Remember ISIS? I do. I spent a large chunk of my career studying the jihadist threat to America and the Judeo-Christian world and then sharing what I found with our warfighters, FBI agents, and members of the intelligence community.
But what happened to the threat that so defined our lives after that sunny Tuesday morning 19 years ago today? Donald Trump happened, that’s what.
For years we were in a “Global War on Terror,” more accurately, an irregular war against an enemy with global aspirations and with the objective of recreating the fundamentalist caliphate of Islam that had lasted for more than a millennium.
First it was al-Qaeda and the attacks against the USS Cole, our embassies in Africa, and the first World Trade Center attack. Then, in a stroke of evil genius, Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden took a means of mass transit—the jetliner—and turned four of them into weapons of mass destruction with just 19 dedicated jihadists armed only with box cutters and mace. This resulted in the deadliest terror attack of the modern age, with almost 3,000 innocent men, women, and children murdered in the space of 102 minutes.
But fascinatingly, al-Qaeda never achieved its real goal of a global fundamentalist revolution inside the Muslim world and the reestablishment of the caliphate which had been dissolved after World War I by Turkish leader Kemal Mustafa Atatürk. For that, they had to wait until Barack Hussein Obama became president of the United States.
First came his infamous Apology Tour, which saw Obama travel the globe groveling in obeisance because he saw America as the root of all that is wrong, from climate change to terrorism, a message that emboldened our enemies. His administration even went to the trouble of inviting the Muslim Brotherhood’s leaders to sit in the front row of his Cairo speech, the same Muslim Brotherhood that was the ideological grandfather for al-Qaeda and which shared their goal of the Caliphate reborn.
Then there was Obama’s disastrous decision to pull U.S. forces out of Iraq, while at the same time helping to undermine Gaddafi’s regime in Libya, decisions that together helped create the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham, or ISIS. (Al-Sham being the prophesied site of the last jihad with the infidel West).
And thanks to the fecklessness of Obama, a small al-Qaeda offshoot renamed itself, recruited tens of thousands of fighters, and established a caliphate that would stretch across multiple countries and enslave millions. This from a group he dubbed a “JV team.” At the same time, international terrorism spread its wings—with suicide attacks in London, Paris, Germany, and the United States—as ISIS propagated its message with videoed beheadings on the internet.
But then, in 2016, Americans chose a nonpolitician to be president.
When we came into the White House on January 21, 2017 we had many objectives but one of the most important was to prove to the world that Obama was wrong and that ISIS was not a “generational” threat with which we just had to learn to suffer. As a result, we unleashed the military, removed the outrageous restrictions put upon them by Obama so that they could actually do their jobs, and we set a concrete goal: destroy the physical caliphate of ISIS.
And they did, in less than six months.
That’s what Americans can do when they have a true leader, a leader who loves America and believes in the men and women who wear the cloth of the republic. That man is President Trump.
Don’t get me wrong, we haven’t killed every jihadi in the world. Just most of the ones that matter. Yet on this day when we remember and pay our respects to those we lost 19 years ago and those who took the fight to the jihadists, just remember, too, that the headlines and the videos of beheadings and the slaughter of innocents were everywhere just a scant four years ago. And the jihadists can rise again. That is just one more reason why Donald Trump deserves another term.
Otherwise, Joe Biden, the man who didn’t want to kill bin Laden, will be the commander-in-chief.