Belgian train attack magnifies Western vulnerability to terrorism

The aborted attack on a Thalys train in Belgium exemplifies just how vulnerable we are in the West to terrorism.


CHARLOTTE, N.C., Aug. 24, 2015 – The aborted attack on a Thalys train in Belgium exemplifies just how vulnerable we are in the West to terrorism. Unfortunately, it’s going to get worse.

Because we still refuse to recognize the dangers of the spreading cancer of Islamist extremism, we continue to use political correctness to ignore those dangers, and, thanks to many of our Western leaders, we still attempt to appease the unappeasable nature of Islamic beliefs.

As Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch correctly points out, “There are many more Islamic jihadis than authorities like to admit, as they like to pretend that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam, and to ignore and downplay the appeal that the Islamic State has for so many young Muslims in the West.”

It is a major problem that is not being addressed by an American president who is enabling the very process that we should be fighting. Not that Barack Obama could readily solve the nightmare of Islamic extremism, but he certainly could go a long way toward reducing or minimizing its global resurgence.

“Certainly the Islamic State is trying to overwhelm law enforcement agencies by the sheer volume of jihad plots they have to deal with; but the agencies make themselves more vulnerable by denying the motivating ideology of jihad terror and pretending that its causes are other than what they are,” continues Spencer.

On the same day as the attack on the train in Belgium, a senior member of Belgium’s counter-terrorism police unit, Alain Grignard, said, the terrorist threat has “never been higher in all the years I’ve been working. It boils down to mathematics and it’s all linked to the Syria dynamic.”

Raffaello Pantucci, a terrorism expert in London, reinforced Grignard’s opinion, saying that authorities are aware of many people with the mindset and postential to do something, but what officials do not know is which ones will actually launch an attack.

Continued Pantucci, “It’s a very resource-intensive job. You need three shifts with several people, and equipment and vehicles, to watch someone 24 hours a day. Intelligence agencies just aren’t big enough to do that for everyone.”

Even at that, there are no guarantees that homegrown jihadists will not slip beneath the radar simply because they know and understand the subtleties of their cultures.

The problem is, rather than provide law enforcement and terrorism experts with the proper tools to confront the problems head-on, more often than not Western diplomats are ready-to-the-microphone to condemn such acts or willing to march in the streets in solidarity while shouting words of defiance, but all of those responses are empty. They carry no weight, and the extremists know it, all while planning their next attack.

“Negotiate” is the watchword of the times. “A deal with Islamists is better than the alternatives,” our learned leaders tell us as Islamic jihadists continue to build their bombs, sever heads from bodies, stone innocent women or fry non-Muslims alive. All of this under the never-ending mantra that Islam is “religion of peace.” Imagine what it would be like if Islam was “a religion of hate.”

How much glaring evidence does it take for Western leaders to acknowledge that there is a problem that is growing to overwhelming proportions that soon could be out of the realm of being semi-controllable?

A recent analogy making the rounds on the Internet provided a logical perspective. The story is about a rancher in Texas who related that he came across a rattlesnake on his front porch one morning. His immediate reaction was to kill it.

The snake didn’t hurt him, but the Texan knew of the threat and he eliminated it. In fact, rattlesnake sightings were common at his ranch, and each time he saw one, his solution was the same; he killed it.

The rancher did not try to talk to the snake. He did not attempt to feed it. He did not ignore it. He knew the danger it represented so he killed it.

Now the analogy does not mean that we should indiscriminantly kill any Islamist because of the potential danger he represents. On the other hand, just being aware of that danger and recognizing that his cultural upbringing teaches him that non-Muslims are the enemy, should, at the very least, make reasonable thinking people suspicious.

Suspicious because Islamists have done nothing whatsoever to alleviate any reason for being wary, and even so-called moderate Muslims do little, if anything, to challenge those who kill in the name of Allah.

The time has come for the West to wake up to the growing realities of our vulnerability.

Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award-winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe.

Taylor is founder of the Magellan Travel Club (

Read more of What in the World and Bob Taylor at Communities Digital News

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