, look at probabilities and possibilities, look above all at the motives of your enemies, and get it through your well-meaning but dense heads that it does not take two to make a war, just one. They are at war, and pretending we aren’t is not the winning move, it’s just clueless and weak. Your “kindness” is narcissism. This is not about you feeling smug and warm in your righteousness, nor is this about “sending a message,” this is a war, and all you’re doing is making things worse here, worse in Europe, and ultimately worse for the refugees.

    Hillary needs to call for a “temporary” delay to accepting Syrian refugees, “In light of intelligence failures in our vetting process.” (What she should have done two f-ing weeks ago.) She needs to do that soon, before an even worse round two. Before this shit blows up during the general. Because, my logic-challenged Lefty friends, if Hillary loses, the number of refugees of any nationality is going to drop to zero. It’s 18 months to “vett” a guy in a Jordanian refugee camp, and 11 months till the election. Do the math. Not to mention the entire rest of the progressive agenda you’re willing to risk for a meaningless, feel-good gesture.

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  7. Slugger says:

    Folie a deux is a recognized psychiatric disorder, I believe.
    To me it is possible that these were plain psychos who felt an affinity for other psychos rather than some Ian Fleming generated vast conspiracy. Of course, our public safety officials are obligated to search out any links to other dangerous people, and our media will generate as many breathless reports of all of us dying in the next five minutes as possible.
    Did these guys actually have automatic weapons?

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  8. anjin-san says:

    @Larry Faragut:

    I still would never expect Obama to call this what the whole world knows. Islamic Terrorism

    That’s right Larry, blame all Muslims for the actions of a few. How does it feel to be an ISIS PR tool?

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  9. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I said the vetting was nonsense, and it is nonsense. I said we had to look at the political impact if ISIS hit us in the next 11 months, and they hit us almost immediately.

    The vetting undergone by refugees is tremendously different–both in duration and intrusiveness–than that undergone by someone requesting a fiancee visa. Please do not try to use the latter to justify your unreasonable position on the former.

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  10. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I think you’re onto something with the contention that Malik was charged with “cultivating” Farook and using him to gain entry to the U.S. It makes perfect sense. Whether she radicalized him before or after the marriage would be interesting to know, but it’s not hugely material.

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  11. michael reynolds says:

    @Mikey:

    Oh, bullshit. What’s your source on vetting? Is there some magic database that we only access for refugees? Don’t be ridiculous, she was not on the radar, she was not in a database or on a watch list, and had she been in a camp she’d have have sailed right through the vetting.

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  12. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds: Also, as this incident demonstrates, anyone who’s going to “hit us” is, with 99.9% probability, already living here. Farook was an American from Illinois, for fvck’s sake.

    Stopping the refugee flow–even as miniscule as it is–will accomplish nothing besides promoting IS’ clearly-stated objective of reducing the refugees’ options and making it more likely they stay under IS control.

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  13. Pch101 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    He’s not the terrorist, she is.

    Here’s a crazy thought: Instead of speculating based upon nothing, let the investigators do their jobs and compile whatever facts are available, then reach conclusions based upon those.

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  14. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds: Yeah? Maybe she would have. But the only solution to that is to simply not accept any immigrants at all from anywhere ever.

    You sound like Dick m-f-ing Cheney and his “1% Doctrine.” I hope I don’t have to remind you where that got us.

    And the elements involved in the vetting process are easily available online (and probably have been presented to you already). Not that it matters, since you wouldn’t accept any level of vetting, by any method, anyway.

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  15. michael reynolds says:

    @Mikey:

    SHE was not an American. SHE is the one, not him. Figure it out, dude, lose your sexist assumptions. SHE is Pakistani. SHE is an ISIS supporter, and SHE just pulled off an ISIS-inspired attack that killed 14 and would have killed a whole lot more had they been a bit more competent.

    99.9? Based on what?

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  16. michael reynolds says:

    @Pch101:

    Well, with all due respect, my fellow liberals were quick enough to jump to every conclusion but the one we now confront. And they still don’t much like the reality, which is almost certainly that a woman with a baby just masterminded the first ISIS mass casualty event on American soil.

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  17. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds: I’m the one who in the first comment on this thread said you were on to something in considering her the prime mover rather than him. So I have no “sexist assumptions.”

    And it took two to tango. She wasn’t American, but he was, and without him she wouldn’t have been here to begin with.

    Just like the 9/11 guys who’d been here for months or years. Not refugees, student visas. Just like Malik, not a refugee, a fiancee and later wife with a green card.

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  18. Scott says:

    This is going off on a tangent but here again is an American born young Muslim man who gets radicalized. I think there is a psycho sexual element (for want of a better term) of a young man who can’t cope culturally or sexually with modern women and has to go abroad for submissive wives.

    From the LA TImes, I found this:

    Ali, a student at Cal State San Bernardino, remembered Farook saying something like, “That’s what really made me interested in her, that’s what made her stick out from the other women.”

    Ali said that he thought that Farook liked Malik’s niqab because it showed she was religious and wasn’t embodying “the modern role of women today, working and all that.”

    This incompatibility is prevented integration in our society. What the answer is, I don’t know.

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  19. Mikey says:

    @Scott: What’s ironic is one of Farook’s social media profiles in which he described himself as “religious but modern.”

    What changed so quickly?

    There are a few million American-born Muslims who have integrated just fine. But there’s something about modern Western society that seems to be lacking for a few and they are more easily recruited.

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  20. michael reynolds says:

    @Mikey:

    Yes, and it rather suggests we should stop taking people in from Sunni Muslim countries. Can we cut the b.s. here for just a moment? We have a country full of Mexicans and Salvadorans and you know how many terrorist attacks have resulted? None. We have Canadians, Frenchmen, Brits, Irish, Chinese, Poles, Russians, Koreans, even Iranians, and how many terrorist attacks from them? Would the answer be zero? Why, yes it would.

