We’re smart to focus our resources on Muslim extremists, and here’s why.
1. There’s a New Sheriff In Town
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. President Trump is putting ISIS on notice that he will not be giving their atrocities the moral equivalence of “terrible deeds” done by Christians “in the name of Christ.” President Trump will not be calling Americans off any high horse for the sins of slavery and Jim Crow—because we’ve already repented.
Individual Americans who justify either cruel practice are morally bankrupt and mentally deranged. ISIS, on the other hand, gets off on live-streaming beheadings on social media. What’s more, the barbarous videos are prime recruiting tools.
2. Our National Security Is Not a Simple Math Equation
How many dead Americans is enough? The attitude that “most groups cite fewer than 10 lethal attacks and fewer than 100 deaths” by jihadis is grievously harmful. It infers that we need to reach a certain threshold of dead and maimed Americans before we act in vigorous self-defense. If you want to make it a math thing, make it a word problem and solve it using time, rate, and acceleration as the variables.
Between 9/11 and 7/16/15, a total of 30 Americans were killed by radicalized Muslims. Not to be crass, but that’s about one every 46 days. On 12/2/15, 14 were killed in one fell swoop at an office Christmas party. Six months after that, 49 were killed at an Orlando nightclub, the deadliest shooting in American history. In less than one year, the number of dead Americans tripled, and the rate of dead Americans shot up to one every 17 days. If we consider the attack in San Bernardino to be the start of terror on a whole new level, we’re up to a dead American every three days. We’re way past justification for vigorous self-defense.
3. Europe Didn’t, And Look Where That Got Them
Angela Merkel’s “welcome culture” has given way to furious backpedaling and vain attempts to put the genie back in the bottle. After 1,200 women were groped and penetrated in a number of German cities on New Year’s Eve 2016, the head of the national police union said, “Political decisions are somehow made only after the house is on fire.” Merkel finally said it was time to ask, “When do [asylum seekers] lose their right to stay with us?” Not, apparently, before 12 more people lost their lives a year later when a truck plowed through a crowded Christmas market in Berlin. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.
Europe overall is witnessing a rapid acceleration of terrorism. In 2014, four civilians were killed. In 2015, the Global Terrorism Database lists 175 fatalities in Western Europe—141 in France alone. In just the first seven months of 2016, 170 people lost their lives, again more than half in France. France responded by shutting down mosques that preach radical Islam. Sweden—Sweden!—is committing blasphemy against its religion of openness by instituting identity checks at its border with Denmark. Denmark followed suit by tightening its border with Germany.
4. The Best Defense Is a Good Offense
As Gen. John Kelly testified, we don’t know what’s coming “until the boom” hits. Enough with all the stats on what hasn’t happened yet. Enough with snide references to “a phantom menace.” It doesn’t matter that zero Americans have been killed by Syrian refugees in a terrorist attack in the United States. On September 10, 2001, zero Americans had been killed by 19 hijackers with one-way plane tickets and a few box cutters.
5. Radical Muslims Radicalize Muslims
The greatest threat to our national security is homegrown American Muslims who become radicalized, like Omar Mateen. Their status as American citizens gives them cover but says nothing about the degree to which they are Americanized. Even secular, second-generation young Muslims live within familial and community Muslim networks, and as such, are susceptible to the radical Islamist ideology of those around them. To become radicalized enough to kill in the name of Allah requires nothing more than a Facebook account, but we’re crazy if we don’t zero in on any hint of danger.
6. It’s a Fluke More Americans Haven’t Been Killed Already
The 2009 Christmas Day bomb plot and the 2010 Times Square bomb plot both failed because the explosives didn’t detonate. We didn’t foil anything.
7. It’s the Best Way to Protect American Muslims
In all the handwringing that Muslims will think we’re at war with Islam, we’re forgetting that American Muslims are just as vulnerable to terror as every other American. We do them no favor pretending there’s no such thing as Islamic terror. Muslims know there is, and Muslim terrorists aren’t going to like us no matter what we call it. We would show more respect for Muslims worldwide by drawing a strong distinction between civilized Islam and the excuse-for-terror version that seeks to conquer the world.
Then, if someone could please tell Barack Obama that he and his fundamental disagreement tweets aren’t helping, that would be great.