Trump Campaign: The Donald’s 5-Point Plan to Defeat Islam

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Donald J. Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, went on MSNBC touting the Republican candidate’s “5-point plan to defeat Islam.” She later clarified that she meant “radical Islamic terrorism.” But in fact her candidate has often spoken as Islam in general as his target, as when he said “Islam hates us.”

Kellyanne Conway on Trump’s plan to “defeat Islam”

It is a little mysterious what Trump’s 5-point plan to defeat Islam might be. Here are some things he’s suggested, though, and many of these steps do concern all Muslims in a blanket fashion, not just radicals.

1. Ban Muslims from coming to the United States

2. Put mosques under surveillance

3. Put all Muslims in a Federal database

4. Torture Muslims suspects; I mean, not just waterboarding, but really really torturing them.

5. Take Muslim family members hostage to ensure good conduct.

These policies are unconstitutional. The First Amendment forbids the Federal government from establishing a state religion (despite the continued yearning of some Evangelicals for such an enforced theocracy). Discriminating against one religion is therefore illegal. Spying on Muslims not proven to have done something wrong is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Torture is a violation of the 8th amendment and of the 5th amendment promise of due process. Kidnapping and threatening innocents isn’t just unconstitutional, it is a Federal crime.

Islamophobes in the US often hide behind weasel words like “radical Islamic terrorism” when they actually intend to target all Muslims. Besides, that phrase is clearly just propaganda, since it is redundant and hyperbolic. Could there be “moderate” terrorism? If not, then “radical” is superfluous. And the problem is Muslim terrorism, not “Islamic terrorism,” since Islam forbids terrorism. And if the problem is terrorism done by Muslims (defined as targeting civilians for violence in order to coerce public policy), then why is that so much worse than terrorism done by Christians, Jews, Buddhists or Hindus, or just by white supremacists (the main terrorism threat inside the United States)?

Conway’s “slip” was probably more revealing than she would have wanted it to be.

Since Americans are often insular and poorly informed by their ramshackle school system and shoddy mass media (and you have to wonder if the corporations like it that way), they may not realize that there are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world out of 7.4 billion human beings, i.e. about 1 in every 5 persons is Muslim. Only one in every 24 is an American. While the US is a rich and powerful country, it isn’t richer and more powerful than a fifth of humankind, and if those are the terms of struggle, then the US will lose.

But of course those aren’t the terms. Despite what many Republican politicians say, Muslims are mostly allies of the United States. Turkey is a NATO ally. Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Pakistan and others are designated non-NATO allies.

But if people like Trump keep targeting ordinary Muslims as opposed to al-Qaeda and ISIL, then those alliances could easily shift way from the US.

As for Muslim radicalism, we didn’t hear much about it decades ago. You have to ask where it came from. Reagan stirred it up in Afghanistan to bother Moscow. And then Bush illegally invaded and occupied a major Arab Muslim nation, destabilizing it for the long term.

The best five point plan to defeat Muslim radicalism would be to stop using Muslim radicals (as the US is still doing in Syria) and to stop screwing Muslims over.

But those steps wouldn’t be the Trump Way.

24 Responses

  1. You write — truthfully and artfully — “The best five point plan to defeat Muslim radicalism would be to stop using Muslim radicals (as the US is still doing in Syria) and to stop screwing Muslims over.

    But those steps wouldn’t be the Trump Way.”

    I won’t say that “… using Muslim radicals (as the US is still doing in Syria) and to stop screwing Muslims over …” is exactly the policy that Barack Obama and/or Hillary Clinton would prefer. (Perhaps I need them to be better than that.)

    However, these things are certainly the policies that our American national defense and “intelligence” agencies (which Obama and Clinton variously do, have and will formally supervise) do actually engage in.

    I’m not one with the critics who emphasize the cynicism of “it’s all corrupt and conspiratorial” and have no suggestions to offer to better the situation. I’m more like, now it’s time to lobby Hillary (and your local Democrats) that we expect the new administration to challenge the spies and the generals more than Barack ever did, and get some better policies in place. Most likely these policies will have to be most subtle, more possibly contradictory of each other or some national myth in some way, more difficult perhaps to explain , yet worth the effort in the long run.

