Signals intelligence is the West’s shield against jihadism—and it’s getting dangerously weak
Last weekend we commemorated the 15th anniversary of the Sept 11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon that killed nearly 3,000 Americans and began our generational War on Terrorism. Amid the sad recollections and promises to win this war—the longest in American history—there’s a widespread sense that the struggle isn’t going well.
There’s good reason for that feeling. President Obama’s diffident, pseudo-war against the Islamic State is stalled, with top generals in retirement now admitting that this White House’s efforts against jihadism in its homeland are strategically deluded and militarily hopeless.
Hillary Clinton has promised more of the same failed policies, which show no sign of defeating the Islamic State, the evil ISIS, in anything faster than geologic time. For his part, Donald Trump’s aggressive talk of “crushing” the Islamic State with quick and decisive victories can be safely dismissed as just that—talk. In reality, there is no military option available short of large-scale use of nuclear weapons, which would kill tens of millions of innocents, to annihilate ISIS in the Middle East.
Even then, inflicting nuclear Armageddon on Iraq and Syria—which is something no American president seeking to avoid war crimes and genocide charges can do—would achieve little in terms of mitigating the threat of jihadism inside the West today. A high percentage of the terror plots that are uncovered across the Western world, from Europe to North America to Australia, involve homegrown jihadists, native-born citizens and residents of Western countries. Even if ISIS disappeared from the Middle East tomorrow, the West would still be facing jihadist plots at home for years to come.
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