Small Wars Journal

Bringing COIN to the Airport: On the Effectiveness of the “Muslim Ban”

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 8:30am

Bringing COIN to the Airport: On the Effectiveness of the “Muslim Ban”

Philip Zager

On 27 January 2017, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order (“the Order”) titled, “PROTECTING THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES.”[i]  The order suspends entry into the United States for 90 days for nationals of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia.[ii] Furthermore, it bans refugees from entering for 120 days,[iii] although there are potentially individual exceptions including “a religious minority in his country of nationality facing religious persecution.”[iv]

Since the Order is intended to protect the U.S., this essay explores the Order’s effectiveness. Although this author is an attorney, this essay is not a legal analysis, but a functional analysis based on a thought experiment and a hundred years of insurgency and counterinsurgency literature. This essay ends by advocating for a pragmatic alternative.

Mo Atta v. Mo Farah

The Order is explicitly motivated by 9/11, stating that the flaws of the previous U.S. approach to visas was no “more apparent than (in) the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.”[v] As this audience knows all too well, 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia, but the “tactical leader” of the 9/11 plot, Mohamed Atta, was Egyptian.[vi]  Since neither Egypt nor Saudi Arabia is on the list of the seven countries banned under the Order, Mohamed Atta would still be admitted to the United States.

Mo Farah was born in Somalia, but moved to the United Kingdom when he was eight years old. Twenty years later, in 2012, he won two Olympic gold medals in London for the United Kingdom. He won two more Olympic gold medals for the U.K in Brazil in 2016. Between competitions, Farah trains in Portland, Oregon, under the auspices of Nike. In a 2015 survey, Farah was named the seventh most inspiring Briton, which ranked him between Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.[vii] On New Year’s Day 2017, he was made a Knight of the Realm. Since Sir Mo was born in Somalia and is a dual-citizen of Somalia and the U.K., he would likely fall under Section 3(c) of the Order, and be denied entry in the United States.[viii]

Based on the comparison above of Mo Atta and Mo Farah, it appears that the Order fails to prevent the 9/11 hijackers from entering the U.S. More generally, foreigners from those seven nations have killed zero Americans in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil between 1975 and the end of 2015.[ix] The Order does not cover the home of Mohamed Atta (Egypt), the home of 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers (Saudi Arabia), where Osama bin Laden planned the 9/11 attack (Afghanistan), or where the U.S. government killed bin Laden (Pakistan). This particular ban is unhelpful in ensuring American security.

The Order as Counterinsurgency

In order to find an approach that will work in defending the U.S. against those that do intend to do harm, it is worthwhile to draw polices based on previous experiences in fighting this sort of violence. The Islamic State, due to its ability to inspire individual acts of mayhem in its name, has de facto global reach, including into the U.S. itself. Thus, it is appropriate to base effective homeland defense policies from counterinsurgency lessons drawn from insurgent and counterinsurgent writings. The attitude of Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, who wrote the Small-Unit Leaders’ Guide to Counterinsurgency in 2006, indicates that the administration would be open to a counterinsurgency framework for homeland defense.

To be effective, insurgencies need to disappear into the larger population. In the well-known words of Chairman Mao, the relationship between the people and the insurgents “may be likened to water and the latter to the fish who inhabit it.”[x] In this sense, anti-insurgent measures drawn against the population as a make it easier for insurgents to disappear into the population on the whole.

