The Corner

National Security & Defense

Orlando Aftermath: To Fight the Enemy, Focus on the Enemy

Twitter is on fire right now with some of the worst vitriol I’ve ever read, and incredibly most of it is not directed at the terrorist who killed Americans or the terrorist army that claims credit. Instead, my feed is filled with people on the Left utterly furious at the NRA, and a few who are actually tweeting against Christians for wanting to protect their own religious liberty. They’re acting as if a Christian baker opened fire in Orlando. 

Here’s the bottom line — if you’re sitting here this afternoon more angry at your domestic political opponents than you are at the man who killed 50 people or the movement he reportedly pledged allegiance to, then you need to take serious stock of your moral priorities. To fight the enemy, we have to focus on the enemy.

When you focus on the enemy, you learn his dedication and motivation — including the reality that of all potential criminals, gun control is least likely to deter his violent acts. Never forget that the worst attack in American history was carried out with box-cutters and airplanes.

When you focus on the enemy, you learn of his beliefs and theology — including the sad reality that his theology is deeply embedded within historical Islam, and no single generation of men has ever discovered how to cleanse violent jihad from the faith. 

When you focus on the enemy, you learn his strategies and tactics — including how ISIS has carefully cultivated its “lone wolf” propaganda war so that it could enhance its striking power without actually having to plan and execute attacks from a central core.

When you focus on the enemy, you learn that he’s targeting immigrant communities, and their children — sadly, significant numbers of even second and third-generation citizens of western countries are drawn to jihad. 

When you focus on the enemy, you learn that he’s vulnerable — his bravado and propaganda are based on success against weak opponents, and recent history teaches us that when he stares defeat in the face, he loses his ability to recruit.

When you focus on the enemy, you learn that our strategy has to be both offensive and defensive — that we have to take the fight directly to him at the same time that we refuse to open our borders to mass migration from jihadist conflict zones. Compassion means establishing safe zones near refugees’ homes, not rendering our own nation vulnerable to more jihad.

At the risk of stating the obvious, your political opponent isn’t the enemy. The enemy is the enemy. Look at him — with open eyes — and your domestic political grievances will pale by comparison. Your pet policy proposals will feel hollow and weak. You will see the hate, and you will know that there is but one response — war.

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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