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Poll Finds American Fearful Of Terrorism, Distrustful Of Obama And Syrian Refugees

Terrorism Word Cloud

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows us that Americans fears of terrorism have ramped up significantly since the terrorist attacks in Paris, and confirms earlier polling that the public is opposed to letting Syrian refugees into the country:

Fears among Americans about terrorist attacks on U.S. soil have risen sharply a week after a major assault in Paris killed 130, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, which finds a majority believing that the country is at war with “radical Islam.”

Fully 83 percent of registered voters say they believe a terrorist attack in the United States resulting in large casualties is likely in the near future, rising from 73 percent in a Quinnipiac University poll earlier this month asking the same question. Forty percent say a major attack in the United States is “very likely,” up eight percentage points since last week’s attacks to match the record level of concern recorded after the 2005 subway bombings in Britain.

The Post-ABC poll finds that a majority of Americans want the United States to join a military response to the Paris attacks, including increasing airstrikes and sending ground troops to fight the Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for last week’s mayhem.

But the poll also finds evidence of the public hesitation about a major military commitment, with more saying the United States should play a supporting role, and only one-third of all respondents supporting deployment of large numbers of ground forces.

The findings underscore the heightened anxiety many Americans feel after the Paris attacks, as well as a broader dissatisfaction with President Obama’s approach to terrorism. They come as the House voted Thursday by a large majority — 289 to 137 — to restrict Syrian and Iraqi refugees from entering the United States, despite a White House veto threat, and as several Republican presidential candidates are urging stricter controls on admitting refugees and a deeper military involvement overseas. The poll finds that over half of adults oppose accepting refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries, even if they are screened for security.

Rather than rally around the commander in chief, the public’s ratings of Obama on dealing with terrorism have fallen to a record-low 40 percent, with a smaller 35 percent approving of his handling of the Islamic State. Obama’s ratings on terrorism have fallen seven points since January, driven largely by a 20-point drop among political independents and an 11-point drop among moderates.

(…)

The Paris attacks also appear to have bolstered public support for circumventing civil liberties to pursue potential terrorists. A 72 percent majority say the federal government should investigate possible terrorist threats even if they intrude on personal privacy, rising nine percentage points since January to the highest level since 2010.

Still, some surveyed said that Obama was right to defend his refugee policy and that Americans need to be wary of overreacting to the prospect of a strike on U.S. soil.

Tracey Lessard, a 45-year-old from Haddonfield, N.J., who works at a start-up and lived in New York City at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, said that while “there’s a potential to have one” at any time, singling out immigrants from the region “is giving ISIS what they want; it’s going to polarize Muslims versus us.

I want some of these people to be reminded where their families came from,” she said of those calling for tighter immigration rules.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents say the United States is “at war with radical Islam,” while 37 percent say it is not. Republicans have embraced the term and criticized Obama and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton for not using it. Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president, says “radical Islam” wrongly conflates Islamist jihadists with the teachings of Islam and Muslims more broadly, but fellow partisans do not appear to have such reservations. Fifty-two percent of Democrats say the nation is at war with radical Islam.

(…)

Concerns about government competence are also clear on the issue of refugees fleeing Syria. Americans lack confidence that the federal government could screen these applicants properly.

Fifty-four percent say the United States should not take refugees from Syria and other parts of the Middle East, even if they are screened for security. Only 13 percent of Americans are “very confident” that the United States could identify and keep out possible terrorists who could be intermixed. Thirty-four percent are “somewhat confident,” while 52 percent have less confidence or none at all.

These numbers are largely reflected in a new CBS News poll on the subject:

Just over a week after the terrorist attacks in Paris, only 23 percent of Americans think President Barack Obama has a clear plan for dealing with the militant group ISIS, the lowest number yet recorded in the CBS News Poll. Sixty-six percent do not think he has a clear plan – a new high.

Large majorities of Republicans and independents say the President doesn’t have a clear plan, and almost half of Democrats (40 percent) agree. More Democrats (45 percent) say he doesn’t have a plan than say he does.

In considering military options, 50 percent of Americans now favor sending in U.S. ground troops to fight ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria, up four points from August. Support for sending ground troops rose to 57 percent in February in the immediate aftermath of the death of aid worker Kayla Mueller, but then dropped below 50 percent until now.

Two-thirds of Republicans favor using U.S. ground troops to fight ISIS, while about half of Democrats oppose that. Still, support for using ground troops has inched up among Americans across the political spectrum.

Most Americans (63 percent) think ground troops will be necessary to remove the threat from ISIS militants; just one in five thinks the threat from ISIS can be removed using airstrikes alone. Majorities of Republicans (73 percent), Democrats (59 percent), and independents (60 percent) think ground troops will be necessary. Views have changed little over the past year.

As large numbers of Syrians flee the violence in their country, Americans are split on whether the U.S. should allow Syrian refugees into the country. 47 percent say they should be allowed to enter as long as they go through a screening process, but slightly more -50 percent- say they should not be allowed to come to the U.S. at this time.

There is a stark partisan divide on this: 68 percent of Republicans say Syrian refugees should not be allowed into the country at this time, while 63 percent of Democrats think they should be allowed.

Since the evening of November 13th, the American public has been subjected to virtually non-stop coverage of the events in Paris on all three American cable news networks as well as the broadcast news and Internet news coverage. There have also been reports about ISIS threats against New York City and Washington, D.C. In the middle of the week, a soccer match in Germany became international news when it was canceled due to threats of an attack. On Friday, an international hotel in Mali, a nation I think it’s fair to say most Americans are barely aware of, was the subject of a terror attack by a group linked to al Qaeda. Yesterday, large parts of Brussels were shut down due to what were claimed to be specific threats of terrorism and there were reports about alleged planned attacks at sports venues in the United States today. Given all of that, it’s not surprising that the American public’s anxiety about terrorism and just how imminent a threat it might actually be is at levels we haven’t seen in quite some time.

Much the same could be said for the fact that yet another poll is showing us that the public remains largely opposed to the Administration’s policy regarding Syrian war refugees. Even before the events in Paris, polling was showing that a majority opposed the plan that was announced in September to increase the number of refugees that would ultimately be accepted into the country. After Paris and the reports that at least one of the people involved in the attack may have gotten into the country with the flood of refugees arriving from Syria, it was inevitable that the debate over the issue would change significantly. At the same time that politicians were lining up to call for a halt to the program, temporary or otherwise, and Congress was voting to impose new limits on the program, initial polling confirmed the idea that public anxiety would increase opposition to refugee admission. These polls confirm that, and one suspects that any other polling we see on this issue in the near future will do so as well.

As we’ve learned since the September 11th attacks, though, logic and public opinion seldom go hand in hand. Much like September 11th itself and many of the subsequent attacks that we’ve seen in intervening years, such as the attacks in London and Madrid, the aborted attack in Times Square in 2010, and the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, the attacks in Paris and the events that have followed have quite obviously increased public anxiety about terrorism. The fact that this same poll finds that the public also seems to lack confidence in the Obama Administration’s response to the perceived threat posed by ISIS, and doubts about President Obama’s leadership abilities in that area, just increases public anxiety. As time passes, these anxieties will likely diminish unless there are additional attacks and additional threats, in which case this is likely to be an ongoing political issue.

