Friday, June 24, 2016

Fighting Islamic Terrorism In the Wake Of Orlando - Attacking Root Causes Rather Than Each Other

As I am writing this, the country is still trying to recover from the heinous radical Islamic terrorist attack that took the lives of 49 Americans and wounded over 50 at an Orlando nightclub. It was a terrible and tragic event that should never happen anywhere, either in the United States or anywhere in the world. Innocent people out for a good time with friends and family, ending so tragically.

By one documented count, this was the 86th (22 in just the past year and a half) radical Islamic terror attack within this country since 2001. Many of these attacks involved guns but many did not. Nineteen Islamic terrorists did not storm the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 with AR-15 rifles, they used airplanes as terror weapons. Others have used bombs (e.g. Boston Marathon bombings), others have used knives. The root cause of all of these terror attacks, though, did have one thing in common: radical Islamic tenets and followers.

And thus, to prevent future attacks like Orlando, it is the root cause, radical Islam, that needs to be attacked. It is not lax gun control laws. We have tough gun control laws now and that has not prevented the 86 terror attacks. It is not Christianity, no radical Christian or Christian concept was involved in the 86 terror attacks. It is not domestic oppression of the gay lifestyle in this country, not when homosexuals are being executed, stoned, thrown off the roofs of high buildings in countries where radical Islam is rooted.

Failure to attack the root cause of terrorist attacks in this country will not terminate radical Islamic attacks in this country. Failure to protect ourselves from this root cause will cause more Americans to needlessly die. Denying Americans the ability to defend themselves via the Second Amendment will cause more Americans to needlessly die. 

But as is typical with the Obama administration and liberal politicians, they see the terrorist attack death of over four dozen Americans as not a call to action to attack root causes but a political opportunity to advance their political agendas. In this case, it is the continued pressure and fallacy to make it harder and harder, eventually illegal, for Americans to be gun owners. 

With 86 domestic radical Islamic terrorist attacks since 2001 it is pretty obvious that the Federal government cannot totally stop or protect us from attacks. Banning a single non-automatic rifle, the AR-15, for sale or prohibiting anyone on the No-Fly list from buying a gun or increasing background checks for gun purchasers is just plan out of touch with reality:
  • Banning certain drugs did not eliminate access and usage/abuse/addiction of those illegal drugs so thinking that a criminal or terrorist would not get their hands on a gun or a rifle because it is illegal is ridiculous. Under Obama, our borders are wide open and you can be sure that if a demand for illegal weapons exist, the drug cartels or other criminal elements will find a way to fill that need via our leaky southern border.
  • Of the 86 terror attacks, no one appears to have purchased a gun AND been on the No-Fly list. Implementing this concept is a solution to a problem that does not exist.
  • The Orlando terrorist shooter came under investigation TWICE by the FBI, he was given a government security clearance to work for a government security contractor that involved carrying a gun as part of the job, and he was twice identified to the FBI by a gun shop dealer shortly before the terror attack because he was looking for body armor and bulk ammunition. If the FBI, who was focused on this single individual, could not flag or stop him from attacking innocent Americans, I cannot imagine any enhancements to any background checking process that could match or exceed this kind of FBI scrutiny, which ultimately failed.
Despite these simple logic points, Obama continues to obsess on window dressing gun control measures that leaves the Islamic terrorism root cause intact. If Obama was a real leader looking for real solutions, maybe he would consider taking the following steps and initiatives that might actually work to protect us compared to what he is worried about:

1) The terrorist attack in Orlando involved a single radical Islamic gunmen attacking and shooting over 100 adults before he was stopped even though there was a uniformed police officer on site. Imagine what the carnage would be if that single gunman had attacked a school with hundreds of kids and only a couple of dozen adults. The outcome would be unthinkable.

That is why we repeat our suggestion from our January 18, 2013 blog post that the Federal government immediately establish a budget item of about $7.3 billion to station at least one armed police officer in EVERY American school by September. We saw a preview of how bad this situation could become when a single mentally deranged young adult attacked a school in Newtown, Connecticut. Imagine what a focused, trained radical Islamic terrorist(s) could do by attacking a school.

We had a warning three years ago but Obama and the rest of Washington did nothing to secure our schools. Out calculation back in January, 2013 came up with the following budget:

- Number of schools in the country = 132,183
- Average annual salary of a U.S. police officer =$55,000
- Annual budget required to protect every school = $7.3 billion

Rather than spending billions of dollars to resettle potentially harmful Middle East refugees into this country, why not take those billions of dollars to provide armed security to our schools before it is too late? I know what my priorities would be but it is pretty clear it is not the priority of Obama and the rest of Washington since their kids are likely already protected by armed guards, our kids be damned. 

When a terrorist takes out a school of American kids while we are spending taxpayer money on refugees, that carnage and blood will be squarely on Washington and Obama, despite having been warned of such a nightmare several times beforehand.

2) Over the past seven plus years the Obama administration has been busy launching hundreds of drone attacks in multiple countries throughout the Middle East. This has been a vain attempt to take out terrorists’ leaders since even if successful, other terrorists simply step forward to take the dead leaders’ place. The fact that terror attacks and threats have intensified and become more numerous across the world is a potential indication of how much this military strategy has failed. 

