Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Donald Trump's Policy on Terrorism (video)

I've made my first YouTube video and used it to examine Donald Trump's plan to combat terrorism, "whatever we need to do, even if we need to expand the laws". I discuss what that really means and the inevitable long-term implications. The video is 13:55 minutes long. Below, you'll find the main transcript.

Trump’s Foreign Policy

Today there was another horrible terrorist attack, this time in Brussels, Belgium. And as happens whenever such events occur, people start asking questions about security, how we can stay safe and prevent future attacks etc. And since Donald Trump is currently the top Republican candidate, he has been asked his views.

And so, I’d like to talk about the “Trump foreign policy”. Whenever I hear him talk about the need to reassess our foreign interventions, how going into Libya was a bad idea, and how bombing civilians tends to create more enemies – you know, that whole blowback concept – I get really excited.

I like it. It makes sense. There’s a lot of evidence to support those views. It’s a lot more of a Constitutional policy, more of a libertarian philosophy, and definitely more of a human-rights based philosophy.

But then, you have terrorist attacks. You have San Bernardino, you have the attacks in Paris and today in Brussels. And, of course, you ask “well, what do we do?” And Trump’s answer to that isn’t really libertarian. It isn’t really based on the idea of liberty or about protecting rights.

He talks about the need to be hard and be strong, and of course we do need to address these problems. But he goes on saying that he supports waterboarding, and that if we need to make the laws or expand them to do “whatever we need to do” in his words – that that’s fine.

It’s fine because the terrorists don’t use laws. ISIS doesn’t have laws, and we do, and we want to follow the law. So, we need to pass laws that gives us the authority to do things like waterboarding and capturing the families of terrorists, and all of this other stuff. Again, it’s whatever we need to do to be safe and win.

And of course the initial knee-jerk reaction is “Yes, yes! We need to do this!” We have been attack and we need to go and destroy our enemy.
But it’s also important to step back for a moment and think about what that actually means. We need to think about the consequences and the path that it leads us down.

Now nobody wants to be the first to break Godwin’s Law, but I’m about to – and I ask that you please stay with me here. You know, a prime, somewhat recent example of all of this is Nazi Germany.

The idea here was that Germany was under threat, they were under siege. Now, in their minds it was this “Great Jewish Conspiracy”, but it was also anarchists, Communism – and of course we in the West also opposed the Soviet Union – and so they were under threat by that. Eventually they had conflicts with France and the UK once Germany went into Poland.
So how do you deal with all of that? How do you deal with threats both external and domestically?

While there were some existing legal frameworks under which they could operate, but to make all of their actions and the ultimate goals of the Nazi regime palatable with the German people – who are now at war – they had to come up with other legal means and frameworks.

The problem was that they ended up being so broad in scope and in meaning, that ultimately it all turned into simply the words of Hitler were law. The words of Goering and Himmler were law. And of course all of this was done in the name of preserving the German Reich and protecting the people, and accomplishing the goals of the nation.

But what did that do? What did it lead to? 

You ended up with the Gestapo, you ended up with the T-4 euthanasia programs killing the disabled, going in and ransacking people’s homes, and searching for “terrorists” aka Jews, and homosexuals, and intellectuals, and Communists, and even people who were proud German patriots who simply disagreed with the Nazi Government.

And when you start talking about “doing everything we can”, when you talk about creating backdoors into encryption and allow the government to search anywhere and everywhere all in the name of safety. We have to remember, government is run by human beings, and human beings are corruptible, and we make mistakes; we fall victim to the prejudices we hold and the appeals of power and authority.

So unless you have openness and transparent checks and balances, and unless the people know what the government is doing had has the power to stop the government; if you don’t have those things government runs amok. And we’ve already seen this kind of secrecy and non-accountability with FISA Courts and literally thousands of abuses by the NSA.

Without such protections and an innate respect for liberty, you have what could have been legitimate revolutions in places like Cuba and elsewhere, all turn into nightmares for millions of people.

The Batista regime, even though they were backed by America, they weren’t pillars of democracy. It was corrupt and cruel and mean. Many people were arrested and tortured by this American-backed government in Cuba. So then you have Castro with his rag-tag team of, you know, 'Liberation Fighters', and things could have ended well.

But what happened?

They won. And now they have power. They were the oppressed, and unfortunately what happens many times is when the oppressed becomes the ones in power, the oppress the oppressors.

And they create new enemies and you have class struggle, and everything. And the revolution never dies! The revolution technically is still going on all of these decades later. Same thing in North Korea, the revolution continues! You had decades in China of these massive purges and rounding up people, and the Three Revolutions, and all of this terribleness and tens of millions of people thrown in jail and denied their rights – all because the government was trying to get at the actual enemy.

But then the enemies turned into not just the people who really were their enemies, but to the friends and families of the enemies. And then to the generations later on. “Well, your grandfather used to be a capitalist and so now we have to throw you in jail and destroy your family.” – And that is what happens.

And of course, that creates more discontent and more enemies.
And so it really bothers me to hear this type of rhetoric in American politics, in Western politics.

