In an off-the-record conversation, presidential candidate Ted Cruz raised the question as to whether Americans want Donald Trump’s “finger on the button.”
Cruz is talking about the question of rationality and judgment. It’s a fair question, not just in regard to Donald Trump, but about anyone running for high office.
However, most people look at the issue from a concern about overreaction. “The president has control over a huge amount of military power. What if he or she overreacts?”
Rarely, if ever, do we consider the consequences of underreacting.
Imagine that your child gets harassed by a bully. The bully verbally and physically harasses your child on a daily basis. Your child asks you what to do.
If you love your child, you probably would not say: “Think about the bully’s point-of-view. Think about what he’s going through in his life. Perhaps he’s the victim of racism, or income inequality. Maybe you’ve even done some things to make him want to bully you. You belong to a racial or social group who oppresses his racial or social group. Don’t be so hard on him.”
It would be a dramatic example not only of underreacting, but of teaching a profoundly wrong and distorted view of justice to your child. It would be horrible.
Yet that’s precisely what we do in the face of our enemies today. We underreact, in the case of ISIS, and we unjustly react, in the case of terrorist-sponsoring regimes such as Iran, signing peace treaties with them that they are already blatantly violating.
“Finger on the button” refers to the use of military force. What if a president uses too much military force, or uses it in the wrong way?
But the other question is just as important: What if a president uses too little military force, or even none at all? What if a president blames ourselves for others’ aggression against us, as in blaming “Islamophobia” for terrorism instead of the actions, choices and ideology of terrorists themselves?
Hillary Clinton, anticipating a national campaign against Trump, has also suggested he may be dangerous. In response, Trump said, “She was on one of the shows the other night and she was talking about Donald Trump talks very rough. He may be dangerous. Dangerous? She’s the one that caused so many deaths and everything with her horrible policies. You look at what’s gone on in Libya. You look at — and I’m not just mentioning Benghazi, which was a disaster in itself, but you look at so many of the decisions that she made that were so bad, so horrible, and honestly caused tremendous havoc and tremendous death. So, she’s the one that’s really got to justify her record that’s horrible.”
We tend to worry about competence, and ignore ideas. Hillary Clinton may have more experience at the State Department than Donald Trump. But, like Obama, she favors underreacting, and she tends to blame the United States more for the actions of terrorists than terrorists themselves, or the ideology of Islam. Also, as Trump points out, you can have experience and exhibit glaring incompetence while exercising that experience. If Hillary Clinton gets treated by the media and voters like Obama, she will get a free pass, but the point is right on target, just the same.
America is losing the war against terrorism, and many of us are worried about whether a president might use “too much” military force.
I’m much more concerned about having someone in office who makes life easier for the bad guys, and who actually blames us for much of the problem.
We’ve endured this for nearly eight years. America cannot go on like this much longer, and expect to survive.
All the military might in the world will not save us; not if we see ourselves as unworthy of using it.
Obama’s underreaction and appeasement of violent ideologues are far more dangerous than Donald Trump’s – or Ted Cruz’s – strong, principled and politically incorrect talk about Islamic terrorism ever could be.
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