It follows from Mao’s maxim that effective counterinsurgency needs to separate insurgents from the population as a whole. As T.E. Lawrence, who was an integral part of an Arab insurgency against the Ottoman Empire 100 years ago wrote, "Without the friendship of the tribes, the Turks would own only the ground on which their soldiers stood."[xi]

In this century Western counterinsurgents have attempted to apply Lawrence’s lesson by befriending leaders of the population on the whole. David Kilcullen summarized COIN as, “a competition with the insurgent for the right and the ability to win the hearts, minds and acquiescence of the population."[xii] Similarly, then-General James Mattis instructed U.S. Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan that since, "For an insurgency to flourish, a majority of the population must either support or remain indifferent to insurgent ideals and practices,"[xiii] it followed that “the overriding objective is the support of the populace in order to marginalize the insurgents."[xiv] As part of ensuring the support of the populace, Indian General Vinayak Patankar, who was responsible for COIN in Kashmir in the early 2000’s explained, “We will try and make sure the people are inconvenienced to the least."[xv]

Experts and practitioners agree that effective COIN separates insurgents from the population on the whole. As Mattis wrote, “The people are not the enemy, but our enemy hides amongst them."[xvi] To bring the enemy out of hiding, the implementers of COIN policy need to respect the population on the whole.

To gain the support of the population, effective COIN requires a base of trust from the population. As General Mattis wrote, "Commanders must follow through on any commitments made and, conversely, must avoid making any commitment that cannot be kept. The key is to avoid creating unattainable expectations and subsequent disappointment."[xvii] In a rare bit of excitement in an otherwise sober manual, Mattis returns to this point, “WHATEVER YOU SAY YOU WILL DO, YOU MUST DO.”[xviii] Given that the green card and refugee admission processes take years, failure to keep promises to those who have completed the long process to gain entry into the U.S. is ineffective COIN.

Translators form a key subset of people for whom trust must be inviolate. As Mattis wrote, "Translators are an invaluable asset...Take care of them; they are more than just mouthpieces, they are direct ties to understanding the local populace and force multipliers. They are generally committed and highly responsive when made a part of the team and treated with respect."[xix]

The Order fails to follow the lessons of COIN distilled above. To extend Mao’s analogy, the Order, by essentially treating all people of the same seven nations as identical, fails to distinguish between the fish and the water. This is no way to build the requisite trust of the majority of the population, especially with the “invaluable” translators who have actively assisted U.S. forces.

Moreover, although the Order itself does not say “Islam” or “Muslim” verbatim, its intent is clear. In 2015, Candidate Trump called for a “complete and total shutdown on Muslims entering the United States.”[xx] In drafting the Order, presidential advisor Rudy Giuliani stated, “the president tasked him with creating a "Muslim ban" that could work legally."[xxi] There are over a billion Muslims worldwide, and a broad ban makes the water in which insurgents could hide into an ocean. As would be expected from a group of over a billion people, the worldwide Muslim community is diverse. Over 50 years ago, Sayyid Qutb, the intellectual godfather of Al Qaeda and ISIS, wrote, “a Muslim has no nationality except his belief.”[xxii] The Order appears to accord with Qutb’s extremist worldview, which makes it more difficult to make the inroads into the population needed for effective COIN. People who do not trust the U.S. will not provide it with intelligence.[xxiii]

Additionally, the Order breaks bonds of trust, especially with translators who helped save American lives, which cannot easily be repaired. The first person reportedly stopped under the Order was Hameed Darweesh, an Iraqi who had served as a translator with the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division.[xxiv] Darweesh, who was credited with saving several U.S. soldiers’ lives, and who the New York Daily News described as “heroic,” was detained for 18 hours at JFK Airport. Darweesh, for assisting the U.S. military, was twice targeted by terrorists in Iraq. By not protecting those, such as Hameed Darweesh, who helped keep U.S. troops safe, the Order breaks promises to critical allies. Darweesh’s ultimate release does not undo the negative publicity stemming from the widespread interpretation that his detainment was an anti-Muslim measure.

When the Order, in a draft form, was mentioned to Mattis in mid-2016, he unsurprisingly was sharply critical of it.[xxv] Mattis noted that the mere proposal was “causing us great damage right now” in the Middle East. Mattis’s 2016 conclusion was consistent with a hundred years of COIN that has taught us that the battle is won by convincing the population to agree with us instead of the insurgents.

