The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take: ISIS Must Be ‘Driven Out of Their Headquarters’


Charles Krauthammer argues that the United States should learn from its history of dealing with al-Qaeda and root ISIS out of its headquarters:

It’s remarkable to me that we seem to completely ignore the one historical example from history that shows us what works. Al Qaeda had four major attacks against U.S. interests: the attack on the embassies, the failed first attack on the World Trade Center, the attack on the Cole, and then 9/11. And it thrived, the crescendo from 9/11, after which we decided to go after them. They were then driven out of their sanctuary, physically.

We have not had a major attack on that scale from Al Qaeda since. In the end you can do everything you want. You can have the most wonderful social media experts to counter the message of ISIL. You can do anything you want. In the end, what gets recruits, what inspires: a winner, a strong horse, somebody who is succeeding, who holds out the idea we have a caliphate, and we are now going to expand into the world.

If they are in retreat, if they are driven out of their headquarters in Raqqa, that’s the beginning of the end of that movement. In the end, you can harden all the soft targets you want in America, turn us into an armed camp, you can keep all of the Muslim immigrants you want away from our shores, it will make no difference. In the end, the only thing that will work, as it worked to a large extent with Al Qaeda, is you have to go after where they live and drive them out.

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