The news out of Europe this morning provides another harbinger of coming attractions in the United States. As the AP headline has it: “Explosions rock Brussels airport, subway; at least 13 dead.” The reported death toll has now reached 23. The death and destruction are horrifying.
Readers can probably deduce the scenario from the headline: “The explosions, which the Brussels prosecutor’s office called terror attacks, came just days after the main suspect in the November Paris attacks was arrested in Brussels. After his arrest, Salah Abdeslam told authorities he had created a new network and was planning new attacks.” And then we have this: “European security officials have been braced for a major attack for weeks, and warned that the Islamic State group was actively preparing to strike. Abdeslam’s arrest on Friday heightened those fears, as investigators said many more people were involved in the Nov. 13 attacks that killed 130 people in Paris than originally thought, and that some are still on the loose.”
One of the illuminating passages in Jeffrey Goldberg’s compilation of the wit and wisdom of Barack Obama addresses the subject of terrorism. Obama wants us to cool out and learn to live with it. His attitude is complacent. His take on ISIS to Valerie Jarrett represents it: “They’re not coming here to chop our heads off.”
Goldberg adds: “Obama frequently reminds his staff that terrorism takes far fewer lives in America than handguns, car accidents, and falls in bathtubs do. Several years ago, he expressed to me his admiration for Israelis’ ‘resilience’ in the face of constant terrorism, and it is clear that he would like to see resilience replace panic in American society. Nevertheless, his advisers are fighting a constant rearguard action to keep Obama from placing terrorism in what he considers its ‘proper’ perspective, out of concern that he will seem insensitive to the fears of the American people.”
Obama’s thinking tracks that of former senior CIA officer Paul Pillar as set forth in his ill-timed book on terrorism, published just before 9/11. Please see my “One Pillar of unwisdom revisited.”
Obama hesitates to confide his true thoughts to the American people. We can’t be trusted with it. Goldberg reports that those who speak with Obama about jihadist thought say that he possesses a no-illusions understanding of the forces that drive apocalyptic violence among radical Muslims, but he has been careful about articulating that publicly, out of concern that he will exacerbate anti-Muslim xenophobia (i.e., “Islamophobia”).
But don’t jump to conclusions or get yourself worked up events in Brussels today. You may find yourself accused of “Islamophobia.” It’s a mental illness.
Are we permitted to observe that even “Islamophobics” have real enemies?