Republican (for the moment) presidential candidate Donald Trump continues his monopolization of the media spotlight with more provocative statements concerning his strategy on defeating the radicalized Islamic terror threat facing America.
On Wednesday, Mr. Trump was chatting it up on Fox and Friends about the continued ISIS threat, and outlined a plan that begins with slaughtering the families of terrorists, suspected or otherwise. According to Trump, “When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families!” He continued with, “They, they care about their lives, don’t kid yourself. But they say they don’t care about their lives. You have to take out their families,” much to the shock of his Fox hosts.
More recently, on December 7th, the Republican front-runner announced his newest concept in addressing America’s national security nightmare. While speaking to a packed crowd in South Carolina, Trump stated his intention to completely restrict entry to all individuals of the Muslim faith. He goes on to say, “Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.” As usual, specific details on how he plans to implement such a controversial policy were decidedly absent. True to character, Trump was long on outlandish statements and short on policy specifics. This reactive/reactionary-type campaign scheme has served politicians quite well (most recently Republicans, but Democrats are no stranger to this. LBJ’s Daisy commercial in ’64 anyone?), and Trump’s no different, despite his claims to the contrary.
Without a doubt, America has serious security concerns and drastic response measures should be considered. In fact, as we live in extraordinary times, it seems logical that extraordinary measures should be entertained. However, at what cost? Should we trample on the freedoms outlined in the 239-year-old Bill of Rights and begin a new era of religious fascism similar to that of Saudi Arabia or even Iran? Is that a cost we are willing to impose on ourselves and our children? This slippery slope, once begun, could easily lead to the banning of all religions, ultimately resulting in a country unrecognizable as that which so many died to preserve.
Placing restrictions on immigration is a reasonable measure for our government to debate and consider. Limiting or even the complete restriction of immigration by individuals traveling to the U.S. from specific nations such as Syria or Libya, though drastic, is certainly not unthinkable. But placing immigration restrictions based on religious faith is not only un-American (read your history, folks), it is exactly what ISIS and groups of their kind are begging the West to implement. This “solution” is anything but one that will provide the security we so desperately seek.
By feeding into this hysteria-fueled hype, we are playing into the hands of our enemies. These Islamic extremists would love nothing more than the American government to start isolating and segregating the entire Muslim community, empowering their hate-fueled, anti-American rhetoric. Not so long ago, we put fear in the driver’s seat of American foreign policy to catastrophic results, the effects of which created an enemy far more virulent than our worst fears. Should we allow the same political tactics to influence America’s response and simply hope for a different outcome? That’s insanity and profoundly counterproductive. Perhaps it serves our interests better to focus on more effective measures.
Such measures could involve redoubling the ranks of our special operations forces and creating strategies that include the development of multinational tactical operations groups. Take hold of the initiative by taking the fight to their borders and on our terms, exploiting their weaknesses and playing to our strengths.
According to Malcom Nance, a former U.S. intelligence officer, we need to better focus on destroying not only their ability to challenge us on the battlefield, but annihilating their logistical capabilities—devastating their infrastructure. His plan would involve laying siege to more than two dozen ISIS strongholds, overwhelming their offensive abilities. Nance goes on to say we must isolate them in the cities and cripple their logistical capacity by strategically forcing their hand, coercing them into fighting a mobile battle. In this manner, we can more effectively employ our superior air-strike capabilities. Play toward American strengths and against ISIS’s weaknesses.
He stresses that creating a pan-Arab JSOTF and ensuring the heavy participation of regional fighters such as those from the Free Syrian Army, Iraqi special forces, and Kurdish fighters, along with a U.S. special operator (ideally on a 3:1 basis), is a key to success. These asymmetrical, nonlinear warfare tactics will turn the table on ISIS, placing them on the defensive—a weak position militarily.
Ultimately, this conflict must be won both on the battlefield and in the minds of our people and those in the conflict region, severing the ideological attraction that continues to fill their ranks. Nance’s plan by itself will not eradicate ISIS or other radicalized Islamic elements, but it’s a step in the right direction and decidedly more effective than Trump’s nonsensical, Orwellian approach to this complex national-security horror show. This further solidifies our need for a candidate with the background and proficiency that can only come with real-world experience. History provides insight to the dangers of placing naïve and incompetent men in positions beyond their depth, and similar choices tend to produce similar results.
Whatever political leanings you associate with—far-left liberal, middle-of-the-road, far-right conservative, or a combination of them all—there’s one factor we can agree on: America’s need for experienced and highly qualified leaders. These unprecedented times require a skilled and versatile executive willing to surround themselves with equally qualified and proficient advisors. Say what you will about GWB (and I share most of those grievances), he knew his limits and packed his cabinet accordingly.
Tenacious and adept at printing money, going broke, and doubling down to rise to new heights, Donald Trump is a talented businessman, and his rise after failure and bankruptcy is admirable. However, he is woefully unprepared for the complexities of global relations and foreign diplomacy, a fact which his mouth proves beyond a doubt on a weekly basis. Whether American voters can differentiate a presidential election from a cable reality show before more lasting damage occurs is anyone’s guess.
(Featured image courtesy of businessinsider.com)
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