ISIS has attacked Paris, Istanbul and now Brussels within the past five months where hundreds of lives have been lost and many others have been critically injured.
Besides these organized bombings there have been other lone wolf attacks such as the tragedy that took place in San Bernardino by the radicalized couple Syed Farook and Tahsfeen Malik, the knife assault on the London underground and Edward Archer’s assault against a Philadelphia police officer who claimed to be acting “in the name of Islam.” These are only a few examples of ISIS inspired attacks but there have been many around the world and several others that have been mitigated by our intelligence community and Special Forces.
These facts are not meant to make people fearful of caring out their everyday lives but they are meant to inform and act as a call for action. The fight against ISIS today is not nearly strong enough because as it loses ground in the Middle East its network is quickly growing in European countries. In addition, the majority of the media does not even cover Africa or the fact that ISIS fighters have gained territory in Libya and spread further into Central Africa in the hopes of joining forces with other terror groups that have pledged allegiance to them such as, Boko Haram. The threat of Islamic terrorism is real and Americans need to be prepared and aware of what is going on in order to protect themselves. Citizens can and should take it upon themselves to study similarities in the attacks and learn how they might be able to pick up on certain ‘tells’ of terrorist activity. For example, Katherine Herridge, Chief Intelligence Correspondent for Fox News, pointed out from still shots of the Brussels’ suicide bombers that they each had one black glove on while the other hand was bare. In this case, the one black glove indicated the detonator for the bombs located in their suitcases. This is a minor detail but imagine if someone picked up on it; it could mean all the difference and save many lives.
Another example comes from the San Bernardino tragedy where the couple’s neighbor admitted he was nervous to call the authorities after witnessing suspicious behavior because he did not want to be considered racist. This mentality of political correctness is detrimental to our society and we need a strong leader to ensure the American people that it is okay to speak out if something seems wrong. In fact, Homeland Security has come up with the motto “If you see something, Say something” and police officers are encouraging this mindset because it helps them tremendously in combating terror before it gets out of control.
Radical Islam is a complex issue and in order for it be defeated successfully we must combat it ideologically, politically and militarily. Citizens can play an important role in being observant but when it comes to defeating the terror group on these three fronts the United States along with a coalition of Muslim armies need to take the lead. In an ideal world, the best way to defeat ISIS and its ideology would be through Iraqi and Kurdish armies because this is an intra-Muslim war. However, they do not have the necessary military strength to do this on their own and the United States needs to provide support through military training, air strikes and special operations. The U.S. should also be working closely with European nations and build a coalition where there is trust to share information and shut down attacks before they can be carried out. Even though the United States has not been affected by the same type of organized attack like Europe or the Middle East has faced recently it still has a responsibility to get involved. The U.S. needs to make sure the attacks come to an end and do not spread any further. It is critical that this joint effort is lead by the U.S. because we have the most sophisticated intelligence community and as President Obama said during his last State of the Union address, “Our troops are the finest fighting force in the history of the world.” This is a pivotal moment in history and the recent attacks in Brussels and Turkey should be a wake up call to the American people and our political leaders. We have a responsibility to help protect the lives of millions of innocent civilians here at home and abroad against ISIS and in order to do that we need to step up our involvement and support immediately.
Sources: “Herridge on Photo of Brussels Suspects: Gloved Hand May Have Concealed Detonator.” Fox News Insider. Fox News Insider, 22 Mar. 2016. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
“If You See Something, Say Something™.” Homeland Security. Homeland Security, n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
McDonough, Denis. “Back to Work: What Comes After the President’s Final State of the Union Address.” The White House. The White House, 12 Jan. 2016. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
Sanchez, Ray, Jason Hanna, and Shimon Prokupecz. “Philadelphia Police Officer Shot, Injured in Car.” CNN. Cable News Network, 8 Jan. 2016. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.