Trump’s War on Some Terror Directed Only at White European Christians

Yesterday, Trump told a bunch of military service members that the press doesn’t cover terrorist attacks.

We’re up against an enemy that celebrates death and totally worships destruction — you’ve seen that. ISIS is on a campaign of genocide, committing atrocities across the world. Radical Islamic terrorists are determined to strike our homeland as they did on 9/11; as they did from Boston to Orlando, to San Bernardino. And all across Europe, you’ve seen what happened in Paris and Nice. All over Europe it’s happening. It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported and, in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons and you understand that.

When the press called him on that claim, the White House released a batshit crazy list of 78 attacks; the Guardian offers an excellent compilation and contextualization here. (Update: CNN matches the list to how many stories reported out each attack.)

As many have observed, there are a slew of problems with the list. There are numerous spelling errors, including a page where the attackers were labeled “ATTAKERS,” other spelling errors including “San Bernadino,” and a remarkable scope. The list appears to include just those attributed to or inspired by ISIL, leaving out even the Charlie Hebdo attack while listing associated Paris attacks. It leaves out attacks in Sub-Saharan Africa; as Micah Zenko noted on Twitter, those make up the vast majority of mass casualty attacks. The list also leaves out other attacks — even those rare white supremacist attacks charged as terrorism — that don’t involve Muslims (here’s a list of those attacks). Which of course means it leaves out the attack on a mosque that self-described Trump supporter Alexandre Bissonnette carried out in Quebec last week, leaving 6 dead and 19 wounded.

The list also sometimes, though not always, describes perpetrators as “US persons” rather than by name. That may suggest it is based off a real list put together by a foreign intelligence agency, which would have to minimize the names of US persons. If so, that would explain why domestic terror attacks aren’t included, as FBI does, inconsistently, include those in its list of terror attacks. (See my analysis of a 2012 FBI list used as a prop by Dianne Feinstein here.)

Of course, the list also doesn’t include random gun deaths, the casualties of which dwarf the casualties of terror attacks.

In short, the list is a shit show. And rather than proving a point (at least to anyone outside of his followers), Trump instead got a lot of media genuinely pissed that he had claimed they ignored stories they covered for months, like San Bernardino or Paris. He even got a few in the media to report on that Quebec terrorist attack, which has received spotty attention amid all the Trump craziness.

Trump claimed the media isn’t making us fearful enough, and instead he performed a caricature of obsession about terror against white European Christians.

For years, the US has obsessed about Islamic terrorism, dedicating all our resources towards killing that off, while doing nothing about the more pressing threats to the US. Trump will only make that worse — as his limitation of Countering Violent Extremism programs to Islamic terrorism already has (a move that JM Berger criticized here).

But that was built on bipartisan insider consensus that that was the right standard. Trump, because he is so obviously wrong, may finally change that.

Or, he may wield the power of the state against Muslims as scapegoats for all his own failures.

That’s the choice before us.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

19 replies
  1. Don Bacon says:

    Trump has promised to change the Obama-Clinton strategy of regime change and all war, all the time. That strategy employed against Muslim countries is the root cause of Islamic radicalism AKA terrorism.
    –Peace through strength will be at the center of our foreign policy. We will achieve a stable, peaceful world with less conflict and more common ground.
    –End the current strategy of nation-building and regime change.

    However, the recent Trump administration provocations against Iran is not a good sign.

  2. Ol' Hippy says:

    Apparently attacks by terrorists in other third world countries aren’t mentioned, or are deliberately are left off the ‘list’. A lot of Americans only focus on the domestic front and maybe the European one and could care less about the other less fortunate places around the world anyway. Time being short, I have to admit I didn’t read the list, but most folks just watch the nightly news anyway and go about their daily struggle just to raise their families. Let’s all just hope another big attack doesn’t hit here or the tatters left will be terrible indeed.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    “We’re up against an enemy that celebrates death and totally worships destruction.”

