Ilana Mercer, July 10, 2002

Most people don’t know who Haim Sapir is. Had he been an American, Sapir would have been declared a hero. Had he been an American, Sapir would be clamoring for his halo on the talk-show circuit. He’d have a gooey-lipped Fox News ditz, bubbling with questions like, “What went through your mind when you killed the non-terrorist Hesham Mohamed Hadayet at the El Al ticket counter, in LAX, on the Fourth of July?”

We came to know about the slightly built Israeli, who tackled and shot the Egyptian, not from the laconic Israelis, but from an American eyewitness, who suctioned himself to a television camera at the first opportunity.

Americans have a tough time distinguishing real from phony heroes. Sapir was just doing his job. He was trained to take out the enemy in 30 seconds, and he probably thinks he didn’t quite measure up. But for Americans, who live in a world festooned with symbolism and sentimentality, such matter-of-fact realities may be difficult to grasp.

When you’re given to emotional flights of fancy, your leaders are better able to obscure the reality on the ground. For one, they can hide the fact that the military is no longer doing anything that will advance the good of its countrymen or punish the enemy. Leaders can, moreover, give The War its own momentum, as this administration has done, by hyping it as a symbolic war.

For example, facts and common sense indicated Iraq should not have been attacked. If anything, threatening to attack a nation that had not aggressed against us was bound to make a dormant but dangerous Saddam Hussein act recklessly. To disguise these hard specifics, the administration whipped up a frenzy, framing its unprovoked aggression as a metaphoric battle of good against evil, and launching the U.S. on a figurative, wild-goose chase.

There is, however, a real war—its battlefront is in our midst. With the July-Fourth murders of Victoria Hen and Yaakov Aminov, we got a lesson on how semantics can conceal the slow war of attrition here at home—where the citizens are the unwitting warriors, the leaders their mortal enemies. The other lesson gleaned was that no administration will ever allow Americans to defend themselves by singling out and ejecting the fifth columnists living among them.

At this juncture we find Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, who lived in the U.S. quite comfortably. On July Fourth, 2002, politicians moved like lightning to depict Hadayet as a perpetrator of a random attack. The fact that Hadayet was a semiautomatic, sword-wielding Islamist, whose family departed mysteriously for Egypt a week prior to the Los Angeles International Airport attack, was, apparently, sheer coincidence. Or so claimed Ari Fleischer, the FBI, state politicians, and almost all the pointy-heads on television.

If this performance is anything to go by, the tack is to convince Americans that their enemies at home are simply lone lunatics. Isolated incidents, after all, don’t adequately support demands for culturally compatible immigration policies, for profiling, or for large-scale deportations—all of which need to happen if lives are to be safeguarded. In the absence of a cause for drastic change, Americans will be forced to accept their lot and…die silently.

And so it was that a speedy amen was given to the “isolated incident” theory. Americans had to be convinced, and fast, that the war effort needed to grow just enough to support Bush’s worldwide faith-based offensive but not quite sufficiently to allow Americans to protect life at home. That is, to convince them Iraq had to be attacked, but also impress upon them that they must continue to open their borders to enemies like the Hadayets of the world.

No surprise then that the Debkafile‘s Counter-Terror Sources had information about Hadayet that is at odds with the random-event humbug. It appears that Hadayet was an al-Qaida plant, member of a sleeper-cell, a fact backed by no less than the gray eminence of the Arab press, the London-based Al Hayat! As a member of the Egyptian Jihad Islami, al-Qaida’s primary operational arm, the Egyptian gunman likely met twice in California with one of the Jihad Islami chiefs, Dr. Ayman Zuwahri, also Osama bin Laden’s deputy.

The man fits the profile of the kind of terrorist who has plagued airlines and terminals for the past twenty years. But with a trick of the tongue, he was declared a mismatch, nothing but an artifact.


July 10, 2002

CATEGORIES: Homeland Security, Israel, Terrorism

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