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Time to get serious

TOM BURGUM
Staff Columnist
burgum@lbknews.com

Last Friday night Paris was under curfew for the first time since the German occupation in 1944. Three bands of Islamic terrorists struck different targets with the sole purpose of creating random death and injury to the citizens of Paris. In this they were successful. As of Sunday, the death toll stood at 129 with 352 injured, 99 victims were in critical condition.

World leaders hastened to respond with expressions of outrage and sorrow. President Obama weighed in with, “Once again we’ve seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians.” True enough. He continued, “This is an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share.”

The president’s message, as thoughtful and appropriate as it was, missed the mark when he talked about those universal values that all mankind allegedly shares. It certainly was an attack on the West as it seems that some Muslims will never forgive the West for creating the modern world and for promoting those values which the president erroneously believes are now shared by all mankind.

The values held by Western countries are honored by a relatively small group of humankind. As Mark Steyn wrote: “These are not ‘universal values’ but values that spring from a relatively narrow segment of humanity. They were kinda sorta ‘universal’ when the great powers were willing to enforce them around the world and the colonial subjects of ramshackle backwaters such as Aden, Sudan and the North-West frontier  province were at least obligated to pay lip service to them. But the European empires retreated from the world, and those ‘universal values’ are utterly alien to large portions of the map today.”

The West has to face a disturbing truth about the last several decades. The West, including most prominently the United States, has spent the last 25 years defending Islam, pretending that it is a religion of peace while ignoring that it is a very complex religion with competing interpretations.

ISIS, or Daesh, doesn’t share Mr. Obama’s version of universal values and their activities might give a clue to the values to which these Muslim adherents subscribe.  In Nigeria, Boko Haram still kidnaps young girls for the sex-slavery trade; Daesh and the Taliban in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq continue to throw acid in the faces of school girls while teachers continue to be beheaded in front of the class they sought to teach; being gay in any radical Muslim country is punishable by death; and, thousands of Christians in the Mideast face ritual beheading.

It is very evident the Paris attackers didn’t view Islam as a religion of peace as they turned their weapons on innocent civilians. The attackers were Muslim adherents who had a bonding hatred of the West. As a warning note for the future, remember that Iran is a Muslim theocracy and shares this hatred of the United States. The Paris attackers were content to kill in the hundreds. The Iranians are driving toward nuclear weapons. So, sit down and imagine for a moment people like the Paris attackers but with nuclear weapons instead of AK47s. That is a reality that sits just around the corner.

It is time for the West and America to take the Islamic threat with the seriousness it deserves. On the very morning of the Paris attack President Obama told George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America that ISIS had been contained and that they’re not gaining strength. It was nothing more than a political statement designed to give the imprint of competence to the Obama administration. Foreign events, unlike administration-generated Obamacare statistics, have a truth all their own. Just a few hours later, an ISIS group, definitely not feeling contained, launched three devastating attacks.

The struggle against Islamic terrorists is a war. It is not conventional war but is a war nevertheless. Obama treats the Paris attacks as he has attacks in this country and views it as a law and order issue, not elements from the Muslim world waging asymmetric warfare against us. In his statement of condolence to the French, he said, “We’re going to do whatever it takes to work with the French people and with nations around the world to bring these terrorists to justice.”

Even this very limited goal might be a reach. Obama said the very same thing about bringing the perpetrators to justice after the Benghazi attack and to date the attackers, with one exception, remain free and justice waits empty handed. One Paris resident, Marie-Caroline de Richemont, was quoted in the Sunday New York Times, “‘We are not at war here. We need to stay confident and hopeful.”

But, Ms de Richemont, your country is at war with the jihadists. Pretending you aren’t won’t keep you or Paris safe − not for a moment. The response of the West has to be more than the ubiquitous candle light vigils, flower memorials at the various massacre sites, the Metropolitan Opera chorus singing La Marseillaise, or noble but misguided worry about Islamophobia.

It is understandable that most of us would want to offer a message of hope and condolence to the victims and survivors of the attacks, but the only memorial that will really count in the long run is the defeat of radical Islamic terrorism.

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