“We have to get rid of ISIS. We have no choice. Radical Islamic terrorism, and I said it yesterday, has to be eradicated, just off the face of the earth. This is evil. This is evil….This is a level of evil that we haven’t seen. And you’re going to go it and you’re going to do a phenomenal job, but we’re going to end it. It’s time. It’s time right now to end it.”
As I said when he said it yesterday, it isn’t possible to eradicate “radical Islamic terrorism” (which is actually orthodox and mainstream in Islam) as long as there are people who believe the Qur’an is the perfect and eternal word of Allah. There will always be some believers who get the idea that they can please Allah by killing and being killed for him (cf. Qur’an 9:111). However, Trump’s declaration, while hyperbolic, was a welcome indication of his apparent determination to speak honestly about the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat, and to combat it and roll it back.
Also, to call it “evil,” after eight years of moral equivocation and obfuscation, is as refreshing as Ronald Reagan’s calling the Soviet Union an “evil empire,” in the midst of a similar period of equivocation and cowardice. It is welcome to have that kind of moral clarity back in the White House. President Trump clearly hopes to emulate Reagan by destroying the Islamic State just as Reagan’s actions led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. That collapse didn’t end Communism, which is alive and well in the Democratic Party and on U.S. university campuses, but it did deal it a significant blow. If Trump ends the Islamic State, it won’t end Islamic jihad, but it will deal it a significant blow. After so many years of ignoring, enabling, explaining away, and blaming itself for that jihad, the United States is finally getting back on track.