Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speak during a commercial break in the sixth Republican presidential debate in North Charleston, S.C., on Jan. 14, 2016.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty

U.S. candidates’ responses to Brussels terrorism speak volumes

Much of the world’s focus has shifted to Brussels today, where ISIS has claimed credit for a brutal terrorist attack that has left at least 31 people dead, wounding dozens more. The Belgian capital has gone into lockdown and all public transportation has closed.
 
President Obama responded to the terrorist violence, saying in public remarks this morning that Americans “stand in solidarity” with the people of Belgium in “condemning these outrageous attacks against innocent people.” He added, “We’ll do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally Belgium to bring to bring justice to those responsible. We must unite and be together regardless of nationality, race or faith in fighting against the scourge of terrorism.”
 
Those who hope to succeed Obama in the White House delivered responses of their own. Bernie Sanders, for example, said in a statement, “Today’s attack is a brutal reminder that the international community must come together to destroy ISIS. This type of barbarism cannot be allowed to continue.” Hillary Clinton said the terrorists’ campaign “of hate and fear will not succeed,” because we “will not be intimidated by these vicious killers.”
 
Clinton, who also ruled out torture and said closing the U.S. border is unrealistic, added, “These terrorists seek to undermine the democratic values that are the foundation of our alliance and our way of life, but they will never succeed. Today’s attacks will only strengthen our resolve to stand together as allies and defeat terrorism and radical jihadism around the world.”
 
But did you happen to catch Ted Cruz’s official written statement? Consider this excerpt:
“We need to immediately halt the flow of refugees from countries with a significant al Qaida or ISIS presence. We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.
 
“We need to secure the southern border to prevent terrorist infiltration. And we need to execute a coherent campaign to utterly destroy ISIS. The days of the United States voluntarily surrendering to the enemy to show how progressive and enlightened we are at an end. Our country is at stake.”
It’s the kind of statement that reinforces fears that Cruz just doesn’t respect American voters enough to treat them like adults.
 
Blocking refugees fleeing terrorist violence is, of course, exactly what terrorists want us to do. What’s more, the idea that the United States is “voluntarily surrendering” to terrorists is obviously insane and the kind of comment a politician makes when he assumes voters are fools.
 
But I’m especially interested in hearing more about how a Cruz administration would “empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods.” Fascinating. Tell me more.
 
For example, how would Cruz determine what a “Muslim neighborhood” is? How many Muslim Americans does it take, exactly? Is it every community with a mosque? Is it constitutional for public officials to dispatch law enforcement to “patrol and secure” American neighborhoods based on the religious beliefs of some of its residents?
 
And what would law-enforcement officials do in these areas, exactly? After a neighborhood has been “secured” to Cruz’s satisfaction, does the Republican envision a semi-permanent police presence to monitor Americans in the area based on their faith, or can the American neighborhood eventually go back to normal, everyday life without police monitoring?
 
According to Cruz, once the government dispatches law enforcement to “patrol and secure” neighborhoods with Muslim Americans, the plan would be to prevent radicalization. One wonders if he realizes the extent to which such a plan actually encourages the opposite.
 
As for the GOP frontrunner Cruz is trying to catch, Donald Trump reiterated his support this morning for the United States embracing torture and closing its borders – which is pretty much what everyone expected the amateur candidate to say.
 
 

Brussels, Counter-Terrorism, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz and War On Terror

U.S. candidates' responses to Brussels terrorism speak volumes