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Sat Oct 24, 2020, 06:51 PM

 

Trump's Body Count: Ignoring Genocide Against Christians and Muslims

Last edited Tue Oct 27, 2020, 05:02 PM - Edit history (1)

Trump’s Body Count:
Ignoring Genocide Against Christians and Muslims
By Al Carroll

There is no evidence Trump is guilty of genocide, the worst of all crimes and the most deeply immoral act any person, people, or nation can commit. As detailed in Presidents’ Body Counts, three US presidents played direct roles in genocides: Richard Nixon in Cambodian, Bengali, and Kurdish genocides, Ronald Reagan in Mayan genocide, and Andrew Jackson in genocide against the Five Tribes.

The second worst act any president, prime minister, or other leader can commit is ignoring genocide if they have any power to stop it, including offering aid or refuge. Six other US presidents ignored genocides knowing full well they were going on, allowing in each case hundreds of thousands to millions to be mass murdered, enslaved, mass raped, mass tortured, forcibly removed from their homelands, and their property stolen:

James Buchanan, James Polk, and Millard Fillmore all ignored California Indian genocide. Abraham Lincoln finally ended it. Franklin Roosevelt did not try to halt the Holocaust, despite knowing about it since November 1942. Bill Clinton ignored Rwandan genocide carried out by Hutu militias and the Rwandan military when as few as 5,000 troops could have easily halted it. The Rwandan Patriotic Front, a rebel group, finally ended it. Gerald Ford ignored East Timor genocide carried out by the Indonesian military under orders from their dictator Suharto. Suharto asked Ford’s permission for invasion, and received weapons and diplomatic cover.

Trump’s crimes are similar to the six presidents above. Though Trump poses as Christian, he ignored two genocides, one in Syria and Iraq and another in Myanmar, both carried against both Muslims and Christians. By his actions, motivated by bigotry and ignorance, tens of thousands died preventable deaths.

Genocide in Syria and Iraq

The Syrian Civil War began in 2011, a rebel coalition trying to overthrow longtime Baath Party dictator Bashar Al Assad, son of previous longtime dictator Hafez Al Assad. Though the Baathists in Syria once claimed to be trying to unite all Arabs, there is a long record of hostility against Iraq and its Baath Party. The Assad family controls Syria for over 30 years now through a personality cult, police state, and extreme brutality.

The original rebel coalition, the Free Syrian Army, itself has many accusations of war crimes, though not nearly as many as Assad. This includes chemical warfare by both sides. Bad discipline and desertions plagued the FSA.
Into Syria’s power vacuum came ISIS, so notorious that even Al Qaeda condemned them for extremism. ISIS also took large parts of Iraq, recruiting both deserting Iraqi soldiers and many fundamentalists worldwide using the internet. Two thirds of ISIS fighters are foreigners. ISIS ideology argues all Muslim nations have materialistic “sheikist” governments, that they are not truly Muslim for allying with non Muslim nations like the US or Russia.
ISIS makes its money from stolen oil, drug smuggling, kidnapping, and looting. Its social media has become notorious for gruesome publicity campaigns, such as live streaming decapitations. ISIS members enslave women and girls for rape. Its fanatics recruit or kidnap child soldiers. ISIS’s worst crimes include genocide against Syrian Christians, Assyrians, and Yazidis.

As ISIS rose and its notoriety grew, more than 60 nations sent forces into Syria. Under Obama, the US military and NATO allies heavily bombed ISIS, crippling them. Under Obama, American troops recruited, trained, armed, and provided air support to those fighting ISIS, especially Kurds. The Kurdish Workers Party and women’s anarchist militias proved to be ISIS’s hardest opponents. What had once been a fearsome terrorist fundamentalist insurgency lost over four fifths of its territory.

Obama also rescued as many Syrian and Iraqi refugees as possible, given the wave of bigotry directed at them by people like Trump. When he entered office, the US took in about 55,000 a year. Obama increased the number of refugees rescued to about 85,000 a year by the time he left office. His plan was to keep gradually increasing the number of refugees the US took in to 110,000 a year, 10,000 of them Syrian. For comparison, Canada took in more refugees than the US, though it only has a tenth the population.

So when faced with Assad, one of the most brutal dictators in the world, a mass killer of Christians and officially dedicated to hatred of both the US and Israel, what did Trump do? When faced with ISIS’s genocide against Christians and others, what did Trump do?

