The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.
While the father of a fallen soldier bathed in celebrity status during the Democratic Convention, there are things related to this story that simply were passed over by the media and deserve attention, if only to provide balance to the story. It seems that when media frenzy sets in, good journalism quickly disappears. Too many times, we witness the media pursuing a headline rather than facts.
Was Khihr Khan’s Speech Orchestrated?
The question is valid in that it goes towards understanding and illuminating “Actus reus” (the external elements) and identifying if there is “mens rea”(a guilty mind) involved in Mr. Khan’s speech.
Immediately after making his speech, Khan became engaged in a media scrum at the Convention. He made it known that he had much more to say but that the organizers had limited him to “ten minutes”. As a result, according to Khan, he “omitted parts” from the end of his speech.
The media missed a golden opportunity to ask a subsequent question that should have logically flowed from that comment. They didn’t. To impugn Khan’s motives might have taken away sparkle and glitter of Khizr Khan as the media darling. After all, he had just “let slip” that his speech had been vetted by Clinton campaign team members and, therefore was not nearly as spontaneous, genuine and sincere as the stories quickly filed by the media attending. On the other hand, possibly Donald Trump would not have had to do the media’s job for them the following day. In so doing, Trump left himself open to an onslaught of whipped up outrage. “How could anyone ATTACK” a Gold Star (family who lost a son/daughter in military service) family such as Mr. and Mrs. Khan.
The Khan Speech
The Khan speech had absolutely nothing to do with Khan’s son, United States Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in 2004 during the Iraq War.
I have written enough speeches (for myself and for others) to recognize what Khan(senior) had just pulled off. It is truth that his son was a hero and is a soldier who died on the battle field 12 years ago. Though it is not truth that “time heals”, it is the case that the passage of time takes one through the stages of healing. One of those stages is anger. Anger appears at the outset following many traumatic events. In most cases, the anger passes. Thus, I have grave doubts about the sincerity of Khizr Khan’s feigned anger.
He had simply used his own son’s sacrifice as his personal ticket for celebrity status. Worse, he had pivoted the sacrifice made by his son as an entrance into a speech that had nothing to do with his son. That is sordid. The remaining eight minutes of Khizr Khan’s speech to the captured and biased audience inside the Democratic Convention was little more than a rambling diatribe about Donald Trump because Trump was advocating blockage of muslim newcomers into the United States. But Trump had stated a caveat being “UNTIL WE GET THINGS FIGURED OUT”.
Within the context of a litany of islamic attacks upon civilian victims (both domestically and internationally) beginning September 11, 2001 (The World Trade Center), Trump’s idea contained a a concept that is badly missing in politics: common sense.
As to motives, Trump had offered up a feasible solution to the problem that should be foremost in the minds of leaders of any government in a democracy: maintaining public safety is at the heart of maintaining “peace, order and good government”. Without peace order and good government, the numerous rights set out in the Constitution of the United States fail. It’s odd/ironic that Kahn said, ““Donald Trump, have you even read the Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy,”
However, Khizr Khan’s motives in his diatribe are much less sincere. His son, who had volunteered to serve in the army of the United States of America, had died protecting his fellow citizens (of the USA) from foreign threat – namely Islamic terrorism. It is not lost on me (and many others) that United States Army Captain Humayun Khan and was posthumously awarded both the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star while attempting to stop an automobile loaded with explosives from entering Forward Operating base Warhorse at Baqubah, Iraq. But, let’s be accurate; Captain Humayun Khan’s murder was at the hands of death seeking muslim suicide bomber and NOT Donald Trump.
It is troubling that Captain Khan and Donald Trump equally shared an interest in protecting their fellow countrymen from foreign harm.
Upon review of all the facts, there are ample reasons to question Khizr Khan’s motives.
Who is Khizr Khan?
The day following Khizr Khan’s unprovoked personal diatribe against Trump at the Democratic National Convention, I began doing what any legitimate journalist ought to do before writing and filing a story. I fact checked. Had the mainstream media undertaken that same task, things might have been different in the final sum – now seven days after Khizr Khan’s seven minutes of fame.
A quick search revealed that Mr. Khan “might” have ulterior motives for seeking out the publicity that surrounded his verbal rampage. I quickly happened upon Mr. Khan’s (a lawyer) web site here he was advertising his work in facilitating immigrant applications for individuals seeking to immigrate to USA.
