It's impossible to craft a solution to a security threat when policy-makers refuse to identify the nature of the threat, its source, and its threat doctrine. Given that Democrats refuse to even recognize any correlation between any form of Islam and Jihad, their policies reflect a perfectly consistent and unvarnished willful blindness of the modern jihadist threat. In releasing the House GOP's plan to combat Islamic terror, however, Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas. (F, 58%) exhibits the same systemic misdiagnosis of the problem, albeit one that is a step or two closer to the truth than the Democrats.
Yesterday, Chairman McCaul unveiled “A National Strategy to Win the War against Islamist Terror." While the plan at least references Islamic terror as the key threat and very broadly and generally outlines worthy end-goals, the overarching outline has two fatal flaws.
- It still refuses to name names when it comes to specific threats and;
- The overall policy objectives, strategies, and suggestions, are overly general, almost vacuous, and obfuscate the true common sense path forward screaming out for much-needed attention from our political leaders.
This all stems from McCaul's refusal to identify the specific threat of mass Sharia-adherent immigration, unreformed-Islam in general, and the fifth column that operates within this country to ensure that Muslim communities become disenchanted with America's constitutional system of government.
The introduction sets the tone for the entire policy paper. McCaul asserts that “Islamist terrorists have perverted a major religion into a hateful worldview, and while most Muslims do not share their beliefs, their influence is spreading like wildfire." While this definitely sounds more refreshing than the Democrat refusal to mention Islam at all, it is still a factually troubled statement because it completely divorces the problem from anything inherent in the practice of the religion itself by those who strictly adhere to Sharia. That is not a small group of people perverting a religion and it's not isolated to terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS. While ISIS's successful propaganda campaign has definitely fanned the flames and provided Sharia-adherents with a fulfillment of the caliphate, the problem existed long before 2013 and will continue after the caliphate collapses.
McCaul continues down this false narrative of divorcing “terrorists" (the scary network people abroad) from the general population of Sharia-supporting Muslims already living in America or those who seek to immigrate: “Terrorists are trying to send operatives to our shores and radicalize new ones in U.S. communities."
Once again, McCaul believes that the threat is limited to potential infiltration of known terror networks into immigrant or native Muslim populations, completely disregarding the inherent threat of large populations of Sharia-adherents clustered together in the West. It's as if McCaul can't find Europe on a map.
Moreover, McCaul completely ignores the fact that civilization jihad is being waged on our shores, within the government, and within our political class by the Muslim Brotherhood to radicalize Muslim communities and marginalize reformists. They don't need to send operatives to our shores when Hamas fundraisers are already here, obtaining security clearances and downright training our law enforcement in “counter terrorism."
While this is not the bold Hillary/Obama form of willful blindness, it presents us with Bush 2.0, a woefully inadequate approach – especially after eight years of Obama's malfeasance.
The willful blindness in identifying the threat and its doctrine manifests in many of the polices laid out by the report:
McCaul's report speaks of the need for better “vetting" of immigrants. He even mentions researching an applicant's social media posting to see if they have pledged support to a terror group. But foundationally, he has no inherent problem with the record-high immigration from the Middle East. While this approach is one step ahead of the Obama blindness, in which applicants have a right to “privacy" from DHS officials investigating their social media activity, it misses the point. This is not merely about vetting for known individual terrorists or those espousing support for terrorist networks. This is about those who subscribe to the ideology that cultivates the climate of homegrown terror in the family, neighborhood, and community.
Take the case of Somali immigration, for example. We have admitted well over 100,000 Somali refugees over the past two decades — in contravention to America's national interests on any level. Dozens from the Minneapolis community have been charged with terrorism-related activities, and statements from the U.S. Attorney in Minnesota indicate that there is a culture that runs much deeper than those numbers suggest. Was this something we could have weeded out through “vetting" 15-25 years ago? Perhaps in a few cases. But for the most part, this is a cumulative problem inherent in mass migration from dangerous Islamic countries.
This is the enduring lesson from the jihadists of Boston, Ft. Hood, Chattanooga, San Bernardino, Orlando, and the pair of Somali and Afghani immigrants who perpetrated attacks this past weekend. Typically, the parents will not engage in terrorism. Nonetheless, they cluster in communities that adhere to Sharia and are educated through Muslim Brotherhood propaganda. The attackers in each of these cases were the second generation; the children brought to America by their parents or born on American soil. McCaul's plan to look myopically for connections or allegiance to a specific terror group might save a few more lives than under the Obama Administration, but it fails to identify the core of the problem and the enduring lessons from Europe.
To its credit, the report rightly warns that our prisons have become veritable jihadist breeding grounds, but it declines to name the biggest contributor to that reality. “As the number of convicted homegrown terrorists grows, so does the risk that our prisons will become wellsprings of fanaticism," it reads. The report continues:
The federal government must examine non-governmental rehabilitation options for convicted terrorists to prevent more individuals from entering the prison system primed to spread their hateful ideology. The Bureau of Prisons should also take steps to combat prison radicalization, including proactively monitoring known extremists and putting measures in place to prevent them from inspiring fellow inmates to embrace terror.
One can only hope the federal government would be watching for groups with ties to organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood. Or how about the Islamic Society of North America, which was found on a list of Chaplaincy Endorsers provided by the federal government earlier this year. However, without making that clear, we cannot expect the federal government to do just that.
Thirteen years ago, the FBI arrested Abdurahman Alamoudi,the man responsible for establishing the entire Muslim chaplaincy program within the Bureau of Prisons, for funding Al Qaeda. In 2003, Chuck Schumer railed against the Bush administration for doing nothing to investigate all the people Alamoudi appointed (more on this from Ben Weingarten's article yesterday). What is McCaul doing to this very day to go after the Muslim Brotherhood in the chaplaincy?
Here, again, the report confronts us with a premise that, as a baseline, nobody can find much fault. However, in doing so, the report muddles the details. It rightly states that jihadists leaving the United States to visit high-risk countries is a massive security concern, but says very little substantively to directly confront the problem.
Perhaps the worst part of the report is that it calls on the Obama administration — which did a phenomenal job of enlisting Muslim Brotherhood affiliates for its 'Countering Violent Extremism' program — to develop a plan to stop jihadists from re-entering the United States. It says nothing of the plans already before Congress, like the Expatriate Terrorist Act, which would strip the citizenship of anyone who leaves to train with a foreign terror organization.
Instead, it says, “The White House should produce a strategy to combat terrorist travel and to prevent Americans from leaving to join terrorist organizations." This is nothing short of laughable, given Obama's track record.
McCaul is absolutely correct to observe that, fifteen years after 9/11, our counterterrorism policies have failed miserably. But they have failed because we didn't accurately identify the threat confronting us, and that willful blindness did not begin with the Obama administration. Until political correctness is put aside and the threat is accurately identified, policymakers will continue missing the target with their solutions. This isn't to say that it's completely errant, however. Make no mistake, while McCaul's proposals are far closer to the mark than anything we've seen from the Obama Administration thus far, they're just far enough off of it to still be dangerous. And given McCaul's prominent role in advising Donald Trump on homeland security, that should concern everyone who wants a bold change in direction.