The big question, of course, is what poll numbers and public anxiety like this means for the race for President going forward. To be honest, it’s hard to tell because it’s impossible to know how long terrorism issues are going to be in the forefront of public opinion. This is something that could last for months, or it could be something that starts to fade from public memory if there are no more incidents as we head into the holiday season. Or, we could be looking at a turning point in the 2016 election cycle that brings national security into more direct focus than it has been to date. On the Democratic side, that would seem to inure to the clear benefit Hillary Clinton, who is obviously at an advantage on foreign policy issues over Bernie Sanders in a race that is effectively over in any case. What impact that will have on the Republican race is anyone’s guess, although so far it doesn’t seem to be having any impact on Donald Trump’s dominance in the race notwithstanding the fact that he quite obviously has the understanding of the nuances of these issues usually found in a sports bar during the fourth quarter of a football game. Suffice it so say, though, that the American public is scared, and if they stay that way 2016 could be an interesting year.

Note: This post was updated to include information regarding the newly released CBS News poll. 

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    Apparently relentless fear-mongering works.
    Iraq War here we come again.
    It worked out so well the first time.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 3

  2. Modulo Myself says:

    Suffice it so say, though, that the American public is scared, and if they stay that way 2016 could be an interesting year.

    It’s going to be horrible. Either we get the party of the white aging middle-management mob happily terrified of college students and refugees and cheering on both six-against-one fights against black protesters and indiscriminate violence abroad that will only make things worse, or we get Hillary Clinton.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  3. C. Clavin says:

    Of course more than half the country believes in ghosts, as well.
    Say good bye to $2.00 gas again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  4. C. Clavin says:
  5. bookdragon says:

    At this point, I think I’ll just second what Scalzi says here:

    http://whatever.scalzi.com/2015/11/20/frightened-ignorant-and-cowardly-is-no-way-to-go-through-life-son/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  6. Pch101 says:

    “Home of the brave” is starting to look like some kind of punchline.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  7. appleannie says:

    I’m just… disgusted. In the places I usually hang out, it’s mostly the same people who freaked out over Ebola and who insist that it is not safe to go anywhere unless armed who also now freak out because they want promises that can’t be kept. No way should anyone who promises to prevent all terrorist attacks be believed but to point that out is to be accused of siding with the terrorists in some quarters. There’s not much reasoning going on. A few days ago, I was accused of being a “bed wetter” because I “don’t have the common sense to be afraid”. What does that even mean?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0

  8. Mr. Prosser says:

    A little balance thanks to Kevin Drum at MoJo: http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/11/hillary-clinton-strongly-trusted-national-security. Please note the position of Trump, Cruz and Carson.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  9. michael reynolds says:

    Imagine my complete and total lack of surprise. Every beat of this story so far was predictable while the terrorists were still murdering Frenchmen.

    The only thing that surprised me was the speed with which Mr. Obama dug a hole for himself and his party. It was obvious that while our containment approach in the ME was and is working in the ME, if ISIS was going international, the game would have to change to counter the enemy’s move.

    Even Democrats oppose the president on Syrian refugees, and we are edging closer to yet another ground war. We are also apparently enthusiastic about setting aside privacy and human rights concerns. And despite the happy talk, anti-Muslim feeling is growing in the US and Europe.

    This was the obvious and inevitable reaction. The fact that the Left didn’t know this would be the result, is evidence that they are as out of touch with reality as any bunch of Tea Partiers.

    There are three options on the table:

    1) Accept Paris as the new normal.
    2) Turn the West into police states.
    3) Raise the price of terror to such a level that regional governments will have no choice but to deal with it.

    The Turks have the tanks, the Saudis have the money, the Jordanians have the intel, and the Egyptians have the people. ISIS could be wiped out in six weeks without so much as an American drone. It could be done entirely by Sunni forces. But the Turks and Arabs won’t act because all that matters to them is the survival of their individual regimes, currently guaranteed by us.

    We have got to raise the price. Not just because of ISIS, but for all future regimes considering ideologies of terror or the financing of terror. Tit-for-tat does not work. It will never work. What may work is the application of overwhelming power.

    I await the ritual denunciations. But this time, maybe some of you could actually try telling me what you think would work. Because if you don’t know what would work, sure as hell Trump or Cruz will have some ideas. A shrug isn’t going to cut it, because there are lots of people willing to lead if we liberals won’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 14

  10. Jack says:

    We should take in Syrian refugees. Under one condition:

    We will take in 2x Syrian refugees for every 1 Central American refugee taken in by Europe.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 16

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Hey America, adult diapers on sale aisle 3.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  12. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:

    there are lots of people willing to lead

    Yup…Bush and Cheney led. Led to what? Oh yeah…the problem we have today.
    4000 dead troops and over 2 trillion dollars wasted…only to make matters worse.
    So yeah…lets go again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  13. C. Clavin says:

    There’s what? 20,000 members of ISIS? 200,000? And you’re wetting yourself?
    Wait until Trump and Cruz and Rubio and all your new leadership heros have us at war with 1.6 billion Muslims.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  14. Robert C. says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Even worse, more than half the country believes in god.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  15. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    BTW, Doug, that whole “Trump wants all Muslims to register” thing is apparently falling apart. Do you feel like doing an update, or do you agree with a bunch of the regular commenters and think it’s just fine to lie about and smear someone you don’t like, ‘cuz they deserve it anyway?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 16

  16. C. Clavin says:

    @Robert C.:
    Supernatural is supernatural.
    They call her the Holy Ghost for a reason.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Kevin Drum disagrees with you:

    So was the Muslim registry story built on a foundation of nothing? Sure, in a way. But reporters ask hypothetical questions all the time. This is hardly a startling new technique. What’s more, Trump has built his entire campaign on saying things outrageous enough to get lots of media attention. But now he’s complaining that a reporter gave him a chance to say something outrageous and it generated a lot of media attention? Give me a break.

    As York says, Trump has since backtracked on Twitter: “I didn’t suggest a database-a reporter did.” True enough. But Trump pretty obviously agreed. This wasn’t a gotcha or a cleverly loaded question. It was obvious what both reporters were talking about. The first time he tap danced. The second time he agreed. Trump is a grown man who’s accustomed to dealing with the press. There was nothing unfair about this. He may have backtracked now, but he thought it sounded like a fine idea until the blowback became a little too intense.

    Go read it for the exact quotes. There is a straw there for you to grasp if you’re desperate but for myself, I always find Occam’s razor to be handier.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  18. michael reynolds says:

    @C. Clavin:

    So in other words, no, you don’t have any answers. Just snark.