Towards a COIN-Informed Approach

The Order would be ineffective in preventing a repeat of 9/11, and its overbroad reach goes against the hard-learned lessons of COIN. However, the Order is well intentioned in wanting to prevent further attacks against the United States. Whether referred to as “Radical Islamic Terrorists” in the language of President Trump, or “Salafascists” in the words of Lebanese refugee Nassim Nicholas Taleb, or “Global Jihadists” as described by Iranian-American academic Reza Aslan, there are people whose beliefs and acts are inconsistent with U.S. safety and these people should not be allowed into the U.S. They are our enemies, and should be treated as such. Since our enemies do not wear uniforms, or come from any particular country, they cannot be stopped from using purely geographic criteria.

An effective approach needs to separate the fish (our enemies) from the water (the population).

An alternative way to fight these enemies is to apply the lessons of COIN on a global scale. This is not simply a matter of killing our enemies; indeed, as General Flynn wrote, "merely killing insurgents usually serves to multiply enemies rather than subtract them… The Soviets experienced this reality in the 1980s, when despite killing hundreds of thousands of Afghans, they faced a larger insurgency near the end of the war than they did at the beginning."[xxvi] Indiscriminate targeting, whether with bombs, drones, or bans, is counterproductive because, once again, it harms our goal to “persuade the population.”[xxvii]

In COIN, “killing the enemy is easy. Finding him is often nearly impossible. Intelligence and operations are complementary."[xxviii] Thus, a better alternative needs to rely on better intelligence. In building better intelligence, it is worth reiterating General Flynn’s point, "local people who are far better than outsiders at spotting insurgents and their bombs and providing indications and warnings “left of boom” (before IEDs blow up)."[xxix]

In this global environment, effective security needs to be open to local sources worldwide. For Mo Atta, as early as 1998, friends reported that he, “had changed a great deal, had grown a beard, and had "obviously adopted fundamentalism.""[xxx] In the case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who attempted to detonate a bomb stashed in his underwear in December 2009, his own father reported his “radicalization" to the local U.S. Embassy.[xxxi] It is important to observe that Abdulmutallab’s home embassy was Nigeria, thus he too would have been unaffected by the Order. In Abdulmutallab’s case, “The young man's name was added to the half-million entries in a computer database in McLean and largely forgotten."[xxxii]

An effective approach to homeland security needs to integrate human intelligence regarding radicalization with an understanding that the best sources of information are the people who know our enemies best. Large-scale geographic-based measures such as the Order are counterproductive since effective COIN requires the trust of the population on the whole. In the words of General Patankar of Kashmiri experience, “sensors are no substitute for human intelligence."[xxxiii]

As seen with Abdulmutallab, it is not simply a matter of gathering information and placing it into a database serving effectively as a memory hole. General Flynn’s 2010 paper on the challenges of intelligence in Afghan COIN operations was intentionally titled “making intelligence relevant.” Similarly, an effective homeland security strategy needs to utilize relevant intelligence to forbid our enemies from entering the United States. The Order, in failing to link security and intelligence, does not make the United States safer.

A pragmatic alternative to the Order must, in line with COIN principles, be explicitly focused on targeting only the enemies of the United States. This alternative needs to be able to build the trust of those who can provide relevant intelligence about our enemies.

End Notes

[i] Full Text of Trump’s Executive Order on 7-Nation Ban, Refugee Suspension, CNN, Jan. 28, 2017,

[ii] Id., Section 3(c).

[iii] Id., Section 5(a).

[iv] Id., Section 5(e).

[v] Id., Section 1.

[vi] Thomas H. Kean et. al, The 9/11 Commission Report Jul. 2004, p. 434.

[vii] Boudicca Fox-Leonard, 7 royals in list of 50 greatest Britons but England’s best footballer snubbed, UK News (mirror Sept. 23, 2015),

[viii] Cindy Boren, “Daddy may not be able to come home:” Runner Mo Farah reacts to Trump’s ban, Washington Post (Jan. 29, 2017),

[ix] Alex Nowrasteh, Little national security benefit to trump’s executive order on immigration (Cato Institute Jan. 25, 2017),

[x] Mao Tse-Tung, On Guerrilla Warfare (Samuel Griffith trans., US Marine Corps 1961), 93.

