The pavement in Chelsea where Ahmad Khan Rahami planted his bomb is finally cooling down. Mayor Bill de Blasio in a press conference is petitioning for an increase in Muslim immigrants, while imploring citizens not to allow fear of jihadist violence to stand in the way of diversity. And yet, this rose-colored opinion is very much at odds with the well-documented statistic that since 9/11 there have been over 29,000 global events of terror committed by jihadists in the name of radical Islam. De Blasio is representative of a group of public officials, including Barack Obama, Jeh Johnson (DHS), and Hillary Clinton, who aggressively seek to obscure the link between radical Islam and terrorism.
Our efforts to confront a 1,400-year-old ideology have been almost wholly “reactive.” A “proactive” strategy begins with understanding the process through which a human being was nurtured and transformed into a depraved animal, and then devising ways to thwart that process. Unless we begin to aggressively drill down to the ideological infrastructure, we will find ourselves overrun by a growing number of jihadists ready, willing, and able to sacrifice their lives in order to kill Americans.
Hillary Clinton’s view, like that of de Blasio’s, is that we’re engaged in a non-ideological “war on terror” waged by “extremists, lone wolves, and groups of deranged but un-affiliated individuals” impoverished, passed over, and without hope. Clinton somehow posits that there is a finite supply of these “bad guys” who with good intelligence can eventually be flushed out of existence.
Conversely, Trump takes all of the 29,260 incidents of terror committed since 9/11 and identifies their common ideological thread. Acknowledging the obvious correlation, Trump identifies radical Islam as the pathology. Trump’s definition of “the bad guys” thus represents a vastly broader pool than Clinton’s. It extends beyond the guys who set off the bombs or do the shooting, to include the backroom underbelly of the operation — the non-violent purveyors and keepers of the ideology like imams and other virulent cheerleaders pulling the strings behind the curtain. Ironically even the outspoken liberal Bill Maher concurs substantially with this perspective.
The importance of “naming the enemy” as radical Islam is scoffed at by Clinton et al. as an overblown exercise in name-calling and racial bias.
But if we don’t name the enemy and consequently are unable to identify its ideological calling card, how then do we formulate that comprehensive strategy that is both reactive and proactive?
Five years ago, the Obama administration required the FBI to purge all references to “Islamic” from its training manuals. Any investigation on the basis of Islamic ethnicity was prohibited. This rendered the gathering of evidence in places like mosques and Islamic social clubs out of bounds. De Blasio issued a similar edict, restraining the once highly acclaimed NYPD counter-terrorism unit.
This self-inflicted blindness has come home to roost, as the pace and audacity of recent terrorist events have accelerated. Tolerating the economic cost and inconvenience of standing in security lines at airports is a matter of personal choice. But 15 years later and 29,260 terrorist attacks downstream, we should begin to realize that what we’ve been doing is clearly not working. In a Trump presidency, it is highly likely that he will develop a strategy that recognizes the indispensable utility of profiling. He may start asking questions of certain imams who have been known to openly advocate for the destruction of America. He may push back against groups like Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), whose primary function has been that of Islamic gatekeeper, thwarting probes for information by law enforcement, public officials and the press.
In short, Donald Trump will put the word “Islamic” back into the FBI training manual, knowing that the best defense is a good offense.