On Monday, Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square would be bomber, pleaded guilty to all 10 counts against him in his failed plot. Most assuredly he will spend the rest of his life in prison when he is sentenced in October.
He didn't seem to mind and in a most curious and animated fashion described himself as a "Muslim warrior", who saw himself "as part of the answer for Muslims fighting that war." He went on stating, "We will be attacking the United States as long as the war continues referring to U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, drone strikes in Pakistan and the targeting of militants in Somalia and Yemen."
After the plea Attorney General Eric Holder said, "Faisal Shahzad plotted and launched an attack that could have led to serious loss of life, and today the American criminal justice system ensured that he will pay the price for his actions."
Hardly any American would disagree with Holder's statement.
Yet to this observer, what is one to make of Shahzad's calmly stated remarks and confident manner in describing why he felt justified in attempting what he did? He certainly didn't appear deluded or act deranged, not in the expected manner of a madman.
In the early televised accounts of commentators and terrorism "experts", in their appraisals and reactions to Shahzad's guilty plea and statement to the court, none spoke of "the 800 pound gorilla in the room" i.e. the role played by U.S. policy of preemptive war and occupation in Muslim countries, our clandestine war in Pakistan, the killing of innocents by our drone attacks in those countries, the extraordinary rendition of terrorism suspects, their indefinite detention without charges and of course the widely known torture committed by U.S. personnel on many of these detainees, many of them completely innocent of any wrongdoing.
Are we Americans to remain naÃ¯ve in believing our country's policies do not make us culpable in bringing about the terrorists and the terrorism they perform against us? Whether those attempts are successful (the 9/11 attacks) or failed ones (such as Shahzads) the idea we are innocent and have no role as the catalyst in its formation is the ultimate in denial.
Yes my fellow Americans we are culpable by our tolerance, acquiescence and our passivity in the face of our government committing atrocities (in our name), initiating illegal wars and occupations, the torturing of suspects and the killing of innocents.
It is no mystery as to why we Americans have become targets of Muslim extremists. We helped to create them by our tolerance of our government's aberrant policies and actions.
So sure we're glad that Shahzad's device didn't explode and a lot of innocent people were spared. We're glad our police authorities were able to nab him before he could commit any future attacks.
But unless we Americans wake up and demand the end of our illegal wars and occupations of Muslim countries and its peoples and demand our return to being a Republic, a member of the international community and not the world's latest imperial hegemonic overseer, we can count on seeing more Shahzad's willing to attack us.