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Donald Trump And Hillary Clinton On French Terrorist Attack: Let's Compare And Contrast
Following the horrific Bastille Day terrorist attack in Nice, France, Thursday night, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were both interviewed by Bill O'Reilly, and offered some decidedly different views on the event. Trump agreed with O'Reilly's flat-out decision that we're now in a "World War" -- which seems like it might be a bit hyperbolic, considering that we don't know even know for sure what terrorist group the killer was affiliated. Probably ISIS, but hey, let's call it World War III before we know, because quick decisions are more important than gathering all the facts. For all the times Donald Trump says "we have to be smart" about terrorism, he certainly doesn't act like it. After saying it's a world war, for sure, Trump went back to the same old bullshit lines he's been saying throughout the campaign -- including stopping refugees, which has precisely fuck-all to do with actually fighting terrorism, but sounds great to crowds, which is almost as good as fighting terrorism. Hillary Clinton, by contrast, actually came off sounding like she knew what the hell she was talking about. So let's take a look at the two interviews:
O'Reilly had no doubts at all, noting French officials had called it terrorism and saying, "If this is proven to be the case, I believe it’s a world war now. We’re in a world war scenario. It’s no longer just isolated ISIS attacks. Do you agree with that?" Trump enthusiastically agreed, and explained that it all came down to Barack Obama not saying the magic words "Radical Islamic Terrorism" (except for the times when he has ):
I certainly do. And I’ve been saying it for a long time. It’s out of control...We have a president that doesn’t want to call it what it is. And you know, you look at World Trade Center, you look at San Bernardino, you look at Paris, 130 people killed and so many injured in Paris from that attack, and you look at Orlando. It’s out of control. And Bill, unless we get strong and really strong and very, very smart leadership, it’s only going to get worse.”
Prompted by O'Reilly, Trump said he'd be happy to ask Congress for a formal declaration of war against ISIS, which might be a tad difficult since Congress absolutely refuses to think about a new authorization for military force against ISIS -- though maybe that's just because Barack Obama has asked for one. Over a year ago. Then Trump was off onto his usual laundry list: Sure, let's use NATO to, in O'Reilly's realistic terms, "wipe ISIS off the face of the Earth" -- but then Trump had to pause to gripe, again, that NATO isn't paying its fair share of costs, so maybe we need to get tougher on our allies in this brand new "World War." Somehow, the idea of declaring war against a nonstate entity got Trump thinking about immigration, because his mind is far beyond human understanding:
I would, I would. This is war. If you look at it, this is war, coming from all different parts. And frankly, it’s war and we’re dealing with people without uniforms. You know, in the old days you would have uniforms. You knew what you were fighting. These people -- we're allowing people into our country who we have no idea where they are, where they’re from, who they are, they have no paperwork, they have no documentation in many cases, and Hillary Clinton wants to allow a 550 percent more than even Obama and he is letting them in by the thousands. It’s out of control.
Yup. We have to declare war. Because our enemy has no uniforms, and they're coming in with the refugees, and what the hell is Trump even talking about? (Do we even need to explain again that we actually do vet refugees more intensively than any other category of immigrant? Of course we do, not that Trumpers are susceptible to facts.)
Also, credit to Bill O'Reilly -- even he got tired of Trump nattering on about Obama not saying the magic words. But Trump did at least make a point of repeating his own new magic words: that he's the Law-N-Order candidate, so he'll whip everything into shape by being tough and doing law and order all over the place.
Then Hillary Clinton called in for her first interview with O'Reilly in eight years, and instead of saying a bunch of empty catchphrases, actually talked like someone who knows a thing or two about foreign policy, if you can believe that:
Instead of Trump's "Let's start a land war in Asia," Clinton acknowledged that we're already doing war stuff, but "it's a different kind of war...we have to be smart in how we wage it." Clinton also called for launching "an intelligence surge" to fight terrorism:
We still do not have enough intelligence cooperation between our agencies and those in other countries, including in Europe, and we need to have a focal point…in NATO.
As for O'Reilly's prescription -- military expert that he is -- that we absolutely have to have a great big war on the ground in Syria, and "go in to Raqaa and confront the ISIS terrorists," Clinton wasn't having any of that nonsense, despite Billo's certainty that most military experts agree with him (they don't). "It is a dream of ISIS to pull American ground troops" into the war in Syria, she said; instead, a better approach is to continue supporting Iraqi and Kurdish troops to take territory back from ISIS, and eventually targetting ISIS leadership when they're cornered.
O'Reilly kept telling Clinton what "had to" happen, such as President Obama calling a summit meeting of all Western nations to pledge their support for an attack on the ISIS "capital" of Raqaa, and Hillz would have none of it, possibly because this is also the same guy who wanted to recruit his very own private mercenary army to fight ISIS. It was a phone interview, so we missed the chance to see Clinton reach over and pat him on the head and say "bless your heart, you mean well." Instead, she pointed out that the American-backed coalition is doing a good job of fighting ISIS, and that approach can continue. Fine, you want a summit, Bill? Sure, she said -- but let's also include Middle Eastern allies, who do have rather a stake in what happens in Syria. Oh, yeah, said Billo. Them too, he guessed.
O'Reilly didn't exactly come off looking like a strategic genius here. Oh, and by the way, said Clinton, when she was Secretary of State, she actually did work on building anti-terror coalitions, not just yelling at the bad guys.