Four Lessons about the Nice Attack

Secretary of State John Kerry once again, this past Sunday, demonstrated his profound lack of understanding of the Islamist mindset by saying on CNN that ISIS “is on the run” in Iraq and Syria, and that the attacks in Nice “show that ISIL is acting as though they have a noose around their neck”.

And of course, the killing of over 84 people and the wounding of 200 others by this latest act of jihadist terrorism is being accompanied by the usual bromides of how “this was just an act of lone wolf terrorism, and therefore cannot be attributed to ISIS or Al Qaeda.”

And finally, most of the liberals of the Western media will try to psychoanalyze the terrorist, and talk about either his societal-inflicted wounds or how he was a lone, deranged psychopath with absolutely no connection to a terrorist organization.

All of these palliatives display a total miscomprehension of the true nature of the war that the radical Islamist is waging against Western civilization. For the “politically correct” class that obviously sleeps a great deal better than those of us who have long been kept awake by the Islamist assault, I would like to offer four lessons that my fellow insomniacs have learned:

  1.  A correlation does not necessarily imply a causal connection. There is not necessarily any causal connection between what happens on the battlefields in Iraq and Syria and what happens on the streets of Wutzburg, Nice, or Orlando, or Istanbul or Tel Aviv or Paris or Madrid or Mumbai, or anywhere else the radical Islamic terrorists may choose to strike. This is not just a physical war that is fought on the battlefield. It is that, but it is also and primarily an ideological war. We have to stop thinking as though we are still living in the 19th century. One does not necessarily have to be born in a Muslim state, wear the uniform of an Islamist jihadist, or to formally have an identity card swearing allegiance to radical jihadist ideas in order to believe in the enemy’s dreams of an Islamic Caliphate, to hate Western civilization and to work to try to destroy it. Ideas have no geographic boundary. Particularly in the age of the internet.

The FBI showed America’s profound lack of understanding about this when they interviewed Omar Martin, the shooter who killed 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando, prior to his shooting rampage and because he pledged allegiance to both ISIS and Hizb’allah, one being Sunni and the other Shiite, they dismissed him. There are plenty of disconnected “lone wolves” in isolated basements or lofts somewhere around the globe that read Inspire magazine from Al Qaeda or Dabiq magazine from ISIS. They might have a generalized hatred for America and the West who are not born into a Muslim state, and might not have a distinct ideology, but who are capable of doing plenty of real damage.

  1.  Yes, we have to fight a two-front war: one is on the battlefield, and the other is a war of ideas. But nothing succeeds like success. If we were to really go after ISIS with all of the might of Western civilization, we could actually defeat ISIS on the battlefield. However, we are thinking tactically, and not strategically, and setting them back by pinpricks here and there. Minor tactical victories without strategic setbacks represents nothing. The war that ISIS and other jihadist groups, whether they be Sunni or Shiite, are waging against Western civilization is not being defeated. We have to crush the enemy on the battlefield first, in its womb: their so-called “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria. Every tactical victory that they perceive of, is translated in their perception, as a huge success against “the Great Satan”, and creates an image of success against a great Superpower that attracts recruiters from all around the globe.
  2.  The jihadist detests everything about our culture. He feels we are corrupt, that our women walk around half-naked, that our freedoms lead to licentiousness. He wants to destroy our idols, our freedoms, and every remnant of what we represent. It is no coincidence that is that they had chosen July 14th or Bastille Day to attack. France is where much of the Western Enlightenment originated with the words, “liberte’, egalite’ fraterernite’. This is no coincidence. Radical Islam despises our freedoms and think that they represent a wayward society that has not found the “Sharia” or “true path”, of Islam.
  3. My heart goes out to the French, and to all of the innocent civilians killed and wounded, enjoying a national day of celebration and a display of patriotism on the beach. However, their lack of understanding of the true nature of radical Islam is astounding. They stubbornly refuse to connect the dots between terrorism that happens on the streets of Tel Aviv or Hebron and that which happens in Orlando, Istanbul, San Bernardino, Madrid, London, Mumbai, Paris, or Nice. The fallacious and dangerous illusion that the countless acts of Islamic terrorism against Israel can be cured by a “peace process”, while the others cannot has got to finally be disabused. After more than 80 years of Israel offering concession upon concession to its Palestinian neighbors that were so incredibly generous, and which they walked away from, it is clear that they could never accept the presence of a Jewish homeland on what they consider to be holy Muslim soil. With the birth rates in the European Union being 1.6 children per family, and the average Muslim birthrate being 3.1 per family, it will not be long until the European Union will have a Muslim majority. Borrowing from the words of the Israeli left, which have since been proven wrong, at least in regard to Israel, “the Islamic womb is a demographic time bomb against secular Europe. Europe cannot both be a democracy and a secular continent.”  French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said in response to last week’s attack in Nice, “We have to live with terrorism”. Perhaps we might suggest a “land for peace” formulation and divide the European Union into two regions: one European secular and one Islamic caliphate.

I appreciate how difficult this concept might be, but perhaps Europe should try to undertake a few “brave risks towards peace” as Israel is constantly being urged to do.

Sarah N. Stern is Founder and President of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, or EMET, an unabashedly pro-Israel and pro-American think tank and policy institute in Washington, DC.

