Sunday, December 20, 2015

Trump's Revenge Killings "Unsound"

As if torture wasn’t enough, now we target family members?

It’s interesting (and disheartening) to see the progression of moral arguments on the political level in the last few years as related to national security.  Several years ago, the Bush administration actively tried to hide the fact of torture of captives following 911, and then, when exposed, tried to define what they did as not torture.  Because, after all, who supports torture?

Turns out, in an election season, lots of people do.  Now, politicians routinely advocate the use of torture “to keep America safe,” regardless of how doubtful that proposition is from a cause and effect analysis.

Now, Donald Trump wants to take it a step further.  We should target and kill the family members of suspected terrorists.  He thinks, without any evidence whatsoever, that this will make them think twice about a suicide bombing.  It seems to me to be a little ridiculous that a person about to kill himself and others would think twice about surviving family members.  After all, the San Bernardino terrorists left behind a six month old child.  Does Donald Trump want to kill that child now to show the terrorists that we are serious?  How does that not just inflame more acts of terrorism?

What’s next?  Should we put terrorists’ heads on stakes around the capitol as a warning?  This kind of barbarism is not (or should not be) American.  We want the world to look at us as champions of human rights, not the biggest bully on the block who is willing to violate every ethical principle to get what it wants.  When we present the Donald Trump image to the world, he thinks they will see us as tough and uncompromising.  I think they will see us as hated enemies of human rights and humanity.  Any thought of cooperation from the world community on rooting out terrorism will disappear and Donald Trump will become a poster child for jihadist recruitment.  His policy is not only morally repugnant, it is stupid.

The Donald Trump school of security reminds me much more of a mafia don than a U.S. President.  Or perhaps, Marlon Brandon’s character in the movie, Apocalypse Now, who asks,  “Are my methods unsound?”  Yes, they are, Mr. Trump.  Wildly, disgustingly unsound.