Recent terrorist attacks in Ankara, Turkey, and Berlin, Germany, add to a growing list of incidents that are becoming increasingly difficult to remember. Does one begin the list with the plane hijackings in the '60s and '70s, or the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, or the USS Cole attack in 2000, or the second World Trade Center attack in 2001, or Ft. Hood, San Bernardino, Orlando, Paris or Nice? And that's not all of them, nor will it be the end of them, if we don't have a better response.
During the great wave of immigration in the early 20th century, the United States barred those afflicted with tuberculosis, venereal disease, trachoma and other serious diseases from entering the country. Now a different kind of infection is invading Europe and increasingly the United States. It's called radical Islamic terrorism. The West continues to admit people from terrorist countries, people who have been infected with this killer disease, seemingly fearing the affliction less than being labeled intolerant.
How is that working out? So afraid of being charged with Islamophobia, German Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted more than 1 million refugees in 2015 from nations that breed terrorists. It was inevitable that some would come to destroy rather than assimilate.
Mounting evidence that many of these people are time bombs waiting to explode still fails to open eyes that have been deliberately shut.
Take the case of a 24-year-old Tunisian named Anis Amri, the suspect in the Berlin Christmas market attack, shot dead by authorities on Friday in Milan, Italy. Amri was one of a number of suspected terrorists who have come from Tunisia, a country that has reportedly sent more fighters to Syria than any other. The Charlie Hebdo attacker was Tunisian, as was the man who drove a truck into a crowd in Nice on Bastille Day, killing 86 people. ISIS had urged similar attacks be made and, apparently, the Berlin suspect obeyed.
The UK Daily Mail reports Amri was jailed four years ago in Italy for burning down a school. He also was arrested three times in Germany before giving police the slip earlier this month. German authorities reportedly were in touch with Tunisian officials to get Amri a passport so he could be deported. But Tunis rejected the request, saying it had no record of his ever being a citizen.
Was this a lie, or was he a plant? We may never know.
Chancellor Merkel's response to all of this is a case of too little, too late. She wants to ban Muslim women from wearing full-face veils. That is a political move, not a strategic one. It will not deter terrorists from their mission, as more enter Germany hidden among legitimate refugees.
Responding to the latest terrorist attacks, President-elect Donald Trump said he has been proved "100 percent correct" when it comes to his plans to curtail Muslim immigrants from nations that spawn terrorists. Given the number already in Europe or those who have been self-radicalized and allowed into the U.S., it may be too late.
The West can either acquiesce or fight back. Trump wants to fight back. It's better than waiting for the next attack, hoping we're not the target.
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Cal Thomas, America's most-syndicated columnist, is the author of 10 books.