    So no, we don’t need to slam the gate shut, but if we don’t deal with this realistically the gate will be shut. On everyone. Our liberal, open society depends on us maintaining a reasonable grip on law and order, because when law and order fails, the fascists always have an answer. Liberal failure = Fascist opportunity. And make no mistake, a fascist is quite likely to be the nominee of one of our two parties.

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  21. Pch101 says:

    Noah Webster defines a “fact” as “something that truly exists or happens : something that has actual existence : a true piece of information”

    Michael Reynolds defines a “fact” as “a speculative statement that is offered repeatedly, verbosely and hysterically.”

    My money’s on Noah, thanks.

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  22. anjin-san says:

    @Mikey:

    Stopping the refugee flow–even as miniscule as it is–will accomplish nothing

    You are correct on this. That being said, Michael has a point as well – right or wrong, the Syrian refugee issue is a loser politically. It may quickly become kryptonite. That’s not something we can ignore with an election around the corner – do you really want to see a President Trump?

    There are millions of people in this country who are reacting to this based on emotion, not reason (which is exactly what terrorists want). They are not worried about the 50-100 people who have died from gunshots in America since the San Bernadino attack. They don’t care that driving to work places them at far more risk than any they face from terrorists. They just don’t want the Muslims to get them, and they are looking for someone to “keep us safe” – that’s an expression I am seeing with ever increasing frequency on Facebook. Again, its not something we can ignore.

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  23. stonetools says:

    Yep, Mike called it. Don’t bet against a writer of dystopias, I guess. So Lady Macbeth in an abaya.
    “Picture if you will a lonely American Muslim man surfing the Internet. He clicks on the picture of a demure, smiling woman from ‘back home’. Little does he know that behind that smile lurks the twisted soul of a jihadist….” And Mike or WR can write the rest of the near inevitable screenplay.

    I’m betting against any overt direction from abroad. This has all the makings of a home brew plot. iI’s possible that some boorish remark by a co worker accelerated what was a planned attack.We may never know the details, and frankly don’t need to.
    The political implications of this will be interesting. The Republicans will pile on about this terrorist attack occurring on “Obummer’s” watch, and will outdo each other in bellicose rhetoric about the “Muslim menace in our midst and abroad. ” Opposition to increased surveillance will once again vanish like the morning mist. OTOH, we might see sensible gun safety regulation, since Second Amendment concerns might recede in the face of the threat of gun wielding terrorists who can easily assemble arsenals by trekking to the nearest gun show, where they can buy what they want, no questions asked. Look for more belligerent action abroad as well, as defeating ISIS now becomes job one. I guess all thoughts of the pivot to Asia are gone.

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  24. Mikey says:

    @anjin-san: @michael reynolds: Gah. I suppose you guys are right.

    I brought up Cheney, he’s appropriate, just not in my original context. Americans are just too easily cowed, we’ll wipe our collective backside with our allegedly-cherished principles when the wolf is at the door.

    Correction: when we believe the wolf is at the door. It doesn’t even actually have to be there.

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  25. michael reynolds says:

    @Pch101:

    I define fact the same way Noah does. And here are some facts:

    1) A woman we now know to be a terrorist made it past our vetting.
    2) She was not on a list or in a database. Most terrorists or aspiring terrorists aren’t.
    3) There is substantial support for ISIS among Syrian refugees – not surprising since they are largely not fleeing ISIS but fleeing Assad.
    4) 14 people are dead because we let this woman into the country.
    5) 18 is still larger than 11, which means if Hillary loses, very likely no one from Syria gets in.
    6) Trump is at 36%. Cruz, his mini-me, is at 16% and Carson is at 14%. That’s the close-the-borders and ethnically cleanse the brown folks caucus and they are now polling at 66% of the GOP.

    You want educated guesses?

    1) The polling on Syrian refugees is going to go further south. A bare majority of Democrats will oppose the president’s policy, and Hillary’s, while, oh, let’s say 70% of independents will also side with the GOP on this issue.
    2) The eventual Republican candidate will hammer Hillary for being soft on terrorists and link it with Mexican immigration as well, a two-fer.
    3) Which will push her further right on foreign policy.
    4) Which will make a ground war more likely.

    Which is kinda the opposite of the outcome you and I both want. And is exactly what I said two weeks ago would happen.

    I don’t know enough about internal British or German politics to predict where that goes, but Poland and Hungary are already out of the plan to take in refugees, and I very much doubt they’ll be the last.

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  26. Pch101 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Get back to me when you figure out that Syria and Pakistan are different countries. Eesh.

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  27. stonetools says:

    @Mikey:

    Rationally, Mikey , you are right about the Syrian refugee situation. Bure rationality goes out the window in situations like this. The irrational response will be “Keep out the damned towelheads. They’re all reading from the same book, amiright?”
    There WILL be a pause, both in the Syrian refugee flow, and in any release of Guantanamo Bay inmates. It’s sad, and I’d like to think we are better than that, but in my heart I know we aren’t. Obama the idealist will be disappointed again.

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  28. Mikey says:

    @stonetools: All I can do is look back on history and groan, “How little we learn.”

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  29. michael reynolds says:

    @Pch101:

    Get back to me when you figure out that to an Islamist radical there are no countries.

    “Syria?” Good grief, like that matters at this point. Which Syria, the part run by the murdering Alawite thug Assad or the one dominated by the murdering cults of ISIS or Al-Nusra? Syria is dead. There is no Syria.