Trump repeatedly threatened to pull out American troops, and finally removed all support for those fighting Assad and ISIS, especially Kurds. He also quickly ordered a ban on refugees from Syria and Iraq. Trump’s bigoted argument was that the number of refugee rescued by Obama was “crazy,” sky high,” “unprecedented,” and even “dangerous.”

In fact, the numbers were very limited, and Obama’s humanitarian response was very tepid and timid compared to almost every other developed nation. In Sweden, for example, one out of every eight persons is a refugee. For the US to equal those numbers, it would have to take in tens of millions. Trump was, as usual pandering to the ignorance, bigotry, and fearmongering of those who imagine the US government to be far more generous than it is, and Obama to be reckless or too trusting.

Compare what Obama had done to what previous US presidents failed to do for those facing genocide. Imagine if Franklin Roosevelt had given weapons and training to Jewish guerillas fighting the Nazi, and provided refuge to 100,000 Jewish and other refugees from the Nazis each year. The US would have rescued over a million Jews and others fleeing from the Holocaust, and Jewish and other partisans would help bring down the Nazi dictatorship that much sooner.

Now imagine if Trump had been president when Roosevelt was. FDR let in only 50,000 Jewish refugees, mostly scientists and artists. (Ironically, Melania Trump came in under the same visa, though she committed immigration fraud by working illegally without a permit.) Trump would bar those 50,000 Jewish refugees, claiming we could not be certain they are not Nazi agents. (This actually was a common argument among anti Semites and racists in the 1940s, many of them actual Nazis or sympathizers.)

Historian and psychologist Israel Charney formulated a list famous in genocide studies, the Twelve Most Common Ways to Deny Genocide: 1. Question the Numbers. 2. Attack the Messengers. 3. Claims the Deaths Were Accidents. 4. Focus on the “Strangeness” of the Victims. 5. Blame “Tribal Conflict.” 6. Blame “Out of Control Forces.” 7. Claim We Must Avoid Antagonizing the Killers. 8. Justify for Economic Reasons. 9. Claim Victims Now Being Treated Well. 10. Argue the Definition of Genocide. 11. Blame the Victims. 12. Say Forgiveness Is More Important.

But for Trump and his indifference to genocide in Syria and Iraq, one needs to add an additional argument: 13. Claim the Victims Are Actually the Murderers. In fact, Trump claims the victims are potential terrorists based on his bigoted view, far too common among many Americans, that Muslim equals terrorist, or that Muslims make up most or all terrorists.

Actually, most terrorists in America are and always have been white supremacists. White supremacists killed over 50,000 Americans during Reconstruction, over 5,000 murders from 1877-1968, and over 700 murders from 1990-now. They make up over two thirds of terrorist attacks in the past decade. Facts like these point to Trump also using elements of 4. Focus on the “Strangeness” of the Victims and 11. Blame the Victims.

Genocide as a term often gets abused, overused, or thrown as a political football. But ironically, the term is far more underused than overused. Admitting that genocide is going on becomes the legal trigger for action by major world powers, as well as the United Nations. Admitting that atrocities are happening naturally brings the concern of many worldwide. Admitting a genocide is being carried out and no one is stopping it brings much soul searching about the world's inaction and the inadequacies of governments, especially democracies. But Trump is unique among American presidents since at least Franklin Roosevelt. He and his supporters care little or nothing about non-American lives, even, as in the case of Syria, Christians of another (nonwhite in their eyes) nation.

Trump’s refusal to halt genocide or aid in anyway its victims is morally but not legally depraved indifference, where the term genocide describes willful outright mass murder. He could not be prosecuted for this, but deserves the strongest condemnation. Trump’s callousness, and that of his followers, in allowing thousands of Syrian Christians to face persecution and death exposes their claim of being devout Christians as hollow. They were willing to let Syrian Christians die by the thousands because their bigotry convinced them these refugee victims, most of them women, children, or elderly, were somehow secretly Muslim terrorists.

Genocide in Myanmar

Myanmar, once known as Burma, was ruled by the same military dictatorship since World War II. Myanmar today is not ethnically one nation. The Burmese are the largest group, about half. The remaining groups like the Karen, Shon, and the two focused on here the most, the Kachin and Rohingya, make up the other half of the nation, both by population and by area. Their homelands are mostly on the borders of Myanmar, surrounding the central Burmese homeland.

