The Corner

Politics & Policy

If Terror Group al-Shabaab Cites Trump in Their Video… So What?

From the first Morning Jolt of 2016:

If Terror Group al-Shabaab Cites Trump in Their Video… So What?

Yesterday morning, Trump fumed that the media’s coverage of a new video from an al-Qaeda affiliated group was “disgusting.”

DONALD TRUMP: I watched NBC this morning, and it was a total lie what they said, maybe she was wrong, maybe she was right, because it wasn’t done then. She said it was ISIS, it was al-Shabaab, and of course at some point they’re going to do something, I’m the frontrunner by a lot, so they’re going to do something, what does that mean, we’re not supposed to speak about the enemy, everybody knows everyone is going to be in a propaganda. Her husband is in a propaganda. Part of ISIS’s, I think it’s an ISIS. They put him down as a “degenerate.”

So, you know, its like, one of those things. But it wasn’t ISIS, it wasn’t made at the time. She lied. 

But I watched mainstream media — ABC and NBC, and the way they cover it, and frankly, CNN, they covered it so inaccurately, it was disgusting and they should be ashamed of themselves.

A simpler, easier defense of Trump: If ISIS or an al-Qaeda-affiliated group cite an American politician in their videos… so what? Since when do we care what these guys think? What, are trying to not offend them?

Trump offends Muslims? Trump offends a lot of people. There was a time when it was okay to say offensive things in the country, before “Charlie Hebdo,” before the President of the United States stood before the United Nations and declared, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

Immediately preceding the video’s use of Trump is a statement from Anwar al-Awlaki, the American terror leader who was killed in a drone strike in 2011. Do you think drone strikes offend or rile up terrorist groups? Should we stop doing those, too?

In the debate, Hillary Clinton said, “I worry greatly that the rhetoric coming from the Republicans, particularly Donald Trump, is sending a message to Muslims here in the United States and literally around the world that there is a clash of civilizations, that there is some kind of western plot or even war against Islam, which then I believe fans the flames of radicalization.”

How can you look at Paris, San Bernardino, or any ISIS video and not think that there is a clash of civilizations, or at least a clash of visions of what civilization must be? On one side, ISIS and al-Qaeda (yes, I know they see each other as rivals); on the other side, the West. Since 9/11, the Muslim world, a billion strong, has split, debated, flipped back and forth, and equivocated.

“Fans the flames of radicalization” — can we please stop blaming ourselves for Muslims’ decision to radicalize? Can we please top believing that somehow we drive them into embracing a philosophy of mass murder? This is not our fault. This is not Donald Trump’s fault. This is the fault of the people who believe that the best way they can practice their faith is to run around killing non-Muslims. Stop letting them off the hook, and claiming that they were somehow forced to commit these atrocities because of something we said or did.

This is classic “empathize with our enemies” thinking…

“This is what we call smart power: using every possible tool and partner to advance peace and security, and leaving no one on the sidelines, showing respect, even for one’s enemies, trying to understand and insofar as psychologically possible empathize with their perspective and point of view. …”

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