  2. It seems to me that torture, water boarding and rendition to other countries for more enhanced methods of torture, were around years ago long before any of us had ever heard of Trump. The hands of former American and British governments are stained with the blood of Muslims in the middle East. When Hillary Clinton laughed and clapped her hands in a debauched frenzy of glee when she heard that Gaddafi had been murdered and tortured by being bayoneted in the rectum, saying “we came, we saw, he died”, political rhetoric had sunk to new depths. Trump and his associates have got a very long way to go to match anything previous American and British governments are capable of.

  3. not just waterboarding, but really really torturing them

    Waterboarding is clearly the professional way of torturing. This already is as barbaric as it gets.

    There certainly are more visually brutal techniques, such as dismemberment and boiling people alive, (which have been outsourced to allies, btw). However, what are these going to accomplish that stress positions, sleep deprivation, and recurring waterboarding will not, apart from leaving a lot of material evidence behind?

    While maybe inadvertent and guided by the understandable fear of Trump, buying into the idea that there is some form of torture lite or enhanced interrogation in Newspeak is making excuses for the torture done under previous administrations*.

    Let’s use the specter of Trump to ask some hard questions about what’s already been done under a more enlightened PR-facade.

    *While waterboarding was initiated by Cheney, let’s not get too comfortable with the Democrats as the political prisoners in Guantanamo still have feeding tubes forced down their noses on a daily basis. Generally, when looked at dispassionately, clearly the main shift in policy has been from taking prisoners to assassinating suspects extra-judicially through drone-strikes, so no more use for torture techniques.

    • Of course, he has a long way to go. He’s never had elected office and no real political power. If he won, he would have power. That’s why the majority is against him. They (we) can project the disasters he would call down on Ameria

  4. Watching Trump read his prepared text at the Al Smith dinner he reminded me of a fifth grade student reading “What I did this summer” essay before the class. He had the comic timing of Charlie Manson doing stand up.

    This is a man who is not capable of solving complex problems without the threat of violence or other extreme measures.

    18 more days and he can go back to promoting Wrestlemania to the same fans who attend his rallies.

  5. This is only meaningful if one believes he would actually try any of these fantasy solutions to a fantasy problem; or is he just shooting off his mouth? Even if he were to attempt such things the effects would be localised within the US itself and wouldn’t blow up the world.

    • “the effects would be localized within the US”
      Maybe. But some of us are actually concerned about our neighbors, ourselves, and our country.

  6. Since Americans are often insular and poorly informed by their ramshackle school system and shoddy mass media (and you have to wonder if the corporations like it that way)

    Wonder no more. You can bet on that. An ill-informed, apathetic and docile populace is what corporate America and the political oligarchs want. They are less likely to get involved with groups such as Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter.

  7. There may be more revolting people in contemporary US politics than Kellyanne Conway – though it would be hard to find them. This (very well) paid liar and conniver promotes a bizarro universe of fiction that has ZERO connection to the factual realities of our times. I’m no Hillary bot but Conway’s serial lies and wacko exaggerations are simply contemptible. Can’t wait until Nov. 9 when she goes away – at least until the next election cycle with the GOP candidate forks over a big bundle of cash for “advice” from this useless hack.

  8. I do think the corporate media and our government are quite happy with a populace that believes that Saddam was involved with 9/11 and that climate change is a hoax, perpetrated by the Chinese or ‘tree huggers’ or whomever .r ….

  9. “These policies are unconstitutional.”

    “1. Ban Muslims from coming to the United States.”

    This is debatable in a legal sense since person who are non-citizens and are outside U.S. borders do not have standing to challenge such discrimination in U.S. courts.

    “2. Put mosques under surveillance.”

    There is nothing per se unconstitutional about placing a mosque under surveillance – even absence of suspicion of criminal conduct occurring.

    However, such a policy would possibly run afoul of a law enforcement agency’s internal operating guidelines – and the FBI certainly does have such guidelines that sets rules on when surveillance can commence and only when some credible information of possible criminal activity is brought to the Bureau’s attention.

    Secondly, a general imposition of mosque surveillance when other non-Muslim places of worship are ignored could give rise to a lawsuit under anti-discrimination laws due to “disparate treatment” of Muslims vs non-Muslims.

    The Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati last year upheld the discrimination claim of a black Metro Detroit judge investigated and removed from the bench for misconduct where white judges allegedly committing the same acts were not investigated and charged.

    “3. Put all Muslims in a federal database.”

    This would likely be struck down under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The Korematsu U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the internment of Japanese-American citizens is considered bad law today.

    “4. Torture Muslim suspects…………..”

