Appearing on the December 8 Hardball, a furious Evan Kohlmann insisted that Donald Trump was literally putting U.S. servicemen and diplomats – as well as peaceful American Muslims – at risk with his rhetoric about temporarily keeping Muslims from being allowed to clear U.S. ports of entry.
At one point the NBC terrorism analyst invoked Hitler, telling viewers at home that "as the son of Holocaust survivors" he substitutes the word "Jews" for "Muslims" in Trump's remarks. "This is scapegoating. Anyone who is part of an immigrant community... should not stand for this, should not accept this."
"He's also putting American servicemen at risk and American diplomats at risk" because some "lunatics" and "foolish people" in predominantly Muslim countries "who see this stuff, and they associate this with all Americans."
Of course, in essence Kohlmann's argument is very similar to the specious logic of blaming a YouTube video for the Benghazi terrorist attacks or Charlie Hebdo's Muhammad cartoons for the mass murder at their offices in January.
Even if you happen to disagree with Trump's rhetoric and half-baked policy prescriptions on combating Islamic terrorism, there should be no ceding ground on this: No matter how offensive the provocation, there is simply no justifying the murder of anyone on the basis of offended religious sensibilities.
Mr. Kohlmann's soft bigotry of low expectations is part of the problem in the Left's view of combating the war on radical Islamic terrorism.
Below is the relevant transcript (emphases mine) and video:
December 8, 2015; 7:24 p.m. Eastern
CHRIS MATTHEWS: A couple things, here. It seems to me that ISIS's goal, if they have a real clear-cut one is to try to create an East-West war, cause that's how they're going to get their caliphate, by bringing down every moderate government in the region. That's what they want to do. Turn East against West, force everybody in the East to be on their side, everybody in the West to be perceived as being against them.
EVAN KOHLMANN: There's no question about it. I mean, look at their propaganda. In their magazines, they have a big picture that says "Loyalty among Muslims versus American racism." And this is what they're talking about.
Donald Trump is putting American lives at risk. He's putting American Muslim lives at risk, because there are plenty of crazy people out there right now that are surrounding mosques with assault rifles, which is totally ridiculous and totally uncalled for.
And he's also putting American servicemen at risk and American diplomats at risk. There are lunatics out there, there are foolish people out there who see this stuff and they associate this with all Americans. They say, well, if Trump says it, all Americans believe it. And they don't have access to Donald Trump. So they want to take out their aggression on somebody else.
You cannot say these things and still call yourself a friend to American diplomats or the U.S. military. You are making them into a target and they are the ones that are going to pay for these words. It is totally, it is beyond the pale, it is extremely distressing. If I was the family of a service member, I would be asking myself that question. Why is Donald Trump putting my family member at risk, and he is!
MATTHEWS: You think al Baghdadi over there, somewhere in the caliphate, such as it is, is enjoying this Trump show?
KOHLMANN: There's no doubt about it. We watch the communications. We watch the chatter online. These folks love this stuff. They love to watch us tear each other apart. This is – I mean, this is what they always have hoped for.
This is what al Qaeda has been talking about for years: setting up concentration camps for Muslims, barring Muslims out of this country.
And I’ve got to tell you something. As the son of a Holocaust survivor, every time I hear him say something about Muslims, I hear the word "Jews," because that's exactly what this is. This is scapegoating. Anyone who is part of an immigrant community, anyone who’s descended from immigrants should not stand for this, should not accept this. This is insulting to all of us. Not just Muslims, it’s insulting to everyone!
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