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  30. bill says:

    @Mikey: islamic terrorism 101- do you live in a cave or something?

    @C. Clavin:he didn’t need to, the left did it asap- turns out he was just a crazy guy with a gun – he killed a cop who was “christian” as well.

    side note, will obama swallow his pride and admit this was domestic, islamic terrorism? and just a week after he said there’s no imminent threats….was that taunting or something?

    anyhow, how’s the crow eating contest going?

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  31. michael reynolds says:

    @stonetools:

    Rationality and politics haven’t even been introduced to each other, politics is always emotion.

    And you’re right, in the end there will be a pause. The only question for Democrats is how long we’re going to stall, and how much damage we’re going to take, before we accept it. Would have been easier had Mr. Obama and the Democratic amen corner not been quite so cocksure and obnoxious in their defense of a policy that clearly, clearly, was politically unsupportable after Paris.

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  32. Pch101 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    You can string together as many non sequiturs as you like (and I’m sure that you will, as you seem to be compelled by a severe case of OCD.)

    The fact remains that you don’t know what happened other than what has been reported by the media. No amount of internet babble is going to change the outcome of the investigation, whatever it may be.

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  33. Tyrell says:

    This is a major deal here, make no mistake. There must be a thorough investigation of what these people did while abroad, who they contacted, and what was done. Notice that they have been described as model citizens: sign of programming.
    The president can no longer evade, excuse, divert, deny, or construe. This is not a “setback “, containment, or “climate change “.
    It will be interesting to see if Hillary changes her tune that this is a “gun control ” issue.
    Here it is less than a month after Paris, and it has occurred here.
    The FBI has said that there are DAESH cells in every state.

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  34. michael reynolds says:

    @Pch101:

    If you see a non-sequitur, point it out and make a case. All you’re doing now is stalling because the alternative is admitting I was right.

    And you know, normally I’d let it go. Really. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m wrong, and when I’m wrong I admit it. I don’t expect 100% correct answers from anyone, including myself.

    But I’ve just had two weeks of sanctimonious abuse from you and some others and I’m not feeling generous. I was right on the risk, I was right on the vetting, I was right on the politics. I was even right to say early on that we were wrongly dismissing women as a possible threat – though anyone paying attention would have known ISIS is using women.

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  35. michael reynolds says:

    @Tyrell:

    It is still a gun control issue. The NRA and their bootlicks in Congress have just provided access to weapons and ammo for an ISIS terrorist.

    ISIS: armed by the NRA and the gun cult.

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  36. mantis says:

    @michael reynolds:

    they are largely not fleeing ISIS but fleeing Assad.

    That’s a fact?

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  37. Pch101 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    If you see a non-sequitur, point it out and make a case.

    Pakistan is a different country from Syria.

    Entering the US on a marriage visa is not the same as entering as a refugee.

    Your confidence in your own investigative skills (which consist entirely of wild-ass guessing) makes it clear that you are a legend in your own mind, which tells me more about you than about this case.

    I could continue, but it doesn’t get any better from here.

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  38. stonetools says:

    @michael reynolds: @Pch101:

    I think Michael did make a big error there. Fess up, big guy.
    However, I don’t think it matters. To the average American, the whole area between Algeria and Indonesia is one big country called Islamistan, full of scary brown people who practice an incomprehensible religion and who chant “Death to America!” before breakfast every morning. They probably want to keep ALL of those people out(“It’s the only way to be sure.”)

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  39. C. Clavin says:

    @Tyrell:
    really? i don’t remember you being so upset about the radical christian terrorist from last week.

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  40. Gustopher says:

    @Tyrell:

    It will be interesting to see if Hillary changes her tune that this is a “gun control ” issue.

    Why is it either a terrorism issue or a gun control issue? Why not both?

    The shooters were able to legally stockpile enough weaponry that they were able to kill a large number of people in a matter of moments. Up until a few days ago, they had done nothing wrong, to the best knowledge of anyone at the time.

    The pipebombs were useless, so let’s just leave them out of the picture, unless you want to argue we need to monitor the ownership of pipes or something.

    Do you support their right to have the ability to kill a large number of people in a matter of moments? You know, last week, before they actually killed a large number of people.

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  41. stonetools says:

    @mantis:

    Michael is wrong about this, IMO. I think there will be very few ISIS sympathizers in the Syrian refugee flow. I don’t think it will matter, sadly.

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  42. C. Clavin says:

    @bill:
    So the white terrorist;

    turns out he was just a crazy guy with a gun

    but you are scared of brown people so this is something else?
    i know you’re a huge racist…but even you should be embarrassed by your blatant islamaphobia.

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  43. Gustopher says:

    @Pch101:

    Your confidence in your own investigative skills (which consist entirely of wild-ass guessing) makes it clear that you are a legend in your own mind, which tells me more about you than about this case.

    And yet, he is more knowledgable than most Americans on the subject.

    Something which does not fill me with glee.

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  44. Monala says:

    @michael reynolds: Good point about Malik. As a mother, it’s hard for me to fathom leaving my baby to go do something like this – but thinking that way is also a form of sexism. She must have been very confident they would succeed.

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  45. Lit3Bolt says:

    @michael reynolds:

    You were right about the Syrian refugees, I’ll admit. I can’t really remember if I opined on that or not.

    So there’s no dilemma in hammering against the Syrian refugee issue. That’s a no brainer at this point I think. Remember politicians and strategists are more risk adverse that most people.

    The bigger issue is the fact that ISIS radicals are basically Sunni radicals, and they’re coming from Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. If we ban all immigration from the Gulf States, they’ll just funnel that much more money into terrorism.

    There’s also the fact that people are self-radicalizing here. I haven’t heard any solutions to that problem yet.