You can go after your enemy and defeat them without turning into your enemy.
When you do the things that terrorists do to fight terrorism, you become the terrorist!

You cannot defend the Constitution by tearing it up!

You cannot defend American freedoms by crushing them!

We fought the Nazis, and we won the war. And we put Nazi war criminals on trial. We fought the Japanese, and we won the war. And we put the criminals on trial. We’ve put domestic terrorists, like Timothy McVeigh on trial. It can be done.

If you follow the law, you follow the Constitution, you can still win.

Terrorism is frightening because it can pop up anywhere. But, I would argue, that’s what is more frightening in many ways is having Imperial Japan across one coast, and Nazi Germany overrunning all of Europe across the other coast.

Tens of millions of men under arms, guns pointed toward you. U-boats running the seas. I mean we had Nazi submarines right off of New York Harbor and in the Gulf. They even landed operatives on American shores with the purpose of blowing up dams and factories.

We had the Japanese sending explosive balloons over to set fire to the vast forests along the Pacific coast. And Japan was experimenting with chemical and biological weapons too. They could have easily set balloons over and taken out Seattle or Los Angeles.

These enemies were organized, had huge sums of money and infrastructure, and controlled millions of square miles of territory – and all of that was arrayed against us.

You know, at the very brink all you really had was the United States along with the UK which had barely managed to survive, and the Soviet Union which was being chopped into little bits and about to collapse. Not exactly a recipe for successes. And of course we weren’t exactly friends with Soviets. But we fought and persevered, basically, against half the planet when you look at terms of military strength and resources – and we won.

We won, largely, without turning our backs on our principles. And the time we did turn our backs – when we sent Japanese Americans to concentration camps, that effort damaged our national soul and didn’t do a damned thing to win the war.

Of course within that, what do we have today? We have a small group of people who have been incensed by decades of meddling and intervention by the West. Granted, today the motivation isn’t necessarily what we did in the past. The Genie is out, and its now largely terrorism for the sake of terror. But we still have to recognize when our actions contribute to radical motivation and think about long-term consequences.

The point is, there’s nothing wrong with following our Constitution and following the same principles that we had going into World War II.

No one thinks we were honestly friends with the Soviet Union. We were spying and them and they were spying on us. Heck, they knew about the Atomic Bomb before President Truman told them. And today, are we “besties” with Russia? No. But Russia has shown that they are willing to put skin in the game, to fight ISIS. So why are we talking about no-fly-zones and shooting down Russian planes?

You join with people who are willing to fight the same fight you are. That’s how you win. And then once you’ve defeated the immediate threat, you can deal with the other things.

But this insanity that we hear from pretty much everybody running for President, but especially Trump and even Ted Cruz – who has gone off the deep end with supporting military interventions around the world and promoting domestic spying programs – there is simply no reason why we can’t stick to our principles and still get the job done like have done time and time again.

And the last thing we need is someone in office who does not understand this.
The last thing we need is some basically guy pumped up on steroids going around half-cocked and yelling “we need to be strong, and I know people and I’m great at this, and we will be so strong, and we just have to do whatever we need to do because…yadda yadda yadda”.

That’s not what we need. Number one that isn’t a policy, and even if you could somehow craft it into a coherent policy and then take it to its logical conclusion – then we end up being an actual police state.

I know that phrase is used a lot, but we are nowhere near being the kind of ‘Big Brother, Mass Surveillance, If You Have Nothing to Hide Let Me In’ type of society we would become under the vision of people like Trump.
And it is time that libertarians, and actual lovers of Liberty – I don’t care if you’re a Democrat, or Republican, or even a freakin’ Socialist – it’s time that we ALL stand up against this madness.

If our leaders and those who are seeking to lead, if they won’t be the adult in the room the it’s up to us, we the people, to stand up and be the adult and take control of the situation. Because I, for one, am not willing to be led by the nose or otherwise forced into some kind of monstrous situation all in the name of security or patriotism.

Waving a flag, chanting “USA, USA”, and towing the line with your head down is NOT patriotism!
Patriotism is standing up for what is right. Not just because it’s legal; making torture legal doesn’t make it right. Not just because the polls show most people support X, Y, and Z. But to stand up for what is right and to defend the founding principles of our country.

Because when we turn our backs on that, we are no longer Americans. There’s no more line that separates us from the barbarians at the gate. And I am going to everything I can to make sure that that line, stays. That there is a clear difference between us, and that this country, as a free republic, remains a free republic.

For this and many other reasons are why those of us in the Liberty Movement need to stand strong against this level of inhuman and unconstitutional policies. Simply being an “outsider” and “speaking your mind”, or damaging the establishment is not reason enough to hand over the keys to this country to a man – or any candidate for that matter – who so clearly does not understand what the Rule of Law and Liberty for All means.

The destruction of some group of Neo-Cons does not take precedence over my life and your life, nor the lives of innocent people everywhere.
So I ask you to please join with me and stand strong for Liberty.

If you’d like to know more about me and what I do, please check out my website at or connect with me on Facebook and Twitter @JacobBogle

---Jacob Bogle, 3/22/16

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