    Perhaps we could excuse the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia when they mistakenly interpret that quote as Mr. Trump referring to the military acts – drone warfare in particular – that America confuses with diplomacy.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump claimed the media isn’t making us fearful enough, and instead he performed a caricature of obsession about terror against white European Christians.

    They hate us for our freedoms, don’t you know.  They hate us for continuing a 19th century imperialist policy that uses protecting white women camp followers from predation by dark-colored nationalist natives as an excuse for doing away with the natives.  Mr. Orwell would not be gobsmacked in the least at Mr. Trump’s pronouncements, though he, too, would excoriate the Donald for having the grammar of a guttersnipe.

     

  5. Don Bacon says:

    “For years, the US has obsessed about Islamic terrorism, dedicating all our resources towards killing that off, while doing nothing about the more pressing threats to the US. Trump will only make that worse”

    Many US citizens will, or should, compare Trump to the president he replaced and the support that Obama’s administration gave to terrorists, including the CIA/McCain support of al-Qaeda in Syria and the freedom for ISIS to occupy parts of Iraq and Syria unobstructed by the US military. If Trump steers (relatively) clear of the Middle East, especially Iraq and Syria, and north Africa, it would serve the US better.  There probably would be no immediate improvement, but the trend would be better than the (anti-Muslim*) wars in that area started, supported and promoted by the recent Dem-Repub cabal under Bush-43 and Obama.

    * — consistency with the “Muslim Ban”

    • John Casper says:

      Don, why did you ignore my 11:55?

      Western oligarchs, Russian oligarchs and Saudi Arabia are fighting over the ME’s oil and natural reserves. Exxon runs our State Department.
      How long do you want the U.S. military occupying the Middle East?
      This morning you wrote, “End the current strategy of nation-building and regime change.”
      If military occupations aren’t “…nation-building and regime change,” what are they? What’s your horizon for removing all U.S. military from the Middle East?
      Isn’t Trump giving robust support to white supremacists and their terrorist cells?

  6. Evangelista says:

    Marcy,

    Your attack on the Trump released list of ‘ISIL’ attributed “terrorist” assaults is blunderbuss, inchoate, incoherent, with some of any and everything you could lay hand on tamped in for ‘ammunition’, much of which is petty mewling and so not even powder-puff. To turn your words, your attack is “a shit show”.

    First, give up the petty piddlery of pissing about spelling errors, which may be typos, key-misses, light-strokes, etc. Everybody does those. Mewling about them makes anything fussy and petty, destroying impacts, arguments and credibility.
    Second, don’t play Miss Monitor and fault for incompleteness in someone else’s list; accept what you are reviewing as what it is and what it contains. If it leaves out stuff you perceive to need be in, add the left out for completeness.
    Third, if a list is parochial, confined to a narrow band of subject accept that as a feature/fault of the list. Instead of making petty argument that your opponent failed to include, addend your own list of other attacks that are comparative as your own recognitions.

    Attacking shortcomings in an opponent’s presentation makes your attack ad hominem and as such a petty and personal attack against an enemy of your own inflating. Instead, let the facts make the point. Let readers recognize for themselves if the other’s effort was narrow and incomplete, or cherry-picked and done dab-fashion.

    If you review Trump bombast rationally you may note that he uses bombastic hyperbolé to arouse his opponents to blindered outrage and send them on exactly such tangents as your response to his ‘list’ sent you on. The facts of facts get left in the dust and lost in the smoke. You Trump-Critics are going to continue to blow smoke and make no points and have no effects (except in your own choirs) as long as you only piss in Trump’s purposely blown wind.

    A list of ‘ISIL’ attack targetings posed as “terrorist” assaults is insufficient. It is not so because it correctly leaves out the Charlie Hebdo attack, which was not an ‘ISIL’ terror attack, but an Israeli false-flag “Jewish” terror attack (which means European Jews are, and are going to be, its down-the-road victims). It is so because it is parochial to ‘ISIL’, whose attacks are responsive to prior terror attacks, by the U.S., NATO, and individual European countries. Thus, you should have added the latest SEAL botch-up, and all “Coalition” assaults that violated international law or exceeded UN limitations, including all U.S. attack actions in Afghanistan and Syria and Iraq and everywhere else the U.S. has violated sovereignty, instead of working with the sovereign government in place to lawfully carry its complaints against persons or groups it perceives antagonists to U.S. interests.