    And absolutely gun nuts who sell guns to terrorists should be charged with terrorism related charges. It’s time to ditch the fantasy that any Muslim-Americans are buying .223 rifles and thousands of rounds of ammunition for “self-defense.”

    There’s a lot to unpack here. I almost wish we let more people travel to ISIS just so we could bomb them over there instead of here.

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  46. Larry Faragut says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I am calling this Islamic terrorism because it is a fact. Get your head out of your ass already and stop with the PC crap.

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  47. michael reynolds says:

    @Pch101:

    There is no Syria. Syria is past tense. Syria is not coming back. Syria is not pining for the fjords. Its dead, Jim. And to an Islamist, it never existed in the first place, but was a fictional entity designed to keep Muslims from uniting.

    @mantis:

    From Fact Check:

    So what religion are the Syrian refugees admitted to the U.S.?

    The vast majority are Sunni Muslims, who make up 2,128, or 93 percent, of the Syrian refugees in the U.S. The Sunnis are about 74 percent of the Syrian population, according to the CIA, but “they tend to support the rebels and oppose the Assad regime, and Syrian Sunnis have been subject to ethnic cleansing at the hands of the Alawite minority in recent months,” as the Washington Post reported on Oct. 18, 2012.

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  48. the Q says:

    Mr. Reynolds, I wonder what your advice to FDR would have been after Pearl Harbor and whether we should lock up Japanese Americans in horse stalls. Based on your above opinion, I would have to believe you would say “do it.”

    “Look the GOP is gonna kill us on this issue. They aren’t worried about the German spies or Italian sympathizers, but we gotta do something to show the public we are serious, otherwise the New Deal maybe compromised. And we don’t want that Dewey fellow leading the war effort.”

    I was a kid and living in LA at the time and sadly, no one really objected and it WAS politically popular, but now we look at that action with shame and regret.

    Having said that, it IS a political loser to ignore the fear and not worry about votes being lost by pretending that Syrian refugees don’t pose at least some risk to homeland security.

    Hence, the “temporary suspension” of refugees is kind of a wimpy, but politically expedient way to massage the issue till further developments dictate changing it.

    I think if its proven that these were two lone nut cases with no links to sleeper cells or ISIS agents, then the pressure will be lessened somewhat as the public won’t be as concerned had it been a “real planned attack by a central source.” If it looks like these were two “kooks” like the other kooks who engage in mass atrocities, the public may downplay the Muslim kooks angle.

    I think the Dems have to be a little more realistic about the threat without being “fascist” about it.

    We need to let the dust settle and learn more about the SB attack before we formulate any hard policies.

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  49. C. Clavin says:

    @Larry Faragut:
    and you dont think that Robert Dear is a radical christian terrorist?
    face it… they are both religious terrorists. you just don’t like brown skinned people…so you think they are somehow different. they are not.

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  50. michael reynolds says:

    @Monala:

    Just be glad she didn’t pull a Goebbels, who poisoned his own children in Hitler’s bunker.

    This poor kid has a very tough life ahead of him/her. I have an adopted daughter and she has never stopped obsessing over her birth parents, and never stopped raging at them. (China. They gave her up at age 3 1/2, which fact hurts my daughter’s soul.) This kid has infinitely worse, orders of magnitude more baggage to haul through life.

    The mother deserved worse than a clean bullet.

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  51. Pch101 says:

    @stonetools:

    To the average American, the whole area between Algeria and Indonesia is one big country called Islamistan, full of scary brown people who practice an incomprehensible religion and who chant “Death to America!” before breakfast every morning.

    I’ve seen that map. It has dragons and everything!

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  52. Larry Faragut says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Nice, play that Race card. You obviously do not know what to discuss what happened to California because you keep bringing this Robert Dear up. You really look a Fool here, but I guess you are used to it.

    Did you know that people like you prevent people from calling the feds or police on suspicious people because they do not want to be labeled a racist or bigot by people like you? Nice job!

    Did you also miss this part of the story

    “A man who has been working in the area said he noticed a half-dozen Middle Eastern men in the area in recent weeks, but decided not to report anything since he did not wish to racially profile those people.

    “We sat around lunch thinking, ‘What were they doing around the neighborhood?’” he said. “We’d see them leave where they’re raiding the apartment.”

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  53. stonetools says:

    @Lit3Bolt:

    And absolutely gun nuts who sell guns to terrorists should be charged with terrorism related charges. It’s time to ditch the fantasy that any Muslim-Americans are buying .223 rifles and thousands of rounds of ammunition for “self-defense.”

    On one hand, you’ll have the gun right enthusiasts who are certain that any restriction on the sacred Second Amendment should be resisted because any such restriction will be the first step toward Stalinist tyranny. On the other hand you have the security folks who will want to keep all weapons away from the scary brown people who will bust a bullet in your face at the Christmas party. Talk about the streams crossing. Dunno what the outcome of this battle royal will be.

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  54. mantis says:

    @michael reynolds:

    That was in October 2012, before ISIS even had expanded into Syria, as I understand it. That doesn’t really tell us anything about the attitudes of refugees towards ISIS today.

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  55. C. Clavin says:

    remember too that the radical christian terrorist had duffel bags full of guns with him.
    these two incidents are the same, neglecting the number dead; religious freaks with easy access to killing machines exercising their second amendment rights.
    get rid of religion and guns. solved.
    thanks…send my nobel peace prize to…..

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  56. Pch101 says:

    If someone could inform Michael Reynolds that there are no refugees coming to the US from Pakistan, i.e. a country that is located in Asia about 2,500 miles from Syria, it would be much appreciated.

    Thanks for your assistance.

