- - Thursday, January 7, 2016


One year ago today, two radical Islamic terrorists walked into the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper in Paris, and opened fire, killing 11 journalists and wounding 11 more. Upon leaving the building they also killed a French police officer, bringing the total number of dead and wounded to 23. The terrorists espoused a murderous ideology that recoils at the thought, as I wrote at the time, of “the very notion of a free society where individuals have the right to worship, vote, and express themselves as they please.” They are not interested in negotiation — only in the complete and utter surrender of Western society to their brutal, totalitarian version of Islam.

The intervening year has seen radical Islamic terror on the march in so many places across the globe that it’s easy to forget the growing wave of attacks we had already encountered by the middle of January 2015: an attack at the Canadian parliament, ISIS beheadings in the sands of Syria, attacks on rabbis in a Jerusalem synagogue, hostages taken in a Sydney coffee shop, an axe-wielding terrorist going after New York City policemen.

Yet nearly two years after President Obama first called ISIS a “jayvee” team, free men and women remain under attack. On the one-year anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Paris authorities have opened a terror investigation today after they shot and killed a knife-wielding man outside a Paris police station.

ISIS and its sympathizers have advanced. They have attacked civilians at bus stops in Jerusalem, taken and murdered hostages at a Jewish grocery store in Paris’ Porte de Vincennes area, massacred guests at a hotel in Mali, and in November, again terrorized the streets of Paris, killing 130 people in attacks on restaurants, a stadium and a nightclub that can be described as nothing less than a naked act of war.

Only the day before the November Paris attacks, President Obama assured us ISIS was “contained.” Yet sadly and shockingly last month, two ISIS sympathizers, a U.S. citizen and his Pakistani wife, brought their murderous ideology to our own shores and attacked fellow employees at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California. They killed 14 people and wounded 22 in the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil since the Fort Hood terror attacks of 2009.

What did President Obama do in response? In his customary knee-jerk fashion, the President went on television before all the facts were known and quickly called for more gun control. The solution to radical Islamic terrorism is not to take away our guns. The solution is to use our guns to defend ourselves. But this truth is lost on an administration that refuses to even utter the words “radical Islamic terrorism.”

Perhaps the most poignant evidence of the administration’s blindness to the threat we face came from Secretary of State John Kerry. Shortly after the November Paris attacks, Secretary Kerry posited that there was a “rationale” for targeting Charlie Hebdo’s journalists whereas the November attacks on the Paris nightclub and streets perhaps lacked such a rationale. He attempted to draw a moral distinction between the two, which prompts the question: Is Kerry’s theory the reason that no one from the Obama White House marched in an unprecedented show of global unity with more than 40 other world leaders shortly after the Charlie Hebdo attacks? Obama and Kerry should answer: were they absent because they believe the Charlie Hebdo terror was justified? That radical Islamic terrorists have a legitimate grievance that it is our responsibility to address? President Obama claimed the terrorists are attacking us because they don’t have access to good jobs and health care. But when innumerable terrorist attacks are preceded by shouts of “Allahu Akbar,” I can assure you, the solution is not expanded Medicaid in Iraq.

We need clear American leadership to combat radical Islam. We need leaders who will identify the enemy we face, so that we know exactly who and what we are fighting. No more Orwellian doublespeak like “countering violent extremism.” No more euphemisms like “workplace violence.” The United States, and indeed the free world, is at war with radical Islamic terror. The sooner the Obama White House acknowledges that fact, the closer we will be to having a strategy to defeat it.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is a candidate for the Republican nomination for president.

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