President Obama continues to downplay the very-real threat posed to Americans by radical Islam. Cowardly shrieking from labeling terrorists and their motivations, the president speaks casually about the terrorist plots and attacks that threaten life and liberty here at home and abroad and assures Americans that ISIS is a foreign problem, a loose collaboration of unsophisticated criminals who pose little danger to Americans.
But simultaneously, the same president insists that Americans must be willing to surrender their civil liberties to allow the government to thwart the ever-lurking danger of terrorism here at home. We must, Obama insists, allow our every electronic communication to be monitored and we must additionally be willing to surrender our Second Amendment rights as a means of procuring safety from the terrorists he assures us is no threat.
On Tuesday, Obama doubled-down on his mixed message and once again downplayed the dangers of radical Islam, saying,
“Over-the-top claims that this is World War III just play into [ISIS’] hands.” He argued that ISIS fighters “do not threaten our national existence.”
“Masses of fighters on the back of pickup trucks, twisted souls plotting in apartments or garages, they pose an enormous danger to civilians. They have to be stopped. But they do not threaten our national existence,” Obama said. “That is the story ISIL wants to tell; that’s the kind of propaganda they use to recruit.”
Still, Americans are haunted by the very-real acts of ISIS and other radical Islamic factions. The San Bernardino terrorist attack, the Garland, Texas, attack, The UC-Merced attack and the Paris attacks that have seemingly slipped-off Obama’s radar.
If it seems like radical Islam is posing more of a threat these days, that’s because it is. According to a report by Riley Walters, a Research Assistant in The Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy at The Heritage Foundation, ISIS plots are on the rise as they gain numbers and funding in the absence of any leadership emanating from the White House.
There were 13 Islamist-inspired terror attacks and plots within the United States in 2015—the greatest number in any year since Sept. 11, 2001. And more than the years 2012, 2013, and 2014 combined…
The inspiration of international Islamist terrorist organizations has continued over the past 14 years, but its greatest impact is when it reaches the ears of those within the U.S. Almost 80 percent of the 76 attacks or plots since 9/11were committed by self-radicalized U.S. citizens.
But not since the rise of ISIS in 2013 has the misguided ideology of Islam been this digitized. The majority of attacks and plots since 2013 have in some degree been inspired by ISIS and its belief that it is fighting an apocalyptic war.
There has been a noticeable increase in not just attacks and plots, but also the financing or material support for ISIS, or attempts to travel abroad as a foreign fighter.
This brings us to two areas of concern: stopping the spread of radical messaging by ISIS and other Islamist terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab and stopping the flow of foreign fighters.
Attempting to counter radical messaging online is more a war of attrition. Eventually, groups like ISIS will need to be dealt with face to face—this is where the administration has been the most uninspiring. Websites and videos can be taken down and put back up within hours, which is why it’s important for communities to counter terrorists’ radical ideals.
For ISIS, Syria and Iraq are its stronghold. While the U.S. and foreign nations continue airstrikes, foreign fighters from the U.S., Europe, northern Africa, and numerous other countries continue to add numbers to ISIS forces.
This needs to be addressed as well by U.S. leadership with the help of international allies, partners, and the greater intelligence community as ISIS continues to gain recruits. The U.S. must remain vigilant, as the threat of terrorism continues to exist.