Opinion

The Khan Kerfuffle: Donald Trump’s Waterloo?

Mary Claire Kendall Author, Oasis: Conversion Stories of Hollywood Legends

A priest is beheaded in Normandy by an ISIS sympathizer during the ISIS-sanitized Democratic National Convention.

The FBI reports some 1000 active investigations into ISIS cells in the United States.

And, we’re obsessing over Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump’s response to Khizr Khan after his historic DNC takedown of him—with President Barack Obama and the media in lockstep calling it Trump’s Waterloo?

If this were World War II, can you imagine the same uproar over a controversial Winston Churchill statement? He had his share.

For instance, in World War I, he advocated use of chemical weapons—primarily against Kurds and Afghans—while serving as war and air minister, as reported by BBC News Magazine.

“I cannot understand this squeamishness about the use of gas,” he wrote. “I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes.”

Furthermore, why a British soldier could bleed to death, while it was deemed unjust “to fire a shell which makes the said native sneeze—it really is too silly,” he wrote.

Trump’s statements pale in comparison to these Churchillian beauts.

But, alas, Churchill would go on to save the world from Hitler.

And, Trump, his tens of millions of supporters believe, will, as President of the United States, save the world from an equally inhumane enemy.

Then, as now, the future of Western Civilization is at stake—with Pope Francis calling it World War III, his recent statements about the cause notwithstanding. 

To be sure, as General Paul Vallely (USA-Ret.), a Trump advisor, whose “Americans first” mantra Donald Trump has adopted, said on MSBNC, the Kahns were “political pawns” but he “would have responded a little differently.”

Trump is visceral and tactile and a student of human nature—and a brawler. That combo is usually a strength. But not always.

His observation about Mrs. Kahn was based on well-known cultural norms, which this author has observed. It was at a private dinner hosted by a Pakistani-American that included a “who’s who” of Virginia Republicans. All the Pakistani women quietly withdrew to an apolitical room by themselves—unseen and unheard.

So, Trump’s focus was all on the human dynamics and when he hit back that’s what he called out. Then came Kahn’s return volley about his wife’s tears, designed to try and further humiliate Trump—never mind the shrug-heard-round-the-world at the tears of Gold Star mother Patricia Smith, who lost her son in the Benghazi attack given Hillary’s bad choices.

Of course, the real aim is to keep from focusing on the relevant, civilization-saving issues, namely, as Charlie Hurt, wrote, Trump’s goal of doing “thorough and complete background checks on all immigrants coming from countries presently in the grips of violent Islamic terrorism… Yes, that means if you are a Muslim who wants to immigrate from Syria or Afghanistan, you are going to get a lot more scrutiny than if you are a Jew trying to (emigrate) from Canada. That is most unfortunate, but not nearly as unfortunate as innocents getting slaughtered by 10th Century savages killing in the name of Allah.” 

Time for Trump to say to the Khans, as Gen. Vallely suggested, ‘I respect your son’s service and the sacrifice you have made and will have nothing further to say on the topic. Now let’s focus on issues.’ Namely, the “innocents getting slaughtered by 10th Century savages killing in the name of Allah” and a strategy to stop the slaughter — and all the tears that follow. 

Mary Claire Kendall is a Washington-based writer and author of Oasis: Conversion Stories of Hollywood Legends. She served four years in the George H.W. Bush Administration.