Trump is a Tool, but not an ISIS Recruiting Tool
I’m not a Trump supporter. I’d rather immolate myself than vote for him. The man is half lunatic, half moron, and half douchebag. He’s a rich, arrogant tool.
But he’s not an ISIS recruiting tool.
Muslim terrorists don’t hate us because Trump says offensive things about them. They hate us because of who they are, not because of what we do. This isn’t as simple as “don’t make them mad and they won’t attack us.”
ISIS will attack us because they think they’re supposed to. If we’re polite and civil to them, they’ll be in a good mood when they attack. If we’re rude and offensive, they’ll be in a bad mood when they attack. Either way, they’ll attack.
In the face of a new terror threat that’s rapidly becoming existential, America has erected a vast, impenetrable barrier of self-loathing and victim blaming. Every attack by Muslim terrorists evokes shouted comparisons to “The Crusades! Slavery! Attacks on Planned Parenthood!” from the intended victims. ISIS doesn’t have to morally justify their brutal crimes, because Americans do it for them.
Yes, the Crusades were bad. The Muslim invasions of Europe, which started almost 400 years before the first crusade, were also bad. Slavery was bad in every culture that practiced it, which was pretty much every culture on earth including African cultures. Americans fought a war to eradicate slavery, and ended it long before many other countries (the African country of Mauritania didn’t outlaw slavery until the 1980s). The Planned Parenthood attack in Colorado was bad, and was in fact terrorism. But even if it was equally bad as ISIS massacres in principle, it wasn’t equally bad in its effect. If every life is precious, 130 murders are worse than three.
For every atrocity our enemies commit, they (and their American apologists) can point to some historical atrocity that equaled it. We could do the same thing. And no matter how desperately we seek moral equivalence, in a hundred years our descendants won’t be justified in massacring innocent Muslims because ISIS is massacring innocent non-Muslims today.
But too many Americans keep thinking Muslim terrorists are motivated by our actions rather than their own beliefs. Our President has been saying for some time that “[Guantanamo Bay] is used by terrorists around the world to help recruit jihadists.” Yet 9/11, the worst terrorist attack in our nation’s history, happened before we started putting terror suspects in Gitmo. So did the USS Cole attack. So did Khobar towers. So did the African embassy bombings. So did the first World Trade Center bombing. So did the Beirut Marine barracks bombing. If holding terror suspects in Gitmo is such a huge recruiting tool for terrorism, what tool got so many terrorists to carry out so many terror attacks before Gitmo opened? And would closing Gitmo do anything more than restore us to the pre-Gitmo status quo, when terrorists wanted to kill us for non-Gitmo reasons?
Now the presumptive democratic presidential nominee has jumped on the “it’s our fault” bandwagon, claiming “[Trump] is becoming ISIS’s best recruiter. They are going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists.” Besides the fact that Hillary Clinton has no actual evidence to support that claim, does she really think aspiring terrorists are saying “I was going to be a peaceful moderate, but then Trump said Muslims shouldn’t be allowed into America! Now I’ll blow myself up for Allah!”?
And actually, Trump isn’t in the latest ISIS video. But President Obama, VP Biden, G.W. Bush and Bill Clinton are. You heard that right; Obama and Biden, “liar” George Bush and “adulterer” Bill Clinton are being used as ISIS recruiting tools.
Whatever the recruiting tool, ISIS isn’t hurting for recruits and had a steady supply of volunteers long before Trump went full Trump. Estimates of ISIS manpower run as high as 200,000. And that estimate is from February, before Trump’s comments about Muslims. We’ve even recently heard that more British Muslims have joined ISIS than have joined the British military.
(This is bad news; however, the claim has been challenged partly because some of those British Muslims joined other jihadist groups but were included in ISIS numbers. This gives us the good news that British Muslims serve ISIS and the British military in near-equal numbers. So there’s that.)
And ISIS doesn’t rely on the actions of the Great Satan to lure recruits. In its magazine Dabiq ISIS does quote hawks like John McCain, but puts more emphasis on the word of god, the duty of all non-apostate Muslims to join ISIS’s jihad, the paradise awaiting martyrs, etc. It has interviews with martyrs before their deaths. It calls its fighters terrorists and shows them decapitating prisoners. It even shows, as a recruiting tool, pictures of dead ISIS fighters. It tells Muslims who can’t make the trip to Syria to kill non-Muslims wherever they are.
They were doing this before Trump opened his stupid mouth. Muslims were heeding ISIS’s call by the tens of thousands before Trump. Muslims following ISIS orders or suggestions killed 130 people in Paris, fourteen in San Bernardino and tried to kill who knows how many in Garland, Texas. That was all pre-Trump.
Why does anyone think ISIS cares so much about what we say? If ISIS followers keep committing mass murders, of course we’re going to respond negatively. Of course we’re going to reevaluate our refugee policies. Of course we’re going to take a hard look at who’s a threat and who’s not. ISIS knows this. Who really believes ISIS commands its followers to kill us all, then whines “They said mean things about us!” after its followers try to kill us all?
Let’s stop pretending ISIS only hates us because we’re bad people. ISIS hates us because ISIS is full of bad people. No, we’re not perfect, and we don’t have an unblemished foreign policy history. But if supporting dictators or using proxy armies to fight our enemies creates terrorism, then legions of Vietnamese suicide bombers should be attacking America. They’re not, because Vietnamese communists aren’t possessed by an ideology that encourages massacring civilians.
ISIS is possessed of such an ideology, and is proud of it. That 1400 year-old ideology is why they want to kill us. Trump is a clown, but even the democratic party can’t accuse him of creating ISIS ideology. Trump has done a million other stupid things he deserves blame for, but he’s not an ISIS recruiting tool. So stop looking for ways to blame America for Islamic terrorism, and start laying blame on the people who actually are terrorists.
Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for BreachBangClear.com and Iron Mike magazine and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).
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Tags: hillary, ISIS, trump