I have had three long years to reflect on the terrorist attack that took the life of my son, Army Private Andy Long. On June 1, 2009, a man named Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad killed Andy and wounded his colleague, Army Private Quinton Ezeagwula, in a drive-by shooting at a military recruiting office in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Unbeknownst to most Americans, there have been two successful terrorist attacks on American soil since 9/11 besides last month’s terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya: the one that killed my son and the Fort Hood shooting. They both occurred during President Obama’s term, but the president refuses to recognize them as terrorist attacks. Instead, he calls the Little Rock shooting a “criminal act” and the Fort Hood shooting “workplace violence.” Those words would be laughable if my son’s life and the lives of 13 others hadn’t been lost.
The American-born terrorist who killed my son told the Associated Press, “U.S. soldiers are killing innocent Muslim men and women, [and] we believe that we have to strike back.” In one of his writings he says that al Qaida helped him plan his attack. He even says that Obama’s identification of the attack as a criminal act of murder is wrong, proclaiming, “I don’t think it was murder, because murder is when a person kills another person without justified reason. And what I did was Islamic justified.”
Obama’s classification of the Fort Hood shooting by Army Major Nidal Hasan as “workplace violence” is even more absurd. Workplace violence is when an office worker punches his colleague. What Hasan did — murder his colleagues simply because they were serving in the U.S. military — is something else altogether. Hasan sought guidance from Anwar al-Awlaki, the spiritual adviser of several notorious terrorists, and he shouted “Allahu Akbar” during his attack.
Of course, President Obama also refuses to classify the September 11 attack on our Benghazi consulate — an attack that took the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans — as an act of terrorism.
If President Obama were serious about combating terrorism, he would make it known to our enemies and to the world at large that these were terrorist attacks, that such attacks are unacceptable under his watch, that he will do everything in his power to see that justice is served and that he will hunt down terrorists who take the lives our citizens. In the absence of such a strong and unequivocal expression of strength, our enemies will see us as weak, and they will attack with more frequency and fervor.
But it appears that the president is afraid of taking such a stand, because doing so would ruin the political narrative that he has kept America safe from attack and that the killing of Osama bin Laden sent al Qaida into a steep decline.
It gets worse. In May 2009, the geopolitical intelligence firm Stratfor learned from confidential sources that law enforcement agencies were being told by their superiors to “back off” investigating the activities of black Muslim converts like my son’s killer, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad. Three weeks later, Muhammad killed my son. As it turns out, the FBI had initiated a preliminary investigation of Muhammad but that investigation later stalled. It’s possible that it stalled because of a political order from the Obama administration.
Likewise, the FBI knew of Hasan’s emails with al-Awlaki, but the policy committee at Walter Reed Medical Center, where Hasan worked before relocating to Fort Hood, looked past his radicalism out of concern for “how it would look if we kick out one of the few Muslim residents.” At one point Hasan’s superior, Colonel Terry Lee, actually heard him praise my son’s death, but the Obama administration’s concern for political correctness trumped concern for the safety of our soldiers, so nothing was done.
In Libya, the Obama administration relied on a Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated group called the February 17 Martyrs Brigade to protect our consulate. This is the same Muslim Brotherhood that released a strategic memorandum in 1991 stating that its mission is “destroying the Western civilization from within.” Yet this president has tacitly embraced the group and naively invited its leaders to the White House.
The conservative public policy organization Let Freedom Ring is raising these issues in its advertising campaign at a time when few others are. Will the media and the candidates continue to ignore these hard realities that have burdened my family and could burden yours?
Daris Long served in the United States Marines Corps for over 26 years and is the father of Army Private Andy Long, who was killed in the 2009 terrorist attack in Little Rock, Arkansas.