Pray­ing for peace in an age of ter­ror

A Christ­mas mar­ket in­vites the per­verted wrath of ISIS

The Washington Times Daily - - OPINION - By Don­ald Lam­bro Don­ald Lam­bro is a syn­di­cated colum­nist and con­trib­u­tor to The Wash­ing­ton Times.

In this sea­son of joy when we pray for peace on earth and good will to­ward men, there seems to be pre­cious lit­tle of ei­ther nowa­days. The Mid­dle East re­mains a bloody caul­dron of death and de­struc­tion, trig­ger­ing the worst refugee cri­sis since World War II.

Syr­ian dic­ta­tor Bashar al As­sad, with the help of Russian thug Vladimir Putin, has bar­rel bombed, killed and maimed in­no­cent men, women and chil­dren, to keep him­self power — in a war with no vis­i­ble end in sight.

And Don­ald Trump con­tin­ues to be­lieve that Mr. Putin, the Krem­lin’s for­mer KGB agent who has in­vaded neigh­bor­ing, peace-lov­ing Ukraine, is a great and strong leader worthy of our re­spect.

The Age of Ter­ror by Is­lamic ex­trem­ists shows no signs of abat­ing as its war against the “in­fi­dels” spreads be­yond its own re­gion into the heart of West­ern Europe and our own home­land.

The mur­der­ous Is­lamic State, known as ISIS, took full credit for the ac­tions of its “soldier,” the man who drove a truck with a heavy pay­load of steel into a fes­tive crowd of Christ­mas rev­el­ers in Ber­lin this week, killing a dozen peo­ple, and wound­ing dozens more.

It was but the lat­est of many attacks by ISIS soldiers across the heart of Europe that sends their grim mes­sage of much more hu­man slaugh­ter to come.

In­deed, “the at­tack had achieved one of the Is­lamic State’s stated ob­jec­tives: spread­ing fear and chaos in a West­ern coun­try in hopes of sharp­en­ing the di­vide be­tween Mus­lims and every­one else,” the Wash­ing­ton Post re­ported .

“Ter­ror­ism ex­perts likened the claim to a dec­la­ra­tion of all-out war against a coun­try that un­til now had seen lit­tle of the ter­ror­ist vi­o­lence that has rocked its Fran­co­phone neigh­bors. Ger­many, with its large Mus­lim com­mu­nity and re­cent his­tory of po­lit­i­cal dis­cord over Mus­lim immigration, has long been viewed by the mil­i­tant group as an im­por­tant strate­gic tar­get…” the news­pa­per said.

In­deed, ISIS’ pro­pa­ganda ma­chine has said as much. The ter­ror­ist army has been urg­ing its broth­ers in death to re­peat the ter­ror­ist at­tack that took place in Nice, France last July 14, a sim­i­lar truck at­tack that struck down scores of peo­ple, killing 86.

A post­ing on an ISIS me­dia out­let had a Mus­lim fighter urg­ing fol­low­ers to “take my truck and go forth, to­wards my en­e­mies upon whom I will in­flict a true pun­ish­ment, un­til they are af­flicted with grief.”

An­other chill­ing ISIS mes­sage ap­pear­ing in the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s English-lan­guage mag­a­zine last year warned “Mus­lims in the West… will quickly find them­selves be­tween one of two choices: they ei­ther apo­s­ta­tize and adopt the [West­ern] re­li­gion… or they em­i­grate to the Is­lamic State and thereby es­cape per­se­cu­tion.”

This is the kind of psy­chotic war­fare that is now at work on a truly global scale that has spread its deadly in­fec­tion through­out the Mid­dle East, North Africa, Asia. And more re­cently, its in­creas­ing attacks in Europe, and — let’s not kid our­selves — the United States, too.

The ISIS-in­spired gun­man who slaugh­tered 49 peo­ple, and wounded 53 oth­ers, at a gay night­club in Or­lando in June, is the most re­cent re­minder of the ter­ror­ists in our midst.

In­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials say they are con­stantly prob­ing and plot­ting to in­flict new attacks here, demon­strat­ing the need for cease­less vig­i­lance.

Attacks in Lon­don, Paris, Nice, Ber­lin and else­where in Europe, and here at home in New York City, San Diego, Bos­ton and Or­lando, is likely only the be­gin­ning of a long ter­ror­ist war against the civ­i­lized world.

Pres­i­dent-elect Trump has vowed to strengthen, tighten and fine-tune our im­mi­grant and visi­tor vet­ting pro­ce­dures, and no doubt some of that will be done.

But even tougher se­cu­rity mea­sures are called for in the wake of the lat­est attacks abroad and at home, in­clud­ing a sig­nif­i­cant ex­pan­sion of our anti-ter­ror­ist in­tel­li­gence force, and beef­ing up its budget in the process.

Surely that should be one of the top pri­or­i­ties Congress must ad­dress when it re­opens for business next month.

We are in store for a long, gen­er­a­tional war against a shad­owy and of­ten un­seen en­emy that can strike at any time when and where Amer­i­cans gather in pub­lic places.

It takes only a heavy truck, with one in­sane man at the wheel on a crowded city street, or a few pres­sure cook­ers loaded with ex­plo­sives and shrap­nel left on a side­walk, to in­flict a lot of ca­su­al­ties.

Trag­i­cally, this is the evil pres­ence lurk­ing in our midst in this Christ­mas sea­son of hope for peace and good will to­ward men.

THE WASH­ING­TON TIMES

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