To identify the Republican demagogue as being unhinged is a fairly easy task. But what about the even more dangerous mindset of President Obama and other sections of the Washington establishment, who, ironically, posture as more reasonable, saner voices?
The shooter, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, who was killed by police officers at the scene, was of Afghan heritage and a professed Muslim. He also made a bizarre emergency phone call to police during the horrific nightclub siege in which he pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (Daesh) terror group.
However, Trump’s comments do indeed seem wildly inflammatory and inaccurate. Mateen was born in New York City and was an American citizen. So Trump’s claim that his ban on Muslim immigrants entering the US would have prevented the massacre is not only utterly irrelevant. He once again cynically scapegoats and incites hatred of an entire religion.
Not surprisingly, Obama has been joined by large sections of the US media, as well as by even senior members of his rival Republican Party, and of course Democrat presidential contender Hillary Clinton, in condemning Trump for his inflammatory, bigoted rhetoric.
“Top Republicans join Obama in rebuking Trump,” read one headline in the Washington Post.
But the really insidious thing about reactions to the Orlando massacre is the way that the appalling act of violence has been subtly used by Obama and the Washington establishment to reinforce their criminal policy of war on terror.
However, the mainly Shia Muslim Hezbollah movement is considered to be “infidels” by the extremist Wahhabi Daesh; and in their twisted ideology, Hezbollah members are worthy of having their heads chopped off. Therefore, the Orlando shooter seems more to be a rather clueless, wannabe terrorist, with no real organizational involvement with any international group. More a pathetic individual mired in confusion than a cold-blooded terrorist asset.
Secondly, it has emerged that Mateen was not very religious, according to family members. It appears that he was no radical Muslim.
Thirdly, a more dominant issue in his possible motivation to carry out the crime was mental instability, homophobia, and his own repressed sexuality. Several survivors of the nightclub massacre have come forward to identify the attacker as having been a regular customer at the gay venue, drinking alcohol heavily, and a doyen of social media sites devoted to male-to-male dating. All this while his father and ex-wife said that he “hated gays”.
Even the chief US crime authority, the FBI, within days of the Orlando shooting admitted that there was no evidence that the massacre was directed by an overseas terror command. Their assessment followed examination of the shooter’s personal computer and other personal communications.
Trump’s comments on how the mass killing was another example of crazed Muslims who should be banned from the US are thus way, way off base. Contemptibly so. Such comments are odious and reckless rhetorical detonators of sectarian hatred.
But what about the “dangerous mindset” implicit in the seemingly more reasonable words of President Obama and others in the Washington establishment.
“We hear language that singles out immigrants and suggests entire religious communities are complicit in violence,” said Obama in a veiled riposte to Trump.
Like Obama, Clinton repeated exhortations for tighter controls on gun ownership. In an editorial, the New York Times also castigated Trump over his lack of concern about gun control and said he just doesn’t get it, while Clinton does.
That latter point seems reasonable enough. But despite the seemingly more rational response of Obama, Clinton and the major US media to the Orlando shootings what went largely unnoticed was the way in which these “more reasonable” voices nevertheless embedded false war-making suppositions into their responses.
Contradicting all the evidence, Hillary Clinton said of the Florida attacker: “The Orlando terrorist may be dead but the virus that poisoned his mind is very much alive.” Clinton then went on to call for a greater bombing campaign by US air force to defeat terrorists in Iraq and Syria, reported NBC News.
Obama in his initial comments about the Orlando massacre also conflated terrorism with what actually took place in the nightclub and then invoked that as further support for deploying US military force overseas.
Obama described the shootings as “an act of terror” and a “devastating attack on all Americans”.
This description is inaccurate, as even the FBI’s assessment admits. It was more the deplorable actions of a deeply troubled individual, which are more accurately defined as a crime.
Yet Obama, like Clinton, went on to say in a press conference that “we have to go after these terrorist organizations and hit them hard.”
His Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, responding to the Orlando shooting, said that it should “further steel everyone’s resolve to defeat ISIL (another term for Daesh, Islamic State) and its parent tumors in Iraq and Syria.”
Note how these “more reasonable” political figures are using a despicable crime in Florida to justify an even more despicable crime of US forces bombing foreign countries.
The whole American “war on terror” is a criminal fiasco that has inflamed massive violence around the world. Politicians like Obama and Clinton and the rest of the Washington establishment are complicit in this huge criminal enterprise.
Donald Trump may be a self-serving demagogue. But at least what you see is what you get. The more dangerous mindset is that which professes virtue and reason, while stoking more untold violence and lawlessness in the name of peace.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.