But even worse, while these drone attacks may have killed a few terror leaders, it has also killed hundreds of civilians, including kids, who had nothing to do with terrorism. This reality is most likely fueling a lot of the underlying hate and recruiting ability of radical Islamic terror organizations, the United States seemingly indiscriminate bombing of civilians throughout the Middle East. Maybe Obama needs to reconsider the pros and cons of drone attacks especially in light of bombing and killing kids in many countries. We would not stand for it if our kids were being bombed, bombing other nations’ kids probably has the same effect in those countries.

3) The following seven proposed solutions come from a Heritage Foundation article by Bridget Mudd on June 17 2016. Ms. Mudd starts off with the following strategy steps to combat radical Islamic terrorism:

A. Combat Terrorism Abroad and Deny ISIS Territorial Gains - as long as ISIS has a territorial presence somewhere in the world, they are a tangible, physical entity. This gives them a legitimacy that is highly symbolic. After a number of years under the current Obama strategy, ISIS still maintains a major territorial presence. Ms. Mudd suggests a change to this failed strategy: “ISIS requires a global approach in which the U.S. leads a multipronged, multination effort that seeks to deny ISIS the ability to hold territory. This will disrupt its recruitment of foreign fighters, and will counter its destructive ideology.”

This obviously involves a military solution that Obama has not had the nerve to even propose, never mind implement. If he was a real leader, he would take a cue from the masterful international coalition building that the first President Bush assembled to free Kuwait back in the early 1990s. Instead, he prefers to host Super Bowl winning teams in the White House, play almost 300 rounds of golf, take multiple annual vacations, and pass bathroom guidelines. 

B. Shut Down the Foreign Fighter Pipeline - Part of the military coalition action item we just discussed, if you deny ISIS a physical territory, it becomes a lot tougher for ISIS to recruit fighters and future terrorists since they have no base of operations. This will also require better and more interconnected intelligence work across countries to identify recruits that are both going and coming from ISIS territory.

C. Ensure That the FBI Regularly Shares Information - This step would encourage the FBI to be more sharing of information with state and local police and law enforcement entities.This obviously was not the case in the Orlando shooting where the FBI had a lot of interest in the terrorist shooter but it is unclear what, if any information was shared with local Orlando law enforcement.

D. Expand Active Shooter Threat Training Across the Country - Police training for such terrorism shootings needs to be increased to minimize the damage once an attack is underway. Additionally, the whole hostage situation strategy needs to be re-examined in the light of our now terrorism infested world. Historically, police usually wanted to start a dialog with a hostage taker and go slow since the hostage taker usually wanted something independent of the hostages.

In a terror attack situation, the hostages are what the terrorist wants, that is his end game. Thus, going slow and trying to talk to the terrorist is not going to be fruitful since the terror is the objective, not money, not free transportation out of the country, etc. The Orlando terrorist had a lot of time to go through the crowd and shoot over a hundred people while police gathered outside. This historical strategy of waiting needs to be re-examined and possibly replaced with a quick strike strategy in our new world of terror.

Please note: this is not an attack or criticism of the law enforcement actions in Orlando. I am sure they followed their current protocols and processes. It is only a suggestion thta maybe those protocols need to be reexamined in light of the world we now live in.

E. Community Outreach Remains a Vital Tool - As Ms. Mudd says: “The U.S. should facilitate strong community outreach and policing. Such capabilities are key to building trust in local communities, especially in high risk areas. If the U.S. is to thwart Islamist terrorist attacks successfully, it must do so by putting effective community outreach operations at the tip of the spear.”

F. Maintain Essential Counterterrorism Tools - Legitimate government surveillance programs are also a vital component of U.S. national security and should be allowed to continue. This is a delicate balance of security and freedom and privacy, it does not include the Obama doctrine of collecting massive amounts of electronics communications on every American. It should be a focused, laser like attention to high potential suspects strategy that maintains the Fourth Amendment.

G. Counter Islamist Ideology - The U.S. needs a strong, proactive counterterrorism policy in order to prevent future terrorist attacks like Orlando. There is no such policy today as far as I can see. If it exists, then please, someone explain it to me. The fact that it is not obvious means it either does not exist or it is totally ineffective and useless. ISIS has made great use of social media to recruit and spread their cause. The civilized, non-radical Islamic world needs to do the same thing.

4) Even if we did all of the above steps, we would probably not be successful on a long term basis without a long term strategy for the ISIS problem and geography. What that long term strategy and plan could look like will be a topic of discussion for tomorrow.

As always with American politicians, they do not do their work ahead of time and when a disaster, failure, or attack occurs, they go running around with no plan or intelligence guiding their actions. They immediately revert back to their own personal political agendas, very quickly ignoring what the disaster was, how it could have been prevented and how to prevent it in the future. 

Instead, they come up with simpleton plans for complex problems. And simpleton plans rarely, if ever address the root causes of the problem. The Orlando shooting, and the 85 other radical Islamic attacks over the past 15 years, were not caused by a certain gun, a bad background checking process, or a Christian baker refusing to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple in Oregon. 

It was caused by a radical element within the religion of Islam, that is what needs to be addressed, surrounded, isolated, and neutralized. Failure to recognize that reality and act accordingly is a sure fire way to ensure future attacks and fatalities.

The actions discussed above are what we as a nation and civilization should be working on now, not name calling and personal political agendas, not ineffective knee jerk reactions. Obviously, what Obama and the rest of Washington have been doing is not working, 86 terrorist attacks is more than adequate proof of that.

Solving the big picture, the long term strategy tomorrow.

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