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  57. Larry Faragut says:

    @anjin-san:

    How does it feel to ignore facts and hide behind some PC fantasy because you can’t handle the truth? I love how anyone who disagrees with you is a Racist. The president has been lying his ass off about ISIS and clowns like you keep regurgitating his nonsense.

    The real tool is you for not understanding who ISIS is and who supports them. Your messiah Obama helped radicalize many of these people because he sat idly by while Assad massacred his own people. For four years, the Syrians and the rest of the world have been waiting for Obama to step up. Turkey also has been the #1 supporter of ISIS. They’ve been using ISIS to clean out the Kurds. The level of bullshit coming out of the administration is beyond comprehension.

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  58. C. Clavin says:

    @Larry Faragut:
    You idiot…ISIS grew directly out of the failures of the Bush Administration in Iraq.
    It must suck to be absolutely terrified of something you cannot understand.

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  59. stonetools says:

    @Larry Faragut:

    I’m sure you have a simple plan for how to resolve the many-sided Syrian conflict, which includes Assad, various Sunni groups, the Turks, the Kurds, Russia, and Iran. Now is your chance to enlighten us leftist simpletons .Let me help you get started:

    1.
    2.
    3.

    (Man, this never gets old).

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  60. anjin-san says:

    @Larry Faragut:

    I love how anyone who disagrees with you is a Racist

    Please show where I mentioned racism on this thread.

    Failing that, just admit that you have nothing beyond making things up and go away…

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  61. anjin-san says:

    @Larry Faragut:

    For four years, the Syrians and the rest of the world have been waiting for Obama to step up.

    So it’s our job to intervene in other countries civil wars? Guess you’ve forgotten how well that worked out in Viet Nam.

    Tell me something stud, what have you done to help the suffering Syrian people?

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  62. al-Ameda says:

    @Larry Faragut:

    The real tool is you for not understanding who ISIS is and who supports them. Your messiah Obama helped radicalize many of these people because he sat idly by while Assad massacred his own people. For four years, the Syrians and the rest of the world have been waiting for Obama to step up.

    A few points:
    (1) “Your messiah Obama” – Some unsolicited advice: That’s not a very effective opener if you want to be taken seriously. You’re welcome.
    (2) You do realize that Bush’s 2003 decision to go to war in Iraq, for no reason related to the defense and security of America, created a new failed state (Iraq) and the conditions for ISIS to flourish.
    (3) The Republican congress voted to deny Obama authority to attack encampments within Syria, all the while complaining that Putin was accruing too much power in the region. (so, how’s it going for Putin right now?)

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  63. Bill Lefrak says:

    If you were surprised by this, you’re not reading this because you’re fully retarded. Or maybe….

    Ultimately the left will take this news the same way in which they take all news that shatters the bubbles in which they reside: they’ll ignore it, switch the subject to something idiotic, worry about their trust funds, their portfolios and what to wear to Saturday’s cocktail party, and by Sunday it’ll all be forgotten. A leftist is like a dull child. Yesterday is not recalled. Tomorrow merely is a faint hypothetical. It’s a mental disorder, after all.

    As far as the administration goes, there’s not really all that much to say. Obama is gearing up for his permanent victory tour on college and university campuses, or to gin up lockstep voting for next year’s election by kids and inner city blacks, by dissing police and talking favorably about student loans, gay rights, women’s rights and such. The DOJ is a farce. DHS is a farce. Only the FBI remains somewhat intact, as that agency largely has escaped the big dumb down and ensuing reality comas of leftism.

    The worst actually is yet to come. Lax borders. Lax visa checks. Sensitivity training for cops. Affirmative action. “Gun control” in the big cities. No profiling allowed. Gnashing of teeth when a cop gets a bit too forceful. Don’t tase me, bro. I can’t breathe.

    We’re an easy mark. ISIS and its supporters will take advantage. We had WTC ’93. We had 9/11. Then there was a brief awakening from the country’s reality coma. But that sure as hell didn’t last. Recently there was Ft. Hood. Boston. San Bernardino. The next step is our Paris. Inevitable. Part of the decline. Leftism has consequences.

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  64. Mikey says:

    @Pch101:

    there are no refugees coming to the US from Pakistan, i.e. a country that is located in Asia about 2,500 miles from Syria

    I’m pretty sure MR knows this, his point is most Americans couldn’t find either nation on a map if their lives depended upon doing so, and to many of them Islam is little more than an amorphous mass (in a suicide vest) anyway. So appeals to stop the refugee flow from Syria based on the fact a Pakistani non-refugee was able to avoid detection as a potential terrorist would probably have traction.

    Your beef should be with the ignorance of too many Americans, not with MR. He’s just pointing out the sad reality.

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  65. David M says:
  66. anjin-san says:

    @Bill Lefrak:

    Well, you are pretty much hysterical – basically a terrorists wet dream.

    Abject cowardice is not an American value…

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  67. Pch101 says:

    @Mikey:

    I’m pretty sure MR knows this, his point is most Americans couldn’t find either nation on a map if their lives depended upon doing so, and to many of them Islam is little more than an amorphous mass (in a suicide vest) anyway.

    My only point was that there isn’t enough information to lay all of the blame for this massacre on the wife, so he ought to give it a rest.

    It’s tough to reason with a guy who thinks that my point is somehow rebutted by talking about Syria. He displays classic OCD, leaping from subject to subject and feeling that he is some sort of hero for doing it.

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  68. stonetools says:

    @Bill Lefrak:

    The worst actually is yet to come. Lax borders. Lax visa checks. Sensitivity training for cops. Affirmative action. “Gun control” in the big cities. No profiling allowed. Gnashing of teeth when a cop gets a bit too forceful. Don’t tase me, bro. I can’t breathe.

