Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America recoil at the mass murder of 49 Muslims in New Zealand, the radical manifesto that came with it, and the aggravating tendency of politicians and activists to claim instantly that an attack vindicates their existing political positions. They also slam Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for mocking the idea of “thoughts and prayers” in the wake of these horrible events and then claiming she really said it to attack the NRA for carnage in New Zealand. And they have fun with Howard Schultz suggesting he would not sign any legislation as president that did not have bipartisan support or nominate any Supreme Court justice who couldn’t get two-thirds support in the Senate.
On Monday, Americans observed a solemn remembrance of the lives lost in the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, but retired U.S. Air Force Lt. General Tom McInerney says victory will be tough to achieve unless the U.S. gets serious about specifically identifying the enemy as radical Islam and getting Muslim leaders to publicly condemn the perpetrators.
“We still have not identified the threat’s ideology, that is radical Islam. Until you do that, you can’t defeat the threat,” said McInerney, who rose to the number three position in the U.S. Air Force and also served as vice commander of U.S. Air Forces Europe.
He says President Trump did identity the ideology correctly on the campaign trail but has not been nearly as bold since taking office.
“We do not use the term ‘radical Islam’ very much in this administration. I’m a little disappointed in the Trump administration because the president was using it quite a bit and then has since restricted his use of the term,” said McInerney.
Another reason he can’t call the war a success is the volatile state of the entire Middle East.
“Now you have the Middle East. It’s the most unstable it has ever been in its history, so that’s why I’m not giving us high marks for being successful,” said McInerney.
Another major priority after 9/11 was the state of American intelligence capabilities. Here again, McInerney sees disappointment compared to what was possible.
“They haven’t identified these threats. They haven’t articulated the issues. Our special ops are good at getting high-value targets, so our intelligence people are doing a good job with all of our censors, etc. But we haven’t bundled it in the proper way, so our leaders can properly express the threat and the ideology I talked about earlier,” said McInerney.
So how can the U.S. prosecution of the war become more effective? McInerney says it all starts with prominent Muslims clearly and frequently denouncing terrorism.
“The only people that can really defeat radical Islam are the Muslims themselves. So we need fatwas out of Mecca and Medina. We need Arab leadership to declare those radical Islamists to be unholy warriors and that they will forever live in damnation for attacking the West,” said McInerney.
McInerney says critical mistakes from both George W. Bush and Barack Obama made the fight more difficult. He says Bush’s decision, through Amb. L. Paul Bremer, to disband the Iraqi army after toppling Saddam Hussein was a major error that only teed up experienced fighters to be part of the subsequent insurgency.
He says Obama’s decision to withdraw all U.S. forces in 2011 then created the vacuum that fostered the rise of ISIS.
McInerney says to pursue stability now requires a concerted confrontation of Iran.
“We cannot have the mullahs running wild over there. They’re developing ICBM’s and nuclear weapons covertly. We cannot accept that,” said McInerney.
He calls the Iran nuclear deal another major mistake by the Obama administration and says extensive collaboration with allies in the region will be need to to neutralize Iran.
“We need to take care of Iran, because they are the most destabilizing group in the Middle East. They are driving a lot of this (radical Islam-inspired terrorism),” said McInerney.
McInerney also asserts that 2016 campaign tactics are hampering our ability to work with Russia, which is a key player in any effort to stabilize the region.
“The Russian collusion was always a deceptive move by the Democratic Party to shield the wrongdoings that the Democrats under Obama did, with the unmasking, with a whole host of other things – Hillary Clinton’s emails, which was a violation of the Espionage Act,” said McInerney.
So now our relationship with Russia is tense. If we’re going to solve the problems over there, we need to be working with the Russians. All those things coupled together can bring the stability we need, but we must replace the current Iranian regime,” said McInerney.
Since 9/11, terrorist attacks in the West feature fewer grand, sweeping plots and many are carried out by individuals or small cells. McInerney says our intelligence efforts should be able to sniff out these plots much better because we know where to look for the potential terrorists.
“When you look at the incidents we’ve had in Europe and the United States, it always goes back to the mosques. We have not taken the appropriate actions to infiltrate them and to get rid of the bad ones,” said McInerney.
British Prime Minister Teresa May says it is hard to comprehend why anyone would want to indiscriminately kill so many innocent people at Monday’s concert in Manchester, but terrorism victim and expert Brigitte Gabriel says there is a clear explanation for why this happens and she also blasting the UK for worrying more about diversity than condemning radical Islam in the wake of the attack.
