Trump’s Travel Ban … Still A Bad Idea

Yesterday, Trump signed yet another of his now-infamous ‘executive orders’ calling for a travel ban from, this time only six of the original seven Middle-Eastern nations.  The ban has been cleaned up in hopes of passing the legal smell-test, but is otherwise not much different.  The main difference is that it will not take effect until March 16th, giving time for training of CBP agents and clarification where needed.  But is there any value in such a ban?  I would argue a few factual reasons to say there is not.

Through the years, there have been numerous attempts to define “terrorism”.  One terrorism class I took 2 years ago spent nearly an entire week on the definition alone! I won’t bore you with the history, but eventually the global community settled on a definition by Alex P. Schmid, a Research Fellow at the International Centre for Counter Terrorism (ICCT) in the Hague, and Director of the Terrorism Research Initiative (TRI).  Mr. Schmid’s definition is lengthy, but can be found here if you are interested.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” Although not quite as comprehensive as Dr. Schmid’s definition, for the purposes of this post, it will do.

Note that in the FBI definition, it does not mention that in order to qualify as terrorism, the act must be perpetrated by a Muslim, nor by a member of Daesh, nor by a person of Middle-Eastern descent.  It is a fairly broad definition, and covers nearly any violent crime … or could be said to.

Donald Trump continues to claim that in order to “keep America safe”, in order to combat terrorism within the borders of the U.S., we must ban most, if not all, immigrants from Middle-Eastern, predominantly Muslim nations.  But if that is true, why are most violent crimes that would fit well into the FBI definition not labeled terrorism?  And … is terrorism from the Middle-East really a threat to the U.S.?  Let us look at a few factual examples.

While I have quoted these figures from 2015 before, they bear repeating at this juncture. The number of Americans killed in acts of terrorism – both on U.S. soil and abroad — between 2001 and 2014 is 3,412 (including the victims of the 9/11 attacks). During the same period, 440,095 people died by firearms on U.S. soil (homicides, accidents, and suicides). In 2014, for every one American killed by an act of terrorism in the United States or abroad, 1,049 Americans died in the United States because of guns.

The daily average for drunk-driving fatalities is 30 per day, and on average 3 women per day are murdered by their spouse or boyfriend.

Not a single terrorist fatality has been carried out by any refugee or immigrant from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen, the six nations included in Trump’s most recent version of his travel ban, since 11 September 2001. However, as of 2015, at least 22 fatal terror attacks had been carried out in the United States since 2001 by white male United States citizens motivated by white supremacist or other extremist beliefs. 

There have been 65 episodes of white supremacists attempting to recruit on college campuses just since Trump took the oath of office.  These include a visit by white supremacist Richard Spencer at Texas A&M University.  Also, you will recall the scheduled visit to UC Berkeley by Milo Yiannopoulos that was cancelled amid student protests.  At the cancellation, Trump railed, “If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?”

There have also been some four mosque burnings already in 2017.

Are not all these incidents, by the FBI definition, terrorism?  And not by Middle-Easterners, not by Muslims, or Hispanics.  By mostly white U.S. citizens.  So would somebody please explain to me how banning the very people who are NOT committing acts of terrorism in this country, and who are, in fact, often the victims of violence, is going to make us safer?

Trump’s latest National Security Advisor, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, told the staff of the National Security Council last month, in his first “all hands” staff meeting, that the label “radical Islamic terrorism” was not helpful because terrorists are “un-Islamic,” according to people who were in the meeting. And he is right.  I have a number of Muslim friends, and I have read some parts of the Quran, and Islam is indeed a religion of peace and tolerance. In his language, General McMaster is closer to the positions of former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. Both took pains to separate acts of terrorism from Islamic teaching, in part because they argued that the United States needed the help of Muslim allies to hunt down terrorists.

While I do not deny that Daesh and other terrorist groups made up mainly of people of Middle-Eastern origin exist, the reality is the U.S. is not their primary target.  However, the travel ban is likely to make the U.S. more prone to terrorism from without.  More than 800 career diplomats signed a dissent cable addressed to Rex Tillerson, secretary of state. The cable said Mr. Trump’s order will have “little practical effect in improving public safety” because a “vanishingly small number” of immigrants to the U.S. have committed acts of terrorism. “The net result… will not be a drop in terror attacks in the United States,” it said, “rather it will be a drop in international good will toward Americans.”  There are a number of ways in which the ban may make us less safe:

  • It supports terrorists’ claims that the U.S. is at war with Islam
  • It harms critically important U.S. relations with our partners in the Middle East.
  • It will increase anti-American sentiment
  • It directly undermines our key allies in the Middle East.
  • It discourages all Muslims — at home and abroad — from assisting U.S. anti-terrorism efforts.
  • It puts U.S. troops in grave danger.
  • It could lead to retaliation from other countries.

To those who cheer and applaud this ban, let me just say that you are safer among a crowd of Middle-Eastern immigrants than you are among the same size crowd of white Americans.  The Middle-Easterners are almost certainly not carrying loaded guns under their belts.  Think about it.


17 thoughts on “Trump’s Travel Ban … Still A Bad Idea

  1. Dear Jill,

    A Muslim ban, is a Muslim ban, is a Muslim ban, no matter what DT and his administration call it.

    DHS Department of Homeland Security has published a report countering the president’s argument for instituting this order based on protecting US peoples from terrorists who could possibly be originating from 6 majority led Muslim countries.

    I hope the courts take note of this report.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ah you poor, racist, white-hating fools – you’re time in the sun has ended. We’ve retaken our country – starting back in 2010 – and you’re no longer of any real significance. But please, keep fighting, keep screaming, keep drawing the attention of all those supposed White Men With Guns; it’ll just speed up the making America great again. 😉


    • Well, if I didn’t think you were just another ridiculous, silly right-wing lemming, I might take that last sentence as a threat, and I might report you. As it is, you don’t scare me, but rather you make me laugh.


      • And you provide strong evidence that you don’t even believe your own words and the hate and fear that you try to spread. Then, that was already obvious. When people actually believe what you’re spreading, they keep their heads down and don’t draw attention to themselves.

        But hey! America isn’t your country anymore…


    • Yes, and they are hoping it can slide under any constitutional challenges. All so pointless, not to mention costly in terms of human lives and money. Sigh. Would somebody please put this clown with the tiny hands back in his box and ship him back to whence he originated?


  3. Pingback: Trump’s Travel Ban … Still A Bad Idea | Filosofa’s Word – My Journal Blog

  4. The man is a fool and those that cheer this latest ban are also fools. Why no ban on Saudi Arabia which supplied most of the 9/11 terrorists, that might make sense. It’s highly likely he won’t ban there because of his business interests. Why won’t the public understand these 6 nations ( where he has no business interests) are just a ploy to make it look like he’s doing a good job as a distraction from some of the things the Republicans are trying to get passed at the moment like the end of the EPA.
    xxx Huge Hugs Jill xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, he excluded both Saudi Arabia and Egypt … both places where he has business interests. His travel ban is a game to him … so, as you said, he can appear to be doing just what his supporters cheered him for saying he would do. Meanwhile, this game will be paid for in human lives, by people who cannot escape the violence and persecution in Syria, as well as other nations. And Trump will not lose a moment of sleep over it. As for why the public won’t understand … I do not know, my friend. Those who support him are wearing blinders and ear plugs and woe to anyone who tries to remove them. I am more puzzled by his lemmings than I am by the ‘man’ himself … his motivation is power and greed, plain and simple. Many hugs, David!

      Liked by 1 person

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