While terrorists attack abroad, the Islamic State is losing the fight in its own backyard; this, of course, is no consolation to the families that lost loved ones in Nice, France. America rightly mourns those lost but must honor the dead with renewed resolve to protect the living.
America joins in mourning with the people of France after an assailant plunged into crowds celebrating Bastille Day, a national holiday akin to the United States' 4th of July. The scene of twisted carnage left 84 dead and more than 200 injured. It is not known whether the attacker, like the assailant in Orlando, pledged allegiance to Islamic State or IS. Yet, few are calling the act anything other than a monstrous terror attack.
Reacting to the news, presidential candidates in the United States signaled different approaches to fighting terror. Donald Trump said he would call for a declaration of war and seek to block Syrian refugees from entering the United States. Hillary Clinton would like an “intelligence surge” with improved coordination. She maintains faith in the government’s vetting process for refugees, saying there’s a difference between orphans and children fleeing violence and those seeking to enter the country for nefarious reasons.
Whether either approach speaks to the American voter is yet to be seen; meanwhile, however, President Obama’s current strategy against IS is showing signs of progress. Terrorists' malicious attacks abroad seem to belie evidence that the Islamic State is losing ground. Since last May, successive defeats have cost the so-called caliphate more than a quarter of its previously conquered territory.
Earlier this week the United States announced that it would add 560 additional troops in an effort to take back Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul. Reports yesterday indicate that those numbers will further increase. Aside from the demoralizing effect of losing territory, IS has faced financial troubles. Recent reports indicate that their solider pay was cut in half. Additionally, IS appears to be bracing for more defeats, using the kind of public relations spin usually associated with corporate America. “While we see our core structure in Iraq and Syria under attack,” an Islamic State representative stated, according to reports, “we have been able to expand and have shifted some of our command, media and wealth structure to different countries.” In other words: they are in retreat.
We join France in their three-day period of mourning and remembering the lives lost by the latest terror attack in Nice. Our nation's enemies have vowed to “strike America at its center.” In the face of such attacks, the United States should continue its resolve to fight against terror and the Islamic State.