Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey vowed today that ISIS “will eventually collapse under the weight of their own contradictions” — with “a little help from coalition partners.”
Dempsey and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter were asked at a Pentagon press conference today about the Department of Homeland Security alert about the potential for an ISIS attack over the Fourth of July — and whether ISIS has evolved into more of a threat against the homeland.
“Well, I mean, we are coming into a holiday time. We’re always vigilant at holiday time, we’re always vigilant as an institution about force protection and protecting our people, and ISIL is another reason and a — and as I’m sure Homeland Security has indicated for vigilance,” Carter said, adding “it does have to do with the social media angle.”
“And what that suggests is that in a — the era of social media, a phenomenon like ISIL, unlike al-Qaeda of the old days, there doesn’t have to be and won’t necessarily be a command-and-control relationship between somebody who instigates an incident and ISIL as an organization. They are self-radicalized, self-organized people on social media,” he continued.
“Are we concerned about that? Absolutely, we’re concerned about it. And that has been seen in Europe, so that’s a sign that in the United States, as in Europe and other places in the world, we have to be concerned about it, and we obviously are.”
Asked if he felt powerless or defenseless against ISIS’ brand of “insidious threat,” Carter stressed that “we are not powerless.”
“It just happens not to be the responsibility of the Department of Defense, although we participate in that,” the Defense secretary added. “It is an intelligence community and homeland security and law enforcement mission, which they take very seriously and very persistently, and I think the warning that you indicated shows they’re doing that at this holiday time for America.”
Dempsey noted that the threat “also coincides with from Ramadan, and the call went for increased attacks during Ramadan, which is why you see us maintaining a higher alert status.”
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan ends July 17.
“No, we’re not powerless,” Dempsey said. “In fact, I think the very things that threaten — you know, we’re a significant threat to ISIL, because everything we believe in is completely opposite of what they believe in — every bit of freedom, every bit of diversity, every bit of civic freedoms and religious freedoms, is exactly opposite to what they espouse.”
Carter called ISIS “a little reminder, as that is, of why we celebrate the Fourth of July in the first place.”