When the first news reports came rolling in about the terrorist bombing that killed at least 41 people and injured at least 147 others in Istanbul, Secretary of State John Kerry said that these bloody attacks were becoming “daily fare.” Kerry has said a lot of head-scratching things about terrorism, but he wasn’t wrong this time. The world can scarcely process one terrible tragedy before the next one blows it off the front page.
The attack struck Ataturk Airport, the home of Turkish airlines and one of the largest transportation hubs in the world. And though no terrorist organization had claimed responsibility as of Wednesday, officials in Turkey and the United States said the attack had all the hallmarks of the Islamic State.
In a statement, Hillary Clinton said, “Terrorists have struck again in the heart of one of our NATO allies, and all Americans stand united with the people of Turkey against this campaign of hatred and violence.”
Unfortunately, standing united isn’t getting the job done.
Empty rhetoric from our leaders (and prospective leaders) about love and values and unity won’t defeat Islamic terrorism. It feels as though we’re being asked to simply accept these murderous events as the new normal. We are being told to hold hands, put on a brave face, and wait while NATO forces confront (as Kerry put it) “non-state violent actors.”
The U.S. and its allies have made significant headway against ISIS militarily, but the group’s so-called “caliphate” is only half the problem. The terrorist army may be losing ground in Iraq and Syria, but they are escalating their attacks on civilian populations. Their reach is expanding globally. Their troops are spreading throughout the Middle East, but their message is spreading throughout middle America.
“The terrorist threat has never been greater,” said Donald Trump in a statement. “We must take steps now to protect America from terrorists, and do everything in our power to improve our security to keep America safe.”
Trump may or may not have the key to stopping Islamic terrorism, but he is at least willing to do what Obama and Clinton are not: Something.