By all accounts, Donald Trump is becoming a more disciplined candidate on the trail, mostly staying out of Hillary Clinton’s way and letting America remember that they really can’t stand her. But it’s still tremendously clear that he really has no idea how he would even start to combat terrorism in America. Trump’s rambling, incoherent, and self-congratulatory appearance on Fox and Friends this morning exposed that he still really has no idea where he would even start combatting terrorism – and when pressed for specifics all he could come up with was a line that sounded suspiciously like “fight the terrorists over there so we don’t have to fight them over here”:
Rough partial transcript:
Host: What do you mean by, we have to get tough? Specfically, what is the policy in Donald Trump’s administration of getting tough?
Trump: Well, first of all, these are sick people, these are sick, evil people who want to destroy this country, and the way we coddle them… and we’re afraid to say what the problem is and who they are, and they don’t want to say “radical Islam,” they don’t want to talk about “radical Islamic terrorism…”
Host: Okay, but those are just words. What do you mean by getting tough?
Trump: We have to hit them much harder over there, and we’re gonna have to find out – you know, our police are amazing. Our local police, they know who these people are, they’re afraid to do anything about it, because… they don’t want to be accused of all sorts of things… Israel has done an unbelievable job, as good as you can do, but they profile. They see somebody suspicious, they will profile, they will take that person in…
Host: You tweeted this weekend, under the leadership of Obama and Clinton, Americans have experienced more attacks at home than victories abroad, time to change the playbook. Okay, change the playbook. How?
Trump: We’re going to have to do something extremely tough over there, okay?
Host: Like what?
Trump: Like knock the hell out of them. And we have to get everybody together and lead for a change. Because we’re not knocking them, we’re hitting them every once in a while, in certain places, we’re being very gentle about it, you have to be very tough, and there are countries that are getting hit harder than we are, and you have to get them together and show leadership. And you know, you have to fight, the battle’s over there. And you have to fight the battle.
Gee. Sounds an awful lot like Trump wants to get together a “coalition of the willing” to go over to the Middle East and start a sustained war to knock out terrorists in their strongholds. Not just an isolated bombing campaign, but really putting boots on the ground, getting other countries to go along, and just blasting the hell out of stuff until the terrorists give up.
That plan sounds vaguely familiar, because it was the exact plan for the Iraq War, which Donald Trump has called stupid and moronic and something that had no benefit to the United States (with the benefit of hindsight – before it started he thought it was a great idea).
These are the ramblings of a man who does not have a coherent plan to actually deal with the future. All he does is loudly trumpet the fact that he predicted terror attacks would continue. Well, after the uninterrupted slate of them during the Obama administration, how prescient do you have to be to predict that Islamic terrorists are going to keep attempting to attack us? Not very.
Meanwhile, the policy he proposes is exactly the policy that he has mocked after the fact. The reason that he can do this with a straight face is that he has no idea why he opposes the Iraq War other than the fact that it didn’t work and it was unpopular. It is painfully obvious that he doesn’t really have an informed opinion on the war that reaches any farther than these two facts, because if he did, he would not be proposing to do the exact same thing again.
And if you pointed out to him that he was apparently contradicting himself, he would say, “Well, I would have done the Iraq War better,” or something equally moronic. And if you pointed out that his stated position is that he opposed the Iraq War in principle before it even began (even though that position is an absolute lie, he is sticking with it), he would move on to something else entirely.
Trump might well win this election in spite of himself because his opponent is truly awful. And if he does, don’t be surprised if, in four years, we are all debating the Syrian War just like we were the Iraq War in 2004, complete with the same daily media body count of American soldiers, dying for an idea cooked up by a President who still doesn’t understand the enemy he is facing.