2. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump tried to outdo each other, with their pandering to fear and xenophobia. Trump called for torture to get information to prevent such attacks, denounced President Obama's failure to prevent this (it happened in Belgium, not here!!), advocated reducing our contribution to NATO and temporarily barring Muslims from entering our country. And for building his wall, of course. Ted Cruz would have police "patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized" -- which has been widely denounced as un-American religious profiling.
3. These are all counter-productive and dangerous. The Muslim communities are our first line of defense, and we should be working to ease tensions rather than creating barriers. Of the terrorist plots that have been thwarted in this country, one-third were the result of cooperation from the Muslim community itself supplying information.
4. That kind of talk also alienates our Muslim allies in other countries that we have to rely on in fighting ISIL and al-Qaeda. Neither Trump nor Cruz seems able to think beyond their immediate political interests. Their rhetoric fans the flames at home and throughout the world.
5. New York City Police Commissioner, Bill Bratton, went so far as to say this about Ted Cruz's call to keep Muslim neighborhoods under surveillance: ". . . [W]e do not need a president who doesn't respect the values that form the foundation of this country. I have over nine hundred very dedicated [Muslim] officers in this department, many of whom do double duty. They serve as active-duty members of the U.S. military in combat, something the Senator has never seen. So before he starts denigrating any population group, take a close look at who he is denigrating." Add to this, what others have pointed out: the number of grave markers in Arlington National Cemetery with a Muslim symbol.
6. Alain Grignard, a senior member of Belgium's federal counterterrorism task force, has offered an explanation for "why Belgium?" Unlike the heyday of al-Qaeda, where some who were deeply engaged in Islamic theology became attracted to jihadist ideology, "these young radical jihadists in the ghettos of Brussels and other European cities "were radical before they became religious." Their revolt against society often begins with petty crime and delinquency, often as members of street gangs. These kids were not Islamists who became radicalized, but radicals who became Islamicized. The rise of the Islamic State legitimized their radical approach, and these youngsters "are getting quickly and completely sucked in. The next thing they know, they're in Syria." That's far from the whole story, of course.
7. Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and other Islamaphobes and alarmists should calm down and stop pouring gasoline on the fires. Europe has problems stopping terrorist attacks that we do not have in the U.S. First, the easy free travel throughout Europe means people can move from one police jurisdiction to another within hours and without checkpoints. Second, there is often a breakdown in communication between these counterterrorism agencies. In fact, one of the Brussels bombers was a suspect in the Paris bombing. Turkey had identified him and asked the Belgium government to arrest him. Somehow that request did not get through to the right people. None of this is likely to have happened in the U.S.
8. There is good news in the last few weeks about the Islamic State's losing territory (30% less than they had at one time), losing troop commitment (stories of soldiers becoming disillusioned and refusing to fight), and two of the top IS commanders being killed in the past few days. It seems that the attacks in Europe represent a shift to that type of terrorism as they lose in the territory-grabbing attempt to establish a caliphate.