Daniel Pipes conjures a grim near-future scenario that deftly mixes speculative fiction with recent history and current events:
Just as the 7/7 bombings had revealed in Great Britain, Islamist sleepers in substantial numbers lived quietly and unobtrusively in the United States. The violence became daily, ubiquitous, endemic, and routine, occurring in rural towns, upscale suburbs, and metropolitan centres, targeting private houses, restaurants, university buildings, gas stations, and electricity grids. As its frequency increased, terrorists became less cautious, leading to many arrests and bulging prisons. Some terrorists avoided this ignominious fate by engaging in suicide attacks, usually accompanied by boastful Internet videos. In all, roughly 100,000 incidents meant an average 10,000 deaths and many times more injuries each year.
Jihadis for Justice laid siege to Capitol Hill and the White House, inspired by three prior terrorist assaults on symbols of sovereignty: the attack on Trinidad's Red House in 1990, on India's Parliament House in 2001, and the failed plot to storm Ottawa's Parliament Hill in 2006. Despite massive security in Washington, sniper attacks picked off some legislators and presidential aides. Jihadis for Justice relied on Iranian and Saudi patronage but no U.S. retaliation followed because, before acting, President Obama required proofs that would pass muster in a U.S. court of law, something the intelligence agencies could not provide.
As in other countries – Israel offering the most obvious comparison – major changes in American life followed. Whoever wished to enter supermarkets, bus stations, malls, or campuses had to produce identification, show his bags and perhaps submit to a search of his person. Cars routinely underwent inspections at road blocks. As airline passengers had to arrive four hours before flight time to run the gauntlet of security questions about their travels, airports emptied and airline companies went bankrupt. Local public transportation went through similar upheavals, as commuters took up bicycling rather than submit to interrogations and near-strip searches on their way to work. Telecommuting finally took off.