Secretary of State John Kerry once again, this past Sunday, demonstrated his profound lack of understanding of the Islamist mindset by saying on CNN that ISIS “is on the run” in Iraq and Syria, and that the attacks in Nice “show that ISIL is acting as though they have a noose around their neck”.

And of course, the killing of over 84 people and the wounding of 200 others by this latest act of jihadist terrorism is being accompanied by the usual bromides of how “this was just an act of lone wolf terrorism, and therefore cannot be attributed to ISIS or Al Qaeda.”

And finally, most of the liberals of the Western media will try to psychoanalyze the terrorist, and talk about either his societal-inflicted wounds or how he was a lone, deranged psychopath with absolutely no connection to a terrorist organization.

All of these palliatives display a total miscomprehension of the true nature of the war that the radical Islamist is waging against Western civilization. For the “politically correct” class that obviously sleeps a great deal better than those of us who have long been kept awake by the Islamist assault, I would like to offer four lessons that my fellow insomniacs have learned:

  1.  A correlation does not necessarily imply a causal connection. There is not necessarily any causal connection between what happens on the battlefields in Iraq and Syria and what happens on the streets of Wutzburg, Nice, or Orlando, or Istanbul or Tel Aviv or Paris or Madrid or Mumbai, or anywhere else the radical Islamic terrorists may choose to strike. This is not just a physical war that is fought on the battlefield. It is that, but it is also and primarily an ideological war. We have to stop thinking as though we are still living in the 19th century. One does not necessarily have to be born in a Muslim state, wear the uniform of an Islamist jihadist, or to formally have an identity card swearing allegiance to radical jihadist ideas in order to believe in the enemy’s dreams of an Islamic Caliphate, to hate Western civilization and to work to try to destroy it. Ideas have no geographic boundary. Particularly in the age of the internet.

The FBI showed America’s profound lack of understanding about this when they interviewed Omar Martin, the shooter who killed 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando, prior to his shooting rampage and because he pledged allegiance to both ISIS and Hizb’allah, one being Sunni and the other Shiite, they dismissed him. There are plenty of disconnected “lone wolves” in isolated basements or lofts somewhere around the globe that read Inspire magazine from Al Qaeda or Dabiq magazine from ISIS. They might have a generalized hatred for America and the West who are not born into a Muslim state, and might not have a distinct ideology, but who are capable of doing plenty of real damage.

  1.  Yes, we have to fight a two-front war: one is on the battlefield, and the other is a war of ideas. But nothing succeeds like success. If we were to really go after ISIS with all of the might of Western civilization, we could actually defeat ISIS on the battlefield. However, we are thinking tactically, and not strategically, and setting them back by pinpricks here and there. Minor tactical victories without strategic setbacks represents nothing. The war that ISIS and other jihadist groups, whether they be Sunni or Shiite, are waging against Western civilization is not being defeated. We have to crush the enemy on the battlefield first, in its womb: their so-called “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria. Every tactical victory that they perceive of, is translated in their perception, as a huge success against “the Great Satan”, and creates an image of success against a great Superpower that attracts recruiters from all around the globe.
  2.  The jihadist detests everything about our culture. He feels we are corrupt, that our women walk around half-naked, that our freedoms lead to licentiousness. He wants to destroy our idols, our freedoms, and every remnant of what we represent. It is no coincidence that is that they had chosen July 14th or Bastille Day to attack. France is where much of the Western Enlightenment originated with the words, “liberte’, egalite’ fraterernite’. This is no coincidence. Radical Islam despises our freedoms and think that they represent a wayward society that has not found the “Sharia” or “true path”, of Islam.
  3. My heart goes out to the French, and to all of the innocent civilians killed and wounded, enjoying a national day of celebration and a display of patriotism on the beach. However, their lack of understanding of the true nature of radical Islam is astounding. They stubbornly refuse to connect the dots between terrorism that happens on the streets of Tel Aviv or Hebron and that which happens in Orlando, Istanbul, San Bernardino, Madrid, London, Mumbai, Paris, or Nice. The fallacious and dangerous illusion that the countless acts of Islamic terrorism against Israel can be cured by a “peace process”, while the others cannot has got to finally be disabused. After more than 80 years of Israel offering concession upon concession to its Palestinian neighbors that were so incredibly generous, and which they walked away from, it is clear that they could never accept the presence of a Jewish homeland on what they consider to be holy Muslim soil. With the birth rates in the European Union being 1.6 children per family, and the average Muslim birthrate being 3.1 per family, it will not be long until the European Union will have a Muslim majority. Borrowing from the words of the Israeli left, which have since been proven wrong, at least in regard to Israel, “the Islamic womb is a demographic time bomb against secular Europe. Europe cannot both be a democracy and a secular continent.”  French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said in response to last week’s attack in Nice, “We have to live with terrorism”. Perhaps we might suggest a “land for peace” formulation and divide the European Union into two regions: one European secular and one Islamic caliphate.

I appreciate how difficult this concept might be, but perhaps Europe should try to undertake a few “brave risks towards peace” as Israel is constantly being urged to do.

Sarah N. Stern is Founder and President of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, or EMET, an unabashedly pro-Israel and pro-American think tank and policy institute in Washington, DC.