    From a list initiated on that criteria you could have gone on to raise the issue of Trump’s threat to ‘terrorize’ Mexicans with his suggestion to send U.S. forces to violate Mexican sovereignty to move against Trump-designated Mexican “bad hombres”.

    You and all the rest like you who are in vapours and wetting yourselves over how “terrible” Trump is are playing into his game, flailing at the piñata he has shaped with his blowing and imaging and hung for you to whale at while he plows on with you flailers failing to notice. Until you start looking down and dealing with the facts on the ground you will write inanities and drivels as irrelevant as the mainstream medias’.

    • bmaz says:

      Jeebus Evangelista, you are not just loquacious, you are fucking bonkers.

      Does somebody pay you to do this trolling, or are you simply addled?

      • Evangelista says:

         

        Sorry, bmaz,  I was not trolling, or intending to troll, I was trying to be helpful.  The nose-bleeds, hysterics and hyperventilations following the Trump election, to and through January 21, 2017 were filler.  They should have been blow-down from the pressures of the campaign season.  As such they ccould be accepted and dismissed, pushed off with “Get it out of your system so you will be sober and ready in rational mode when Trump begins actually doing and provides real, not speculation, material needing solid response to.”

        Since January 21, 2017, Trump has provided real matter and it needs real, and rational, response.  Yet we still have petty pantings and puffings about peripheralia.  And worse, we have that instead of and in lieu of address to solid factors that require address.

        There are those out there now, not here, who are addressing the fundamentals of Executive Orders, what they are, what their limits are, where they fit in a separation-of-powers and check-and-balance system of government, that in the United States (the Constitutional one, anyway) they cannot be legitimately, or legally, treated as an Imperial President’s (or “democratically elected Tyrant’s) imperial dictation.  That this would occur with a Trump Presidency was one of the primary reasons a Trump Presidency was to be hoped for:  Look back, you can follow the ‘ascent’ of the Executive Order as it was fudged forward and authoritarianly enlarged and shaped more and more imperial, until in the Obama Presidency it was treated as Imperial Dication, with even the complaining only wringing hands and acquiescing.  The choice of end was to continue to civil eruption, or a Trump-type figure with capacity to offend some backbone into the quailing Quislings who compose the current United States’ “Intelligentsia” and “Apparatchikia”, to bring real civil and legal confrontation to being.

        I wrote to emphatically suggest that it is time for EW to get on the active action bandwagon, to get off the sidelines and out from the masses of hapless wailers howling their griefs in self-enervating choirs.

        Consider a couple of things being missed:  One, there is no precedent for idiotic demands for a U.S. President to divest of his prior to gaining office assets, as a number of idiots have stupidly claimed the emoluments clause ‘requires’:  Washington, the first President under the Constitution produced tobacco at Mt. Vernon, and sold it abroad, receiving payments, which were not deemed ’emolument’.  So did Jefferson, also no problem, again, Jackson selling cotton, even to Britain, even as “Presidential” premium.  On the other hand, receiving profit and increase of profit in direct result of holding office, or actions while in the office, clearly was, and is, Constitutionally emolument.  For this, Trump pushing to restart the DAPL, in which he is an investor, to use his office to secure his profit, is to use his office to secure emolument.  Legally he would have to recuse himself from any DAPL decisions.  using his Presidential authority to lobby for, or even attempt to executively order, dismantling of Dodd-Frank, to, as he has asserted, help his friends who, he says, are unable to get loans they ‘need’ for the bill’s regulations, is the next thing beyond using elected office for personal emolument.  And from beginning with looking with critical eye at Presidential abuses of office for personal and friends’ profits there is impetus to carry investigation to the Constitutionally interdicted ‘revolving-door’ emolument-system that Congress and Wall Street have been operating for decades, with all in responsible positions pretending that the positions and payments for prior government ‘experience’, particularly favorable to the providers,are not emolument and Constitutionally prohibited.