[xi] T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom a Triumph 105 (Penguin Group UK).

[xii] David Kilcullen, Twenty-Eight Articles Fundamentals of Company-Level Counterinsurgency 1 (2006).

[xiii] Alice Fordham, Trump’s immigration order creates political tension with Iraq ( Jan. 30, 2017),

[xiv] Id. at 18.

[xv] Chindu Sreedharan, The Rediff Interview: Lt Gen V G Patankar, Rediff (Apr. 2003),

[xvi] James Mattis, Small-Unit Leaders’ Guide to Counterinsurgency 28 (U.S. Marine Corps), Jun. 20, 2006.

[xvii] Id. at 33.

[xviii] Id. at 65 (emphasis in original).

[xix] Id. at 20–21.

[xx] Donald Trump, DONALD J. TRUMP STATEMENT ON PREVENTING MUSLIM IMMIGRATION, Donald J. Trump For President, Inc (Dec. 7, 2015),

[xxi] Rob Tornoe, Rudy Giuliani: President trump asked me to create a legal “Muslim ban” (Jan. 29, 2017),

[xxii] Sayyid Qutb, Milestones 118 (1964).

[xxiii] Alice Fordham, Trump’s immigration order creates political tension with Iraq ( Jan. 30, 2017),

[xxiv] Mary Mcdonnell et al., Iraqi man, Hameed Darweesh, free after detainment at JFK airport (NY Daily News Jan. 28, 2017),

[xxv] Carla Marinucci, Ex-military leaders at Hoover institution say trump statements threaten America’s interests (Politico PRO Jul. 15, 2016),

[xxvi] Paul D. Batchelor et al., Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan (Center for a New American Security), Jan. 2010, 8.

[xxvii] Id. at 24 (quoting General McChrystal).

[xxviii] David Kilcullen, Twenty-Eight Articles Fundamentals of Company-Level Counterinsurgency 2 (2006).

[xxix] Paul D. Batchelor et al., Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan (Center for a New American Security), Jan. 2010, 8.

[xxx] Thomas H. Kean et. al, The 9/11 Commission Report Jul. 2004 161.

[xxxi] Karen DeYoung and Michael Leahy, Uninvestigated Terrorism Warning about Detroit Suspect Called Not Unusual, Washington Post, Dec. 28, 2009,

[xxxii] Id.

[xxxiii] Vinayak Gopal Patankar, Terrorism (general) seminar report #89, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (2003),


About the Author(s)

Philip Zager is an attorney and policy analyst based in Washington, DC. He currently is a Consultant at the World Bank. Previously, he was an associate at an international law firm in its offices in Cairo and Riyadh. His practice specialized in international investment law, cross-border contracts, and Islamic Finance. Before that, he worked for the International Foundation for Electoral Systems in Amman, Jordan, where he supported the establishment of an Independent Electoral Commission. He received his JD from the Georgetown University Law Center, where he was a Senior Editor at the Georgetown Journal of International Law. He received his MA from Johns Hopkins SAIS, where his thesis focused on the development of Islamic Finance. He received his BA magna cum laude from the University of Southern California.


Outlaw 09

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 9:15am

Ah.....I was wondering when this would finally be leaked it was apparent just after the Trump Muslim Ban EO...that General Kelly from DHS and his staff reviewed the EO and wanted issued a waiver for Green Card holders....EVIDENYLY Bannon went on his own to Kelly's office and ordered him to remove the waiver....

Kelly evidently and firmly informed Bannon that Bannon is not in his chain of command and regardless of his political position Kelly does not answer to Bannon but Trump and if Bannon wanted the waiver pulled then it had to come from Trump....

Bannon then had the WH force Kelly to rescind the waiver WHIC after FIVE Federal Judges reviewed the EO...Kelly and DHS was actually correct in this assessments of the EO....

This leak is still developing for more detail and clarity about the role of Bannon in apparently being the second US President....

