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Step into the Wayback Machine with me for a moment. The year is 1942. The United States is at war with the Axis Powers (Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Imperial Japan).

So far, America has been taking a real beating. All the war news is bad, and getting worse. The Japanese chased Douglas MacArthur all the way to Australia, occupying the Far East and taking hundreds of thousands of Allies prisoner.

The Germans conquered all of Europe in a matter of months, occupying Europe from the Baltics to the English Channel virtually unopposed. The Italians owned North Africa.

America had yet to win a decisive victory, and it appeared that we were in danger of losing the war. At home, support for the war had hit rock bottom.

Now, let’s examine a hypothetical situation in that context and see how it sounds.

An 18-year-old Nazi sympathizer from one of the German-occupied countries immigrates to the U.S. with his mother. One day, he marches into Union Station and opens fire on every civilian not fast enough to dive under something, killing five before being dropped by an off-duty police officer.

The police chief is baffled by the attack. “It makes no sense,” he said. “It appears to be a random attack.” The FBI calls the attack “unexplainable.” “He was just walking around shooting everyone he saw,” said an FBI agent investigating the attack.

A major American newspaper in Cincinnati covers the story under the headline, “Gunman’s Motive Still Unknown.” In San Diego the next day, the headline was “Teenaged Gunman Who Killed 5 Targeted People at Random.”

One day after the attack, according to a Colorado news headline, “FBI Rules Out Terrorism in Shooting.”

Neither the police nor the media draw any inference from the fact the shooter is a Nazi sympathizer from a Nazi-occupied country in the middle of a war with the Nazis. In such a case, it would be no wonder that America had begun to fear it was losing the war. With such incompetents in charge of protecting Americans from enemy attacks at home, and aided and abetted by the media, how could they hope to win?

Now, let’s fast-forward to Valentine’s week, 2007. Instead of Union Station, it is a Utah shopping mall. And instead of being a Nazi, our shooter is a Bosnian Muslim.

But the headlines, and the “hypothetical” comments from the police and FBI are not hypothetical. Indeed, one would have to look long and hard even to discover the shooter was a Muslim.

Those few newspapers who dared to mention that Sulejman Talovic was a Bosnian Muslim were careful to follow up by saying there was no reason to believe there was any connection to Islamic terror.

The local television stations in Salt Lake City were downright sympathetic, saying that the gunman (whom they identified as a “teenager”) was a “Srebrenica survivor” as if that were sufficient justification for gunning down ordinary Americans as they went about the daily business. (While any connection with Islam was wholly unjustified.)

Fox News reported the story under the headline, “Authorities Seek Motive for Bosnian Immigrant Teen’s Shooting” – as if there were no possibility that Islam played any role.

Salt Lake’s KUTV dutifully reported that Bosnia’s ambassador was “shocked” by the attacks, while Salt Lake’s mayor condemned commentators as “incredibly hateful and uninformed … who see that a Muslim was involved and jump at such unjustified, outrageous conclusions.”

The “unjustified and outrageous conclusions” to which Mayor Anderson is referring would be that Islam is somehow related to the massacre. Is such a conclusion more outrageous than assuming that Talovic gunned down his American hosts in retaliation for the behavior of Bosnian Serbs to Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica?

The San Diego Union’s headline was “Teenage Gunman Who Killed 5 in Utah Mall Targeted People at Random” – but denied any connection between Islam and the shooting.

The Denver Post’s headline read, “FBI Rules out Terrorism in Utah Shooting” only 24 hours after the gun smoke had cleared. Is that a “justified” conclusion?

In 2002, Muslim convert John Allen Muhammad killed 10 innocent Americans and wounded three more critically. Authorities claimed no connection between Islam and the Beltway Sniper case.

That same year, an Egyptian immigrant, (also a Muslim) walked into LAX and shot down two EL Al employees before being killed by El Al Security.

In the past year, Ismail Yassin Mohamed, 22, stole a car in Minneapolis. He went on a rampage, ramming the stolen car into other cars and then stealing a van and continuing to ram other cars, injuring one person. During his rampage, Mohamed repeatedly yelled, “Die, die, die, kill, kill, kill,” and when asked why he did all this, he replied, “Allah made me do it.”

Omeed Aziz Popal, a Muslim from Afghanistan, killed one person and injured 14 during a murderous drive through San Francisco city streets in August 2006, during which he targeted people on crosswalks and sidewalks He identified himself as a terrorist after his rampage. Later the murders were ascribed to Popal’s mental problems, and to stress arising from his impending arranged marriage.

On July 28, 2006, a Muslim named Naveed Afzal Haq forced his way into the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. Once inside, Haq announced, “I’m a Muslim American; I’m angry at Israel,” and then began shooting, killing one woman and injuring five more. FBI assistant special agent David Gomez stated: “We believe … it’s a lone individual acting out his antagonism. There’s nothing to indicate that it’s terrorism-related. But we’re monitoring the entire situation.”

In March 2006, a 22-year-old Iranian student named Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar drove an SUV onto the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, deliberately trying to kill people and succeeding in injuring nine. During his arraignment, he explained that he was “thankful for the opportunity to spread the will of Allah.”

Officials dismissed the possibility of terrorism, even after Taheri-azar wrote a series of letters to the UNC campus newspaper detailing the Islamic justification for warfare against unbelievers and explaining why he believed his attacks were justified from an Islamic perspective.

The FBI and the media assured the public in every case that there was no connection between Islam and the attacks.

Had America been blessed with such competent officials and such hard-hitting journalists in 1942, you’d be reading this column today in German.

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