Rethinking the ‘war on terrorism’

Horror in Manchester. Laptop travel bans. A Pentagon plan to “annihilate” ISIS before its fighters can disperse around the world. As indications of a new level of urgency in global anti-terror efforts once again dominate the news, Americans would do well to ask: Who is winning the war?


The United States and its allies have clawed back strategic territory from the Islamic State and prevented a dramatic resurgence by al-Qaeda. But these entities, and those they inspire, have racked up a harrowing laundry list of inhuman attacks over the past several years.

Consider the damage inflicted between the unprecedented November 2015 assault in Paris and this month’s suicide bombing at a Manchester Ariana Grande concert. This year alone saw vehicular attacks in Stockholm and London and terrorism at the Louvre and on the Champs-Elysses. Last year, another driver struck Berlin in December, following a grueling summer in Germany with five separate attacks in July alone, while, that same month, a jihadist slit the throat of a French priest in a Normandy church. On Bastille Day, in July, hundreds were injured and 80 killed in a truck attack in Nice. Then there were the airport attacks: double suicide bombings in Istanbul (June 28) and Brussels (March 22).

These figures, of course, are a very partial list, comprising murders in Europe alone. Two years ago, in addition to Turkey, Syria and Iraq, terrorists hit Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia, with African nations Algeria, Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria and Somalia joining the…

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