Op-ed: Massacre in Paris

  • By Cal Thomas
  • Monday, November 16, 2015 5:32pm
  • Opinion

Just hours before the terrorist attacks in Paris last week, for which ISIS has claimed responsibility, “Good Morning America” broadcast an interview with President Obama. In it, the president told host George Stephanopoulos, “I don’t think they’re gaining strength. What is true is that from the start, our goal has been first to contain and we have contained them. They have not gained ground in Iraq, and in Syria they’ll come in, they’ll leave, but you don’t see this systemic march by ISIL across the terrain.”

Maybe, but they’ve gained ground in Europe and most likely in America. Incredibly, the president wants 10,000 Syrian “refugees” to be admitted to the U.S. on top of the 1,854 who are already here.

The president has referred to ISIS (or ISIL, as he prefers) as the “jv,” or junior varsity. It appears now that they’ve made it to the “varsity” level.

Where to turn for leadership to fight and defeat this clear and present danger to civilized society? Certainly not to President Obama, who has been in denial his entire presidency about the global threat we’re facing. The president has consistently refused to use words like “Islamic terrorism” or “Islamism” to describe the belief system motivating these killers. It is difficult to fight, much less prevail, over an enemy one refuses even to name.

ISIS will not be defeated with guns and bombs alone, or even mainly. Their soldiers have a religious purpose. Their diagnosis of the West’s decadence is correct. Their solution — Sharia law — is not. During Saturday’s Democratic presidential debate, Hillary Clinton said non-Islamist Muslims must take the lead in fighting and defeating this scourge. The question is, will they? We have seen our failure in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria to train sufficient numbers of Muslim soldiers to fight the Taliban and ISIS. In too many cases they have turned on their trainers, defected to the other side or cut and run when faced with the more highly motivated and combat experienced enemy.

At a minimum, we need to track down and deport those from the Middle East who are in the U.S. on expired visas. Then we have to bar any more from coming in, as the Republican governors of Michigan and Alabama have vowed to do. Other governors should do likewise if the president won’t act. Additionally, to the extent that it is possible, anyone who leaves the U.S. for a country where there are terrorist training camps must not be allowed to return, even if they have a U.S. passport. This will be difficult as some travel to supposedly friendly countries like Turkey and then slip across the border into Syria without a passport stamp.

Hillary Clinton was asked during the latest debate how she would screen Syrian refugees coming to the United States. She replied that while the Obama administration wants to take 10,000 refugees from Syria, “I said we should go to 65 (thousand), but only if we have as careful a screening and vetting process as we can imagine, whatever resources it takes. I do not want us to in any way inadvertently allow people who wish us harm to come into our country.”

That is wishful thinking. There is no way to be certain that any or all of them are not jihadists. ISIS has openly bragged about including jihadists among those who have fled to Europe and only a fool would believe that same strategy is not being applied to America.

This is important and it ought to transcend partisanship. ISIS and other terrorists don’t discriminate between political parties, or religions. They also kill Muslims who don’t agree with them.

This is a generational war and it won’t be won with platitudes about how ISIS doesn’t represent true Islam. That’s an argument for theologians and academics. The reality is that those who are engaged in mass murder believe it does and the consequence of refusing to take them seriously is more killing.

Islamists have a purpose. We seem to have lost ours.

Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribpub.com.

More in Opinion

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Opinion: The foolish men claiming self-defense

It’s not just misguided teenagers carrying guns who find themselves in trouble with the law.

Opinion: State defends its right to cut nonexistent taxes

This from a state that has no property tax on homes or businesses, only on the oil industry.

Dr. Jay Butler, former chief medical officer for the State of Alaska, is seen in this undated photo. (Courtesy photo)
Alaska Voices: Feeling grateful this Thanksgiving for the COVID vaccines

The COVID vaccines remain our strongest tool in combating the pandemic and helping us return to our lives and the things we love and cherish.

A resident casts their vote in the regular municipal election Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Voices of the Peninsula: All votes matter

In the beginning, only property-holding white men could vote.

Cristen San Roman. (Photo provided)
Point of View: Is management of Cook Inlet catered to special interest groups?

If these fish are so at risk, why is BOEM able to move forward with lease sale 258?

Homer Foundation
Point of View: Grateful for the hidden ‘good’

Gratitude: Noun The state of being grateful; thankfulness. The state or quality… Continue reading

Homer High School Principal Douglas Waclawski. (Photo provided)
Point of View: What is Homer High School about?

What I consider Homer High’s strength is that we are a place for learning.

UAA Chancellor Sean Parnell. (courtesy photo)
Alaska Voices: Invent your future at UAA

At UAA we’re providing the tools to help students of all ages and skills chart a new course forward.

A registered nurse prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at the pop-up clinic on the Spit on May 27. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Alaska Voices: Vaccination is the still best protection from COVID-19

The Alaska State Medical Association encourages you to protect yourselves and your community from preventable illness by getting recommended vaccines.

(Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
The sad diminishment of Rep. Don Young

Young seems afraid to demand his party leader defend the dignity of the institution he loves.

A “Vote Here” sign is seen at the City of Kenai building on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Clarion file)
Alaska Voices: Restore our strong campaign donation limits

Without campaign spending limits, the ideal of one person, one vote is no longer really true.

The Final Redistricting Map approved for the Anchorage and Matanuska-Susitna area is seen on Nov. 9, 2021. (Map via akredistrict.org)
Alaska Voices: The Alaska Redistricting Board’s last-minute gerrymandering failed Alaska

Our Constitution outlines rules for a redistricting process designed to uphold public trust.