    Noted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  19. Rafer Janders says:

    @michael reynolds:

    There are three options on the table:

    A false dilemma (also called false dichotomy, false binary, black-and-white thinking, bifurcation, denying a conjunct, the either–or fallacy, fallacy of exhaustive hypotheses, the fallacy of false choice, the fallacy of the false alternative, or the fallacy of the excluded middle) is a type of informal fallacy that involves a situation in which only limited alternatives are considered, when in fact there is at least one additional option…

    The options may be a position that is between two extremes (such as when there are shades of grey) or may be completely different alternatives. Phrasing that implies two options (dilemma, dichotomy, black-and-white) may be replaced with other number-based nouns, such as a “false trilemma” if something is reduced to only three options.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  20. mantis says:

    @michael reynolds:

    How would convincing ME nations to unite in a ground war stop radicalized Belgian (or American, Spanish, Canadian, whatever) Muslims from committing suicide attacks? The answer, as you well know, is that it wouldn’t.

    And do please tell us how you plan on getting the Turks, Saudis, Jordanians, and Egyptians to unite and attack ISIS. While you’re at it, tell us how defeating ISIS will stop terrorism anywhere, let alone all over the world, when there are many other terrorist organizations out there, and none of them control territory that is easily attacked in the way ISIS does.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  21. Rafer Janders says:

    @michael reynolds:

    ISIS could be wiped out in six weeks without so much as an American drone.

    “I can’t tell you if the use of force in Iraq today would last five days, or five weeks, or five months. But it certainly isn’t going to last any longer than that.” — Donald Rumsfeld

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  22. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: “I await the ritual denunciations.”

    No thanks. I don’t know what game you’ve decided to play here, but I’m out. I respect you and think of you as an online friend, and am no longer interested in arguing over whether or not we should emulate Nazi Germany in order to feel better about ourselves.

    I look forward to exchanging ideas with you on other topics.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds:

    the Turks have the tanks, the Saudis have the money, the Jordanians have the intel, and the Egyptians have the people. ISIS could be wiped out in six weeks without so much as an American drone. It could be done entirely by Sunni forces. But the Turks and Arabs won’t act because all that matters to them is the survival of their individual regimes, currently guaranteed by us.

    Damn Michael, I want some of what your smoking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  24. michael reynolds says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    And what’s your suggestion, Rafer? Anything beyond cut and pasting Wiki definitions?

    If it’s a false choice, why not lay out the other choices?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

  25. Modulo Myself says:

    Anyone who thinks we need a ground invasion of Syria in order to protect America from ISIS has to support a return to mass conscription. Otherwise, they’re operating on the cheap.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  26. Tyrell says:

    News reports that more terrorist equipment and paraphernalia has been found in Paris. Brussels authorities report more information about planned attacks.
    Meanwhile, an American Washington Post news reporter has been sentenced to prison by the kangaroo courts in Iran. I hope that Secretary Kerry is working nonstop to get him and other Americans freed immediately. We were very generous to Iran in that nuclear agreement, and they treat our people like that ?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  27. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:
    No one has the answer to terrorism. No one.
    But the most important lesson of Bush/Cheney is to not over-react. You are way over-reacting. The entire point of terrorism is to prompt over-reaction…borne of fear and fear-mongering.
    Certainly your new friends are over-reacting; Trump and Cruz and Jenos and Jack. And their so-called ideas are nothing but internet memes.
    Jesus-gawd, Michael…you are smarter than this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  28. Scott says:

    @michael reynolds:

    We have got to raise the price

    And what would that price be? The Sunni states are more concerned about Iran, Iraq, and Syria, all of whom ISIS is also aimed at. The Turks are also more concerned about the Kurds, who are the ones having success against ISIS, The Saudis are concerned about the Houthis in Yemen.

    We can raise the price by threatening to support a Kurdish nation. We can raise the price by threatening to tilt to Iran. We can raise the price by leaving altogether.

    The bottom line is that Paris has changed nothing strategically. ISIS is not expanding; it is contracting. It is being pressured from the East by the Kurds, Iraqis, and US, and the West by the US, Russia, France, and Syria. Other than keeping up the pressure, I see no real reason to change what we are doing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  29. J-Dub says:

    People go on shooting rampages in the US all the time. Why should we be more scared of Islamic extremists than ordinary run-of-the-mill mentally ill Americans? We just need a few months of calm for everyone to unbunch their panties.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  30. J-Dub says:

    @Scott:

    We can raise the price by leaving altogether.

    I wish someone had the balls to try this. All we need is their oil. I’m sure it will keep on pumping whether we are there or not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  31. Modulo Myself says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I think most people here are capable of entertaining the possibility that winning politically requires a solution.

    But you seem to be flipping between the political side and reality at will. The reality is that this is the ‘new normal’, that outside of trying to bring the ME into better political shape (a process which would be difficult and timely) there is not much aside from being smart and funding the right type of security measures one can do. Moreover, that any military response which we are capable of will backfire, no matter how satisfying this action might seem to be.

    Saying this politically might be impossible in America. But at least stay consistent–you’ve gone from symbolic action necessary to stop worse action to demanding that terrorism be abolished. It’s all very reminiscent of Iraq. From the White House down, one day’s spin became the next day’s reality.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  32. J-Dub says:

    @J-Dub: Well, that didn’t take long. Apparently ISIS was filming a music video in New Orleans:

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/22/us/new-orleans-shooting-many-wounded/index.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. michael reynolds says:

    More vacant snark.

    I mean, you guys really have nothing. Nothing at all but what a teenager might come up with, and not a bright teenager. You actually think saying, “Cheney!” is a winning argument. As though all we ever need to know is what Cheney thinks and we can do the opposite for the win!

    Snark, quibble, tut-tut and evade. That’s what you’ve got to confront a challenge to our way of life. When sh-t gets real, you guys are totally ready with the sarcasm.

    Maybe next you could all tell me what a great idea it is to hamstring the NSA, an idea currently enjoying, oh, basically zero support? Which I also told you months ago would be the inevitable reaction when another terrorist event occurred. And for which I was, again, denounced for being insufficiently PC.

    And by the way, what you’re doing in insisting these are domestic incidents are unconnected to ISIS? That means Muslim communities are the enemy. See Option 2 above: “Police State.” You’re saying the problem isn’t ISIS, it’s, um… the people we want to import more of. Do you see how maybe that’s not quite as clever as you think?

    You know what you guys are? You’re Tom Hagen. You are not war-time consiglieres. You don’t think power, you think rhetoric. You don’t think win, you think cringe. And mostly you don’t think, you just offer up whatever sanctimonious bullsh-t pops into your heads after glancing at HuffPo. Your main priority is your own ideological purity.

    Well, I do think power, and I do think win, and I don’t give a wet fart about my purity.

    I was right about the occupation of Iraq. I was right about the NSA and the TSA. I am right about the Syrian refugees. And fifteen years ago I did the math on terrorism and said we had to raise the price to a level they cannot accept or it would just go on forever. I said the alternative was a police state and gosh, now we have the American people just about ready to toss out a few Constitutional amendments because we did not deal with the problem at the time.

