By Brigitte L. Nacos
On Wednesday, soon after the terrorist attack in London and in the midst of emergency responses to tend to the victims, Donald Trump Jr., the President’s son and name-sake, used his Twitter account to lay into London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan.
“You have to be kidding me?!: Terror attacks are part of living in big city, says London Mayor Sadiq Khan,” Trump Jr. wrote.
Like father, like son!
Since Khan is a Muslim, the first Muslim of a major city in a Western European country, I do not doubt that Junior won Brownie points with this statement among Trumpian right-wing “others” haters. Just to make sure, though, he also retweeted fake news titled: “Al Jazeera Viewers Seem To React With Joy Over London Terror Attack.”
This was just like Dad seeing thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the horrors of the 9/11 attacks!
The Khan citation was taken from an article that the newspaper The Independent published in the wake of last fall’s ineffective bombing attempts in New York City’s Chelsea area. At the time, Mayor Khan told Londoners that nothing was more important than to keep them safe confessing that he had “a sleepless night” following the news from New York.
Khan said indeed what Junior Trump as a true son of his father cited without any context, namely, that the “threat of terror attacks are ‘part and parcel of living in a big city’ and encouraged Londoners to be vigilant to combat dangers.”
Khan was right and is right now. After major terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, Madrid, London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin and many more in other cities there is no doubt that sooner or later more such strikes will be attempted and some of them are likely to succeed. London’s excellent Metropolitan Police, better known as Scotland Yard, America’s formidable counterterrorism community and their counterparts in France, Germany, Sweden, and elsewhere in Europe have prevented a large number of plots and they will prevent more; they cannot prevent all attacks--certainly not those carried out by lone actors with trucks, cars, guns, or kitchen knives. Today, one day after the London attack, there was another, luckily failed attempt to kill by a weapon-laden car in the Belgian city of Antwerp.
Just as no police force in the world can prevent all murders, no security service can prevent all acts of terrorism. As horrific as some crimes and some terrorist attacks are such, neither crimes nor terrorism amount to existential threats.
Recognizing this reality is essential for dealing effectively and properly with the threat of terrorism which means trying to prevent and at the same time preparing to respond to attacks by all kinds of organizations, cells, and lone wolves.
It is always regrettable when people who have no knowledge about a particular problem or issue, in this case terrorism and counterterrorism, and who have no inclination to think before they speak and insult. But it is particularly dangerous when this sort of stuff is publicized by the son of a sitting president who tends to mimic his father.