Well, here is the thanks we get. Eight years ago, America opened its arms to tens of thousands of ethnic Albanian refugees from Kosovo. The first planeload landed at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Military leaders worked day and night to turn the base into a child-friendly village. They coordinated medical and security checkups, mental health and trauma counseling and ethnic food preparations.
Soldiers from Fort Bragg traveled up from North Carolina to assist in refugee operations at Fort Dix. Then-U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Mitchell M. Zais also assembled a team of about 80 soldiers from the U.S. Army Reserve Command in Atlanta. The New Jersey National Guard and American Red Cross teamed up to coordinate charity relief. The military also supported the relief effort's interagency task force, headed by the Department of Health and Human Services.
In addition to food and shelter, we provided translators, welfare consultants and Muslim chaplains. The base constructed prayer rooms and handed out Muslim "sensitivity" cards to the troops. Said Gen. Zais: "We want to welcome these people to America the way we might wish our grandparents and great-grandparents had been welcomed to Ellis Island."
Fast-forward from 1999 to yesterday's headline news: "Fort Dix Plot Aimed At Soldiers; Authorities Say 6 Islamic Militants Arrested, Were Plotting Attack At N.J. Base." Three of the alleged plotters were illegal alien brothers from the former Yugoslavia. Another was a legal permanent resident from the former Yugoslavia. Another hailed from Jordan, and the sixth was a naturalized American citizen originally from Turkey.
According to the criminal complaint against Dritan Duka, one of the illegal alien brothers accused of knowingly and willfully conspiring with the jihadi gang to kill U.S. soldiers, the plotters have schemed for more than a year to murder our troops. They scoped out Dover Air Force Base and Fort Monmouth, as well as the port of Philadelphia, before settling on Fort Dix. One of the participants used to deliver pizza to the base — used to supply food to our men and women in uniform giving him business — and knew the military facility "like the palm of his hand."
You think all our hospitality and charity bred good will in these young men — all in their 20s and enjoying the fruits of the American Dream? Forget about it. The criminal complaint describes the plotters, along with a confidential informant, gathering at a rental house to train with Mujahadin video games:
"Members of the group pointed out that United States military vehicles were shown being destroyed in various attacks. [Illegal alien] Shain Duka pointed out that a United States Marine's arm had been blown off, at which point laughter erupted from the group."
Just hard-working, "undocumented citizens" plotting the plots and laughing at the anti-American atrocities ordinary Americans wouldn't laugh at, yeah? If they had only laid low a few extra months, they might have gotten that illegal alien amnesty President Bush and Congress are so eager to hand out.
According to the criminal complaint, they laughed at our troops getting maimed and killed. They soaked up Osama bin Laden's evil rants. They studied the 9/11 hijackers' last wills and testaments. They contemplated infiltrating our armed forces to frag soldiers from the inside. They relished the thought of spilling American blood on American soil. Is yours boiling yet?
"My intent is to hit a heavy concentration of soldiers," Jordanian-born naturalized U.S. citizen Mohamad Shnewer is quoted telling the plotters. "You hit four, five, six humvees and light the whole place [up] and retreat completely without any losses."
Eight years ago, at the Clinton administration's behest, this nation welcomed refugees escaping a genocidal regime whose military spread fear and brutalized its people. Eight years later, we have a homegrown jihad plot targeting a base that symbolizes the best, the brightest and the most compassionate our military has to offer.
And what is the Muslim community doing to condemn the accused traitors in our midst? Carping about the government's actions to stop jihad in its tracks:
"If these people did something, then they deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law," said Muslim lawyer Sohail Mohammed. "But when the government says 'Islamic militants,' it sends a message to the public that Islam and militancy are synonymous.'"
The thanks we get, huh?
Michelle Malkin is author of "Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild." Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.