    Just what the f-ck do you self-righteous nitwits have in mind if ISIS sets off a dirty bomb in Manhattan? Or drops smallpox in LA? Gonna organize a snark-off and sing kumbaya? Is there no limit to your pusillanimity?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 15

  34. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:
    Guy…you have no workable ideas.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  35. al-Ameda says:

    What else is new? Americans love to be angry and afraid.

    Yes, we should take all normal precautions in public venues, perhaps increase security and surveillance of those venues, but we’re never going to live in a risk free world.

    None of this excess fear is new: Back in the WW1 era, at the time of the Russian Revolution, Americans were afraid that dangerous radicals were among the wave of immigrants to this country, and of course there were some of those. And all of that was the background noise as our government sanctioned the Palmer Raids, and a young J Edgar Hoover was , pre-FBI, getting his start in compiling all manner of data on perceived enemies of the government.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  36. Jc says:

    @michael reynolds:

    You have to start with the money. You have to cut all of it off, do whatever to get rid of the financing. Without it they will die off faster. Many fighting for these crazies are doing so because they are getting, food, money, shelter, security. Without the money all they get is broken promises, lies and destitution. They begin to breakup, fight among each other. No civilian casualties in the war against their assets – Also would weaken them from the inside, leading to more tips, more precise strikes

    Anyway, that would be my start, that and continue to take out their top guys. You start to believe less in the apocalypse when the dude who told you its coming is dead.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  37. Andre Kenji says:

    1-) Technology allows basically anyone to perpetrate terrorist attacks. There is very little that can be done about that. You can´t deal with EVERY single loser that wants to explode himself.

    2-) Paris, Rome, London, any large European city is safer than any large American City. And if you are in Paris you should be more worried about random muggers than about terrorists.

    3-) It´s easier to WIN THE LOTTERY than to be killed in a terrorist attack. Considerably easier.

    4-) That´s not REALLY a problem for me: there is absolutely zero chances that my country will be directly involved with a war in the Middle East. There is very little chance that anyone that I know personally is going to fight ISIS in Syria.

    But that would be completely different if I lived in the United States.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  38. Jc says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The Turks have the tanks, the Saudis have the money, the Jordanians have the intel, and the Egyptians have the people. ISIS could be wiped out in six weeks without so much as an American drone. It could be done entirely by Sunni forces.

    This is fantasy. Come on, Michael.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  39. Pch101 says:

    The only thing worse than simpleminded naivete is when it is combined with faux-intellectual hubris. The Reynolds guy exhibits much of these, and I can’t say that I’m impressed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  40. David M says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Given the Iraq War’s contribution to creating ISIS, maybe a little caution and prudence are in order?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  41. Rafer Janders says:

    @michael reynolds:

    And by the way, what you’re doing in insisting these are domestic incidents are unconnected to ISIS?

    Michael’s fight against strawmen continues unabated, I see…no one is saying these incidents are unconnected to ISIS. We’re saying that your preferred method of bombing ISIS’s temporary HQ in Raqqa in Syria doesn’t do anything to stop a kid who was born and raised and lives in Belgium from committing a terrorist act.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  42. KM says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Just what the f-ck do you self-righteous nitwits have in mind if ISIS sets off a dirty bomb in Manhattan?

    They could have done that last week, last month. Unless they magically upped their game in days, they’ve had this ability for a while. Things like these aren’t planned out over the course of an afternoon. Threat levels change because of specific plans but the capability to pull of attack is not new.

    All that’s really changed is people are suddenly more aware of a vague possibility and are scared shitless of it. You could have died in a dirty bomb attack at any point this year anywhere in the world thanks to terrorism. It would have been al-Qaeda, not ISIS on your mind though prior to this month. This has always been a risk so why weren’t you so worried 3 weeks ago?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  43. Davebo says:

    @michael reynolds:

    That’s what you’ve got to confront a challenge to our way of life.

    Wow! If you feel ISIS represents a challenge to your way of life it’s probably time you just crawled back under the bed and stopped making a fool of yourself on the internet.

    I was right about the occupation of Iraq.

    After cheering it on of course.

    You have a history of letting your own fears, one might say cowardice, cloud your judgement. The fact that you feel ISIS is a threat to your way of life is a good indicator that you’ve once again fallen into the same old habit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  44. Cd6 says:

    Just what the f-ck do you self-righteous nitwits have in mind if ISIS sets off a dirty bomb in Manhattan? Or drops smallpox in LA? Gonna organize a snark-off and sing kumbaya? Is there no limit to your pusillanimity?

    Lmao

    2002 Andrew Sullivan just stumbled out of a time warp and decided to drop some comments on OTB.

    Relax buddy. It’ll be ok.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

  45. Rafer Janders says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I was right about the occupation of Iraq.

    Dude, we were ALL right about the occupation of Iraq. You, however, just have this additional and deluded fantasy that if only it had been done your way, it would all have turned out OK.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  46. Guarneri says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Well. Strange bedfellows here. See what I’ve got to deal with from time to time?

    I remember thinking after 9/11 that the rules had changed forever, and that this would only be resolved when we made our problem their problem………….and raised the stakes exponentially. Overwhelming force.

    Bush made a huge mistake by responding through ouster of Sadaam. Obama made a mistake by playing politics and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Now he dithers in the wake of his own mistakes in Libya, Syria…………. Europe has been practicing the Obama Doctrine for years.

    The salient question is when the pain in western countries will rise to the level of unacceptability. I don’t think your point “a” way above is sustainable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

  47. Guarneri says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Well. Strange bedfellows here. See what I’ve got to deal with from time to time?

    I remember thinking after 9/11 that the rules had changed forever, and that this would only be resolved when we made our problem their problem………….and raised the stakes exponentially. Overwhelming force.

    Bush made a huge mistake by responding through ouster of Sadaam. Obama made a mistake by playing politics and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Now he dithers in the wake of his own mistakes in Libya, Syria…………. Europe has been practicing the Obama Doctrine for years.

    The salient question is when the pain in western countries will rise to the level of unacceptability. I don’t think your point “a” way above is sustainable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  48. KM says:

    @michael reynolds:

    You know what you guys are? You’re Tom Hagen. You are not war-time consiglieres. You don’t think power, you think rhetoric.

    Getting rid of Tom Hagen didn’t solve the Corleone problems though, did it? They put him aside, started bloodbaths and still ended up where they started, just with different names on the enemies list. Same &%#&, same caution and looking over their shoulders, different day. They were not safer for their actions. And they brought him back because a consigliere is supposed to be dispassionate in their advice and Hagen was loyal, no matter what. Micheal wanted a war and he got it – and paid for it dearly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  49. Mikey says:

    @Davebo:

    Wow! If you feel ISIS represents a challenge to your way of life it’s probably time you just crawled back under the bed and stopped making a fool of yourself on the internet.

    IS isn’t the challenge. IS has less influence over our way of life than heavy couches.

    The true challenge lies in our collective reaction to IS, and so far that’s been pretty shitty. We have a front-runner Presidential candidate advocating actions that were literally the first steps on the road to the Holocaust.

