Law enforcement and intelligence officials continue to gather evidence on the motivation Wednesday's mass murder in San Bernardino, Calif., but nearly all indications thus far suggest Islamist radicalization was a significant factor.
Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people at an office party for county workers, Farook's colleagues, and later were killed in a shootout with law enforcement officers. Preliminary investigative work already has found that Farook was radicalized and communicated with extremists.
It should not surprise anyone as Steve Emerson and the Investigative Project on Terrorism have been sounding the alarm on the manifestations of radical Islam in the West for two decades.
There are consequences to discounting weak immigration controls, caliphates in the Middle East and Libya and Muslim Brotherhood front organizations such as the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) which have access to loud microphones which are used routinely try to divide law enforcement and American Muslims.
They all create abundant space and time for Islamist terrorism to emerge in the West. Missing documents in failed states facilitate the nearly unrestricted movement of jihadists under the guise of refugees across borders. Wholly owned murderous jihadist states provide the freedom to prepare and instigate attacks, as well as write and disseminate ideology through sophisticated propaganda measures.
The threat is in fact very real.
In recent weeks, jihadists unleashed an onslaught in Paris that left 130 innocent men, women and children dead. In February a radicalized gunman opened fire on a free speech debate and synagogue in Copenhagen. A month before, jihadists committed a massacre at the Paris office of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and at a nearby kosher market.
The San Bernardino murders prove that the U.S. is not immune, and it's not like it hasn't happened before.
A California college student reportedly carrying an ISIS flag, references to Allah and writings about beheadings recently stabbed four innocent people. In May, jihadists armed with AK-47s attacked hundreds of people at an event in Garland, Texas that sponsored a Muhammad cartoon exhibit and contest. In 2009, Major Nidal Hasan opened fire and killed 13 people, mostly unarmed service members at Fort Hood, screaming "Allahu Akbar."
They were all aided and abetted by a president that is absolutely incapable of uttering the words "radical Islam." The administration banned the words from the halls of the White House, any reference is nowhere to be found in Obama's statement on the most recent Paris massacre, scrubbed the FBI training manual of any text that might offend Muslims, described the Fort Hood murders as "workplace violence" and regularly hosts top level meetings with representatives from the Muslim Brotherhood.
Law enforcement and intelligence need to conduct a thorough investigation to determine all possible causes and links to terrorist organizations, but Americans can no longer accept the administration's willful blindness to reality.
It is Islamist terrorism. Radical Islam and all of its barbaric, evil elements fundamentally hate Western liberal democracies based upon basic Judeo-Christian values. Such attacks will only become more common and more violent until the president – after seven years in office – and America finally takes the threat seriously.
Pete Hoekstra is the Shillman Senior Fellow with the Investigative Project on Terrorism and the former Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He is the author of "Architects of Disaster: The Destruction of Libya."