There has been a real dust-up over Donald J. Trump’s War on Muslims. He and his followers like to characterize it as a sensible response to the Extremist Islamic Terrorism they claim threatens our future. But when you step back and look at it from other angles, his approach to fixing this “problem” is the exact same one we tried in our recent “War On Drugs”. Anyone remember how that turned out?
The War On Drugs
The entire country got on board with Ronald Reagan’s (and Nancy Reagan’s) “Just Say No” campaign. Congress mobilized and came together, putting giant piles of money into advancing military and law enforcement initiatives. We all, as a united people, took up the challenge to, once and for all, wipe out illegal drug abuse.
Many decades later, many billions of dollars later, we are no where near the goal we initially set. We have learned that most, if not all, of our initial efforts were not only ineffective, they were ill-advised. The bottom line is that we spent a lot and got not much in return.
The Right Enemy
Even though there are many differing points of view about the real reason we failed, most everyone will agree that part of the reason is we chose the wrong enemy. We have learned, and are still learning, that we have to change the minds and habits of the drug abuser; we cannot win by attacking the distribution chains or the dealers. We have to identify and attack the right enemy.
Trump’s War on Muslims
Mr. Trump is doing the same mistaken thing we did in our War On Drugs. He has identified and begun attacking a broadly accessible but totally disconnected attribute of the recent terrorist attacks; the “Stated” faith of the killers. Not only are the killers (whether ISIS themselves or simply inspired by the ISIS propaganda) a microscopic minority of the Muslim population, but the majority of Muslims reject their warped and evil ideologies.
We Need To Learn
We don’t need to look all the way back to World War II for viable and important lessons. We can look into our very recent past and see glaring examples of why Mr. Trump’s War is not only wrong, but ultimately doomed to fail. We need to learn from our past mistakes, not just turn them into convenient sound bites for the world to digest.