President-elect Donald Trump rashly declared Monday's attacks in Turkey and Berlin acts of "radical Islamic terrorism," even though there is no definitive proof of such a motive at present. But despite his insistence, and the carnage that continues, Trump has continued to keep his "beautiful" plan to defeat ISIS a secret.
Republicans have long insisted that a major obstacle to defeating ISIS is the Obama administration's reluctance to use the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism." Perhaps they felt safer when President-elect Donald Trump declared the assassin of Russia's ambassador to Turkey a "radical Islamic terrorist," and used similar language to describe the attacker who killed at least 12 people at a Christmas market in Berlin.
But police have released the suspect they arrested in the Berlin attack, saying he was the wrong man and that the real killer is still at large. In light of these facts, it is obviously not possible to definitively confirm a motive.
But, naturally, that did not dissuade Trump:
Innocent civilians were murdered in the streets as they prepared to celebrate the Christmas holiday. ISIS and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad. These terrorists and their regional and worldwide networks must be eradicated from the face of the earth, a mission we will carry out with all freedom-loving partners.
Using a phrase that risks alienating Muslim allies is dangerous and foolhardy enough. And it is even more troubling alongside these statements from Kansas Secretary of State and Trump administration hopeful Kris Kobach:
When we see attacks like the one in Germany, or the one in Nice where they are using a truck, or we see attacks like the one in Orlando, where the terrorist is just using a few guns, you realize that all the terrorist needs to do is get inside the United States or get inside the target country. And he can steal or buy or borrow the instrument of destruction, because they're not complicated plots where they're, you know, building a massive bomb or they are flying an airliner anymore. And that means the border is the most important line of defense, or the port of entry.
And so your question: How can we do extreme vetting? Or how would it work? The answer is: You can do extreme vetting in a number of ways. One is you have to actually ask the questions that are obvious questions that are often not being asked right now, especially under the Obama administration. Things like 'Do you support radical Islamic jihad and the killing of innocent people?' If a person says, 'Well actually yes, I do support that,' that's probably a pretty good reason to say, 'Guess what? You're not coming into the United States.'
Calling terrorists by the "right" name and asking them if they are terrorists are not solid plans to fight terrorism. But aside from these baseless notions, the only thing Trump has offered — in name only, not in detail — is his long-promised secret plan to defeat ISIS:
I know a way that would absolutely give us guaranteed victory. I’m going to say it, I guess I’ll be forced to say it at some time, but I hate to say it. Because as soon as you say it, they’re going to be – it’s an idea that in my opinion is foolproof. And I’m not talking about dropping bombs, I’m not talking about dropping the big nuke, I’m talking about something that would be unbelievable as an idea. The problem is, then everybody is going to take the idea, run with it, and then number one, people forget where it came from.
If you do not believe Trump has a plan beyond ginning up anger at Muslims and giving terrorists credit for attacks before they can even claim it, you are probably right.
Which is all the more reason for the media, patriotic politicians, and the people of our country to hold Trump accountable for ever promising that he did.