Late Sunday evening, President Barack Obama—in a rare Oval Office address—reiterated a clear plan to defeat the fast-growing and ever-evolving threat of terrorism, as fears multiply of ISIS attacks on the homeland and his public trust dips to a record low.
In a 15-minute speech to the nation, the President used very forceful language to condemn terrorism and the recent attacks in San Bernardino, CA, and Chattanooga, TN. For the first in time in his 7-year presidency, Obama made it very clear to the American people that we as a nation would eliminate and destroy terrorism and ISIS, as we know it today.
“We are confronted by a cancer that has no immediate cure,” said President Obama during the address. The President doesn’t have any good option on how to deal with ISIS and international terrorism. We as a nation cannot afford to engage in another endless ground war, as we did in Afghanistan and Iraq. And even if we did, that wouldn’t stop self-radicalization of individuals via the dark web and social media. Not to mention that engaging in such a ground war could result in greater attempts of self-radicalization by those sympatric to the ISIS cause here at home.
What the President needs is partners in Congress and majority Islamic states. Instead of lining up to condemn the President and his strategy in front of the nearest camera, members of Congress should be working with the President, the Department of Defense and the State Department to decrease the threat of ISIS. What Congress can do right now is fix our broken immigration system, update our Visa waiver process, and pass a new funding bill dedicated to destroying ISIS—a move that will unite our nation in the fight to eliminate international terrorism.
Also, it’s time for majority Islamic states in the Middle East to get in the game. For far too long, our so-called Islamic state allies have been sitting on the sidelines and watching the western world tackle the real systemic impacts of terrorism and Islamic radicalization. We all know that Muslim terrorists don't speak for the one billion Muslims in this world. So attacking and going after Muslims isn't the answer, but now is the time for moderate Muslims to speak.
The president deserves credit for keeping the drumbeat strong for common-sense gun safety laws. There is no magic gun law that will stop terrorists from getting their hands on assault rifles and bullets. But, it is downright feckless and bad policy for us to allow individuals on the terror watch list to acquire and attain AK-47’s or any weapons—for that matter—that can be utilized to engage in acts of terror.
Many have criticized the President for not moving fast enough or being strong enough and to those individuals, I urge caution. We were quick to go to war in the nation of Vietnam in the 60’s, and we were even quicker to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, events that many would argue begot ISIS. Engaging in a ground war—that will put our armed forces in harms way—should be a strategy of last resort.
“The threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it. We will destroy ISIL and any other organization that tries to harm us. Our success won’t depend on tough talk, or abandoning our values, or giving into fear. That’s what groups like ISIL are hoping for,” Obama said during the address, and he is right.
The best way to beat terrorism isn’t to hate our Muslim brothers, sisters, and fellow citizens. We beat international terrorism by continuing to live our lives as Americans. As our Jewish brothers and sisters sit down for Hanukkah this week, and many of us begin to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, let us remember that our nation was founded upon the sacred freedoms of religion, speech, expression, and assembly.
Richard Fowler’s YouTube and radio show can be heard in more than 9.1 million homes. He frequently appears on Fox News, MSNBC, and C-SPAN. Follow him on Twitter @Richardafowler