Secure the checkpoints. Close the borders. Keep all Muslims out. Is anyone surprised to hear such calls from Donald Trump? The unspeakable horrors of the terrorist bombings today in Brussels strikes fear in all our hearts.
We’re coming up on the third anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing. In Greater Boston, we know the chaos and tragedy that come with such devastating nihilistic aggression. For the families of the victims who died and for the scores of victims who live with maimed bodies or PTSD, that act of terrorism goes on to this day. So, too, with those affected by San Bernadino and other terrorist attacks.
Dutch Party for Freedom leader Geert Wilders decried this morning what he says are thousands of Europeans who went to Syria to fight with ISIS and returned to European nations to plot and foment trouble. Others have hidden among asylum seekers relocating to Germany, France and elsewhere in Europe. His numbers may be off, but even a fraction of those do mean potential danger for Western nations. Belgian Moroccan Salah Abdeslam, the last of the Parisian terrorists in custody, captured days ago, had traveled freely in Europe. One doesn’t have to be a right-wing hysteric to wonder if the open internal borders of the European Union’s Schengen Agreement may soon become a relic of a more optimistic past. The fallout from this has just begun and could include the demise of the recent EU/Turkish agreement on immigration as well as the British vote on leaving the EU.
Was this attack an act of revenge for Abdeslam’s capture or an acceleration of plans once his attorney appeared to signal he was cooperating with authorities? It certainly establishes (as if it were ever in doubt) that you can rid the world of the head of a terrorist network, but, like the hydra, new heads will regenerate.
Soft targets, where crowds gather in public places, have always been vulnerable. This goes back at least to 1985 when the Abu Nidal Palestinian terrorist organization attacked ticket desks in Rome and Vienna. Airline ticket desks were attacked in Los Angeles in 2002 and Moscow in 2011. Now comes today’s attack at the American Airlines ticket desk in Brussels, clearly a symbolic target with the goal of killing Americans.
This morning, in a statement that echoes Donald Trump, Wilders, one of Europe’s most virulent anti-immigration leaders, declared “The cause of all this bloodshed is Islam. We need to de-Islamize the West. That is the only way to safeguard our lives and protect our freedom.”
Peaceful Muslims worldwide are right to be fearful of the emotions that vitriolic leaders can exacerbate. Too often, the news media fan the flames. Today, American media dutifully rushed to question Trump about border closings, barring Muslims and using torture to get information out of captives like Abdeslam, whipping up still more anxiety in the process. But we all need to be fearful of over-reaction. There’s a pressing need for international collaboration – including Muslim cooperation – and a recallibrated anti-ISIS strategy. We must have level-headed leaders who, buoyed by vigorous intelligence gathering, can determine the most effective way of striking the ISIS asp and killing it.
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6 thoughts on “Brussels attack plays into Trump”
We must terrorize the terrorists: for each victim of their attacks, we randomly deport 10,000 Muslims to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other wonderful financiers and allies of international terrorism. When Muslims will be shit scared of being the next one to win the lottery, maybe they will start thinking of policing themselves and single out their fellow next door living terrorists.
I wonder if Trump had been in charge of the interrogation of Salah Abdeslam whether the terrorist acts in Brussels could’ve been prevented?
If European countries start actually taking border security more seriously, or if the EU/Turkish agreement breaks down, or if the UK leaves the EU (highly justified for a myriad of other reasons), it doesn’t follow that peaceful Muslims worldwide should be fearful. It’s astute to declare that a “recalibrated” anti-ISIS strategy is warranted. Part of that recalibration should mean better security, even if it’s at the expense of some previously optimistic agreements.
How is it we rarely if at all hear from this peaceful Muslims? Shouldn’t they be more vocal in opposition to this carnage?
I think if we saw more evidence of Muslim cooperation it would make things better all around. Unfortunately, the hierarchy of the Muslim population remains deafeningly silent.
You have fabulously described the only resolution to this world problem. If people gained knowledge to understand the Underlying reasoning of ISIS and its current proliferation-they would realize this is not a conventional enemy we have declared war upon. Sadly we in part kicked the hornets nest.
We simply need to put terrorist on high priorty and ratchet up intel. Roqqa I need to become informed of but it seems to be ISIS HQs.Lets make an intelligent well informed plan as opposed to senseless hysteria