Outlaw 09

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 9:03am

If the lie spinning out of this WH gets any deeper one is going to need hip wading boots to get through the lies....

Trump hung up on the Aussie PM because he was “feeling some fatigue after his first major bout of diplomacy.” Oh.… 

BUT WAIT...was it not Trump himself and all of his surrogates who kept repeatedly stating that Clinton did not have the stamina to be President and now he "collapses" into a puddle of weakness over five hours of telephone calls which most successful businessmen have daily as well as major meetings and decisions they make...

BUT WAIT Trump has repeatedly stated he is a smart and highly successful businessman.....BUT with apparently no stamina.

So is the WH basically stating Trump's health is now a serious problem????

Outlaw 09

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 8:49am

"Blind believe in authority is the greatest enemy of truth".....

Albert Einstein....

Outlaw 09

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 8:58am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

BTW...Trump is still stuck in eight grade grammar and spelling it seems....

"law-enforcement" is actually law enforcement....

So far the "so-called President" has attacked the press and judiciary, which other checks against his power will he attack next?

BY THE WAY it appears Trump...Bannon and Flynn all seem to not have known about this small clerical error on their part....

For the record, the US *already* says who can come in and out—the visa screening process often takes years to pass:

Outlaw 09

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 8:46am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

The "SO-CALLED judge"
Trump's political attitudes are autocratic & unconstitutional.
Maybe @DerSPIEGEL was not so wrong with its cover ...

Outlaw 09

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 8:43am

1. The Paris attacker from yesterday WOULD have been allowed into the US as he was from not from the 7 blacklisted Muslim countries....

2. Trump's own WH press release after the Federal Court order yesterday which reestablished the rule of law that NO President is above....stated it was a "outrageous decision"...THEN only 30 minutes later took it out....

BUT THEN Trump has been a twitter rage today .....again.... when he feels his "way of bullying has not been accepted"..we saw this mental health problem in his call with the Australian PM...

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump Feb 3
A new radical Islamic terrorist has just attacked in Louvre Museum in Paris. Tourists were locked down. France on edge again. GET SMART U.S.

BUT WAIT...he was not on the seven nation ban list so he could have entered the US with ease....

BUT WAIT....Trump could not have blacklisted Egypt as he has massive business dealings there and his ban would have damaged his brand and profits....

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump 14h
14 hours ago
We must keep "evil" out of our country!

NOW notice the mental health shift...after Trump wakes up and realizes he cannot control the Judicial side of US government...commonly called "the rule of law"...and that what he signed as an EO might have in fact been illegal and unconstitutional.....

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump 33m
33 minutes ago
When a country is no longer able to say who can, and who cannot , come in & out, especially for reasons of safety &.security - big trouble!

NOW comes the next Trump lie another of many in the last two weeks....NOTICE he does not name the countries he is tweeting about does he....a mark of a good propagandist.....

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump 28m
28 minutes ago
Interesting that certain Middle-Eastern countries agree with the ban. They know if certain people are allowed in it's death & destruction!

NOTE..will bet we never hear Trump...Bannon...or Flynn name "those certain ME countries".....

NOW he bashes and disrespects this Federal Judge who received 99 votes for ZERO against when he was nominated to the federal bench....

BETTING he is not pushing a court challenge as it could possible point out that major parts of his EO are basically illegal.....and unconstitutional at the least....and poorly written....

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump 24m
24 minutes ago
The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!

BTW...another Trump lie....this court decision DOES NOT take law enforcement away from our country.....IT just stayed a poorly written...illegal and potentially unconstitutional Trump EO.....

BTW...the "rule of law" is something that is not "ridiculous".....

Outlaw 09

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 8:00am

Abraham Lincoln said,

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

Outlaw 09

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 6:21am

We the US ban Muslims and then need the Federal Courts to rule the President is not above the rule of law....BUT we allow white nationalists in the NSC with a TS/SCI security clearance and a white supremacist in the WH Press corp.....have we forgotten Oklahoma City and now Quebec????

