One of the more alarming subtexts of Donald Trump’s
presidential campaign travelling circus is his utter disregard for human life, despite all the “pro-life” anti-Planned Parenthood rhetoric he has been parroting with the rest of the Republican presidential candidates. Today, in an interview with Fox & Friends, he was questioned about how he would reduce civilian casualties while still “bombing the hell” out of Daesh (ISIS/ISIL). Preventing collateral damage to civilian populations is a huge concern, as the indiscriminate killing innocent civilians is not only a crime against humanity, it is one of ISIS’s primary recruitment tools and only exacerbates the already heightened tensions between the Middle East and the United States.
Trump had the sheer gall to not only reject the idea of reducing civilian casualties, but proposed specifically targeting the families of ISIS fighters. He accused President Obama of waging a “politically correct” war and said that “when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives. Don’t kid yourself. But they say they don’t care about their lives. You have to take out their families.”
The propagandists at FOX failed to respond to this outrageous statement, and instead asked him tossed him a softball about illegal immigration. While this may be the kind of heartless show of “strength” that conservative voters are looking for, the rest of us are absolutely appalled at not only the nihilistic cruelty of the statement but its obviously counterproductive implication. Killing innocent civilians is exactly what ISIS wants us to do. As the United Kingdom votes on whether or not to join in the coalition airstrikes against ISIS, one of the first Western journalists to spend time with IS, Jürgen Todenhöfer, penned a scathing denouncement:
“France is currently bombing everything that looks like camps or barracks: small factories, communal buildings, hospitals. The majority of the Arab world has seen photos of dead children in Raqqa – Isis is doing everything it can to spread them. And for every murdered child, there will be new terrorists. War is a boomerang, and it will come to hit us back in the form of terrorism. A bombing strategy employed by France – which, potentially, will now be joined by Britain – will above all hit Syria’s population. This will fill Isis fighters with joy. Hollande could only make them happier if he were to send in ground troops as well: western boots on the ground in Syria is the ultimate Isis dream.”
He’s absolutely right. The problem of Daesh will not be solved through military means unless we solve the problems that created them in the first place. We should learn a lesson from Somalia, which had a similar Sunni Wahhabi terrorist state- the Islamic Courts Union, which took over half the country in 2006. A ground invasion by Ethiopia and Somalian government troops that broke the power of the ICU only resulted in the group fracturing into several individual terrorist factions, one of which conquered the others and re-emerged as a international threat – al-Shabab, who was responsible for the massacre of 147 Kenyan college students. Military solutions will only perpetuate this cycle of violence for decades to come – which doesn’t seem to bother Mr. Trump one bit.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.