Monday, August 15, 2016

Trump's Anti-ISIS Rollout, More a Fruit Roll-Up

Trump’s anti-ISIS rollout today was an example of how to stoke fear in the masses, provide nothing new in the way of strategy or tactics from the current policies in theater, and the rest deserves some careful scrutiny.

One of Trump’s most troubling foreign policy pillars was ‘to the victor goes the spoils,’ which is more a throwback to the Age of Imperialism then it is relevant in the modern era. He specifically discussed taking the oil in Iraq, and that we should have kept troops in Iraq for this sole purpose. This would not only make us occupiers but the worst sort, further feeding the recruitment narratives of the jihadists. 
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These are lessons we all should have learned from the ‘misadventure’ in Iraq over a decade ago. Trump, obviously, wasn’t paying attention.

He then discussed President Obama not backing Assad in Syria as being the main reason for the turmoil and unrest there. This is in complete denial of what Assad has done to his own people. Assad has used barrel bombs, chemical weapons, and other heinous human rights abominations on non-military targets for years. Russia has only sought to bolster the Assad regime, attack civilian targets loyal to rebels, and have done little to nothing to actually engage ISIS from the air or on the ground. (

Yet, it is Assad and Russia that Trump sides with, the two forces within Syria that aren’t attacking ISIS. Of course, it’s easy to have disagreements with President Obama’s handling and strategy of the Syrian crisis.
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In an effort to create more fear and Islamophobia, Trump depicted the story of a woman who received a fiancĂ© visa, as if this is how any of the Syrian refugees would enter the country. He didn’t actually outline how to stop such extremists from entering the country in this manner. 

In reality, the refugee programs require such a long process for any individuals or families to journey to America, about two years on average, and are made up nearly entirely of women and children, only 2% being males of combat age, that it has no corollary with extremists entering the country through the visa programs. In all of the refugees that have entered the country from the Middle East and Afghanistan conflicts, a handful have actually ever even been arrested for any crimes, let alone been involved in terrorism. (
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(“2% are single males of combat age”

Trump wants to try all foreign combatants in military courts. The problem with this approach is that it has all but completely failed to lock up many military combatants thus far. The American judicial system, on the other hand, has had amazing success at trying and receiving convictions from juries and judges for terrorists. (

In fact, there’s a rich history of trying “civilians charged with crimes of war” in American courts and not in military tribunals.(

In retrospect, despite Trump’s amazingly poor ability to read off a teleprompter, if you actually examine his actual policy proposals to combat ISIS, he outlines failed policies that would further entrench the United States in foreign wars, align us with the worst actors in the region, and double down on fear and animosity over the effective and competent. 

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