Myanmar’s dictatorship finally ended in 2011, electing its first Prime Minister Aung Sang Suu Kyi, a human rights activist who actually won the Nobel Peace Prize for her principled opposition. But Suu Kyi not only did nothing to defend the Kachin or Rohingya from genocide, she actually publicly defended military atrocities. The military continued to rule the nation in all but name. It is the military and bigoted Buddhist militias that targeted the Kachin and Rohingya for extermination.

Rohingya live mostly in the northwest of Myanmar. They are a Muslim minority in a mostly Buddhist nation, with the hatred and genocide against them led by fanatic Buddhists, including monks. This genocide began in 2016, supposedly to crush an uprising by a minor rebel group. Over 25,000 Rohingya were killed, over 700,000 fled the country, and over 18,000 women and girls were raped. Over 116,000 Rohingya were beaten, and over 36,000 literally thrown into fires. Many villages were burned, and the victims’ mass graves then bulldozed to hide the evidence.

What did the rest of the world do? The United Nations, Great Britain, France, Canada, every Arab nation, every Muslim nation, human rights groups, and Christian churches and leaders all condemned this genocide. Australia and Indonesia offered refuge to the victims. Neighboring Bangladesh took in over 600,000 refugees. Israel froze arms sales to Myanmar. Most European, Arab, and Muslim nations, and Japan each sent up to tens of millions in aid to refugees.

The only two nations to stand with Myanmar were India and China. China’s government continued sending weapons to its ally. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the leader of an outright fascist party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), that was founded by open admirers of Hitler. The BJP favors a Hindus-only India for those they believe descended from racially pure Aryans. Modi shares Trump’s bigotry against Muslims. Under BJP, India underwent a wave of riots against Muslims and a ban on Muslim immigrants. Modi mass deported over 40,000 Rohingya from India, calling them “terrorists.”

What did Obama do? The attacks began at the very end of his time in office, barely a month before Trump’s “election.” Yet that did not stop a few conservative or American nationalist institutions like the Washington Examiner from blaming him. In fact, Obama repeatedly condemned Myanmar for its violence against Rohingya, in November 2012, November 2014, and June 2015.
Obama also explicitly condemned violence against the Kachin and Rohingya during an official visit within Myanmar. “For too long, the people of this state, including ethnic Rakhine, have faced crushing poverty and persecution. But there is no excuse for violence against innocent people. And the Rohingya hold within themselves the same dignity as you do, and I do.”

Obama’s ambassador also visited the region to investigate. Obama went to the additional step of barring US investment with Myanmar’s military. His executive order sanctioned anyone in Myanmar abusing human rights. US companies in Myanmar had to issue reports on their labor, environmental, and social conditions.

What did Trump do by comparison? His Secretary of State Tillerson did condemn the genocide. He was soon to be forced out after only a year, publicly attacked by Trump as “dumb as a rock” for daring to point out Trump’s laziness. Trump’s United Nations Ambassador Nimrata “Nikki” Haley, born Nimrata Randhawa, the daughter of Indian immigrants, only condemned Myanmar genocide as “troubling” and pointedly did not call it genocide. She resigned from her appointment, suddenly and without explanation, after a year and a half, for reasons that are still unknown. Some speculated it was because she is accused of accepting plane trips as gifts. But it is worth noting she publicly condemned both Trump’s ban on Muslim immigration and China’s abuse of Muslim Uighurs.

As for Trump himself, in July 2019 Trump’s staff set up a photo opportunity with a Rohingya activist and sixteen other victims of religious persecution. Trump’s response to hearing about the Rohingya being ethnically cleansed was to disinterestedly mumble, “Where is that exactly?”

He clearly thought Rohingya was a nation, and didn’t know they are a people. There have been no public mentions of Rohingya or Myanmar by him. There is no sign of any action taken to stop genocide, except barring a few generals from the US who have traveled to the US or shown any interest in going anyway.

Just the opposite, he and the rest of his administration refuse to call Rohingya genocide a genocide. Trump embraces India’s Modi, one of the few Myanmar supporters, as a fellow anti Muslim bigot. Trump absolutely refuses to take in Rohingya or Karen refugees from ongoing genocide.

Myanmar was explicitly included in the nations banned from travel to the US under his Muslim ban. This is even though Myanmar is over 90% Buddhist, one of the most Buddhist nations in the world. Buddhism is central to the culture, and extreme Myanmar nationalism and statehood, and many of its Buddhists are often viciously anti Muslim. The only Muslims in Myanmar that Trump’s order bans are those fleeing religious persecution and genocide. This is victim blaming at its worst, equal to banning Jewish refugees in 1942 for being likely guilty of carrying out the Holocaust.

