In the wake of the Islamic terrorist attack in Orlando that left 49 people dead and 53 injured, Americans expect a strong and serious Congressional response to make our country safer and help prevent future attacks. Today, the House will vote on H.R. 5471, the Countering Terrorist Radicalization Act. Unfortunately, the bill is neither a serious response nor will it help make our country safer.
The bill is actually a combination of three previously passed bills. The main provision (H.R. 4401) perpetuates the failed and misguided strategy of “Countering Violent Extremism” (CVE) as an approach to fighting terrorism. The Heritage Foundation’s Robin Simcox explains the purpose of CVE in his recent article The Unmentionable Origins of Terrorism:
“There has been a concerted attempt to scrub any religious aspect from the actions of ISIS and al-Qaeda: That is why phrases like “violent extremism” even exist. (First mainstreamed by the British government, “violent extremism” was dreamed up as a way to avoid saying “Islamic” or “Islamist” extremism in the months after the July 2005 suicide bombings in London. The phrase swiftly traveled across the Atlantic and into the U.S. government’s vocabulary.)”
AMNESTY. The Heritage Foundation’s Jessica Zuckerman explains that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have tried to use the Boston bombings to push for their legislative goals on immigration. This is the wrong approach:
It’s unfortunate that people are trying to spin the tragic events in Boston to advance their legislative agendas, but it’s also falling into an emotional trap—the Boston attackers should not be the focus of this immigration debate.
Ultimately, getting trapped in a debate about whether comprehensive immigration reform will help or hurt us in thwarting terrorism will get us nowhere. After more than a decade of living in the post-9/11 world, we don’t need a terrorist attack to tell us the right approach to countering terrorism. Nor do we need one to remind us of the flaws of comprehensive immigration reform. Both of these speak for themselves.
This morning Heritage’s Morning Bell reflects on 9/11 and the men and women who lost their lives both on that day and in the ensuing fight against terrorism, a struggle that is not yet over:
Eleven years ago today, terrorists shattered America’s sense of safety. Generations who did not remember Pearl Harbor suddenly knew the shock of an attack on U.S. soil.
Brothers, fathers, cousins, wives, and daughters were lost. And more sisters, mothers, husbands and sons would give their lives in the years that followed as they fearlessly joined the fight against terrorism around the world.
Because of the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform—and the hours put in scanning intelligence documents and patrolling the streets by our servants here at home—America has thus far avoided another 9/11. Since that day, at least 51 terrorist plots against the country (that we know of) have been foiled. Terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden has been eliminated.