We have noticed an alarming number of people wildly declaring that “statements like that only help our enemy” in response to the recent comments by Presidential candidate Donald Trump.
First, to be clear, Mr. Trump was wrong for what he said and how he said it primarily because a person intending to run for President needs to be much clearer and more careful when making important policy announcements. But, what we find amazing is how many people are now using the claim that Trump’s comments are only helping ISIS, apparently out of concern that people will become radicalized merely as a result of something said by others.
So, today’s article will focus on the Veteran’s Perspective regarding this wave of announcements and accusations. In short, we believe the trend to “squelch” free speech on the grounds that it is helping our enemy is very dangerous. Here is why:
Squelching Free Speech is an Objective of Terrorism – Terrorism’s purpose is “scare” us into conceding to “their” agenda. The thought that we should exclude certain policy options because it will incite more terrorism is exactly the objective of the terrorists.
Logic Does NOT Hold True – Radical Islamic groups are and have been recruiting new members rather consistently for many, many years. They have actually become quite adept at rallying support regardless of what the West does. Simply put, whatever we do or say is put into rallying cries.
Our Mere Existence is a Recruiting Poster for Jihadists – What is ironic is that most ordinary expressions of Western life are recruiting posters for Jihadists – women driving, gay marriage, freedom of expression, secular life in general, etc. etc. etc.
Extreme Hypocrisy – Both sides of the partisan political “war” are now using these arguments when it supports their particular partisan slant, but these same people completely ignore the same concern when it does not support their cause. It is hard to find politicians or talking heads who demonstrate consistency. As Veterans many of us have heard horribly false, slanted and/or exaggerated comments about our military or its actions by political figures and talking heads which clearly would meet their own “makes us less safe” standard without widespread bipartisan expressions of concern.
Enough Recruits to Kill 3,000 Americans – As uncomfortable as it may be to do so, we must acknowledge that this is essentially the same enemy that attacked us on 9/11. A focus on their ability to recruit new members since 9/11 obviously fails to address the reality of the situation. We have an enemy who declared war on us and our way of life a long time ago. This enemy exists and will not subside if we simply watch what we say to avoid making people angry.
Politicized Reporting Just as Guilty – Rarely are events and statements reported by mainstream media accurately and without partisan “spin.” Yes, Trump’s statement were worthy of criticism. However, the injection of emotional and partisan opinions by reporters or commentators often make those statements even worse. So, if one truly believed that Trump’s statement was irresponsible and made us less safe, by portraying that statement in the worst possible light or without complete context thereby furthers the offense. Put another way, the national mainstream media has now spent three consecutive days covering several somewhat ridiculous statements that were immediately widely denounced.
Bottom Line – Not About Tolerance – Radical Islamic terrorism is not about our lack of tolerance. The entire country could be united in terms of tolerance and acceptance of the Muslim faith and this enemy will continue to attack us. That’s not to say we should not be tolerant. The point is that it is incorrect and a false narrative to believe that they are attacking us because we are not tolerant of their religion.
Hate speech is and always will be bad and needs to be pointed out when it occurs. But, the reason for doing so is not so we can prevent others from recruiting terrorists. As we teach our children at very young ages, even if they are very upset by something somebody told them, they still do not have the right to kill people.