    My wife (who, having grown up in Germany, is horrified almost beyond words at what Trump and his adherents have been saying and advocating) and I were talking last night and I said,

    “I used to wonder how the Germans could fall into a way of thinking that led to an attempt to exterminate an entire people.

    Used to.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  50. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Did you see the part where CNN cut out part of Trump’s answer, where he actually answered a different question?

    Reporter: Should there be a database system that tracks Muslims who are in this country?

    Trump: There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases. We should have a lot of systems, and today you can do it. But right now we need to have a border, we have to have strength, we have to have a wall, and we cannot let what’s happening to this country happen any longer.

    Reporter: Is that something your White House would like to implement?

    Donald Trump: I would certainly implement that. Absolutely.

    The italicized parts were cut out of the CNN clip.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  51. C. Clavin says:

    @Guarneri:

    See what I’ve got to deal with from time to time?

    Yes…when you talk nonsense, like Michael is, then you get appropriate responses.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  52. KM says:

    @Jenos:

    Trump: There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases. We should have a lot of systems, and today you can do it.

    Are you willing to be in these databases, Jenos? This is a fair question since a terrorist could easily be a a homegrown malcontent (not a jab at you personally). If we’re are going to have databases, we ALL need to be in there because databases worked better with, you know, actual data. The Paris attackers were Euro natives – the female bomber wasn’t an observant Muslim or radical until extremely recently so unless she was in there for other reasons like drugs, criminal behavior or just plain existence, they would have missed her. They were watching her for drugs, not terrorism.

    Are you willing to support adding all citizens to these databases or certain ones? Didn’t just have a national freakout over something like this *cough* NSA *cough*?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  53. Guarneri says:

    @C. Clavin:

    To quote a notable author.

    “I mean, you guys really have nothing. Nothing at all but what a teenager might come up with, and not a bright teenager.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  54. KM says:

    To add to my above comment:

    I’m ok with being in these databases personally. Corporate America already has most of it, anyways. If you’ve been to Disney in the last few decades, they have some of your fingerprints. Your grocery store and credit cards track your purchases. Your cell locates you with amazing accuracy. We trust our thoughts to Facebook and OTB, our emails to Yahoo and Gmail.

    I have no problems being a data entry point in the intelligence web if it catches potential terrorists. I voluntarily gave up a ton of privacy for the privileges of the conveniences of the modern world, might as well do so to help stop an attack. I doubt my fellow Americans feel the same way, though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  55. C. Clavin says:

    @Guarneri:
    See that doesn’t really bother me…seeing as it comes from someone who is wrong on everything he types. Every single thing. And I’m not talking about opinions…but demonstrable facts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  56. mantis says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Just what the f-ck do you self-righteous nitwits have in mind if ISIS sets off a dirty bomb in Manhattan? Or drops smallpox in LA? Gonna organize a snark-off and sing kumbaya? Is there no limit to your pusillanimity?

    We had two Chechen brothers attack the Boston Marathon two years ago. They became radicalized here in the US, with one of them traveling to Russia to try to join an Islamist organization there, but failing and returning to the US, where he then carried out the bombing with his brother. They had lived here for 13 years.

    You seem to think that bombing ISIS with greater ferocity would somehow keep people like the Tsarnaev brothers from launching terrorist attacks. How? Do you think Russia has had a weak response to terrorism in the North Caucasus? Their response has been brutal, prolonged, and had little regard for civilian casualties. Why haven’t those efforts stopped terrorist activity by the groups active there and their allies elsewhere? Why didn’t their efforts prevent the Boston Marathon bombing? According to you, all we have to do is hit them hard and terrorism will carry “too high a price.” This is incredibly naive. It is exactly the doctrine espoused by Cheney (and Putin, for that matter). Sorry if you don’t like the comparison, but it is apt.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  57. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jenos:

    The italicized parts were cut out of the CNN clip.

    Now let’s consider some words that “were cut out of” the worthless Breitbart article you cited:

    You sign them up at different places

    I assume you don’t need help finding proof that Trump actually said those words. Earlier you said this:

    that whole “Trump wants all Muslims to register” thing is apparently falling apart

    Now tell us what Trump meant by those words (“you sign them up at different places”), if he didn’t mean he “wants all Muslims to register.” The people defending Trump on this point never address those words he said (“you sign them up at different places”), and neither will you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  58. C. Clavin says:

    @Guarneri:
    You’ve been wetting yourself for years claiming the economy is about to collapse.
    Now you found another fiction to wet yourself over.
    Diapers are on aisle three.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  59. cd6 says:

    What Michael is saying, is that we don’t want the smoking gun to be in the form of a mushroom cloud.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  60. wr says:

    @Guarneri: “See what I’ve got to deal with from time to time?”

    Sure. When you say something really stupid around here, people say you’ve said something really stupid. That this happens to you frequently is not actually because you’re a misunderstood genius.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  61. grumpy realist says:

    @michael reynolds: So what you’re saying is we have to indulge the most hysterical views of the most paranoid American and somehow it will fix everything?

    Heck, my own idea of blocking out the sun over the land that ISIS controls by using lots and lots of mylar shields probably has a bigger chance of success than “Bomb them all, let God sort them out.” Which is what you’re suggesting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  62. wr says:

    @KM: “Getting rid of Tom Hagen didn’t solve the Corleone problems though, did it? They put him aside, started bloodbaths and still ended up where they started, just with different names on the enemies list.”

    Also, once Michael stopped listening to Tom he started an immoral war that ended up tearing apart his family and destroying his soul, leaving him a ruined husk of a man who lost everything he ever valued.

    Yes, that is definitely a role model for the USA!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  63. Jc says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Come on, FOX does this 10 times a day…Outside of that – anyone who is asked questions, and I believe there were three, that mention Muslims and the word mosque, but actually does not listen to the questions and continues ranting…I mean, listen to the questions and answer them or else have what you said thrown back at you.

    In order to make America great again, you need to listen

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  64. wr says:

    @wr: Oh, sorry. Spoilers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  65. Grewgills says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I mean, you guys really have nothing. Nothing at all but what a teenager might come up with, and not a bright teenager.

    The man who is telling us that all it will take is more bombs is accusing everyone else of simplistic thinking. That is rich.

    I was right about the occupation of Iraq. I was right about the NSA and the TSA. I am right about the Syrian refugees.

    Every one of us you are disagreeing with was right about Iraq. I’ll further add that almost all of us were MORE right about the occupation of Iraq than you. We all recognized (most of us very early on) that there was no realistic scenario where the occupation of Iraq would work. You have some sort of simplistic notion that more troops and more brutality would have made it work because… WWII. That is the type of nonsense that a not so bright teen might come up with.
    I’m not sure what you’re on about regarding the NSA and TSA, unless you argued that the ramped up activity of are both largely ineffective kabuki designed to give us the feeling that we are doing something. Now apparently you want our next move to be more kabuki to give the appearance of doing something.
    Further limiting Syrian refugees will not do a damn thing to reduce the risk of terrorism and you should know that. Only an idiot or a not so bright teen would think that joining the ranks of Syrian refugees trying to get to the US was a good way to get into the US to commit a terrorist act. The Syrian refugees have the longest wait to enter and the most screening to pass through to make it in. It is lunacy to fear them while letting any Belgian with the wherewithal to purchase a plane ticket and fill in an online form in today. So, despite your protestations, it is irrational fear driving people’s negative reactions to Syrian refugees. Call it anger if you like, but at its root it is pervasive, irrational, unfounded fear.