BUT worry about far rightists...nothing.....???????

This racist far-right destruction of Europe is being sponsored by Trump in league with Putin.… 

BTW Russian pro far right French and German internet trolls are easy to spot by their poor French and German.....

Supporting Trump in English was far easier.....

Outlaw 09

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 12:46am

While we all debate the "Muslim Ban" a great "distraction/deflection"....Trump just keeps on lying and yet we seem to not really care anymore.....

Great work by @susannecraig and @propublica, uncovering how little separation @realDonaldTrump has from his biz… 

At the same time Trump's own daughter stated several weeks ago she had stepped down from her companies...WHICH we now see she has not done.....

BUT heck at least we are fighting "radical Islam" on own beaches.....

BUT WAIT....Trump promised us "he will drain the swamp"....BUT his Wall Street EO yesterday raised the Wall Street earnings for the top seven banks by 34.5B USDs in a single signing.....

Trump openly admitting he's gutting Wall Street regulations to help his friends.

BUT WAIT...we are defending the Us from "radical Islam"...everyone see the blatant deflection of what Trump really wants to do....

Just days before his inauguration, President-elect Donald J. Trump stood beside his tax lawyer at a Midtown Manhattan news conference as she announced that he planned to place his vast business holdings in a trust, a move she said would allay fears that he might exploit the Oval Office for personal gain.
However, a number of questions were left unanswered — including who would ultimately benefit from the trust — raising concerns about just how meaningful the move was.
Now, records have emerged that show just how closely tied Mr. Trump remains to the empire he built.
While the president says he has walked away from the day-to-day operations of his business, two people close to him are the named trustees and have broad legal authority over his assets: his eldest son, Donald Jr., and Allen H. Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer. Mr. Trump, who will receive reports on any profit, or loss, on his company as a whole, can revoke their authority at any time.
What’s more, the purpose of the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust is to hold assets for the “exclusive benefit” of the president. This trust remains under Mr. Trump’s Social Security number, at least as far as federal taxes are concerned.

Outlaw 09

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 12:25am

Last comment on this topic...we the US and we Americans really do need to relearn our own history as well as European history.

1. Europe had a 30 year old and 100 years war between Catholics and Protestants WHERE there were areas of Germany WHERE not a single person was alive including farm animals...

OUT of that series of wars came the US creation built around the ideas of 1) freedom of religion and 2) separation of church and state

Right now these two key cornerstones of US democracy are in the process of being destroyed for good....

When we make religion a "litmus test" and when Trump signs an EO allowing church ministers to preach their political views and make voting recommendation WE are on the road of the destruction of the separation of church and state....

SECONDLY.....the old 1920-30 term WASP is "in again"....White Anglo Saxon Protestant.......

What we seem to not really want to believe is that ALL the three core global religions HAVE any number of "radical elements within their religion" BUT YET we only focus on Islam.....when at the same time we have extreme right wing religious tones from any number of WASP church groups against other "non believers"...."other than white one might actually say"....

WHAT we seem to also forget is that we now have a number of true white nationalists/supremacists in the NSC and the WH Press Corps....BUT yet we worry about "radical Islam"......

Many Europeans have always said the US is totally blind in their right eye....

WE must remember that in 2016 MORE Americans were killed by...

1. armed toddlers
2. lawnmowers
3. lightening
4. Americans shooting Americans
AND drunk drivers

THAN Americans were killed by any refugee inside the US from the banned SEVEN Muslim nation states....

Remember that simple fact...

Outlaw 09

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 1:21pm

ANYONE actually take the time to truly count the number of "actual alternative facts" WHICH really means "lies" concerning WHY the Muslim ban was created...WHO actually wrote the EO....and WHAT was the reasoning....and do not give me it was because of the "Bowling Green massacre" as did the Trump surrogate Conway stated....and then was forced to walk back a lie.....this WH just streams nothing but "alternative facts".....