    Torture per se likely still violates the “shocking the conscience” standard of the substantive Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment and imposing it on Muslims alone or in a manner different than others likely violates the Equal Protection Clause of the same amendment.

    “5.Take Muslim family members hostage to ensure good conduct.”

    Likely violates the “shocking the conscience” standard cited above as well as the Equal Protection Clause to the extent that Muslims were singled out for such treatment by the government.”

    • There is no doubt that both 4 and 5 are violations of law and unconstitutional. I think you minimize just how bad they are. The 8th Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. There is a specific law against torture and the Constitution specifies that treaties are the “law of the land” so that the Geneva Convention prohibiting torture and making it a war crime is thus part of US law. As for holding families, clearly a violation of law and a violation of due process as well as the 14th Amendment. Also, Korematsu is not just bad law, it is considered one of the worst decisions by the Supreme Court in history, up there with Dred Scott.

  10. “You have to ask where it came from.”

    The Islamic world shares the blame with the U.S. for Islamic terrorism. The success of the Islamic Republic of Iran provided the Sunni Islamists proof that they too could take over governments. And the billions upon billions spent in spreading the Wahabi way have made the Muslim world more narrow-minded, more suspectible to violent extremism.

    • The Islamic world is not monolithic any more than the Christian. What you are saying is like saying that Christians are responsible for atrocities of the IRA during their time of terror in Ireland and Great Britain. According to the Wikipedia entry on Wahabis, they make up less than 5 million Muslims in the Persian Gulf (29 million inhabitants in Saudi Arabia alone).

    • This is an extremely confused comment. Saudi Arabia calls itself an Islamic country. It doesn’t look towards Iran for inspiration or motivation for spreading its ideology. It has invested huge sums of money in backing extremists in countries all over the muslim world. To blame Iran for Saudi actions is factually incorrect and logically incoherent. The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan had nothing to do with Iran, but had everything to do with Saudi Arabia. The same story holds true in most of the middle east. The extremists that are committing atrocities in Syria and Iraq look get funding and training from Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

      • The US continually classifies Iran as terrorist because of its support of Hezbullah and Hamas.

        • @rbtl The department of state classifies Iran as a “state sponsor of terrorism.” Not as a terrorist group.

  11. “These policies are unconstitutional”.

    Um. do we see what is happening in this country?

    The Constitution no longer matters – and that is terrifying to me, and should be to everyone. Democrats, Greens, Libertarians, Independents, Communists, everyone, must push back against this. We hear all manner of shit about the 2nd amendment from Republicans, but their argument is now hypocritical and ridiculous. They have made clear, by the backing of their nominee, that they care nothing for the Constitution, or the principles enunciated in such quaint documents as Common Sense, the Declaration of Independence, or the Gettysburg Address. They have approved turning 240 years of sacrifice by the citizens of this republic into a fucking farce.

    This is the new reality we now face – every four years mightily fighting against demagogues supported by hateful rubes who have no commitment to democratic government or principles, who will lay the principles of liberal democracy and inclusiveness by the heel if they can just obtain power.

    Fine – plenty of people hate Hillary. How much more will you hate someone who, depending on their mood in the morning, will have you audited for speaking out against him? Or have you thrown in prison for dissent? Or fuck up the economy with a nasty little war because of a fit of pique? Or completely deregulate industry and take us to environmental and economic Gotterdammerung?

    Don’t like democracy and the fixed system? Hoo-boy, wait til you try fascism. That will be real great for the economy – oh wait, there won’t be one because there won’t be anymore property rights, just the whims of an autocrat who may or may not deign to let you keep your property and the meager wealth you’ve accrued working over a lifetime.

    Democracy is like the smallest particle of the atom – it’s a mystery as to how it works, but it somehow does – but it relies on the virtue of the citizenry, and this is collapsing before our eyes. This is not funny or cute – the GOP really does need to be outlawed. Mark my words, we are looking at a situation where we will in the not too distant future long for the days of something as “benignly malevolent” as a ban on Muslims.

    The country panicked over 9/11 – that was plain dumb. But the current nominee of the GOP – well, that is a patently grave threat.

    And as always . . .

    PARS REPUBLICANA DELENDA EST!

  12. “The best five point plan to defeat Muslim radicalism would be to stop using Muslim radicals (as the US is still doing in Syria) and to stop screwing Muslims over.”

    Thank you. So simply stated. I hope this plan comes to fruition.

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