    I think you forgot dogs and cats living together , the moon turning to blood, and the sun to night. Actually you might want to check out Revelations for some better end time scenarios. Yours sound a bit tame

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  69. Grumpy Realist says:

    So what do the pants-setters suggest? Shoot every woman in a scarf?

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  70. Tony W says:

    @stonetools:

    The Republicans will pile on about this terrorist attack occurring on “Obummer’s” watch

    I don’t think they’re going to want a body-county comparison against Obama’s predecessor.

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  71. humanoid.panda says:

    @anjin-san: Shorter Tsar: “The only way to beat terrorism is to clamp down on the n**rs.”

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  72. Tony W says:

    @stonetools: I particularly appreciated his twisting of history – as if “leftism” caused 9/11. He seems to have forgotten who was in charge of the Executive branch that day.

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  73. Jc says:

    So it’s only immigrants and refugees from the Middle East that can radicalize Muslim Americans? what about those already here, and the Internet, and dating sites and family members. Didn’t this guys bro serve in the Navy? This chick was Pakistani and possibly radicalized in Saudi Arabia, shocker, so now block all Saudis from coming over here to drink and party?

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  74. appleannie says:

    While I will concede that MR is likely right about how this will play out, unless something has changed in the past couple of hours that I’ve been out of pocket, the FBI does not think that this was a ISIS coordinated or ordered attack and the ISIS reaction was different from after the Paris attacks.
    Since I can speculate with the best of them, I think it sounds (at least at the moment) like a lone wolf/wolves attack, where the shooters were inspired by ISIS but not under their control. In which respect, it is quite a bit like Dear in Colorado Springs.

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  75. bill says:

    @C. Clavin: i’m not afraid of anything, my girlfriend’s black and i have muslim friends/co-workers. heck, i went on a road trip with a palestinian bud years ago- so stop your lame profiling. reality is what’s real- not this macabre fantasy world you wish was so.
    trying to divert blame from islam is growing old, it’s been 50 yrs of blowing up stuff that has nothing to do with whatever idiotic “cause’ they may have had at some time. by “they” i mean a small %, but it’s still a huge number compared to the rest of the civilized world. npr was just trying to justify their feelings of being outcasts or something stupid…….get a grip- stop biting the hand that feeds.

    @anjin-san: are Vietnamese refugees blowing up stuff here or something? last i checked they seemed to attempt to assimilate and be productive members of America. come to think of it, most Asian migrants seem to as well- not including anything east of india.
    why would that be, maybe islam?!

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  76. michael reynolds says:

    @the Q:

    What a stupid and offensive remark. The Japanese we interned were American citizens. American citizens are entitled to due process under law. Where have you ever seen me question the rights of American citizens?

    Show me a single case, just one, ever, anywhere, where I suggested violating the rights of a citizen. Make the case. Or apologize.

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  77. DrDaveT says:

    @appleannie:

    Since I can speculate with the best of them, I think it sounds (at least at the moment) like a lone wolf/wolves attack, where the shooters were inspired by ISIS but not under their control.

    My personal best guess is that the couple was preparing for a serious terror strike somewhere, but he got pissed off at work and decided to re-target and go kill some particular people right now. Given the range of targets he could have attacked, with more preparation and effect, I suspect ISIS is not exactly pleased with him just now.

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  78. michael reynolds says:

    @Pch101:

    You’re as useless as a psychotherapist as you are as a political analyst. I know OCD well having two family members who are afflicted. I’m not OCD.

    What I display is actually antisocial personality disorder, what people used to call the sociopathic or psychopathic range. Except that my ASD is simulated. I’m a writer, my “thing” tends to be plot, I’m insanely experienced, and as a result I can very quickly find the bright, clear line between Point A and Point B.

    So what you are mis-diagnosing as OCD (inexplicably) is actually a combination of experience with story and high IQ, resulting in a rather good capacity to sense strength and weakness, possibility and probability. I’m repurposing a profitable skill.

    Or, if you want the tl;dr version, you could just face the horrifying fact that I’m smarter than you.

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  79. Pch101 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    You’re a legend in your own shower, I know. Yet oddly enough, i remain unimpressed.

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  80. C. Clavin says:

    @bill:
    How do you explain the fact that Americans are more likely to die from Christian terrorists?

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  81. michael reynolds says:

    @Pch101:

    Uh huh.

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  82. C. Clavin says:

    @Larry Faragut:
    Really? Nobody called the Feds about last weeks Christian terrorist either. So there goes that stupid theory. Robert Dear and these two in Cali were all religious zealots with way too easy access to guns. All the same. No difference.

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  83. Rafer Janders says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Yes, and it rather suggests we should stop taking people in from Sunni Muslim countries.

    Well, that’ll be some news to our allies Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, among others, all of whom are majority Sunni…..

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  84. Matt says:

    @michael reynolds: http://www.state.gov/j/prm/ra/

    At least 2 years worth of vetting.. Spend a little time to educate yourself and you won’t look so stupid.

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  85. Guarneri says:

    @michael reynolds:

    It may not have been reported at the time you wrote this but it turns out Tashi’s reported home town was faked. Gives one confidence in the vetting……

    Second, per a terror analyst, hitting a soft target before a hard target is often the MO to show results even if the harder assignment fails.

    It boggles the mind that there are still deniers, plying a workplace excuse or gun control diversionary debate tactics. As you point out, There are more attacks to come, it is only the timing in doubt. To defend the current denial posture of certain politicians is the most execrable intellectual dishonesty or grotesque partisanship.

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  86. anjin-san says:

    @bill:

    Well bill, it was not you getting your candy ass shot off in ‘Nam interfering in the civil war of a society we did not understand. It was other guys.

