It seems like every week brings news of another low-level terrorist attack. An ISIS terrorist drives a truck into a crowded Christmas bazaar in Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring 48 others. Another terrorist walks into an Istanbul night club on New Year’s Eve and opens fire, killing 39 people and injuring 69 more. CNN reports that since they declared their caliphate in June 2014, ISIS has conducted or inspired at least 143 terrorist attacks in 29 countries other than Iraq and Syria, that have have killed at least 2,043 people and injured thousands more.
President Obama sees this as progress. Don’t take my word for it. He has said as much.
In a December speech at MacDill Air Force Base, Obama boasted that “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.”
Translation: Forget Berlin, Paris, Brussels, Nice, Istanbul, Orlando, San Bernadino, Fort Hood and the scores of other attacks, and focus on the fact the terrorists have not been able to “successfully” pull off another 9/11-style attack.
Of course this ignores the fact that in 2009, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab successfully penetrated our defenses, got a bomb onto plane in his underwear, and nearly blew up that plane over Detroit on Christmas Day. It was a failed terrorist attack, not a foiledterrorist attack. The bomb malfunctioned. Hardly a counterterrorism success.
Marc Thiessen is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) where he studies and writes about American presidential leadership and counterterrorism. He also writes about general US foreign and defense policy issues and contributes to the AEIdeas blog. A member of the White House senior staff under President George W. Bush, Thiessen served as chief speechwriter to the president and to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Before joining the Bush administration, Thiessen spent more than six years as spokesman and senior policy adviser to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC). A weekly columnist for The Washington Post, Thiessen is also a contributor to Fox News, appearing several nights a week on “The Kelly File.” His book on the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation program, “Courting Disaster” (Regnery Press, 2010), is a New York Times bestseller. Thiessen is also the coauthor, with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, of “Unintimidated” (Sentinel, 2013). Thiessen has done postgraduate studies at the Naval War College and has a B.A. from Vassar College