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“Muslim-American Soldiers To Trump: STFU”: Some Choice Words For Draft-Dodging Donald Trump

Republican presidential frontrunner @realDonaldTrump’s repeated insistence that he “love[s] the Muslims,” and believes that they are “great people,” is consistently undercut by his stated desire to impose fascist policies on millions of Muslims.

Over the past several weeks, these have included proposals for a Muslim database, closing down mosques, killing families, and—as a response to the Paris and San Bernardino attacks—the “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” until Congress figures out “what is going on.”

The proposed halt on Muslim immigration and travel was swiftly condemned by the White House, Republican and Democratic presidential contenders, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, the RNC, and the Pentagon, which warned that Trump’s blanket ban would weaken the fight against ISIS, not prevent domestic terrorism.

“There are Muslims serving patriotically in the U.S. military today as there are people of many faiths,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told reporters on Tuesday. “Anything that tries to bolster, if you will, the [ISIS] narrative that the United States is somehow at war with Islam is contrary to our values and contrary to our national security.”

Many were quick to point out that the ban would include tourists and Muslim-American citizens who are currently abroad—including men and women serving in the American armed forces who are stationed abroad and who happen to be Muslim.

The prospect has not been going over well with Muslim-American military personnel, given how Donald J. Trump is running to become their commander in chief. (For more on Trump’s own draft deferments, see here.)

“I think what Donald Trump said is completely un-American,” Abdi Akgun, a staff sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, told The Daily Beast. “It’s completely outrageous. There are a lot of Muslims in this country who have pledged to be an American, that are paying their taxes, and are law-abiding citizens. And for Donald to make statements that are bigoted in nature is … not what being an American is about.”

Akgun joined the Marines in August 2000, right after high school. Two years later, he was fighting in Iraq in the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. When asked about the possibility of serving under a President Trump, he simply released a brief sigh of exasperation and conceded that, “Well, there is a possibility, yes.”

“I really don’t have any [further] statement to make,” he continued.

Mohammed Shaker, a Rand-Paul-supporting Young Republican, was deployed to Iraq as an Army medic with the 82nd Airborne. He is, to put it generously, also perplexed by Trump’s position.

“If we’re being completely honest, I have no idea what Donald Trump is doing or why,” Shaker said. “It just doesn’t make sense to me … His policies are very dangerous. One of the worst things we can do, after any kind of tragic event … is to limit people’s freedoms.”

Shaker told CNN that, “as a veteran and as a service member of the United States military, yes, I would serve under Donald Trump,” because the job and mission is still “all about protecting America and our liberties.” However, that doesn’t mean he’s not unsettled by the Republican frontrunner’s rhetoric.

“It is very scary thing,” he told The Daily Beast. “There always will be someone running saying stuff like this … There’s always going to be one sort of authoritarian candidate … Hopefully he doesn’t get to implement any of that stuff.”

Shaker can only imagine what his family and life would have been like if there had been a blanket ban on Muslim immigration in decades past.

“If Donald Trump was president in 1989, or 1984 … if he had been president and had these policies in effect, we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now because maybe I never would have been born in America,” he said. “I would have been in Egypt. I never would have heard of Ron Paul. I never would have served … If we had his policy in practice now, what kind of people would we be stopping from coming to this country?”

Tayyib M. Rashid, also a Muslim-American, dropped out of college at the age of 19 to join the Marines; he served from 1997 to 2002. “We [Muslims] know the frustration we feel when people label us for [an] act of terrorism,” Rashid wrote for USA Today in July, addressing fellow American Muslims. “I say to you to keep your head up and walk proud. Continue to follow Prophet Muhammad’s example of compassion, service to humanity, and love for all, hatred for none.”

Rashid is another proud veteran who has no plans to endorse The Donald.

“This guy is hijacking America from Americans,” he told The Daily Beast.

“Mr. Trump’s suggestion is absolutely preposterous, hate-filled, and bigoted,” he said. “This kind of rhetoric is dividing our armed forces, and actually making us less safe. The personal offense is there, but thinking far beyond that, it could give some extremists within the U.S. the desire to take the law into their own hands. I am concerned about Muslim-Americans’ safety, and I’m concerned about Muslim service members’ safety. There are people who could take Mr. Trump’s comments as sponsorship for their own hate-filled actions.”

