Kyl fears post-Sept. 11 unity is fraying, calls for battling ‘militant Islamist’ views

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) marked the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks Saturday by warning that unity in the fight against extremist Islamists is eroding.

“Tomorrow and beyond, we should recapture the unity that allowed us to come together as a nation to confront a determined enemy,” he said in the GOP weekly address, later adding: “The ninth anniversary of 9/11 should cause us to think hard about the enemy that attacked us and will do so again if we relax our efforts.”

Kyl said “unity” after the attacks enabled the Patriot Act and other intelligence upgrades, victories against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, and military operations in Iraq that “helped turned the tide” against al Qaeda there.

“These and other actions have made us safer; but, ironically, the very fact that we have less fear of being attacked has frayed the bonds of unity that enabled us to act so boldly in the aftermath of the attack,” Kyl said in marking the anniversary of the attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that killed nearly 3,000 people.

“The fact that none of the subsequent attempts to attack us have succeeded seems to have removed some of the urgency and commitment so necessary to succeed in war,” Kyl added.

His remarks steered clear of the sharply partisan tone that typically runs through the parties’ weekly addresses. But Kyl did say that, “Some in our government have even refused to speak the name of our adversary lest they somehow offend.”

“The enemy is the militant Islamist ideology that candidly, boldly and uncompromisingly seeks to destroy liberal western culture and governments and replace them with the medieval concept of an Islamist caliphate governed by Sharia law,” he said, comparing it to communism and noting “the concept is totalitarian and relies on brute force, intimidation and subtle manipulation.”

Kyl’s speech also noted the distinction between radical Islamists and other Muslims. “It is . . . important to differentiate this militant political ideology from the Muslim faith practiced by over a billion people all around the globe. Focus on Islam rather than the real adversary diverts attention and insults those Muslims,” he said.