The presidential candidates all say they have plans to end the threat of terrorism, and ISIS. All we have to do is vote for them in November, and our security is assured.
Not so fast, says former intelligence office John Schindler. If anything, we're steadily losing the war on terror, and no politician of any party has a plan to reverse course:
It’s time for some clarity. Our ability to comprehensively defeat ISIS in the Middle East, unless we’re willing to subdue Iraq and Syria with far greater manpower and brutality then we’ve committed to Iraq and Afghanistan combined since late 2001, is nonexistent. There is therefore no military solution to the jihadist problem, no matter what TV “experts” tell you.
No Western military has strategically defeated a major Islamic insurgency since the early 1930s, over 80 years ago, when Fascist Italy pacified Libya. Mussolini did this by killing vast numbers of Libyan civilians in horrible ways—including with concentration camps and chemical bombs. No Western leader, not even Donald Trump, can get away with this in the 21st century. The sooner we accept this strategic reality, the sooner we can down to work on what we can do to defeat jihadism.
What does work is successful intelligence operations to detect and neutralize terrorists before they kill in our countries. We can inflict losses on ISIS in the Middle East, and we will with airpower particularly, but the mission the West must not fail at is protecting our citizens at home. As long as the Western intelligence alliance, led by NSA, maintains its technological edge over the jihadists, we can win the War on Terror slowly, through gradual attrition.
However, our precious edge in the SpyWar is waning fast. We are no longer winning. We’re about to hear a great deal of unwarranted praise of Ed Snowden thanks to the hagiographic movie about him by Oliver Stone that’s to be released this week. Don’t be fooled. Snowden is no hero. In truth, he and his journalist helpers have aided terrorists in important ways. Snowden and his co-conspirators have blood on their hands—and perhaps much more blood soon thanks to their aid to the genocidal maniacs of ISIS.
There are uncomfortable trade-offs for such a victory -- including handing more tools, resources, and power to our intelligence services.
Which means, inevitably, an erosion of liberty.
What are we willing to sacrifice in order to be safe?