By Pat Higgins | Sports Editor
Thirteen years later, are we safer?
According to a national survey conducted by the Pew Research Center and USA Today last month, 65 percent of adults say the world is more dangerous now than it was several years ago, while 67 percent say the Islamic militant group fighting in Iraq and Syria known as ISIS represents a major threat to the homeland.
Now it is thirteen years to the day after the worst attack on the U.S. homeland since Pearl Harbor. There has been more than a decade of modern warfare in Afghanistan, Iraq and now potentially Syria. More than two thirds of adults in America believe the world is a more dangerous place than it was in 2008. They also believe national security is a higher priority than the economy.
Following the release of two gruesome videos broadcasting the beheading of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, in recent weeks, ISIS has launched itself to the forefront of American thought. But on the 13th anniversary of 9/11, need we fear the threat of a jihadist-led attack on American soil?
ISIS continues to stockpile weapons and infantry and is growing day by day, but they are and will continue to lose the fight against the United States so long as our leaders maintain a presence in the Middle East to quell the spread of radical jihad.
Though only about 9,000 troops remain on the ground in Iraq, the U.S. military has been strategically bombing ISIS hideouts via airstrikes the last month. President Barack Obama told Meet the Press last week that the U.S. offensive will increase in the coming months.
“Over the course of months, we are going to be able to not just blunt the momentum of ISL,” Obama said. “We are going to systematically degrade their capabilities. We’re going to shrink the territory that they control. And ultimately, we’re going to defeat them.”
An approach like the one Obama proposed is proactive policy, and is a good policy indeed. Members of both al-Qaeda and ISIS have created a power vacuum in the time since the U.S. began pulling out troops and have been forced to find alternate safe havens in bordering countries like Syria.
They constantly face the threat of American missiles falling from the sky. They’re currently fighting a civil war for control of their own country.
According to reports from the Pentagon, there are 100 Americans fighting for militant groups in Syria with U.S. passports. But CNN’s national security analyst Peter Bergen believes Syria “could very well end up being a graveyard for Americans fighting there rather than a launch pad for attacks on the United States.”
In recent months many Americans have grown increasingly upset with the National Security Administration’s invasions of privacy. Individual privacy aside, we should applaud the NSA, Homeland Security and the other government agencies who continue to actively fight global terrorism. As wars rage across the globe in Africa, Ukraine, Pakistan, Israel, Syria and Iraq, Americans can rest easy knowing there hasn’t been a major offense against the American way since that morning on Sept. 11, 2001. For that, we can thank these government agencies for the security they continue to provide.
Although the threat of terror on American soil is always a real one, the best ISIS can do to strike fear in the eyes of Americans right now is to go on camera and broadcast the beheadings of our citizens. Assuming Pres. Obama obtains Congressional approval to expand the offensive against the latest group to threaten the American people, ISIS is a threat that our military will soon subdue.
Pat Higgins is a senior print journalism and economics major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org