    There are three options on the table:

    1) Accept Paris as the new normal.
    2) Turn the West into police states.
    3) Raise the price of terror to such a level that regional governments will have no choice but to deal with it.

    That is simplistic nonsense. Daesh poses not greater threat to the US than Al Quaeda or any other terrorist group. Every scenario you can create in your mind for Daesh, you could have just as easily created a year ago for Al Quaeda. The threat hasn’t changed, only your perception of it has.
    To address each of your points in turn though:
    1) On some level this is the (not so) new normal. We cannot be 100% safe from terrorism any more than we can be 100% safe from murder or traffic accidents. We can mitigate that danger, but that is all we can do.
    2) We have already accepted some level of heightened surveillance, though considerably less than the UK. We will have to balance liberty against fear, though preferably would would balance liberty against a rational assessment of danger.
    3) Your version of raising the price, as many have pointed out repeatedly and you have ignored repeatedly, is worse than taking no action at all. Your policy preferences are ridiculously expensive and wildly counterproductive, assuming the goal is to reduce the danger of terrorism to Americans or our allies. That is true even absent a rational cost/benefit analysis. It wouldn’t matter if we had no suggestions whatsoever when inaction is more effective (less destructive) than your preferred actions.

    As to what we can do, we can continue what we have been doing for the past 6 years or so. It is, for the most part, working. We can increase pressure on their funding streams, though the most effective way to do this would alienate some of our so called allies in the region. We can quietly drop our opposition to Assad and let Russia sink into the quagmire of Syria. We don’t need to do anything else other than to look like we are doing something to people that have, at best, only a superficial understanding of what is happening and why.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 0

  66. JohnMcC says:

    @Cd6: I have this vision of our Michael slaving away at his counter-factual history of WW2 that he’s mentioned here a couple of times. In a distant castle-keep, scribbling away with a quill at a high desk. It looks like Hogwarts mixed with Disney’s Socerer’s Apprentice. And in a dark corner bookshelf a boxed game of Risk has fallen over onto a copy of Admiral Mahan’s famous ‘The Influence of Sea Power on History’ and from the reaction sparked by that accidental tumble comes a soft glow. It grows stronger and stronger until slowly from the scene of the collision emerges the spirit of Niall Ferguson whispering softly into the famous author’s ear and stirring his heart. And deep inside his gut a new man begins to form.

    Soon fetal stirrings are wracking our savant with strange and daring emotions. A word escapes his lips: “War” he says with an unfamiliar feeling that suddenly explodes gloriously inside him. Again “WAR!”. And with each repetition, it becomes more and more wonderful. He is intoxicated with his new discovery. “Battleships!” “Bomb the bastards!”

    He rises from his desk, turns to the door. Somehow a certainty has formed in his mind. “I’m gonna create ruin and destruction,” he realizes with a delicious shiver down his spine. He starts his computer. “Where can I find me some cringing cowardly liberals to eviscerate?” he wonders.
    With his strangely new fingers, he types three letters into the google page he finds there. O – T – B…….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  67. Rafer Janders says:

    @wr:

    It’s a forty-year plus old movie. I don’t think the spoilers rule applies anymore….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  68. David M says:

    There are 3 issues here, refugees, ISIS controlled territory in the Middle East and the ability of terrorist groups like ISIS to attack civilian targets outside the Middle East. Treating them as more than tangentially related is probably making a Bush/Iraq level mistake.

    Refugees (Syrian or not) already go through an extensive security screening, and aren’t a source of terrorism worth worrying about. Treating this as a real issue only empowers the cowards, xenophobes and bigots at best. At worst it is actively helping ISIS. If there’s a lesson to be learned from the attacks in Paris, maybe the VISA Waiver Program is a better place to start.

    The territory that ISIS holds over in the Middle East is a concern, but the wrong response will either not solve the problem or make it worse. If there were an easy solution, it would already be in progress. Working to contain and degrade their capabilities in the Middle East is probably one of the least bad options available, especially given the many pitfalls that should be obvious after Iraq.

    The ability of terrorists to attack targets outside the Middle East isn’t related to the geographical area that ISIS can hold onto. In fact, making progress at containing ISIS may make attacks more likely. The worst things we can do are listening to people that say there is a simple military solution to terrorism and overreacting to the attacks.

    In short, not panicking and doing little or nothing new as an immediate response is probably one of the better options out there.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  69. JohnMcC says:

    @David M: Bravo! You might have also mentioned the Russian intervention in Syria has created immense counter-currents. They could conceivably become allies and we can imagine a great-power negotiation that would settle the area once known as the Levant. A settlement could imaginatively even become a basis for settling the Israeli-Palestinian issue. But France and the US are committed to embargo and cripple the Russians because of Ukraine.

    It looks to me like Michael and our newest incarnation of Czar Nichols say we should just take this big hammer and beat this 500lb bomb to bits. That’ll teach ’em a thing or two. There won’t be any Mooslums shootin’ up good white people once we really get a good lick in and show how tough we can be.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  70. Guarneri says:

    Ah, yes. The economy. It sure is rip roaring,eh?

    As far as “facts,” those seem to be in uniquely short supply here with the 24/7 OTB commenting crew. One wonders, with such a roaring economy, how it is you have all this time here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  71. michael reynolds says:

    Oh, good, more snark, more sarcasm, more false analogies, more evasion, more outrage, and no ideas. None.

    Well, I got news for you folks, the American people are not all wimps. They won’t be guided or led by wimps. Even Democrats want the pinprick bombs to fly, and the American people want ground troops. Unfortunately those are not the winning answers. They’re the kick-the-can answers. Which are better at least than the sneering of wimps whose advice is, “Just learn to accept it.”

    Jesus Christ. If one of my kids is ever in trouble in some alleyway I hope to God one of you hothouse flowers isn’t the only one to wander by.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 17

  72. Rafer Janders says:

    @michael reynolds:

    more false analogies,

    You really should not be the person complaining about false analogies, Michael. It’s been nothing but a stream of false and historically inaccurate analogies from you for several days now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  73. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I was right about the occupation of Iraq. I was right about the NSA and the TSA. I am right about the Syrian refugees.

    Seriously, man, you might benefit from more “keeping calm” and less “carrying on.”

    Not impressed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  74. Rafer Janders says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Oh, good, more snark, more sarcasm, more false analogies, more evasion, more outrage, and no ideas. None.

    Now you’re just demonstrably lying, Michael. There are ideas above. You may not like them, but you can’t pretend you didn’t read them.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  75. Cd6 says:

    Well, I got news for you folks, the American people are not all wimps.

