The Corner

Orlando Aftermath: Welcome to Israel’s Reality

In my piece up on the home page, I detail the startling rise in frequency and deadliness of jihadist attacks since the rise of ISIS in 2014. Between 9/11 and the spring of 2014 (when ISIS burst on the international scene), only 21 Americans died here in the United States in Islamic terror attacks. Since ISIS declared its caliphate, more than 70 Americans have died in a string of attacks from coast to coast. 

We’re slowly moving into Israel’s security reality — the dilemma where external power projection leads to domestic discord and international condemnation, while a purely defensive strategy allows terrorists to recruit, re-arm, and inspire a new wave of jihadists. Israel’s answer is a permanent defensive struggle punctuated by periodic bursts of offensive activity – all of which help keep life in Israel livable and peaceful for the vast majority of its citizens, but at great cost. 

Americans hate the notion that there are no good answers to jihad. Something has to work, and if that something helps demonize our political opponents, then all the better. But reality is a harsh teacher, and reality is showing us what a permanent struggle looks like. This is nothing new — western powers have been fighting jihad for more than 1,300 years — but for the American trained in cultural relativism and silly university ideals of diversity, reality can be so shocking that it’s simply easier and more satisfying to deny its existence.

But here’s the bottom line — in the absence of an effective offense, our defensive challenge will grow more difficult. But because there is no way to eradicate jihadist theology from Islam, defense will always be necessary. Welcome to the permanent war. Israel’s been here for a while. 

David French — 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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