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Trump Responds to Terrorist Attack

Trump Responds to Terrorist Attack

What follows is an exercise in the very old practice of planning for the worst and hoping for the best.  There are several possible outcomes to what may be an inevitable terrorist attack on American soil under the Trump administration.  We know that Trump does not handle things well.  We know that he commits unforced errors even in light of economic growth and the idleness of peace.  How the scenario unfolds may go several different ways. Here’s one possible progression of events, based on a rough amalgamation of policy positions Trump has taken and what he has verbally said he would do.

Day 0

  • CNN: BREAKING – Warriors of Alim Claim Credit for Attack on US Capitol
  • Fox News: Muslim Terrorist Group “Alim” Bombs Capitol, Kills 73
  • MSNBC: Warriors of Alim Leader Ibn Eisa Releases Message on Capitol Attack, Vows More
  • ABC News: President Trump to Address Nation at 8 EST

[reading from the teleprompter, Trump is seated at the Resolute Desk flanked by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of Defense]

My fellow Americans. I come before you tonight with a heavy heart and some grave news. Seven hours ago, the capitol building of this great nation of ours was viciously, viciously attacked by a hostile foreign power.  Radical Islamic terrorists determined to undermine our way of life by killing women and children entered the capitol building and set off the bombs they were carrying.  Seventy-three of our fine Congressmen and women who were doing American things discussing passing healthcare reform at that time were murdered in cold blood, and died in the explosion.

I have immediately declared a state of national emergency.  I promise you here and now that we will find the monsters responsible for this heartless attack on our homeland and we will make them pay the ultimate price.  I have called together all of our generals, our great generals and General Mattis to provide options for us to retaliate, and retaliate we will.  We will use the full force of American military might to kill these terrorists and our enemies, whether they are overseas or hiding here in our cities.

I will be taking aggressive, immediate steps as your Commander-in-Chief to ensure the security of all Americans, and this will be a very, very good thing.  Starting immediately, we’re asking local law enforcement officials to enforce a temporary, limited curfew in our largest cities, as our intelligence agencies strongly all have reason to believe these sick people will hit us again and are targeting large groups.  These Muslim terrorists killed 73 of our legislators, statesmen, taking them from their families – and so they won’t think to go after large groups of Americans gathered in public on the streets.  We’ll be enforcing a lot of the laws we have on the books right now and some that will help make sure this never happens again, because we are a nation of laws.  We have to keep America safe right now.

We’re locking down our airports and our ports, and travel is temporarily restricted while the hunt for the remaining perpetrators of this crime are sought.  According to first reports provided to me by our intelligence of data uncovered from computers, we believe this terror cell and others used maps and diagrams of their targets they found the websites of The Washington Post and The New York Times.  Whether these were intentionally provided to the group who says they did this, we aren’t sure yet, but we’re going to find out.

Things have gone very badly for us due to past mistakes from previous administrations.  These are trying times for all Americans, all Americans. But America is strong. America is proud. America is free.  And we will get through this together.  Thank you, and God bless America.

[Trump salutes]

Day 1

  • Protests against the mandatory curfew in all major US cities have broken out. Attorney General Jeff Sessions of The Department of Justice has directed law enforcement to disperse crowds bigger than 10 people as possible terrorist targets.
  • A series of military strikes take place against terrorist camps in Al Ghubar and Ras Madrakah in Oman, Coldwater, Missouri, Hyattsville, Maryland, Onalaska, Washington, and At Turbah, Yemen.
  • The US deploys a small tactical nuclear strike against the Yemeni city of Sana’a, 650 miles from Mecca. Approximately 17,000 people are killed in the attack, which is condemned internationally. Russia and China talk Pakistan out of a direct thermonuclear response, warning the United States. The Muslim world collectively loses its shit and hundreds of thousands are radicalized.  Saudi Arabia leads Arab nations in oil sanctions against the US, and Israel distances itself diplomatically.

Day 2

  • The New York Times, Washington Post, Politico, Huffington Post, Fox News, and the National Review are raided by Homeland Security agents as part of the investigation of the assassination of 73 members of Congress. Trump tweets later “Can’t believe what agents found at criminal NYT, Washpost, Politico, other fake news. Ugly traitors!”
  • Senator Tom Cotton [R-AR] reintroduces The Liberty Through Strength Act with major modifications, suspending requirements for FISA court orders, establish a sub-department of Homeland Security to conduct initial reviews of broadcast and print news for sensitive material, codify designation of free speech zones at government buildings with time and dates set, allocate budgetary funds for personal military security details for congressional representatives, and revoke tax exemption status from any religious organization that has evident ideological ties to alleged terrorists.

