1. Trump Shakes Up the Debate Over Keeping Americans Alive
Donald Trump is talking about homeland security in clear-cut language that Americans can easily understand—and so of course the left is furious. Today’s Democrats, and their handmaidens in the Main Stream Media, just hate it when Republicans emphasize getting tough on lawlessness and terror. Indeed, liberals shudder when they hear the words, “law and order.”
On Monday, Trump spoke in Youngstown, OH; as he put it, “Today we begin a conversation about how to Make America Safe Again.”
And then he added important context, reminding his audience that we have been down this road before—and won: “In the 20th Century, the United States defeated Fascism, Nazism, and Communism.”
So now, today, Trump continued, we must study our past success as we steady ourselves for another epic conflict—the war against Jihad:
Now, a different threat challenges our world: Radical Islamic Terrorism. This summer, there has been an ISIS attack launched outside the war zones of the Middle East every 84 hours.
And that war includes, most importantly, the war against Jihad here at home. So, facts in hand—the official speech text includes no less than 131 footnotes—Trump laid it on the line:
A Trump Administration will establish a clear principle that will govern all decisions pertaining to immigration: we should only admit into this country those who share our values and respect our people. In the Cold War, we had an ideological screening test.
And then the New Yorker uttered a phrase that was guaranteed to punch through: “I call it extreme vetting.” Explaining, he added,
Immigration offices will also have their powers restored. They’ve been taken away. Those who are guests in our country that are preaching hate will be asked to return home immediately, and if they don’t do it, we will return them home.
Turn troublemakers away? Send would-be terrorists home? What an astonishingly un-PC thought!
Needless to say, the pro-open borders left, feeling punched, swiftly punched back. The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent headlined his piece, “Donald Trump’s crazy ideas about immigration just got even crazier.”
Continuing, the Post—owned, of course, by Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos—variously labeled Trump’s suggestions as “outlandish . . . impractical . . . laughably unlikely to happen.” And the story went on to quote one “prominent immigration attorney,” David Leopold, insisting that “Trump’s proposal is patently unlawful, unworkable and absurd on its face.”
Joining the progressive chorus, here’s The Huffington Post: “Donald Trump Proposes Ideological Test For Entry To The United States.”
Sorry, Huffpo, nice try. But Trump isn’t demanding an “ideological test”; he just wants to exclude those who hate us and our way of life. Is that really so outrageous? Yet Huffpo, which has never met a foreigner that it didn’t want to welcome into the U.S. and put on welfare, complains,
The test amounts to an expansion of Trump’s controversial plan to ban Muslims from traveling to the United States―blocking people from certain countries and anyone whose views are deemed un-American.
Let’s pause over those words, “deemed un-American.” One feels impelled to ask: What would you call, say, Tafsheen Malik, one of the two San Bernardino shooters last year?
Indeed, as we consider her dead-eyed stare in her immigration photo, we can only conclude that even the most minimally competent screening would have found her out as un-American at best, as murderous at worst. Either way, it would have been a lot better if she had been sent back to Pakistan; for openers, 14 Americans would still be alive.
We can observe: It goes without saying that in the days and weeks to come, Trump will be pummeled by another 1000 portals and pundits.
Yet for a nation fearful that we are going the way of Germany or France—that is, living in fear because of Jihadi-prone Muslims imported in a foolish fit of multicultural “compassion”—Trump’s views may seem like a tonic.
Indeed, we can say that Trump’s speech hit the sweet spot of American public opinion. Actually, it hit two of them:
First, according to a survey conducted by the Chicago Council on World Affairs, just 36 percent of Americans support bringing more Syrian refugees into the United States. That’s easy enough to understand; there have been way-y-y too many allahuakbar-type attacks.
So when Barack Obama and his anointed would-be successor, Hillary Clinton, loudly proclaim full speed ahead on open-borders policies, including from Muslim lands, well, that’s a red flag. And so while Hillary is ahead in the polls today, that could easily change tomorrow.
Second, according to the same Chicago poll, just 42 percent of Americans want to intervene militarily in Syria. So when Trump said, in effect, no more quagmires, well, that hit home, too. As he said in Ohio, “If I become president, the era of nation-building will be brought to a very swift and decisive end.”
Yes, American don’t want more Syrians here, and they don’t want Americans in Syria—one Iraq was enough. As The Hill explained in its report on the survey, “Pollsters additionally found voters have little enthusiasm for helping either Syrian leader Bashar Assad or the rebel forces opposing him.”
