The massacre in Orlando by a self-proclaimed Islamist terrorist removes any doubt that the West or its allies have contained the radical jihadi movement.
You wouldn’t know it by listening to President Obama. From the Oval Office on Monday, he remained unable to utter the words “radical Islam.”
Yet, early Sunday morning the shooter pledged allegiance to ISIS and reportedly yelled “Allahu Akbar” before opening fire. He murdered and injured more than 100 innocents in the worst Islamic terror assault on U.S. soil since 9/11.
Family and friends are suffering. Their lives will never be the same. The worst aspect is that political leadership could have helped to prevent the attack by addressing the violent Islamist threat by its rightful nature.
As was the case in Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino or any of the other murders in the name of Allah against the West the during his time in office, the president will not identify “jihad” as even a possible motivation. He instead talks about gun control, identity politics and thought crimes.
Americans know that it was terror. They know that it was hate. They also know that is so much more than that.
For weeks ISIS has threatened brutal attacks throughout the world during the month of Ramadan. The Investigative Project on Terrorism has tracked the threat streams along with the intelligence community.
What were suspect Omar Mateen’s interactions with various groups in the U.S. and internationally? Who were the groups, and what was the nature of those interactions?
Law enforcement officials had Mateen on their radar. Why did they stop monitoring him? Could it have had anything to do with the suffocating political correctness – in which “workplace violence” and “man-caused disasters” replaced jihadist terror – over the last few years?
The echo chamber of Islamist front organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim American Society and the Muslim Public Affairs Council facilitate the administration’s obfuscation. They rush to condemn the attacks to American audiences, yet they are the worst enablers of the attacks themselves.
CAIR, for example, routinely pressures American Muslims to not cooperate with law enforcement. White House records reveals that leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood regularly meet with officials at the highest levels of government to influence stewards of foreign policy into minimizing the threat from Islamic terror organizations.
The president may only have seven more months in office, but he needs to provide the country with a new strategy. It cannot continue down the same path of political correctness, and it cannot wait until a new president assumes office to reevaluate.
The evidence of the West losing the struggle is overwhelming. Globally, the number of victims has increased to unprecedented levels. Millions of refugees flood Europe from the Middle East and Africa, Islamists behead and inflict genocide against religious minorities and ISIS has created a caliphate in Iraq and Syria, as well as in Libya.
Orlando is such a painful illustration that the U.S. is not beyond its reach.
American leadership needs to engage in a frank discussion about where we go from here. It needs to identify and implement a policy against jihadist terror that transcends elections, including the upcoming November ballot. It can no longer punt on the issue and hope that nothing bad happens under its watch.
Discerning the threat is not difficult. Identifying its true nature seems impossible to current leaders. Developing effective counter strategies is no easy task, but it needs to start today.
Americans will not tolerate any more carnage. Obama said in his remarks to the nation today that the attack in Orlando could have occurred in any U.S. community.
He needs to finally understand that there is something dreadfully wrong with that.
Republican Pete Hoekstra is the Shillman senior fellow at the Investigative Project on Terrorism and the former chairman (R-Michigan) of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee. He is the author of “Architects of Disaster: The Destruction of Libya” (The Calamo Press, October 2, 2015).