        Meanwhile, on the fun side if the fence, there is a necessity to define what Trump can mean by “bad hombres”, and who may qualify as “bad hombres” under a Trump definition:  Trump, you should recall, is anti-Castro Cuba, and so will was not adverse to the “Mariel Boat Lift”, in which Castro emptied Cuba’s jails of what was considered dangerous riff-raff in Cuba, but who were designated ‘Welcome Citizens’ by the USA.  The predations of that lot of low-lifes, who the U.S. not only allowed to enter, but sponsored the going to get and fetch of, is of record, as are the predations of those “good hombres”, especially Floridian police records. You see?  To avoid upsetting Trump by letting “bad hombres” across the Mexico-USA border, about all El Presidente Niento has to do is not empty Mexico’s prisons across to Tijuana and Laredo…

        Isn’t that better than huffing and puffing about a Trump Administration List including Bowling Green and omitting drone attacks and gunship shoot-ups of Medecins?

        P.S.  Your accusation, “[Y]ou are fucking bonkers” put me in mind of an old Disney-character joke where Mickey Mouse was asserted to be divorcing Minnie Mouse for Mickey finding Minnie “fucking goofy”.  Ah, the halcyon days of youth, when such jokes were current, and somehow planted so firmly in memory they remain, even after they have composted to not funny, but only goofy…

         

  7. Don Bacon says:

    Okay, attacking Trump is easy just look at what he says. But look on the bright side:
    1. Against all odds he got elected because of what he says. We owe him some allegiance for that.
    2. He is basically doing what he said he would do (what a concept).
    3. Many of us held our noses when Obama got elected, and look what he brought. More war, almost doubled the national debt, and the economy sucks. Plus Obamacare.
    4. We have avoided unqualified Hillary, who was a prime mover on the Syria and Libya disasters and (like Obama) has never accomplished anything meaningful.

    • John Casper says:

      Don,

      WRT the national debt, “As PIMCO’s Paul McCulley put it, ‘Remember, the government sector’s liability is the private sector’s asset!
       http://www.levyinstitute.org/pubs/pn_10_02.pdf p.3

      As with any country that issues its own non-convertible currency, the U.S. cannot run out of dollars. We can run out of clean water, safe food, sustainable energy, some metals, minerals, and medicines.
      If the U.S. borrows in something other than dollars, gold, oil, …, all bets are off.

      The vast majority of federal welfare benefits the elites. What matters is WHAT the federal government spends on.

      What matters is the real economy, the part that makes stuff. Thanks to Obama and the GOP, the financial sector–mostly leverage/fluff–is doing great.
      Where is your evidence that Trump will oppose those anti-main street policies?

      State and local budgets have to balance, just like a family’s.

  8. Hieronymus Howard says:

    Evangelista may be addled but I liked some of those alliterations.

    petty piddlery
    flailers failing

    If the Donald needs to hire a proofreader for the White House, then he should do so forthwith.  There has to be one around D.C. somewhere, surely.

    & please, no hyphen in powderpuff.

    [tongue-face]

    • Evangelista says:

      The hyphen is for the blnderbuss-blast metaphor (and to avoid the “girlish” meaning “powderpuff” carries).

  9. jerryy says:

    https://lawfareblog.com/its-not-foreigners-who-are-plotting-here-what-data-really-show

    “For those who don’t want to do this deep dive, here’s a quick two-sentence summary: Conway’s position is empirically indefensible. Absolutely nothing in the large body of data we have about real terrorist plots in the United States remotely supports either a focus on barring refugees or a focus on these particular seven countries.”
    “Nothing.”
    This comment may be a bit late considering all of the fast moving stuff happening right now, but the article is worth the time taken to read it carefully. Hint, Hint, Hint.

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