Among the drastic changes in American politics since Trump’s inauguration, a terror attack on U.S. soil would be the most frightening one. For the American people, it would be devastating. For Donald Trump, however, it will be an opportunity to change the subject from the scandals that have plagued his fraudulent administration and finally implement his authoritarian agenda.
For the moment, we can breathe a sigh of relief that former president Barack Obama helped build a robust intelligence apparatus that has kept America safe and its Constitution intact. But we are just a terrorist attack away from the White House gaining a new pretext to destroy the U.S. Constitution over its wrathful crackdown against Muslims, immigrants and everyone who doesn’t subscribe to Trump’s agenda.
As The Intercept suggests in a recent report:
“A terror attack will be used by the White House as an excuse for implementing an extra-legal agenda that could only be pushed through in a time of crisis. What the courts will not allow today, what protesters will hit the streets to defend tomorrow, what even the pliant Congress would have a hard time backing — the White House is almost certainly counting on all of this changing in the wake of a domestic terrorist attack.”
You might remember, 9/11 was used as a pretext for invading Iraq. Although it was almost immediately clear that Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told President George W. Bush on the evening of September 11, “Part of our response maybe should be attacking Iraq. It’s an opportunity.”
Just a few years earlier, Rumsfeld, along with Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney, had signed a now-infamous letter calling for the removal of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. The with-us-or-against-us atmosphere after 9/11 enabled them to carry out the task.
In the report, Peter Maas highlights a mortifying truth:
“Vladimir Putin’s rise to power in Russia was accelerated by a series of mysterious bombings against apartment buildings across the country, and the bombings were so essential to consolidating Putin’s rule that he was suspected of organizing them. There was also, most famously, the Reichstag fire in 1933, in which the German Parliament burned to the ground, leading Adolf Hitler, the new chancellor, to warn that “there will be no mercy now. Anyone standing in our way will be cut down.”
And you know how much Trump admires Putin and other dictators.
His eagerness to exploit only a particular type of terror attack — by Muslims — was revealed in his selective reaction to two incidents in his first month in office. In late January, he remained silent when a white Christian shot dead six Muslims in a Canadian mosque. A few days later, an Egyptian with a machete attacked French soldiers at the Louvre. Nobody was killed, not even the attacker — one soldier was slightly injured before the Egyptian was shot four times. Yet within hours, Trump tweeted:
“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.”
While a terror attack cannot be predicted with certainty, Trump seems to be making things easier for terrorists. Senate minority leader Sen. Chuck Schumer revealed on Sunday that Trump’s budget cuts nearly $200 million in federal funding for New York’s counterterrorism program, leaving the city vulnerable.
According to civil liberties lawyers and activists, the Trump administration has already begun laying the groundwork for extreme initiatives if a terror attack occurs on U.S. soil and is tied to a Muslim group. Under the guise of protecting national security, a blitz of presidential actions could target not just immigrants and Muslims but other minority groups as well as the media and the judiciary. These initiatives will be more dire and much more severe than you can imagine.
This macabre turn, in which terrorism becomes an opportunity rather than a curse, has ample precedents that tell us one thing: be prepared.