2. How We Have Won, How We Can Win
As we have seen, Trump said on Monday, “In the 20th Century, the United States defeated Fascism, Nazism, and Communism.”
Indeed, it’s true: We won those wars. But how, exactly did we accomplish our victories? We all know, of course, about the courage and skill of America’s fighting men, in far-flung battlefields, from Borneo to Belgium, from Midway to Monte Cassino. Moreover, such advanced weapons as the LCPL Higgins Boat and the atomic bomb helped a lot, too.
Yet we shouldn’t overlook the battles we fought, and won, on the homefront—that is, the battle for our own homeland security. After all, back then, the struggle of ideas—for hearts and minds, as it were—was critical.
In particular, many German-Americans—oftentimes from families living in the U.S. for only a generation or two—were desperately naive about Hitler. So understandably, if not desirably, they felt a residual tug of loyalty to the Vaterland. Indeed, during the previous big conflict, World War One, just two decades before, there had been spectacular incidents of anti-American sabotage, linked, at least in part, to in-country sympathizers.
And so, in the 1930s, as the war-clouds turned darker and more ominous, President Franklin D. Roosevelt took preemptive action. In 1938, at the prodding of this Democratic president, a Democratic Congress enacted the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) which required those who were living in the United States and working for a foreign power to register with Uncle Sam and disclose their activities. (We can immediately note that those were a different kind of Democrat; for example, there was no Clinton Foundation.)
Two years later, in 1940, the same Democrats running the same federal government enacted the Alien Registration Act, commonly known as the Smith Act, aimed at further monitoring non-citizen residents.
It’s further worth recalling that in that year, 1940, Uncle Sam felt compelled to act when the number of aliens—if such a politically incorrect phrase can still be tolerated—numbered just 3.5 million. Today, the number is at least 20 million, although, of course, nobody really knows the true number.
We can further recall that FARA and the Smith Act were exactly the sort of legal tools that J. Edgar Hoover and his FBI needed to keep America safe.
Indeed, in those years, Uncle Sam didn’t kid around. In June 1942, eight Nazi would-be saboteurs crept on to American shores via U-boat. Happily, before they could do any damage, they were caught, and within two months, six of them had been executed, and the other two sentenced to long prison terms.
We can summarize the homeland security situation in World War Two: Strong Laws + Stern Determination = Safety. Yes, we still had a great war to win against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, but at least we weren’t suffering defeats here at home.
Of course, our victory in 1945, resounding as it was, did not make America completely safe. We had to confront a new threat: Soviet communism. Indeed, in the late 40s, to our shock and surprise, we discovered that the U.S.—the U.S. government in particular—had been honeycombed with Soviet spies; the most notorious cases being those of Alger Hiss and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.
To get a handle on the problems associated with too many communists—including many who had arrived as refugees during and after the war—in 1947, another Democratic President, Harry Truman, issued Executive Order 9835, mandating for loyalty oaths for federal government employees.
The idea was controversial, to be sure—and yet it was a still a good idea.
Indeed, as we think about the case of the San Bernardino killers, we can recall not only the wife, Tafsheen Malik, but also the husband, Rizwan Farook, who was a local-government employee. If the authorities had administered a loyalty oath to him, would he have been able to get through it—the raising of his right hand, and so on—without blurting out something revealing, like, say, allahuakbar? Have a look at this glowering picture, and decide for yourself.
As the Israelis have demonstrated, good observational police work can suss out the true intentions of people who mean to do harm. That is, under scrutiny, the bad guys have a way of cracking, thus revealing themselves. And that’s part of the logic of a loyalty oath: An evil-minded oath-taker might not be able to contain him- or herself while promising to be loyal and not murder people.
Meanwhile, in 1950, as the Korean War raged, another Democratic Congress took another step, passing the McCarran Internal Security Act. The McCarran Act—spearheaded by U.S. Senator Pat McCarran (D-Nevada), whose name still graces the big airport in Las Vegas—required communists and communist-front groups to register with the Justice Department. Obviously, the American Civil Liberties Union strongly objected; yet at the coldest point of the Cold War, the public was in no mood for any dilatory treatment of potential communist threats. (Today, of course, many of these earlier security measures would have been gutted by liberal courts and activists.)
And so today, we face a new round of mortal threats. As we examine possible solutions, it’s hard to ignore, and hard to argue with, success: We won World War Two, we won the Cold War.
Today, it’s also hard to dispute the grim reality of this current conflict: Manifestly, we are not winning the war against Jihad.
So what it’ll be folks? Victory, or defeat? The choice is ours.