We were drafting some comments on the most recent GOP debate and the troubling questions as to the direction of the Party. We expect to post those comments in a day or so, but when the news of the terrorist attacks in Paris began to come in, those comments seemed for the moment considerably less urgent.
Whenever a mass killing in this country occurs, and prompts cries for gun control, those demands are met with a reproach not to “politicize” the event. Yet politicizing—a call for political action—is exactly what we believe is called for in response to such tragedies. So here we would hope to politicize the Paris outrage by expressing the hope that it will finally bring to all levels of government a recognition of the dimensions of threat with which we are confronted. While the exact identity and organization of the perpetrators is yet to be determined, it can hardly be doubted that they were Islamic extremists. Whether they were controlled, or merely inspired, by ISIS is of secondary importance. In either case, it should now be acknowledged by all that “Islamic extremism” is real and that it is a global threat that cannot be dismissed as a regional problem confined to the Middle East. If it is Paris today, there is no reason to believe that it will not be New York, Washington, Chicago or Los Angeles tomorrow.
We hope that attempts to hobble the protections of NSA programs will be abandoned or at least muted. (Indeed, inquiry should be made on an urgent basis as to whether communications among the Paris jihadists had been intercepted and, if so, how they had been evaluated.) And while the threat is global, there is little doubt that ISIS and its partners are, one way or another, a major source of the violence. The goal of degrading and destroying ISIS has made precious little progress and it is apparent that a far more robust and effective military effort is required. Failing such an effort, Islamic extremists and potential terrorists will continue to find encouragement in the success of the would- be caliphate.