Harvey Kushner: Q&A

J.B. Sivanich

Last week, The Lawrentian had to the opportunity to sit down with counterterrorism expert Harvey Kushner to ask him about his take on terrorism and current events. Kushner is the author of “Holy War on the Home Front: The Secret Islamic Terrorism Network in the United States” and is a Professor of Criminal Justice and Security at Long Island University.
Q: How would you rate the current administration’s response to terrorism? What could it be doing better?
A: On a scale of 1 to 10, I give them a 6. C-. That’s good. Probably someone else in the same position would have had less of a response, like a John Kerry.
What should be done? We have to re-evaluate who we let into the United States.
Certainly illegals, but also who do we take into this country legally?
That’s the first basic step because we’re not at war with terrorism; the United States is at war with Islam – militant Islam. And that’s where the administration has failed miserably, because they haven’t made the American public aware of that — we’re at war with a religion, not some abstract concept. Unless we deal with that specific problem, we’ll never be able to a handle and stop it.
We have to look at who is getting visas from parts of the world that have significant hatred to the United States. It’s not a right to be an American citizen; it’s a privilege.
Q: Is it Islam in general or just radical Islam?
A: Well, I mean you separate it for me because I can’t. I can’t name any moderate Islamic-folk. Why don’t they step up to the plate? Why isn’t there a Reformation in Islam like they had with the Protestant Reformation? Now, other religions have come to this country and they have integrated into American society. In fact, other religions have changed.
But that’s not the case with Islam. Islam would like to maintain its roots to its Holy Book and that doesn’t fit within the American form of government. So I ask them, if you want to play by our rules, play by our rules and you’re welcome here.
Q: Which presidential candidate is best prepared to deal with these issues?
A: Nobody (laughs).
Q: Not even McCain?
A: No. I’m a staunch conservative and a Republican, but he’s not my cup of tea. I think he would understand the nature of Islamic terrorism, and be able to handle that. I think John McCain is certainly the lesser of all evils.
Q: Do you have comments about a Barack or Hilary candidacy?
A: B. Hussein Obama? Is that who you’re talking about? B. Hussein Obama? I think that it is disturbing that if you call someone by his name you’re considered to be racist or an islamophobe.
Anyways, I don’t think he has the experience. He said just yesterday that he thinks we should negotiate with Iran, which is total insanity and shows the naiveté of a young man who knows nothing of world politics.
Q: Hilary?
A: That’s another winner. I do think Hilary would do better when it comes to fighting a threat to the American security than B. Hussein Obama.
Q: Are we safer now than before 9/11?
A: Well, now al-Qaeda is all these splinter groups all over the word who can pick up at any time. That’s why you have the London bombings the Madrid bombings; these are all cells that weren’t connected to central command. The al-Qaeda state of mind is out there and it’s spreading. With 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide…I’m going to use the numbers that the government’s say themselves, you know “In my country only 5 percent of Muslims are extremists” and if you use that number, five or ten percent, you’re talking 150 million people. It’s a major problem that continues to fester.
And it’s not centralized so you can’t get at it in one blow. So it’s worse today, than it was in 2001. And I don’t see no end to it. I think the darkest days of World War II were bright to what our future holds. Because when it came to the Nazis, or the Japanese, you could pretty much put them in a room and kill them. You can’t do that with radical Islam it’s too spread. Now you have splinter cells and lone wolves, which is just terrible for us.