Just hours after at least 84 people were slaughtered by a jihadist driving a 25-ton truck through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls stated, “We would like to tell the French people that we will never give in. We will not give in to the terrorist threat. The times have changed, and France is going to have to live with terrorism.” The media took this to mean that terrorism was the “new normal,” but that’s not what Valls meant – back in February, he said, “We must be fully conscious of the treat, and react with very great force and great lucidity. There will be attacks. Large-scale attacks. It’s a certainty. This hyper-terrorism is here to stay.” Even French President Francois Hollande, a socialist, stated, “All of France is under the threat of Islamic terrorism.”
That threat is even more brutal than the French government was willing to tell its own citizens. According to HeatStreet today, the French government covered up that ISIS mutilated the bodies of the victims at the Bataclan:
Wahhabist killers apparently gouged out eyes, castrated victims, and shoved their testicles in their mouths. They may also have disemboweled some poor souls. Women were stabbed in the genitals – and all the torture was, victims told police, filmed for Daesh or Islamic State propaganda. For that reason, medics did not release the bodies of torture victims to the families, investigators said. But prosecutors claimed these reports of torture were “a rumor” on the grounds that sharp knives were not found at the scene. They also claimed that maybe shrapnel had caused the injuries.
These are the barbarians with which the West must come to grips.
The first step toward defeating such evil is recognizing the evil – and recognizing that it shares a face and a cause, from India to Israel, from Paris to Orlando. Jihadist conflicts with Western civilizations are not isolated incidents. They are endemic to a broader philosophy and approach that cannot be fought piecemeal.
So, what does that mean practically?
1. Destroy ISIS. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton vow to do this. But neither will. That’s because actually destroying ISIS requires something more than airstrikes (the current Obama strategy) or handing over the job to Bashar Assad and the Russians (Trump’s on-again, off-again strategy). As I’ve written before, nobody in the region actually has an interest in being the West’s ground force against ISIS – the rise of Iran has made ISIS a counterweight to Sunnis; the rise of ISIS has given Iran legitimacy on the world stage; Bashar Assad uses the presence of ISIS as an excuse to kill his domestic enemies. The only way to destroy ISIS is for the West to go in and do it itself -- up to and including ground troops -- reversing Barack Obama’s disastrous Iraq pullout. That’s not a pleasant answer, but it’s a true answer. Anything less is bound to fail.
2. Dramatically Heighten Restrictions on Immigration To The West. Donald Trump received a lot of flack for his proposal to ban Muslim immigration to the United States. That’s because that proposal is too broad: first off, how do you accomplish it? Second, what of America’s Muslim allies, upon whom we rely for intelligence? Instead, the West should consider a blanket policy: if we cannot assure that you are or will be a good Westerner, you don’t get in. The burden of proof is on the prospective immigrant to show why they pose no threat, not on the government to prove why a prospective immigrant is a threat. Practically speaking, this means that it would be very difficult to migrate from failed states like Libya and Syria to the West – there’s no way to check anybody’s story. It also means that even prospective immigrants from other, less broken countries would have to demonstrate not merely that they’re clean criminally, but that they hold Western ideals.
3. Maintain Surveillance on Terror-Linked Activities. The government has proved itself incompetent at keeping an eye on terrorists – the wife of the Orlando jihadist is still missing, the government missed the Orlando shooter and the San Bernardino jihadists and the Tsarnaev brothers. But we’ll have to use targeted surveillance instead of blanket surveillance on the American people. The left resists such notions routinely, but that doesn’t change the calculus: Islamic terror is likely to spring from centers of Islam, even if fringe members of those centers are the threat.
If we don’t do these things – and if we continue to pretend that there is no global war on jihadism being fought from Israel to California to India to the Philippines – we’d better get used to major terrorist attacks every few weeks.