The specter of Islam

First, radical Muslims attack the mind first, then the body. In a revealing statement, Secretary of State John Kerry blurted out that he found the Charlie Hebdo attacks understandable, with a “legitimacy” or at least a “rationale” about enforcing Islamic restrictions. But that’s an utterly false distinction. Yes, the jihadists’ first targets in the West are going to be those people who use words, ideas, and art to challenge Islam. But those are only the first targets, not the last. As the attacks at the end of the year demonstrated, the jihadists ultimately want to wipe out all the infidels, not just the outspoken few. And as the New Year’s Eve attacks demonstrate, their target isn’t just artists who draw provocative cartoons but women whose “provocation” is not to cover themselves in public from head to foot.

Second, the attacks in the US are smaller, less organized, and less successful than in Europe. This reflects the fact that Muslims in the US is a smaller percentage of the population and better assimilated to American values. Fewer are attracted to the cause of jihad, and they are less able to work with people around them to plan and organize. (And, as I noted after the Garland attack, America is generally a harder target.) But among the small number of violent radicals, the full murderous intent is there, even if the means are not as effective. Europe is the front line, but we’re not far behind…

And that leads us to the third lesson: we have a president who is resolutely opposed to learning any of the other lessons. Instead, he is focusing all of his efforts on doing what little he can to disarm Americans. Unfortunately, judging from the presidential debates — in which the Democratic participants steadfastly refused to use the phrase “radical Islam” — we’re not going to get any better from the next round of Democratic candidates.