Early on WH said only 100 or so affected: Over 100,000 visas revoked, govt lawyer says in Virginia court… 

Trump was quick to condemn the Louvre attack. But he stayed pretty quiet over the mosque shooting in Montreal by neo Nazi..... That speaks volumes.

Outlaw 09

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 2:03pm

FOR all those that follow and read the German version of Der Spiegel....this next week's first page cover might shock many Americans....

It has Trump standing and holding a long bloody knife in his left hand and the bloody head of the Statue of Liberty in his right hand.......

And the title simply is "America First".....…

That is in fact a telling view of what Germans think of the Trump series of statements...tweets...and his EOs......

Currently 70% of all German polled view Trump a threat to Germany.....

BLUF.....right now there is not a single recorded attack by a true immigrant/refugee from the seven banned Muslim countries THAT has attacked inside the US any American that I know of lately....AND that goes back for literally years.......

BEGS the core question.....why then an EO other than fulfilling his voter base perceptions of his "strength as a leader".....

80% of Germans think EU should "stand closer together against Trump." Those are powerful forces being unleashed.


Thu, 02/02/2017 - 8:07pm

Besides the fact that the order was clumsily drafted, does not target countries that Terrorist have historicity originated from, not vetted through State or DoD, and heads of agencies who were meant to enforce it did not seem to have adequate time to develop a plan to implement it, there is no evidence that there was actually a problem with the current vetting system. No evidence was cited of an actual terrorist attack by am immigrant that would have been stopped had vetting been better. In fact, those immigrants who have committed acts, like the Boston bomber or the Minneapolis knife attacks, were committed by people who were radicalized AFTER they came here. That is also the case with American citizens who have committed attacks, like San Bernardino. So it serves no positive purpose other than as a political tool to try to demonstrate that the President is tough on Islamic Terrorism.

Now consider the damage that it has done the the reputation of the United States Exceptionalism, as well as the coup it is to the Information Operations of our enemy. Again, remembering that ALL successful post-9/11 terrorist attacks were committed by people who were radicalized in the United States, telling American Muslims that we see them as the enemy feeds right into our enemy's narrative. In the end, it probably has had a far greater negative effect on our war on Islamic Terrorism than any rational positive effect.

Tom Triumph

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 8:18pm

In looking at Europe, much of the problems seem to come from groups that refuse to assimilate to their new home.

England, for example, has a long history of immigrants from their former colonies settling successfully. This is, in part, because British culture and language was part of their upbringing in their old country. Similarly, immigrants to America have, traditionally, adopted our customs, adapted to our dress and learned English. In return, both England and America have benefited from what others cultures have brought with them. It is win-win.

Compare that to France, which has kept immigrants from their colonies separate and made little effort to integrate them. Or Muslims in the Netherlands who refuse to adapt. England, Germany and the EU is facing a new crisis because of this, too. Muslims in America, though, are balancing community with their new world and it has been, mostly, successful.

Mo Atta's change in temperament and grooming demonstrate someone who does not want to assimilate. Danger. Islam is not a danger to our nation, but those who want only to live in America--not be American--are.

On the one hand, I agree with Mr. Zager that the ban is provocative and unhelpful. On the other hand, the United States should not be allowing in people against which it will have to employ counter-insurgency methods after they become permanent residents or citizens in the future.

While the Executive Order is clumsy and is more revealing in terms of which countries aren't on the list, the fact is that the more Muslims that are allowed to reside in the United States or attain citizenship, the more acts of Muslim supremacist terrorism we can expect.

I would prefer an Order that excludes Muslim supremacists, especially Salafis and Wahhabis, but they are found in other sects, and lone wolves will always be a problem.

The United States tolerates the existence of anti-American supremacist groups of American citizens as the price of freedom, but that doesn't mean that the United States must accept foreign anti-American supremacists as residents or citizens.

I can assure you that if the EO was a ban on National Socialists from Germany or Serbian ultra-nationalists or South African white supremacists, that the reaction would be completely different.