By Savannah Morning News Editorial Staff, Published August 30
HIS BIRTH name was Douglas McAuthur McCain, apparently after a famous American general in World War II.
The 33-year-old native of Illinois and former resident of Minneapolis and San Diego later called himself “Duale ThaslaveofAllah” on Facebook.
Until recently, McCain was one of an estimated 100 Americans with their boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria, fighting for pro-terror, anti-Western groups. He was killed last week while soldiering for the Islamic State — the same one that President Obama stumped and befuddled.
Shed no tears for any American citizen who voluntarily takes up arms against this nation’s interests, signs on with a group that murders an American journalist and other innocents, and then perishes thousands of miles away from home. His family and friends can afford to be saddened and confused by his treasonous behavior. But his actions, along with his death, raise a far greater concern.
McCain is the new face of terror. He and the dozens of others who carry American passports with their AK-47s have the ability, the opportunity and the apparent motive to shed blood outside this country — and, frankly, inside this country, too. Their decision to abandon American society and embrace Islamic radicalization and violence makes them as dangerous as card-carrying members of al-Qaeda.
“The threat we are most concerned about to the homeland is that of fighters like this returning to the U.S. and committing acts of terrorism,” a senior Obama official told NBC News, which broke the story that McCain was killed over the weekend by the Free Syrian Army. His U.S. passport was still in his pocket. So was $800.
Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the State Department, told NBC that ISIS and similar groups “have threatened to attack the homeland,” adding, “We take those threats very seriously.”
As well they should. American citizens fighting for ISIS and other groups must believe in these warped causes. What if they return to the U.S.? They are gaining military and other skills — skills that could one day be used against Americans here.
The Washington Post reported that it’s unclear what led McCain down a radicalized path. A review of records and social media accounts conveyed a profound contrast between the McCain who violently died in Syria — and the Midwestern McCain who worked dead-end jobs and picked up a few petty convictions.
Indeed, that might be the most frightening part. If you don’t know how an American became this radicalized, how do you take steps to prevent it?
U.S. intelligence agencies must ramp up efforts to monitor the comings and goings of these Made-in-the-USA jihadists. Today’s killers in Syria and Iraq must not become tomorrow’s murderers in America.