    Not surprisingly, you are too tracking stupid to even understand what I was saying…

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  87. stonetools says:

    Honestly? While I think Michael was right in identifying the wife as a possible channel of radicalization, it remains to be seen as to whether he is right about anything else. I think he is right about the Syrian refugee situation being a political loser, but while Hillary should avoid committing herself, I still think Obama should stand tall and defend the program-because it’s the right thing to do and he isn’t facing another election. So he can afford to hang in there. He also can’t and shouldn’t restrict immigration from Sunni Muslim countries-something that even GWB didn’t at the height of the 9/11 hysteria. They are allies after all. The Republicans can’t press him closely on that either, because Exxon and friends wouldn’t like that (they still have major interests in the Gulf), and Big Oil owns the GOP.
    The Democrats have some cards to play too. The fact that the couple used God’s favorite weapon to mow down 31 people means that for the first time the GOP and the NRA are vulnerable on gun control. The Dems need to start having the Republicans take votes on not closing the “terrorism watch list loophole” and Hillary needs to start cutting ads about the GOP and the NRA being “soft on terrorism.” Turnabout is fair play there. ( I expect that we will soon see a Mataconis post attacking the Democrats for “demagoguing” the terrorism watchlist loophole, but it’s a legit national security issue, and dammit, we need to stick in the knife where we can).

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  88. bill says:

    @C. Clavin: i’m sure there’s a “site” where someone crunched some stats together on this- and i’m sure some crazy people read/believe in it. by definition christians killing each other is not terrorism…….just like blacks killing each other is considered “normal”.
    read ann’s blog this week for what we’re rarely told through the msm! it’s just facts dude- they suck when you don’t agree with them.

    http://www.anncoulter.com/columns/2015-12-02.html#read_more

    @anjin-san: oh god, i couldn’t fight a war when is was 3- my bad……..and when it comes to war we really don’t need to “understand” the enemies values aside from how to kill them quickly and get out. not like ‘nam was a winnable war for us- just more proxy sh*t that kennedy/johnson got us into and couldn’t figure out what to do. candy-ass, nice touch, angry white man.

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  89. Pch101 says:

    @bill:

    by definition christians killing each other is not terrorism

    Er, you obviously don’t know what terrorism is, in spite of the fact that it is the sort of definition that could be found with a whopping 20 seconds of research. Then again, you don’t seem to know much about anything else, so your ignorance on the subject is not exactly a shocker.

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  90. michael reynolds says:

    @Matt:

    Spend a little time dealing with the fact that it’s the same f-ing data, genius. The US government does not have a Big List O’ Terrorists. The US government can’t run a no-fly list, and the intelligence community has been right about nothing, ever. So the “vetting process” is bullshit, and every rational person who looks at it knows it.

    What do you think, the CIA is sending agents into the wreckage of Syria to check people out? They have a database, that’s it. They question any friends or family they happen to have access to. And how did that work out in San Bernardino, their own family had no clue these people were nuts.

    Don’t lecture people when you’re clueless.

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  91. michael reynolds says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Yes, no duh. Do you actually think I don’t know that these are Sunni countries?

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  92. anjin-san says:

    @bill:

    kill them quickly and get out.

    Well, we’ve already dropped so many bombs on ISIS that the military is running short on bombs. Guess the problem is solved, right?

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  93. anjin-san says:

    @bill:

    when it comes to war we really don’t need to “understand” the enemies values aside from how to kill them quickly and get out.

    So the brilliance of George Marshall & Douglas MacArthur in Germany and Japan had nothing to do with those countries become peaceful, stable, democratic allies? All we have to do is kill a lot of people and everything will be fine?

    Run along skippy, you are missing Fox & Friends…

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  94. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds: Well, they actually check fingerprints against a database of fingerprints lifted from IEDs (yes, they can get those even from the pieces of shrapnel and casing).

    Again, equating the vetting process for a fiancee visa with that of refugees referred by the UN for resettlement in the U. S. is an entirely bogus argument.

    I agree with you to the extent I believe you’re right about how America in general will see this stuff, but I don’t for a moment believe you’re so dense.

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  95. Pch101 says:

    @Mikey:

    I don’t for a moment believe you’re so dense.

    I can’t see why you don’t. He has made it abundantly clear that he is personally fearful of Syrian refugees.

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  96. Grewgills says:

    @michael reynolds:

    1) A woman we now know to be a terrorist made it past our vetting.

    She made it through one of the quickest and easiest vetting processes for gaining long term status in the US. The only easier way to enter is on a tourist visa from a closely allied country, like France or Belgium.

    2) She was not on a list or in a database. Most terrorists or aspiring terrorists aren’t.

    That will be true whether they are radicalized in Europe, the US, or the ME. Do we prohibit immigration from everywhere with substantial Muslim populations? only places with Muslim majorities? or only places with politically convenient names?

    3) There is substantial support for ISIS among Syrian refugees – not surprising since they are largely not fleeing ISIS but fleeing Assad.

    We also know there is at least some support for Daesh among disaffected Muslim populations everywhere in the world. Why would a terrorist choose a 2+ years long process with more intrusive and repetitive checks than any other means of entry when it would be orders of magnitude quicker and easier with almost no vetting to enter from an allied state on a tourist visa?

    4) 14 people are dead because we let this woman into the country.

    Perhaps, if your pet hypothesis about her is correct. It isn’t by any means certain that your guess is correct and even if it is, it is by no means certain that he wouldn’t have snapped anyway.

    5) 18 is still larger than 11, which means if Hillary loses, very likely no one from Syria gets in.

    Which would mean that no change in her position will change the likelihood of an attack, but she can still take a craven political position and it may help her a little bit at the bigoted margins.

