In the last couple of months here at Clarion Project we have had intense debates about whether talking of the evils of Islamist extremism and issuing warnings of impending violence in the West is fair game or scaremongering.
We will continue to have this debate as we write every item or post every graphic.
However, there is an enormous temptation in the wake of the Paris atrocities to say “We told you so and there’s more to come.”
From 9/11 and 7/7 through to Tolouse, Charlie Hebdo, Copenhagen and more. The warning signs have been there for us for well over a decade – and for those following this issue closely for far longer than that.
The West is often dismissive of “what’s happening in Syria,” or the Iranian nuclear program.
Guys – wake up.
Terror is on our very doorstep.
Dozens have been arrested this year alone in the United States, accused of plotting terror attacks as Islamists or in sympathy with Islamist groups overseas.
Years ago in my native Manchester, England, just yards from my parents’ home, an Islamist cell was broken up by the local police force. The terrorists were planning a ricin gas attack.
No matter what our politicians think, this is not an issue that we should divide over. This is not about hawkish Republicans and dovish Democrats. If ever there was a cross-party issue, this is it. Terrorists don’t care if we voted left or right. They just want to defeat the West, to bring a caliphate to the world.
Sure there is an argument that says ISIS if far too small to do so – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t millions around the world who buy into ISIS’ vision.
And it doesn’t take millions to instill fear in our cities.
Just eight terrorists did that to all of Europe on Friday.
128 dead – a number that is rising with dozens critically wounded.
The result is not just the families in mourning – the result is panic across Europe. When Islamic State seemingly blew up a Russian plane midair a couple of weeks ago, in addition to the press ISIS received, the Egyptian stock market plummeted and the cancelation of flights to Egypt is said to be costing around a quarter of a billion dollars a month in lost revenues.
Multiply that throughout Europe and see that the financial success of the eight terrorists is massive.
But the psychological damage is incalculable.
Does Clarion Project have the answer as to what should be done? We don’t have the panacea.
But we are saying to all of us in the West, please stop saying this isn’t our problem. It is, in the most palpable of ways.
David Harris is editor in chief of Clarion Project.