On the evening of May 2, 2011, America had a chance at closure.
We had lost thousands of our fellow Americans nine years earlier on that beautifully sunny September morning, and thousands more of our citizen-soldiers on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq.
But now President Obama gave the word: The master jihadi is dead.
In an audacious operation deep within Pakistan, Osama bin Laden had been located. And killed. Al Qaeda would soon be described by the commander in chief, as “on the ropes,” condemned to ever-increasing irrelevance. But this was not the end. There would be no closure for our nation.
A new, deadlier enemy has since emerged. A foe responsible for the carnage of San Bernardino and Orlando, and scores of attacks around the world. Now we are at war with the Islamic State — a threat group that has already claimed responsibility for one of the recent attacks — and its new caliph, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. Al Qaeda may no longer frighten us, but the Islamic State has dethroned it and is on the march.
We may be in the final stages of a presidential campaign which has polarized opinion on all matters, mundane and significant, but the facts speak for themselves.
According to the National Counterterrorism Center, part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Islamic State currently has “fully operational” affiliates in 18 nations around the world. Two years ago, the number was seven. Some of these branches are far from Iraq and Syria, including Afghanistan, where numerous Taliban commanders have sworn allegiance to Abu Bakr, and Nigeria, where Boko Haram — one of the deadliest jihadi groups active today — has changed its name to the West Africa Province of the Islamic State. According to the analysts of the SITE Intelligence Group, the totalitarian message of jihadism is so popular around the world that since June 2, outside the war zones of Iraq and Syria, there has been a jihadi attack somewhere around the world every 84 hours.
But does this mean that Americans are in greater danger today than on Sept. 10, 2001? Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding yes, and the empirical data is merciless in its incontrovertibility.
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