On Tuesday morning, Prime Minister May condemned the attacks and was at a loss of words for how anyone could want to kill children.
“We struggle to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children not as a scene to cherish but as an opportunity for carnage,” said May.
Gabriel, president of Act for America and author of “They Must Be Stopped,” says there is a clear explanation for such a mindset.
“This is the difference between a culture of life and a culture of death. The reason this Islamic radical would target such a location is because they look at things differently than we do,” said Gabriel.
In the case of Monday’s Arianna Grande concert, Gabriel says Islamic radicals and westerners see the event very differently. Whereas most people in the West view the concert as young people having fun on a lovely night, she says our enemies see something very different in Grande and her fans.
“He sees a skanky young, what they call a bad word, somebody dancing on the stage with a bunch of wannabe, will be as they grow up, women that will become just like her who are of no value. He saw no value in their life and that’s why he killed them,” said Gabriel.
The terrorist is identified as 22-year-old Salman Abedi, the son of Libyan refugees. Gabriel says this appears to be another example of refugees coming west and refusing to embrace the culture of their new home.
“These refugees who are coming into our western countries are not really assimilating, even though we give them homes, we give them jobs, we give them money, and we welcome them with open arms,” said Gabriel.
“These radicals are not grateful. A radical like this person, even though he was taken in, he was given refuge, given money, given support by the tax dollars of the parents of these same girls that he blew up,” said Gabriel.
While condemnation among UK leaders has been swift, Prime Minister May and others have been quick to ascribe responsibility to the bomber alone. In her statement, May did not address the larger threat posed by radical Islam.
Greater Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins was quick to cheer the diversity in the city and promised reprisals for any mistreatment of specific groups.
“More than ever, it is vital to have diverse communities that make Greater Manchester such a strong place that actually stand together and support each other,” said Hopkins. “We will, therefore, not tolerate hate towards any part of our community. Should communities be suffering from hate incidents or crime, then I would please urge them to report it to us.”
Gabriel is disgusted by that approach.
“We are tired of being lectured about, ‘Oh, this is not a time for hate.’ Who’s hating anybody? If there is any hate directed towards anybody it’s from that Islamic radical and the Islamic radicals that support him, that harbor him, that finance him, that encourage him, that encourage him to go out and kill innocent, young, beautiful young girls, enjoying a beautiful evening,” said Gabriel.
She says there is great unity where it ought to matter most.
“We are already diverse. We are already unified as people who love freedom. We come together as Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and everybody who loves our freedom and condemn the terrorist attacks conducted in the name of Islamic terrorism,” said Gabriel.
“It is Islamic terrorism. It is not Buddhist terrorism, Mennonite terrorism, Maronite terrorism, or any other terrorism other than Islamic terrorism,” said Gabriel.
Gabriel says British officials and anyone else who chooses to ignore the central issue in these attacks is begging for more of them.
“If Europe is going to continue going down the path of speaking nonsense and empty words and feeling sorrow and seeing the British flag reflected on the Eiffel Tower on everybody’s Facebook and #WeStandwithEngland and #We StandwithManchester, that doesn’t change anything. It’s about time they come up with solutions for how they’re going to control the problem. Otherwise, they’re going to end up getting exactly the same thing,” said Gabriel.
So what are those solutions? Gabriel says all governments need to ramp up their technological expertise to keep up with terrorists and, preferably, stay a step or two ahead of them. She also recommends greater scrutiny of where incitement breeds, starting with the mosques.
“Start monitoring the mosques. A person cannot live in a vacuum. A person like this, who is very devout, is a part of a community that harbors and preaches that kind of violence,” said Gabriel.
“When you attend mosques in Europe on any given Friday, they are talking about killing the infidels and going on jihad. It has already been documented how radical Islamic mosques are, especially in Europe,” said Gabriel.
She says social media is another area where counter-terrorism officials must get serious.
“Start working with the communities of social media and the companies that own social media, where they can immediately crack down on all these people that are posting these things on their websites or tracking them as saying something suspicious on Twitter,” said Gabriel.
She says without getting proactive, people like Abedi – who was reportedly known to police – are harder to stop.
“The lesson for us is where there is smoke there is fire. If there is anybody being monitored by the FBI, by the CIA, by the intelligence community, whether here or any other country in the world, if somebody is on your radar do something before it’s too late,” said Gabriel.