Since leaving office early in President Obama’s first term, former CIA director and former NSA director Michael Hayden has earned a reputation for taking the US government to task for the way it wages its war on terror. But now Hayden has turned his attention to presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump and how his proposed policies would impact ISIS.
None of this is likely to have any effect on either Trump or his policies, which is precisely what makes him such a dangerous candidate for president, because most of his policies are motivated by something other than facts. Take his racist hatred of Mexican immigrants, for example. Or his statements about women. Or his proposal to ban all Muslims from the country.
It’s the Muslim ban in particular that worries Hayden because, as the former CIA director puts it:
‘The unrelenting jihadist narrative is that the state of nature is undying enmity between Islam and the West.’
Osama bin Laden espoused this same narrative that ISIS has now taken up, and it’s only through understanding that fact and actively undermining the narrative that the US will be able to break this cycle. But don’t even try telling Trump that. Last December following the San Bernardino shooting, Trump reacted by promoting his proposed ban:
‘Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.’
Forget that domestic terrorism has claimed more American lives than jihadists since 9/11; Trump is only interested in uninformed, knee-jerk reactions. As Hayden explained to his audience, Trump’s approach is misguided at best and at its worst, absolutely stupid:
‘The jihadist narrative is that there is undying enmity between Islam and the modern world so when Trump says they all hate us, he’s using their narrative [… ] he’s feeding their recruitment video.’
As the former CIA director makes clear, alienating and isolating a population of 1.6 billion people based solely on their religious beliefs is entirely un-American and will weaken national security. You shouldn’t expect anything more than that from Trump, of course, but you should most certainly expect a better informed response from the American people.
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