*See updates below
I have quietly and arduously struggled with the reality of our foreign policy and its effect on governing at home. I have a quasi-libertarian stance on government surveillance. I hold this stance on quite a few things, which is why I started describing myself as a "conservatarian" a few years ago. I had this same conversation with friends tonight. It began with this: Trump Says He 'Would Certainly Implement' Muslim Database.
Donald Trump "would certainly implement" a database system tracking Muslims in the United States, the Republican front-runner told NBC News on Thursday night.
"I would certainly implement that. Absolutely," Trump said in Newton, Iowa, in between campaign town halls.
"There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases," he added. "We should have a lot of systems."
When asked whether Muslims are legally obligated to sign into the database, Trump responded, "They have to be — they have to be."
Later, Trump was repeatedly asked to explain the difference between requiring Muslim to enter a database and the requirement the Jews register in Nazi Germany.
He responded four times by simply saying, "You tell me."
First thing is first -- the reporter's comparison of Jews and the Holocaust to Muslims is idiotic and entirely tin eared. Surely Trump picked up on that and perhaps is screwing with him. That said, I am torn on how to approach fighting terror at home under the current administration. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but, according to the Global Terrorism Database, the terror list is comprised of 70% majority Muslim countries. There is a statistical reason why people are concerned. Mocking them and portraying them as the aggressor for legitimately being victimized (which itself is another form of victimization) won't persuade hearts and minds. But is that enough to justify the expansion of government and surveil Muslims? Yet there is a death cult in the world that is relying on the guise of religion so as to invoke religious protections and cry discrimination if anyone questions the ruse. Are we to assume this of all a particular religion? Are we to empower the federal government to determine what is or is not a sincerely held belief? Do you know why this approach concerns me? Because we've seen the same government persecute photographers, bakers, t-shirt makers, and bed and breakfasts for their proprietors's religion. We've seen mayors subpoena pastors for their sermons. Not one of these faithful ever shot up a concert hall, a cafe, bombed a discotheque, or detonated a suicide vest. They simply hold beliefs on Biblical marriage. We've also witnessed this same government weaponize its alphabetized bureaucratic agencies to persecute over policy dissent. Catherine Englebrecht just wanted to get dead names off of voter rolls. This same government raided houses of innocent Americans in the middle of the night because they dared to participate in our political process. Our government has ruined lives and wielded a power the consent has never allowed, so what would it do if the consent actually granted it such powers? Is doing so consistent with limited government principles?
Property records show the mosque attended by the terrorist who killed US soldiers at a base in Chattanooga, Tenn., is affiliated with the same Islamic group as the mosques patronized by the Boston marathon bombers and the 9/11 hijackers who attacked the Pentagon.
Yet federal investigators have dismissed any possibility that the Tennessee mosque was a source of radicalization or support for the terrorist, Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez.
The trustee of the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga, like the Boston and Virginia mosques attended by other terrorists, is the North American Islamic Trust.
In 2007, the Justice Department designated NAIT as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorist financing case in America history, US v. Holy Land Land Foundation, which resulted in convictions and imprisonment of several US-based Hamas terrorist leaders. Current NAIT chairman Gaddoor Saidi also appears on the government’s co-conspirator list.
Court records detail money flowing through NAIT financial accounts to Hamas. In the same exhibits from the trial, the Justice Department lists NAIT and Saidi among “members of the US Muslim Brotherhood,” alongside NAIT’s parent the Islamic Society of North America — from which the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga derives its name.
While NAIT maintains its innocence, its repeated appeals to the government to expunge its name from the co-conspirators list have failed. A federal judge ruled there is “ample evidence” tying NAIT to Hamas and the Brotherhood.
There is evidence of radicalized members:
Several people who attended the Islamic Society of Boston mosque in Cambridge, Mass., have been investigated for Islamic terrorism, including a conviction of the mosque's first president, Abdulrahman Alamoudi, in connection with an assassination plot against a Saudi prince.
Its sister mosque in Boston, known as the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, has invited guests who have defended terrorism suspects. A former trustee appears in a series of videos in which he advocates treating gays as criminals, says husbands should sometimes beat their wives and calls on Allah (God) to kill Zionists and Jews, according toAmericans for Peace and Tolerance, an interfaith group that has investigated the mosques.
The head of the group is among critics who say the two mosques teach a brand ofIslamic thought that encourages grievances against the West, distrust of law enforcement and opposition to Western forms of government, dress and social values.
Should they be surveilled? Is this group a death cult operating under the protection of "religious liberty?" You have the right to freely practice religion. You do not have the right to freely practice death cult activities and plot to undermine the United States by exploiting political correctness. Such mosques as the above examples should absolutely face investigation (and those did). But to go beyond that and investigate where there is not yet evidence of a crime? To create a database and force registration?
Here is the question: Would we even find ourselves discussing this if we had stronger leadership in the White House and a stronger foreign policy? Because of the reckless abandonment of duty in Washington I've watched as many of us are now forced to reconsider limited government stances to offset this abandonment. This administration created ISIS by withdrawing troops and leaving no residual force in Iraq. They enabled it to grow with a hands-off approach as ISIS consumed Iraq bit by bit. The admin backed the Iranian-backed Iraqi government -- which may soon face off with Kurdistan if the Kurds further reduce ISIS's supply lines and remove Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, from the equation. They force the Kurds to maintain a stalemate, preferring to take orders from Turkey and Iran, which maintains occupation in towns from where many refugees are fleeing. We have superior weaponry, a superior fighting force, if it weren't for the coveted good opinions of Turkey and Iran, this could be easily ended. The reason it hasn't is due to the admin's politicization of it. They care about women and orphans, they say, but, to quote Trey Gowdy, are sure fond of politics that create women and orphans. Those policies have been at work for years now. We failed to act earlier when risks were smaller and fewer lives were on the line. Now that ISIS has festered, risks are higher and more lives are at stake. I am not pro-war, I am pro-eliminating threats. I am pro-minimizing risk.
The reason we're even having this conversation about domestic surveillance, Muslim databases, any of it, is because we failed to contain the infection over there and now it's spread to here. If it's a purposeful strategy to convince Americans to sign away their own liberties for the shaky assurances of a little safety, it's a brilliant one. However, if it's a purposeful strategy to protect the growth of a death cult by appealing to limited government sensibilities, using political correctness and inaccurate analogies, it's also brilliant.
Either way, it's an appeal to fear, both justified. Which one is it?
*Afterthought: Because this conversation is the bastard child of weak foreign policy and Washington leadership, isn't this idea based on the presupposition that we will forever be living with this outcome? Would not new leadership and a stronger stance abroad remedy this?
**Another thought: Our bad foreign policy threatens to redefine our homeland security. Incredibly backwards, but for now another year until our hands are tied. I'm sure I'll have more to add tomorrow.
***And yet another thought: Isn't Trump specifically talking about immigrating Muslims here? The more I listen to this audio the angrier I get at the hack reporter leading the questions. To me it seems Trump was clearly talking about Muslim immigration whereas the reporter wanted a narrative on all Muslims. However, last night I saw a number of people who went on the reporter's narrative and supported it, thus this piece.