ON-Lion Letter

"The United States faces a fundamental challenge to its way of life," begins a December report from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, D.C.  "Al Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS), two groups that have already killed thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of Muslims, are waging war on the United States, our allies, and our friends as part of a general strategy to create a global caliphate.  As evidenced by their gains in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and South Asia, the extremists are no longer on the run and arguably are winning."

A Global Strategy for Combating al Qaeda and the Islamic State was researched and written by AEI's Foreign and Defense Policy team, which is substantially supported by Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

"[T]he extremists currently have momentum:  expanding the territory under their influence, increasing their access to safe havens, spreading their ideology, and raising their capabilities," it continues.

"[T]his will not be an easy or short conflict, and the country must be prepared politically, fiscally, militarily, and mentally for a long war," the report concludes.  "Given the long-term and continuous effort inherent in this strategy, building domestic support and bipartisan agreement is vital.  The risks of action seem clear and overwhelming, but the risks of inaction -- including the loss of key terrain to both groups, the creation of multiple safe havens for the extremists to plot against us, and the undermining of states around the globe -- are even more dire.

"As these conditions worsen, al Qaeda and/or ISIS will carry out a mass-casualty attack against the homeland:  it is a question of not if, but rather when.  Even more worrisome is our assessment that, if we fail to stop the extremists from taking territory and undermining states, al Qaeda or ISIS will obtain weapons of mass destruction; then it will be too late to act.  Preventing these outcomes will require a serious and prolonged effort, but it is an effort that is well worth the costs and risks for the United States and our allies and partners."

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