    6) Trump is at 36%. Cruz, his mini-me, is at 16% and Carson is at 14%. That’s the close-the-borders and ethnically cleanse the brown folks caucus and they are now polling at 66% of the GOP.

    True and we can’t out-bigot them and retain who we are. We have to realize that they will out demagogue us on terrorism and immigration. We need a different strategy. Clinton can be the grown up in the room. She can talk circles around all of the competition on actual anti-terror strategy and foreign policy. She is already more hawkish and already more supportive of a surveillance state than most of us here are comfortable with. She doesn’t have to change position. All she has to do is massage messaging.

    1) The polling on Syrian refugees is going to go further south. A bare majority of Democrats will oppose the president’s policy, and Hillary’s, while, oh, let’s say 70% of independents will also side with the GOP on this issue.
    2) The eventual Republican candidate will hammer Hillary for being soft on terrorists and link it with Mexican immigration as well, a two-fer.

    After Paris, Clinton was still more trusted on terrorism and foreign relation than any of the Republicans. I’m willing to bet she will still be more trusted on those issues next week. More importantly she will be stronger on those issues with independents in the coming weeks. The answer isn’t more demagoguery from her and other Democrats. The politically expedient thing for her at the moment is to play her cards close to the vest and say very little about the refugees. If she feels she has to hedge, she can talk about a review of the process and not allowing actual entry until after such a review while leaving the current process running. For bonus points, she can talk about visa entries and talk about closing the watch list loophole for gun purchases. When in office she can complete the review in time for the first refugees to enter at close to the original time frame.

    3) Which will push her further right on foreign policy.
    4) Which will make a ground war more likely.

    You have been advocating that she do exactly this since Paris.

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  97. Grewgills says:

    @Pch101:
    No, he hasn’t. He has made it clear that he is fearful of the reaction of the American (and EU) public to Syrian refugees and the miniscule actual threat they pose. He is basically advocating that Democrats go xenophobe light, so that we don’t end up with the full blown nativism of the current crop of Republicans.
    He is also advocating some, I think, counterproductive and unethical responses to terrorist actions using terrible WWII analogies, but that is a separate issue.

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  98. Pch101 says:

    @Grewgills:

    Reynolds said, “a substantial number of those refugees would be ISIS supporters, ISIS fellow travelers, or ISIS active members actually detailed to penetrate the US.” Not exactly ambiguous.

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  99. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    It is good to know that the thread isn’t any more illuminating when Reynolds is the troll. GAWD!

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  100. Rafer Janders says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Do you actually think I don’t know that these are Sunni countries?

    Well, you either (a) didn’t know or (b) proposed an idiotic and unworkable solution. Ignorant or stupid, take your pick.

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  101. Rafer Janders says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Yes, no duh.

    I can see how you make a living as a writer.

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  102. Rafer Janders says:

    @michael reynolds:

    What do you think, the CIA is sending agents into the wreckage of Syria to check people out? They have a database, that’s it. They question any friends or family they happen to have access to. And how did that work out in San Bernardino, their own family had no clue these people were nuts.

    Once again, you are very very dishonestly conflating the Farooq family in San Bernadino, which consisted of a native-born American and his wife from Pakistan who entered the US on a fiancee visa, with Syrian refugees who have nothing to do with them. I don’t know where this sudden confusion and/or compulsion to lie came from, but all it’s doing is serving to discredit you further.

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  103. Grewgills says:

    @Pch101:
    He has also said on multiple occasions that he is in more danger from his cigar than from terrorists. His argument is that if (he might say when) an attack happens that it will strengthen the GOP hand and probably cost us an important election. His remedy to this perceived problem is for Democrats to become GOP lite on terrorism and foreign policy. He seems to think that this will blunt the effectiveness of their demagoguery and win us the White House next year. I doubt that will work. You don’t beat demagogues by demagoguing slightly less irrationally. Crazy wins in that contest. We need a different strategy to beat the xenophobic wing of the GOP.
    In short, he is afraid of the GOP more than the terrorists, at least as it relates to refugees and other immigrants.

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  104. Rafer Janders says:

    @Grewgills:

    In short, he is afraid of the GOP more than the terrorists, at least as it relates to refugees and other immigrants.

    Either way, it’s irrational fear driving him. Very sad.

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  105. Pch101 says:

    @Grewgills:

    He has also said on multiple occasions that he is in more danger from his cigar than from terrorists.

    In that case, go argue with him about his inconsistency. On this thread, I see the statement that I quoted above, his statements abovee that the screening process will help terrorists, and his assertion (without any evidence) that the wife in the San Bernardino absolutely radicalized the husband, an argument that he insists is true because he wants to believe it.

    All of that contradicts your claim that he hasn’t said such things. He obviously did, as I observed — scroll up and you’ll find it.

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  106. Rafer Janders says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Don’t lecture people when you’re clueless.

    As a writer, Michael, I’m sure that you have a professional appreciation for irony and for characters who reveal themselves through their own lack of self-knowledge….

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  107. WR says:

    @michael reynolds: “But I’ve just had two weeks of sanctimonious abuse from you and some others and I’m not feeling generous. I was right on the risk, I was right on the vetting, I was right on the politics. I was even right to say early on that we were wrongly dismissing women as a possible threat – though anyone paying attention would have known ISIS is using women.”

    If it means anything, my personal sanctimonious abuse of you wasn’t about the refugees — although you were being sufficiently annoying there that I might have chimed in on the argument — but over your reprehensible and ludicrous plan to defeat terrorism by starting a nuclear war on the happy assumption that if we merely killed sufficient millions of people and irradiated sufficient amounts of the world, everyone would decide we were really keen and become our friends.

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