Day 3

  • @realDonaldTrump tweets “Captured all families of attackers. Enhanced interrogating them to find out where enemies went too.”
  • The Guardian releases an investigative report into the connections between Warriors of Alim leader Ibn Eisa and Aras Agalarov, a Russian oligarch using the same real estate shell company projects to launder money.
  • In response to the allegations of aiding and abetting terrorists and at the urging of Trump, Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), and Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduce an amended version of the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act, empowering the State Department to investigate media companies in the United States for sentiment in opposition to American values.  In addition, the legislation carves out a portion of defense spending for the Voice of America, the national interagency media apparatus tasked with countering foreign propaganda and disinformation.  Voice of America also receives a designated two-digit mandatory placement by all cable television service providers and 14 hours weekly of reserved FM airtime from all radio broadcast stations.
  • Neil Gorsuch is confirmed to the Supreme Court.

Day 4

  • Journalists at several newspapers are arrested for aiding and abetting terrorism and subject to indefinite detention.
  • The White House Press Corps is expanded to include an additional 143 news outlets “to give non-fake news a chance”, quadrupling the number of reporters in the White House Press Briefing Room. Chairs are removed for standing room only.
  • Trump suspends habeus corpus, citing emergency powers in a press conference and referring directly to Article One, Section 9, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution “which expressly, expressly gives these powers to me to do. We are in an emergency situation here people, an emergency, emergency. We have to take bold, good action to stop from being attacked again. Imagine, if it can happen at the Capitol, it can happen anywhere, right? So we need to be careful.”

Day 5

  • Emboldened fundamentalist right-wing militias attack seven mosques throughout the United States in a coordinated paramilitary engagement, killing dozens and firebombing houses of worship.
  • Amnesty International and The International Red Cross calls on the United States to release the families of the terrorist suspects.

Day 11

  • Trump begins to refer to Democratic Senators as “patriot killing traitors.” and “…someone should really do something about them.”
  • Investigators reveal that the terrorists used bomb components that were delivered by the US Postal Service to the Capitol building offices. Legislation is immediately introduced and passed to allow full, comprehensive screening of the contents of all letters and parcels.
  • Trump calls for an emergency joint session of Congress, addressing them to berate and denigrate their slow response to the national tragedy.  Republican Party leaders insist the fault lies with Democrats.  Democratic officials respond that they are trying to balance security with civil rights. Trump surrogates insist he will be taking more unilateral action to secure the homeland.

If the above seems far-fetched and unlikely to occur, it is worth noting that it has happened before in the history of the world and would not be unprecedented.

“This guy is a clown. He’s like a caricature of himself.”
“This is a marvelous demagogue who can really inspire loyalty.”
“He’s bringing the country back to its feet. Look how orderly this place is now.”
“In conversation with him, one virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with him as a person, but with slogans, catchwords, and the like that have taken possession of him.”

These are quotes from people commenting on the person of Hitler.  The day after the Reichstag fire, Hitler asked for and received the Reichstag Fire Decree, using Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution.  Most civil liberties were suspended in Germany, including habeus corpus, freedom of religious expression, freedom of the press, the right of free association and public assembly, as well as the secrecy of the post and telephone.  None of these rights were reinstated during Hitler’s reign.

The prescription for prevention of this, and even this is uncertain as to effect, is summed up by Milton Mayer in the book “They Thought They Were Free.” 

“To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it—please try to believe me—unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted,’ that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’ that no ‘patriotic German’ could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.

“How is this to be avoided, among ordinary men, even highly educated ordinary men? Frankly, I do not know. I do not see, even now. Many, many times since it all happened I have pondered that pair of great maxims, Principiis obsta and Finem respice—‘Resist the beginnings’ and ‘Consider the end.’ But one must foresee the end in order to resist, or even see, the beginnings. One must foresee the end clearly and certainly and how is this to be done, by ordinary men or even by extraordinary men? Things might have. And everyone counts on that might.

PRINCIPIIS OBSTA, FINEM RESPICE. Resist the beginnings, consider the end.

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