    The whole premises fm his thread is that Americans ARE wimps, given they are so in fear of terrorism despite the facts that say, cardiovascular disease takes down far more people than ISIS.

    “Let’s launch a lot of bomb” isn’t braverly, it’s stupidity. Stupid people can’t differentiate them. Doesn’t make the them corrects

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  76. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Oh, good, more snark, more sarcasm, more false analogies, more evasion, more outrage, and no ideas. None.

    Wow. How you can read this thread and just pop out with that mystifies me utterly.

    I don’t know what particular aspect of IS’ attack on Paris has gotten into the primeval part of the brain we humans all share, but it has taken you seriously around the bend. You are so far beyond reason on this you cannot even see the substantive and insightful comments that address your points. KM, Grewgills, David M, Jc, and others have put forth reasonable and relatively snark-free responses. How can you so blithely dismiss them? I don’t understand.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  77. David M says:

    A majority of Americans oppose sending troops to Iraq/Syria.

    It’s not possible to properly evaluate the options in the Middle East if you’re not able to acknowledge the potential to make things worse. Doing something new isn’t automatically better than continuing the current strategy.

    Is anyone here actually advocating that the current bombing campaign against ISIS be reduced? That we shouldn’t continue to try and get the other countries in the Middle East to do more?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  78. Mikey says:

    @Grewgills: This is a fine response, but I feel compelled to make one minor correction:

    Every scenario you can create in your mind for Daesh, you could have just as easily created a year 15 years ago for Al Quaeda.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  79. cd6 says:

    I’ll admit that I at least I only responding with snark, instead of detailed policy suggestions on ISIS. Others above have done that already. And I’m not convinced we have to drastically change any of our policies in response to 30000 lunatics on the other side of the world, and I’m certainly able to grasp the fact that talk about how they are a danger to our way of life is lunacy.

    I’m only commenting because I think we’re right on the edge of getting a “At least Bush kept us safe” and that would just make me chuckle heartily.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  80. Grewgills says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Jesus Christ. If one of my kids is ever in trouble in some alleyway I hope to God one of you hothouse flowers isn’t the only one to wander by.

    Of course the appropriate response in that hypothetical is to bomb the neighborhood of the muggers to rubble, then there will be no more muggings evar.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  81. Tillman says:

    I don’t think the hair-on-fire crowd has made its case and I don’t like going to war on a wave of emotion over two murders.

    @cd6:

    I’ll admit that I at least I only responding with snark, instead of detailed policy suggestions on ISIS.

    Don’t feel bad over it. It’s not as if rational argument has done much to change positions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  82. Grewgills says:

    @michael reynolds:
    By the way, with all of your crowing about how right you are about everything always, you are notably wrong on at least one of your predictions about the response to Syrian refugees. You predicted that Hillary’s response would sink her and that Republicans would be the ones perceived as strongest on terrorism. The most recent polling has her leading every republican candidate and an 8 point lead over Trump on handling the threat of terrorism. Maybe now you can acknowledge that her handling of the refugee issue isn’t the albatross you thought it was.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  83. Davebo says:

    Well, I got news for you folks, the American people are not all wimps.

    No, most are not. You on the other hand… Get a grip Michael and stop being terrified by the elastic in your underwear.

    This is the problem. Watching someone who seemed for so long to be reasonable totally lose it over an attack on a city thousands of miles away. An attack, by the way, that didn’t cause the citizens of that city to crap their pants the way you have here.

    Paris for me has always been a city I had to visit professionally but never considered vacationing in but that has changed. They’ve shown solidarity and yes, bravery. You on the other hand have shown that cowards can talk loudly and shriek about revenge safe in the knowledge that you’ll never be involved.

    Wimp is your middle name loudmouth.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  84. Bookdragon says:

    @michael reynolds: And as someone with friends and family in the military, I hope you’re hammering on your kids to enlist and carry out your grand ‘this is the only way’ solution.

    If you’re not exhorting them to put their lives on the line for it, then you really don’t believe it’s all that terribly necessary, do you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  85. Tillman says:

    @Davebo: I disagree intensely with him, but dude’s not a coward. Going against the social expectation (and there is a thin one even on an Internet comments section) takes fortitude.

    Then again, it’s probably easier when you can write such vainglory as “you are all wrong and I am right” over and over again with minute variations. I remain befuddled over why anyone continues to engage thinking his mind will change. He did just write he wouldn’t wager any of us would save his kids in a dark alleyway because we’re such wimps.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  86. Davebo says:

    @Tillman:

    It doesn’t take any fortitude at all. This is a man with a proven track record of pissing his pants from his support of the Iraq war to his recent calls to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in the mideast.

    And he’s not going against social expectations, he’s inciting them further.

    I don’t care if he changes his mind (again). He’s been wrong before and he’s wrong now.

    Michael, don’t assume everyone in the US is as cowardly as you are. A lot are to be sure which is part of what brought us here, but not everyone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  87. Lit3Bolt says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Dude, just admit terrorism works on you. You’re terrified. You’re scared. Crazy white Americans with guns shooting you don’t scare you, because you’re white, but somehow a brown person with an accent, a different religion and a gun makes you abandon reality and embrace eternal fear (or maybe the American response to that fear…at this stage, it’s hard to tell).

    Getting killed by cancer or a car crash would make you shrug your shoulders, but someone shouts “Allah Akbar!” and it’s time to demagogue how everyone else is a wimp and only you are strong and brave enough to admit that you want so many Muslims to die they all just give up terrorism at the same time and admit defeat.

    I get it. You want a solution to terrorism. All of us do. But there is zero evidence that YOUR solutions will work, and all the times you whimper “B-b-but I’m Genghis Khan–!” doesn’t make any closer to reality. Invoking threats that all Western Democracies will turn to fascism in response to terrorism is very real concern, which is why all of us are trying to calm you the f-ck down in the midst of your right-wing hysteria.

    Let’s look at your 13 year old solutions:

    1) Nuke Raqqa. LOL is the only worthy response to that.

    2) Invade. Tried that, didn’t work. Do you think your “strength” and “purity” will make it better this time? Maybe we should put you in charge, since you’re so competent.

    3) Disproportionate casualties. So who’s the enemy? Terrorists? People who look like terrorists? The ones with the beards, waving the ISIS flags? Oh wait, they just melted back into the population. Let’s kill all of them, create a bunch of orphans, and deal with this problem in 15 years or so. Oh, wait, you want to kill children too? Disproportionate killing of children? Yeah, that’ll cause all Muslims worldwide to become Westernized and peaceful. Oh look, Iran just started up their reactors again…and Look! Saudi Arabia’s making nukes now too! That’s just what we needed. Thanks Michael.

    4) The NSA solution. We are trying this now, but Snowden kinda let that horse out of the barn. Thanks, traitor! Oh well, time to just give all power to the NSA and hope for the best.

