We’ve Seen This Movie Before

Facts are dribbling out about the terrorist attack in Manchester last night. The suicide bomber has not been identified as of this writing, but it is reported that he was “known to the authorities.” Another known wolf; but known wolves generally don’t turn out to have been as lonely as one might assume (as opposed to, say, most school shooters). A second 23-year-old man is under arrest. Time will tell whether he was involved, whether the murderer had support and inspiration from a radical mosque, and so on.

ISIS is claiming responsibility, and there are videos of radical Muslims celebrating the carnage. Whether the terrorist actually had any communication with ISIS is unknown and not very important. His method–a suicide vest or backpack stuffed with nuts, bolts and the like–was typical of Islamic terrorists, and instructions for these crude devices are easily available.

The usual expressions of condolence and anger are being made, but while no doubt sincere, they feel rote. We have seen this story unfold too many times. The question is what we are going to do about it.

There are hundreds if not thousands of known terrorist sympathizers in the U.K., but in any of the liberal democracies, nothing can be done about them until they actually detonate a bomb, or carry out another sort of attack, or come perilously close to doing so. The only other way to address the problem is through immigration policy, but it is probably too late for that in a number of the Western European countries, including Great Britain. It isn’t too late here, but as we have seen with President Trump’s almost de minimis travel order, the establishment won’t permit any serious reconsideration of immigration policy.

So it seems that the West is committed to John Kerry’s view of Islamic terrorism: viewing it as a “nuisance” that we just have to put up with.


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