Even more indefensible is Trump’s failure to aid Kachin Christians in Myanmar. The Kachin live on the eastern border of Myanmar. Much like Rohingya face persecution for being Muslim, Kachin are targeted for their Christian faith. Over 130,000 Kachin Christians have been forced out of their homeland. Over 400 Kachin villages and 300 Kachin churches, 90% of them Baptist, were burned down.

American Baptist pastors and congregations have been petitioning the White House since he entered office to punish Myanmar by sanctions and lift the ban on Burmese coming to the US. He has done nothing except hold that one failed photo opportunity where his ignorance was on display.

What is also striking is how little American conservative Christians have done as their fellow Christians are ethnically cleansed from their homeland. Few of these fundamentalists, evangelicals, Pentecostals, or other conservative denominations are speaking out or even paying attention. Baptists are, but they are not, strictly speaking, conservatives. The Baptist faith allows for a great deal of personal interpretation. The most famous Baptist politicians include Jimmy Carter and Al Gore, neither of them conservative.

What is also striking is how Trump has not suffered any political cost at all from American Christian conservatives for doing close to nothing as their fellow Christians and others face the worst of atrocities in both Syria and Myanmar. Mass murder, mass rapes of both women and girls, mass enslavement, mass burnings of churches, mass forced conversions, and what has been the response of the last two US presidents?

Obama rescued many, condemned many times without hesitation, blocked American trade with the guilt. In Syria’s case, he stepped in with force, the most forceful US intervention to stop genocide in US history, far more sustained and effective than Bill Clinton’s effort to stop Bosnian ethnic cleansing. Praise for Obama from conservative Christians was rare, other than a few articles demanding it was still not enough.

By contrast, Trump did almost nothing. Worse than nothing, he blocked victims from escaping to the US. He also betrayed those who were doing the most to fight ISIS genocide, the brave and effective Kurdish fighters. The ironies are, many of those fighting ISIS are women. Almost all of them are either proud anarchists or Marxists. And 98% of all Kurds are Muslims, mostly Sunni.
It should be enough to make a devout Christian embarrassed at the hypocrisy and ignorance of it all. That includes Trump, who began claiming to be a Christian in 2016. But then, Trump has never shown any sign of shame, much less caring about other human beings, Christian or not.

Al Carroll is Associate Professor of History at Northern Virginia Community College, a former Senior Fulbright Scholar in Indonesia, and author or editor of six history books and numerous articles for Beacon, Bristle, Counterpunch, History News Network, Indian Country Today, LA Progressive, Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Truth Out, Wall Street Examiner, and elsewhere. His next book is Trump’s Body Count: The Horrific Human Rights Record of America’s Third Worst President at Amazon.

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Reply Trump's Body Count: Ignoring Genocide Against Christians and Muslims (Original post)
AlCarroll Oct 2020 OP
Eliot Rosewater Oct 2020 #1
sandensea Oct 2020 #2
mercuryblues Oct 2020 #3
AlCarroll Oct 2020 #4
mercuryblues Oct 2020 #5

Response to AlCarroll (Original post)

Sat Oct 24, 2020, 07:06 PM

1. Correction, GOP and Trump body count...every GOP, politician or voter is guilty

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Response to AlCarroll (Original post)

Sat Oct 24, 2020, 07:22 PM

2. He'll ignore whatever Bibi TELLS him to ignore

Like just another one of Bibi's hookers.

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Response to AlCarroll (Original post)

Sun Oct 25, 2020, 08:33 AM

3. Interesting read

I phrase I use often is trump's death porn. Make no mistake that he isn't aware of foreign conflicts or is indifferent to them. He knows full well what his actions or in some cases his inactions will cause deaths. The only time I have seen genuine happiness from him is when he talks about these deaths. Which is the exact opposite response called for in those circumstances.

He knew what the real death toll was in Puerto Rico, yet he smiled and tossed out paper towels like he was at a baseball game shooting t-shirts from an air cannon. All proud of himself.

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Response to mercuryblues (Reply #3)

Sun Oct 25, 2020, 09:35 AM

4. True enough

 

I recall a comment from a Trump supporter that he wanted him to "hurt those that should be hurting" meaning not just liberals, but foreigners and nonwhites generally.

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Response to AlCarroll (Reply #4)

Sun Oct 25, 2020, 07:02 PM

5. For some reason his followers and republican voters in general

seem to think they will be exempt from legislation that "will hurt the right people."

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