John Gibbs wrote a five point rundown in the Federalist describing why Donald Trump’s response to the Orlando mass shooting was, all in all, a good thing. Trying to understand how a man who holds a master in public administration from the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government was so blind to the logical holes in Trump’s position makes me fear for the quality of even the best post-secondary education. Providing the proper analysis of Trump’s (and by extension Gibbs’) failure to utilize their critical faculties shouldn’t take long, but it is hoped the reader has some basic level of historical knowledge surrounding Afghan-US relations in the last forty years.
The Gipper and some member of the Mujahideen circa 1985
The first three points of Gibbs’ piece describe how Trump’s empty rhetorical swing from a ban on immigrants from Muslim countries to a ban on immigrants from “areas of the world when there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States”will be more palatable to many Americans, but also would have stopped the Orlando attack from happening. This is, in all fairness the only point that will be discussed in this rebuke, as the other two are strictly political nonsense (Trump differentiates himself from Clinton and Trump blames political correctness for attack) that are unworthy of further comment.
The attacker was born in New York in 1986. This means that his parents likely arrived in the United States in the early 1980s. Let us imagine the crushing Republican victory of 1984 had been Trump’s and not Reagan’s.
“Minnesota would have been nice”
With a political mandate so endorsed by the American people, Trump of 1984 enacts his ban on immigration from all “areas of the world when there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States.”
Shortly thereafter an immigration application is received from the Shooter’s family. A list of countries that have a “proven history of terrorism against the United States” is checked and Afghanistan is not on that list. So the Shooter’s parents get into the United States, even with Trump’s ban.
That is the basic flaw in Gibbs’ piece (and with Trump’s argument): the ban cannot undo the past. When the Shooter’s parents came to the United States, Afghanistan had not attacked the USA (one could make a case that Afghanistan has still not attacked the USA given that the 9/11 catastrophe was largely a Saudi affair). Any attacks by second-generation citizens in the United States have been carried out by lone-wolf miscreants whose only link to ISIS and its reprehensible vision of hell-on-earth, was in the form of too much Internet and a decision to dedicate their mass shooting to that vision. There has been no proven link that orders came from the Levant.
This is an important point that is being overlooked by all the contenders for the White House. Even if ISIS is destroyed and the Middle East put back together again, the vision cannot die. ISIS has created such an open entry to martyrdom that any idiot with a gun can be welcomed into the club. All you need to do is say you are murdering in the name of ISIS and you are an ISIS martyr.
Yet, we know The Shooter was a closeted gay man who decided to kill those he wanted to love. He was not born in a country that had attacked the USA and neither were his parents when they came to the USA.
Mr. Gibbs, as a supporter of Mr. Trump, and also an educated man, why do you overlook this point?