The Corner

National Security & Defense

Obama’s Precisely-Worded Boasts about Stopping Terrorists

President Obama, yesterday, contending his administration has been quite successful in fighting terrorism and protecting Americans.

We should take great pride in the progress that we’ve made over the last eight years.  That’s the bottom line.  

No foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland.  (Applause.)  And it’s not because they didn’t try.  Plots have been disrupted.  

Foreign terrorist organizations haven’t executed an attack on our homeland, but far too many terrorists have. I’m not sure Obama’s words will be so reassuring to the students at Ohio State University who were attacked late last month, the 29 people injured in the Chelsea bombing in September, the ten people stabbed in a shopping mall in Minnesota in September, the 50 killed and 53 injured in the attack on the Orlando nightclub, the 16 killed and 23 injured in San Bernardino, California, the 6 killed and 2 injured on the attacks on servicemen in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the 3 killed and 264 injured at the Boston Marathon, the 13 killed and 44 injured at Fort Hood, Texas…

Kudos and applause to everyone involved in disrupting attempted terrorist attacks and investigating, targeting, and taking out the perpetrators, whether it’s through arrests, raids, or drone strikes. But stopping terrorist organizations is only part of the fight. Once a bomb goes off, it doesn’t matter that much if the perpetrator was one person or a group.

Efforts to fight ISIS the organization mean a lot less when ISIS-inspired lone wolves kill innocent Americans with any regularity. No counterterrorism policy is going to be perfect; as many have said since 9/11, the good guys have to prevent an attack every day to have a great success; the bad guys just have to succeed once to have a great success.