We Can Win the War on Terror — If We Want To

Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune

1. The Criminal Conspiracy of International Jihad

The mass-murder in Orlando reminds us, once again, that Jihadist Islam (not Islam in general) is a global criminal conspiracy.

We may never be able to prove that Omar Mateen, the killer in Florida, was directly in cahoots with some ringleader in the Middle East, but without a doubt, he was influenced by those ringleaders.  Even if he was a completely self-starting “lone wolf,” the fact that, on the night of his rampage, he called 911 to “pledge allegiance” to the Islamic State, and that  ISIS, in turn, has claimed “credit” for him is sufficient proof of an international connection.  And as we know, violent, anti-Western, anti-gay, and anti-American propaganda is a major industry in the Middle East, much of it financed by Saudi Arabia; yes, Mateen was in the thralls of that terror-industry, as were the Brussels airport killers, as were the Paris nightclub killers, as were the San Bernardino killers, as were the Charlie Hebdo killers, and on and on, all the way back to 9-11 and before.

So the report, from Breitbart and others, that an imam at an Orlando mosque declared in April that gays should be killed “out of compassion” is just a detail–one more dot in the dot-matrix of Mateen’s career as a tool of international terror.

Indeed, the fact that Mateen had been flagged by law enforcement authorities multiple times, as far back 2013 and 2014, counts as just another dotty detail.  By now we’re used to sloppy and inadequate police–and counter-intelligence work, quite possibly paralyzed by political correctness.  So we’ll have to study carefully, for example, the news item that a co-worker had reported Mateen as “unhinged and unstable,” talking of “killing people,” but was told by superiors that there was nothing to be done because Mateen was a Muslim.

Clearly, we can’t go on like this.  Either our passivity toward domestic terrorism will cease, or America as we know it will cease.

Fortunately, we have ample precedent for dealing successfully with terror.  We’ve beaten terror before, and we can beat it again: But we do have to learn the lessons as to what works.

2. The Three Waves of Terror

In the last two centuries, terror has come in two big waves–and now, we’re in the midst of the third.  We beat back the first two; that’s why we’re here as a country.  Now today, as the blood of this third wave eddies around us, we’re once again in a life-and-death struggle.

The first wave began in the late 19th century, when political passions were running high amidst mass-immigration, mass-industrialization and mass-urbanization.  In America, for example, the population more than doubled in the half-century after the Civil War; oftentimes, new immigrants were fired up by the radical and deadly ideologies of socialism, communism, and anarchism.  During that era, three U.S. presidents were assassinated in just 36 years, 1865 to 1901.  And in 1912, a former president, Theodore Roosevelt, was shot in the chest on the campaign trail.

In Europe during that same period, two czars of Russia were assassinated, as well as a president of France, a king of Italy, and a prime minister of Spain.  Also, the empress of Austria was stabbed to death; even Queen Victoria of England, beloved as she was by many, had to survive no fewer than eight assassination attempts during her long reign.

Then, in 1914, another assassination, of the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, triggered World War One, and nearly 20 million people died.

And even before the U.S. was dragged into the fighting in 1917, we were identified by the Kaiser’s Germany as a potential British ally, and so we were targeted for sabotage; on July 30, 1916, German agents blew up an ammunition dump on Black Tom Island in New York Harbor; seven Americans died.

After the Great War ended in 1918, the terror still continued.  That same year, Sen. Lee Slater Overman, Democrat of North Carolina, launched a congressional investigation; its report, released in 1919, congealed opinion on the idea that foreign “isms” were a threat to the homeland.  Meanwhile, in 1920, a huge bomb went off on Wall Street, killing 30.  The result was a fierce governmental crackdown; the so-called “Palmer Raids” were and are controversial, but, together with restrictions on immigration, they worked to tamp down the violence.

Overseas, in 1923, Interpol, the international police organization, was established in 1923 in Europe.  And back here in the following year, 1924, an energetic young man, J. Edgar Hoover, just 29, was appointed head of the federal government’s sleepy Bureau of Investigation–and the modern FBI was born.

And so the first worldwide terror-wave came to an end.  We stopped it with coordinated police work and increased state power.  It was the only way.

The second worldwide terror-wave started in the 1930s, with the rise of fascism.  Fascists assassinated a prime minister of Japan in 1932; similarly, right-wing thugs murdered the chancellor of Austria in 1934.  And Germany, of course, was deeply wracked by wide-scale political violence as Hitler’s Nazis gained and solidified their power.

Confronted, once again, with worldwide threats, the American government once again took action.  In 1938, a Democratic Congress passed, and a Democratic president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, eagerly signed, the Foreign Agent Registration Act, which required those who were living in America and working for a foreign power to register with Uncle Sam and disclose their activities.

Two years later, in 1940, the same Democrats running the same federal government enacted the Alien Registration Act, commonly known as the Smith Act, aimed at further monitoring non-citizen residents.

As President Franklin D. Roosevelt said at the June 29, 1940, signing ceremony, the legislation, although tough-minded, should be seen as friendly, not hostile. The 32nd President explained:

[The new rules] should be interpreted and administered as a program designed not only for the protection of the country but also for the protection of the loyal aliens who are its guests. The registration and identification of approximately three and one-half million aliens who are now within our borders do not carry with them any stigma or implication of hostility towards those who, while they may not be citizens, are loyal to this country and its institutions.

And so we can see: it’s perfectly possible for a Democratic president to be clear-eyed and tough-minded about internal threats.   Although, of course, Franklin Roosevelt was nothing like Barack Obama.  Continuing in his 1940 signing statement, FDR added this gentle-but-firm civics lesson:

I ask that citizens and non-citizens alike cooperate with a full sense of the responsibilities involved so that we may accomplish this task of registration smoothly, quickly and in a friendly manner, our aim being to preserve and build up the loyalty and confidence of those aliens within our borders who desire to be faithful to its principles. With those aliens who are disloyal and are bent on harm to this country, the Government, through its law enforcement agencies, can and will deal vigorously.

It’s worth recalling that in 1940, Uncle Sam felt compelled to act with determination when the number of “aliens”–if such a politically incorrect phrase can still be tolerated–numbered 3.5 million.  Today, the number is at least 20 million, although, of course, nobody knows what the true number actually is.

World War Two, of course, started in 1941.  And during that epic conflict, when confronted with terroristic threats of subversion, the U.S. government didn’t diddle around.  In June 1942, eight Nazi German saboteurs crept on to American shores via U-boat.  Happily, before they could do any damage, they were caught, and within two months, six of them had been executed, and the other two sentenced to long prison terms.

And so the second wave of international terror came to an end.  How?  Simple: we defeated the terrorists.

Yes, that’s how it’s done: You decide you have a problem, you identify the population of potential trouble-makers, you hire a tough executive such as J. Edgar Hoover, you empower that executive with the right laws and the necessary political will–and then the problem goes away.

So the solution is not that hard, although, yes, it is politically incorrect.  And so we have to decide which it is that we want: security or political correctness?  So far, as we know, we have chosen–or, more precisely, the elites have chosen–political correctness.  But this year, that could change.


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