Here is a good thought experiment: Would you rather a country bar you from entry or have that country bomb your house?
This question has not occurred to President Obama, Hillary Clinton, the mainstream media, or bleeding heart liberals like Dick Cheney and Paul Ryan. The nation’s most powerful political leaders, and most influential commentators, seem to find great gratification by puffing out their chests, furrowing their brows, and condemning Donald Trump’s latest exhibition of stupidity – the idea of issuing an immigration ban on Muslims. Ryan was particularly indignant as he attempted to save his party’s already scarred and disfigured face from the ever escalating public relations nightmare that is the Trump candidacy. “What was proposed yesterday,” Ryan referred to Trump’s idea to ban Muslims while pointing his finger in the mode of a disciplinary school teacher, “is not what this country stands for.”
Former Vice President Dick Cheney also questioned that Americanism of the proposal with his own variation on the familiar turn of phrase, claiming that such a ban would “go against everything we stand for.” President Obama, eager to join the fun, denounced Trump’s plan as “bigotry,” and encouraged Americans to “hold fast to our values.”
The values for which America stands, and must hold fast, do not include a moratorium on Muslim immigration, but according to bipartisan consensus, they do include routinely killing Muslims in multiple countries.
Since 2002, the United States has invaded and occupied two countries with predominantly Muslim populations – Iraq and Afghanistan – and on a weekly basis has bombed those same two countries, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and Pakistan. The evidence is overwhelming that the majority of the bombing victims are innocent civilians.
The Intercept recently obtained government documents acknowledging that ninety percent of drone strikes result in the loss of innocent life. The inevitability of civilian death from drone strike explains why Reprieve, a human rights organization, was able to empirically verify that even though America has targeted only 41 terrorists for “extrajudicial” assassination, it has killed 1,147 people.
Hillary Clinton recently indicted the buffoonish antics of Trump as “playing right into the hands of ISIS.” The presidential frontrunner is likely referring to the recruitment device anti-Islamic rhetoric creates for terrorist organizations that thrive on the demented idea that the West is at war against their religion. Considering that bombs and missiles are deadlier weapons of war than the mouth of Donald Trump, her analysis would apply even more severely to the invasion of Libya she oversaw as Secretary of State, and the relentless bombing campaign her former boss manages from the White House. The death of family and friends likely inspires more hatred for the United States than the incoherent speeches – no matter how hateful – of a delusional real estate mogul.
A Pew Research survey showed that fewer than half of Americans are concerned that drone strikes kill innocent people. The public’s tacit approval for the destruction of Muslim communities overseas might also draw the ire of people who have to live among the corpses and craters left after American drones fly through their skies.
Donald Trump seems dangerous and ignorant. Reasonable people, most especially the small remainder of rational Republicans, are right to oppose him. At point of writing, however, Trump has not participated in the killing of any Muslims, innocent or otherwise. Obama, Cheney and Clinton cannot make the same claim.
Americans, high and low, should proceed with caution when mentioning Muslims, human rights, and hospitality in the same sentence. Otherwise, the hypocrisy of criticizing mean words, while applauding or ignoring destructive actions might become rather obvious.
The discipline of the American political and intellectual class is astonishing, considering that in all the bluster coming from and surrounding Trump, no one in the mainstream discusses the actual damage and wreckage resulting from American bombs, war, and invasion. To summarize the prevailing American ethic: It is wrong to say we should not let Muslims in the country. It is fine to kill them.
People throughout the world, especially the victims, might begin to notice the inconsistency, and American officials and intellectuals might benefit from reacquainting themselves with the wisdom of children who recite rhymes about sticks and stones.