In and of itself, there is reason to think that Mr. Trump’s vision of cutting back (temporarily) on immigration from “hot spots” “might” have been adverse to Mr. Khan’s business interests and “might” have much less to do with his patriotic son’s death than his own interests in an immigration law practice.
Again today, I attempted to visit Khan’s site to find it had been scrubbed as clean. It is gone. Deleted. Similarly, the numerous Twitter entries penned by Khizr Khan on the day following his tirade have been meticulously removed. The Twitter entries were pitiful attempts at self aggrandizement made by Khan immediately following his moment of victory. In one he hinted that Hillary Clinton would be wise to invite him to travel with her along the campaign trail and (LOL) in another he was seeking out Broadway tickets on behalf his wife, Ghazala.
Turning again the garbled comments made by the Constitution waving Kwizr Khan who said, “”Have you ever been to Arlington cemetery? Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”
The nuance of his inclusion of the word “faiths” caught my eye as well. Upon checking, there are now 14 Muslims buried at Arlington Cemetery. Whether or not Trump has been there is irrelevant and had no place in a speech that ought to have been about Khan’s son who is buried there. The Arlington Cemetery is operated by teh USA Department of Army and contains over 400,000 (!!!) military graves.
Statistics tell us that there are presently over 3.3 million Muslims living in the USA. Form your own conclusions.
If the inference or nuance that Khan was attempting to draw implied that all muslims who serve in the army of the United States are heroes: I beg to differ and suggest that he consider Sgt. Hasan K. Akbar and Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan.
Akbar and Hasan
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was sentenced to death following his shooting rampage at the Fort Hood (Texas) military base in which he shot and murdered 13 personnel and wounded another 32 in 2009. During his rampage, Maj. Hasan repeatedly exclaimed, “Allahu akbar!” while discharging over 200 rounds of ammunition at his victims.
Sergeant Hasan Karim Akbar threw four hand grenades into three tents in which other members of the 101st Airborne Division were sleeping in the early morning hours of March 23, 2003, at Camp Pennsylvania, Kuwait. He then fired his rifle at fellow soldiers in the ensuing chaos. Army Captain Christopher S. Seifert was fatally shot in the back, and Air Force Major Gregory L. Stone was killed by a grenade. Fourteen other soldiers were wounded by Akbar, mostly from grenade shrapnel. Sgt Akbar was also sentenced to death in a verdict handed down by a Military Court Martial.
Both Akbar and Hasan are presently on death row inside the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Thus, there is a real and genuine danger in stereotyping as Mr. Khan has attempted by drawing attention to the 14 slain heroes who happen to have been Muslims interred at Arlington. In these troubled times, care and caution has its rightful place.
…and, yes I suspect Trump (like many of us) has been at the Arlington Cemetery.
Good Advice for Donald Trump
That there is need for substantive (and sustainable) change in government and governance in the United States, there is little/no doubt. Nor can it be denied that there are those among us who will resort to anything in order to maintain an increasingly dysfunctional status quo. As much as anything else; Donald Trump is representative of a movement who’s time is ripe. Stay the course and avoid the forays into the nonsensical such as was served up by Khizr Khan and his advisors. There is a bigger message that deserves to be told and there is little to be gained by chasing every dog that barks.
This excerpt is taken from Truman Capote’s book The Dogs Bark (New American Library, a Plume book: 1977):
“It must have been the spring of 1950 or 1951, since I have lost my notebooks detailing those two years. It was a warm day late in February, which is high spring in Sicily, and I was talking to a very old man with a mongolian face who was wearing a black velvet Borsalino and, disregarding the balmy, almond-blossom-scented weather, a thick black cape.
The old man was Andre Gide, and we were seated together on a sea wall overlooking shifting fire-blue depths of ancient water.
The postman passed by. A friend of mine, he handed me several letters, one of them containing a literary article rather unfriendly toward me (had it been friendly, of course no one would of sent it).
After listening to me grouse a bit about the piece, and the unwholesome nature of the critical mind in general, the great French master hunched, lowered his shoulders like a wise old . . . shall we say buzzard?, and said, “Ah, well. Keep in mind an Arab proverb: ‘The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.'”
Yes, Mr. Trump, “the dogs bark but the caravan moves on”.
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