Rashid went on to stress that, as a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, he wants to “engage our fellow Americans in dialogue … to drive out hate and fear.”

“This is the root of defeating extremism,” he said. “We can’t continue to bomb terrorism out of existence, it just doesn’t work that way.”

It’s the kind of nuance that frequently seems to evade Trump, especially when the topic of conversation turns to war, Muslims, or mosques. For his part, the real-estate mogul and one-time reality-TV super-star would much rather settle for, “bomb[ing] the shit outta them [until] there would be nothing left.”

 

By: Asawin Suebsaeng, The Dail Beast, December 9, 2015

December 11, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, Muslim Americans, U. S. Military, Veterans | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Honor Our Armed Forces By Avoiding Unnecessary Wars”: Our Kids Should Not Be Used To Bend The World To Our Political Will

With recent military victories by the self-proclaimed Islamic State, President Barack Obama’s critics are once again ratcheting up their rhetoric, blaming him for the spreading violence in the Middle East. Beginning his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) chimed in:

“If you fought in Iraq, it worked. It’s not your fault it’s going to hell. It’s Obama’s fault,” he said.

That’s been more or less the tack taken by all the declared and potential candidates in the Republican presidential field: Pretend that George W. Bush’s invasion had nothing to do with the disastrous escalation of war and terror from Syria to Iraq to Yemen. Blame it all on Obama. Play to a public nervous about the gruesome videos of Islamic State jihadists beheading their captives.

But here’s the one thing that you’re unlikely to hear from those armchair hawks: a plan to put large numbers of U.S. forces on the ground. The graves that are being spruced up for Memorial Day are too fresh, the memories of our Iraqi misadventure too raw.

Then again, GOP politicians still want to pummel the president for allegedly pulling troops out of Iraq too soon. Speaking to a crowd in New Hampshire recently — and trying to recover from a dumb defense of his brother’s invasion — Jeb Bush accused Obama of following public opinion rather than sound military advice.

“That’s what the president did when he abandoned, when he left Iraq. And I think it was wrong,” he said.

That’s a glib answer from a man whose children don’t serve under fire, whose friends and fat-cat donors keep their kids far away from the duties and demands of the U.S. armed forces. And that’s true for the vast majority of the GOP field. Graham was a military lawyer who never saw combat, but at least he served. Most of them did not.

Indeed, the drumbeat for war depends on the service of a relatively small percentage of Americans. Fewer than 1 percent of our citizens currently serve in the armed forces, and they are disproportionately drawn from working-class and lower-middle-class households.

As a rule, members of the 1 percent don’t go. (None of Mitt Romney’s five sons ever served.) For that matter, neither do the members of the top 10 percent.

And it’s especially irksome that those armchair hawks refuse to acknowledge that George W. Bush’s decision to depose Saddam Hussein set up the conditions for the current chaos in the Middle East. (Young Ivy Ziedrich, a college student, was right when she confronted Jeb Bush at a Reno, Nevada, event: “Your brother created ISIS,” she said.)

The Islamic State jihadists are largely Sunni; while they claim many grievances, they are chiefly waging war against their fellow Muslims who are Shi’a. Saddam was a Sunni who cruelly repressed Shiites and granted special favors to Sunnis, but his iron-fisted rule kept the peace.

Had the invasion of Iraq depended on a military draft, it’s unlikely Bush would have attempted it. It’s hard to imagine that the U.S. Senate would have given him the authority to go in. The news media, which were largely quiescent in the face of Bush’s warmongering, would probably have asked more questions.

After all, it was clear even then that members of the Bush administration — especially Dick Cheney, who received deferments to avoid service in Vietnam — were exaggerating or distorting intelligence claiming ties between al Qaeda and Saddam. And while most Republicans now claim that faulty intelligence about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction was to blame for the invasion, the fact is that should not have mattered. Even if Saddam had WMDs, they were no threat to us. A few months before 9/11, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell had said as much.

If we’ve learned anything (and it’s not clear that we have), it should be this: As brave and capable as they are, the men and women of the U.S. armed forces cannot calm every conflict, destroy every dictatorship or bend the world to our will. The best way to honor their service is to refrain from sending them recklessly to war.

 

By: Cynthia Tucker, Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 2007; The National Memo, May 23, 2015

May 23, 2015 Posted by | Iraq War, Memorial Day, Middle East | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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