Dean Obeidallah says the GOP frontrunner should condemn the armed takeover of federal lands as he has jihadist terror
Obeidallah says the danger of right-wing extremism is real
Editor’s Note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is the host of SiriusXM’s weekly program “The Dean Obeidallah Show,” a columnist for The Daily Beast and editor of the politics blog The Dean’s Report. Follow him on Twitter: @TheDeansreport. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
On the day that Donald Trump released a new campaign ad in which he promised to keep us safe from Islamic terrorism, an armed group of American extremists was waging a battle against the federal government in Oregon.
But don’t hold your breath for Trump to put out an ad condemning right-wing terrorists even though they have taken more lives on American soil in the past 15 years than Islamic terrorists. Of course, if those militants occupying a federal preserve in Oregon were Muslims, Trump would be talking about this siege nonstop. (As would the media, but non-Muslim terrorists appear not to be as much of a ratings boon as Muslim terrorists.)
Let’s not mince words: The siege of the Oregon federal wildlife preserve is an attack upon the United States of America by people who oppose the authority of our nation’s federal government. As the Oregon police stated Sunday, the goal of these men is: “To overthrow the county and federal government in hopes to spark a movement across the United States.”
Simply put, this is a terrorist act. And that’s not just my view. CNN’s national security analyst Juliette Kayyem, who served as an assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, penned an article Sunday spelling out why this is a terrorist act based on her experience as an expert.
And in reviewing the federal statute that defines “domestic terrorism,” it would appear the actions of these people fulfill the key elements. Specifically, the armed group has committed an act dangerous to human life with their standoff and are seeking “to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion.”
Just so it’s clear, this was not a spur-of-the-moment action. As Ammon Bundy, one of the leaders, noted: “This is not a decision we’ve made at the last minute.” Bundy also declared they are prepared to stay on the land as long as it takes to compel the federal government to give in to their demands.
Even more alarming is that the militants have warned that they would use violence to achieve their political goals, if need be. Ryan Bundy, Ammon’s brother, told a reporter that they are wiling to kill and be killed if necessary. Another member of the group told a reporter, in words echoing what we expect to hear from a jihadist before a terror attack, “I came here to die.”
The question now is how will the GOP frontrunner Trump respond? This is a man, as we all are aware, who refuses to be politically correct and is clearly not afraid to speak his mind. And he has offered sweeping and headline-grabbing prescriptions to counter terrorism. For example, after the San Bernardino terrorist attack perpetrated by two Muslims, he vowed to ban all 1.5 billion Muslims from around the world from coming to America.
Will Trump now respond by calling for a ban on white men of a certain age from buying guns? Or at least require more of a background check before white men can purchase guns? After all, since 1982, 64% of the mass shootings in the United States were carried out by whites, all of whom were men, with the exception of one involving a white woman.
Trump has also made it clear that not only should terrorists be killed, but so should their families: “The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families.”
Under this Trump doctrine, it would mean that if the Oregon militants were adjudicated as terrorists, the government would kill their families as well. Or does Trump have an exception to his edict for non-Muslim terrorists?
We don’t know, because as of the writing of this article, Trump has not publicly commented on the Oregon siege. At least his fellow GOP presidential candidates have. Ted Cruz urged the Oregon people to “stand down” while Marco Rubio has called them “lawless.” The two have avoided dubbing them terrorists.
I doubt Trump will make the Oregon siege a campaign issue. After all, this is a guy who has been hesitant to vocally criticize the white supremacist groups that have been publicly supporting him. True, Trump has fired two campaign staffers over racist posts on social media, but when he was asked in August if he would flat out repudiate the endorsement of former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke, Trump responded in a less than emphatic way to the reporter: “Sure, I would if that would make you feel better.”
If Trump truly were concerned with keeping Americans safe, he would address the threat of both Islamic and right wing terrorists. But he likely won’t. Trump only cares about one thing: Donald J. Trump. In fact, Trump’s statement to a reporter last week sums up what he’s truly about: “If I don’t win, I’ll consider this a total and complete waste of time.”