Robert W. had a good question for me last weekend. During a pause for tow rope splicing at our CAP glider activity, he shared with me his concern over the rapid growth of radical Islamist groups worldwide. Even more than what’s transpiring in Syria and Iraq, though, he worried ISIS is infiltrating the United States freely across our porous southern border.
My thought was our border with Mexico might not be our biggest problem: Islamist terrorists are recruiting and training young Americans who have no prior history with Islam. It’s happening in social media that communicates passion more than ideas: YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and others whose names I don’t even know, and all of which were invented and developed right here in America.
Our President and his administration are meeting this situation with stupefying denial. More than a year ago President Obama called ISIS the “JV team.” Now their numbers have grown and genocide is taking place in Syria and Yemen while Christians are kidnapped and sold as slaves in northern Iraq.
In late February Secretary of State John Kerry testified before Congress “we are actually living in a period of less daily threat to Americans and to people in the world than normally.” That ranks right up there with his promise a year ago we would strike the Assad regime in Syria with “an incredibly small blow.” Such a transparently false statement moved the retired head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. General Michael Flynn, to say Secretary Kerry is “out of touch with reality.”
It’s not just Kerry: spokespersons for the White House and the Departments of State, Defense and Justice, among others, avoid mentioning the word “Islamist” when terrorists are identified, even when eyewitnesses testified they called for Allah’s blessing as they committed their heinous act.
So Robert asked straight out: “what’s your solution?” It’s a good question, possibly the most important question we face despite Susan Rice’s insistence the terrorists are not an existential threat.
People who want to nuke all Arab lands aren’t developing a rational strategy, they’re expressing frustration with a crazy world where terrorists posted the beheading of Christians on the internet yet our President pretends religion played no role in the terror.
Our response to such an outrage needs to be two-pronged. We as citizens and voters need to speak out publicly and often about the stupidity that inhabits the corridors of power in Washington. We need to use every tool we have — including the social media that’s being turned against us — to make the point government’s first responsibility is the defense of American citizens and our future as a nation is threatened.
Politicians need to understand it’s now time to put our military and economic might to work opposing this threat, backing an Arab militia to follow the lead of Jordan’s King Abdullah, who showed true leadership in attacking ISIS militias, or Egypt’s President Al Sisi, who denounced the Muslim Brotherhood directly and honestly.
And using the same tools ISIS employs we need to reach out to populations that support this terror, either directly or by silent acquiescence, to convince them their own future is in jeopardy. Women who allow their children to be suicide bombers, professors who remain silent in the face of radical intimidation, and minority populations who think coexistence is possible with terrorists who dream of a 13th century caliphate, all need to see the error of their ways and the urgency of facing it directly.
We can win this war. We must do so.
Fred LaSor served in the U.S. Foreign Service in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Two embassies he worked in — Nairobi and Dar es Salaam — were bombed by Islamist terrorists after his departure.