    5) The give up all rights to feel safe solution. Hey, let’s persecute Muslims! Just like that “hoax bomb clock boy.” Once we’re dealing with 1,000 unnecessary lawsuits and ill-will for that good ol’ safe feeling, all suicidal terrorists will cease activity at the same time because they know the American Police are on the job! I feel so much safer without a Constitution!

    At this point, the Islamic State has pissed off the West, Russia, the Middle East, and China, and you’re still acting crazy. You’re the Right of Doug Mataconis on this issue. You’ve proposed zero workable solutions. It’s frustrating. We’re frustrated. I think we’re all afraid of the same things, but in different ways and degrees. You are not necessarily WRONG, but please for the love of God get a grip on the fear. A suicidal enemy culture is very hard to beat. Let’s just start by acknowledging that.

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  88. David M says:

    @Lit3Bolt:

    3) Disproportionate casualties.

    It’s worth noting that people in the Middle East (probably Muslims) are already bearing the disproportionate burden from the war with ISIS. We should be looking at ways to use the fact that ISIS is brutal with Muslims that aren’t on board with it’s goals to our advantage.

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  89. Guarneri says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I’m sure it doesn’t bother you, just as it doesn’t bother my dog when I make fun of him. The vet says it has something to do with the tiny brain. I also asked him about the lapdog response to Obama. The vet said he wasn’t sure about the dog, but was insightful enough to ask if I was familiar with Clavin.

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  90. grumpy realist says:

    Heck, I was living in London when the IRA were setting off bombs…I managed to not get killed.

    What terrorists want to do is stampede you into doing something stupid–like labeling all Muslims as “terrorists” and panicking about anyone who speaks Arabic on an airplane.

    I don’t think doing what our enemies want us to do is a good strategy.

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  91. Tyrell says:

    @David M: I will drink one on that.

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  92. C. Clavin says:

    why is everyone afraid of Syrians???
    http://www.vox.com/2015/11/23/9765718/domestic-terrorism-threat
    The illogic of the scardy cats is awe-inspiring.

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  93. C. Clavin says:

    @Guarneri:
    I know you’re scared.
    It’s a typical response for people who can’t understand the world around them.
    And here you just got over being terrified of Ebola.
    Poor Drew…

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  94. An Interested Party says:

    One wonders, with such a roaring economy, how it is you have all this time here.

    Something even more interesting to ponder is how you have any time at all to comment here considering you are supposedly a financial genius and a Master of the Universe…surely all of that gives you very little time to do anything else…

    Meanwhile, how is it that we have terrified xenophobes here screaming about how we have to keep Syrian refugees out while the country where this latest terrorist attack took place is taking in those same refugees…

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  95. Pch101 says:

    There are couple of you who need to realize that Joe McCarthy wasn’t the sort of guy who you should have as a mentor.

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  96. Guarneri says:
  97. Guarneri says:

    “Something even more interesting to ponder is how you have any time at all to comment here considering you are supposedly a financial genius and a Master of the Universe…surely all of that gives you very little time to do anything else…”

    Not really, since I never claimed that, but keep the infantile straw man arguments coming. They amuse.

    More to the point, I’m semi-retired and rich. You?

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  98. An Interested Party says:

    Not really, since I never claimed that…

    Really? Your new pal Michael Reynolds has written on numerous occasions that you used to post as Drew…and we know what a blowhard he was about his supposed financial genius…

    More to the point, I’m semi-retired and rich. You?

    Actually I live quite comfortably just outside of Gotham City in Wayne Manor…

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  99. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Bookdragon: No, I asked him that last week and he said he’s only for bombing, not his son’s boots on the ground. (Or in a plane, I imagine.)

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  100. Tyrell says:

    One thing that the government could do is to be more specific about what we should be doing. They issue these alerts, but then what ? They tell us to report suspicious activity, but what does that mean ? Our neighbor talking aon their cell phone outside at night ? The neighbor who has an amateur radio ? Or the group at the local fast food place talking rifles ?

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  101. Pch101 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The Turks have the tanks, the Saudis have the money, the Jordanians have the intel, and the Egyptians have the people. ISIS could be wiped out in six weeks without so much as an American drone. It could be done entirely by Sunni forces.

    Or the US could send Leroy Jethro Gibbs and the other characters of the NCIS TV drama in as advisors, and end the entire conflict in 42 minutes. Both scenarios are equally plausible, and yours contains even more fiction.

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  102. Todd says:

    @michael reynolds: I haven’t read this whole comment thread, but I will say that this first comment, along with some you’ve made in other threads, certainly explain why you’re such as strong support of Hillary Clinton. Just like her, you are clearly a Democratic Neocon.

    I will freely admit to not having a terribly clear idea myself about what exactly to do to solve this problem. In a pragmatic world, President Obama’s approach, while obviously not terribly popular, or even subjectively speaking “effective” is certainly better than what the architects of the disastrous Iraq war would have us do. In an “ideal” world, and as someone who has sacrificed a few years of my life in war zones, I would actually be most in favor of the strong libertarians such as Ron Paul’s approach. Let’s just stay the hell out of it.

    The first step to doing that is to be honest. Our military is not in the middle east (or virtually anywhere else) to “protect our freedoms”. We are there to protect the interests of American based multinational corporations who want to exploit the resources in those regions of the world.

    Even in Iraq, does anybody really think that ISIS would be as likely today if the provisional government that we set up after the invasion had implemented a system like Alaska’s, where oil revenue was shared with all the Iraqi citizens? … instead of the laws put in place that were almost transparently designed to make it easier for American companies to profit from the “rebuilding”.

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  103. appleannie says:

    @Todd:

    I would actually be most in favor of the strong libertarians such as Ron Paul’s approach. Let’s just stay the hell out of it.

    The first step to doing that is to be honest. Our military is not in the middle east (or virtually anywhere else) to “protect our freedoms”. We are there to protect the interests of American based multinational corporations who want to exploit the resources in those regions of the world.

    Yeah, that. I spent a couple of years in Egypt – was living there during the 1st Gulf War – and it really turned my way of thinking around about intervening in other countries’ affairs. Sure, sometimes it needs to be done but mostly what we do is meddle and tinker and not much of anyone thanks us for it. I realize that sounds all bah-humbuggy but I guess I’ve turned into a crabby old lady with a jaundiced eye. We meddle and manage to screw up our own selves in the process.

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  104. C. Clavin says:

    Even a hoax like this is terrorism.
    http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Man-Left-Hoax-Explosive-Device-at-Fairfax-County-Mosque-Police-Say-353071911.html
    We need to deport all white men.
    Wait…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  105. C. Clavin says:

    Doh…more white boy terrorism.
    http://www.startribune.com/several-people-were-shot-near-black-lives-matter-protest-site/353121881/
    All white men please report to Ellis Island for immediate screening, tracking chip implantation, and proper christian re-education.

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  106. grumpy realist says:

    @Tyrell: Plus considering a lot of Americans think “people with turbans on their heads” == “Islamists”. Or anyone speaking Arabic on a plane is a terrorist.

    Daesh must be laughing their asses off watching us.

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