Belatedly stepping up air strikes to a total of 9,000 has not prevented the would-be caliphate from deepening its roots in nine countries or from staging or inspiring a growing number of lethal attacks at home or abroad.
While French president François Hollande told his traumatized citizens after the Paris attacks that France was “at war” with radical Islam, Obama continues to resist identifying the religious identity and motivations of America’s extremist enemy and seems deeply uncomfortable with his role as its wartime president.
Writing in Politico, Daniel Benjamin and Steve Simon, former national security officials, noted that since 9/11, only 45 Americans have been killed on American soil by jihadist violence.
Of even greater concern for Democrats in the coming elections, 70 percent said that the country was “on the wrong track.” Obama belatedly got the message.
He adopted more bellicose language in place of his earlier dismissive references to the Islamic State as the “JV team,” a threat that had been “contained.” America, Obama said, was intensifying the fight against terrorists who were on the “wrong side of history.” Seeking to calm fears and reverse antagonism toward him and his policies, Obama addressed Americans twice within a week, first from the Oval Office and then from the Pentagon.“You’re next,” he warned ISIS’s leaders in language reminiscent of his predecessor, George W.
Though his message toughened, Obama has doubled down on a four-prong strategy to degrade and defeat ISIS that some critics call inadequate and others warn is doomed to fail.(Before the San Bernardino slaughter, they also called American anxiety about a Paris-style attack here “unwarranted.”) But comparative body counts miss the point.
The fact that more people die slipping in bathtubs than in terror attacks does not allay concern about the nation’s vulnerability.
And terrorism is destabilizing because its goal, in fact, is to terrorize.
Republican presidential candidates, by contrast, have lost little time trying to capitalize on America’s anxiety.The mass shooting in San Bernardino by an Islamic married couple, which killed 14 people, was the deadliest terror strike in the United States since 9/11.It followed the dramatic suicide attacks in Paris, the downing of a Russian plane in Egypt, and an assault on a hotel favored by Westerners in far-flung Bamako, Mali.In mid-December, Los Angeles shut down its 1,087 schools for a day, after receiving a terror threat.Forty percent of those surveyed in a Wall Street Journal / NBC News poll in mid-December said that terrorism and national security should be the government’s top priority; 60 percent cited one or the other in their top two concerns, up from just 39 percent eight months earlier.The writing of women's history has always been closely linked with contemporary feminist politics as well as with changes in the discipline of history itself.