I recently caught up with New York Times’ bestseller Brad Thor to discuss his new book, Use of Force, which comes out June 27.
Ned Ryun: Were there any real-life events that inspired the writing of this book?
Brad Thor: A bunch. I call what I do “faction,” which is where you don’t know where the facts end and the fiction begins in my thrillers. The laptop discovered in a terrorist safe house is real, as were all the plots hidden on it. The ISIS/Mafia nexus is real, as is the attack methodology in the book. The smuggling background, the secret Spec Ops training base that was overrun and looted, and the tradecraft throughout Use of Force are also real. It is packed from cover-to-cover with real life details.
Ned Ryun: How has the current media and political environment affected your ability to “beat the headlines”? I feel that in some ways the mainstream media and the political elites have actually allowed you to look even more intelligent, if I can be so blunt.
Brad Thor: My process hasn’t changed. I conduct the same analysis before writing each book and refine it as I go. I’m constantly taking in new information and making little adjustments here and there. My greatest fear is that Use of Force may be too prophetic.
Ned Ryun: It still staggers me that some still think, quite naively, that Western values are universal. It’s my belief that this struggle between radical Islam and Western civilization is actually about the extremists trying to destroy our way of life and they will settle for nothing less. Your thoughts?
Brad Thor: I agree. They’re using the openness and values of the West in order to leverage their operations. Many of the attackers, we later learn, were on law enforcement or intelligence radar. It’s my opinion that we need to lower the prosecutorial bar. We have zero tolerance when it comes to child porn and it should be the same when it comes to jihadism. We need to make it easier to convict jihadists. Terror porn, sermons advocating violence against non-Muslims, calling for the overthrow of Western democracy in order to replace it with Sharia law, etc. are all things that run counter to human rights and western values. These are also the gateways to violent jihadism. This is where we should be focused, and identifying/dealing with these early stages of violent jihadism is the discussion we need to have if we want to impact Islamic terrorism. These “gateways” are not part of mainstream Islam, and all peaceful Muslims should agree that they have no part in our society.
Ned Ryun: I believe that in many ways, storytellers can be prophetic, by looking at the past, examining the present, and then projecting the future, almost like weather forecasting. Your thoughts on what all of this looks like for the future? Where do you think this great struggle between radical Islam and Western civilization goes?
Brad Thor: Soft target attacks will continue in the U.S. and Europe. You will also see more unstable people “cook off” and begin taking the law into their own hands, attacking innocent Muslims as we recently saw at the Finsbury Park Mosque in London. We will all continue to lose in this case. The best thing we can do to empower Muslim reformers is to keep up the pressure on the Islamic world to reform. When Islamic terror attacks happen, that is precisely the time we should be calling the Muslim world out; demanding that they take concrete steps to reform. We should also keep up unrelenting pressure for them to embrace true democracy across the Muslim world. Radical Islam takes root where there is no freedom and spreads its poison around the globe. The greatest counter to that poison is freedom.
Ned Ryun: Last question: I’m hearing rumors that Scot Harvath might actually be coming to the big screen. Is there any validity to these rumors?
Brad Thor: We have a fantastic screenplay by one of the best screenwriting teams in Hollywood, a phenomenal Director, and one of the best Directors of Photography in action movies today. It’s going to be awesome and we’re hoping to be casting soon!