Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Pence’s shallow response to the Gold Star Khan family

Posted By on Tue, Aug 2, 2016 at 3:17 PM

click to enlarge Khizr and Ghazala Khan speak with Voice Of America's Urdu service in Washington, D.C. - B.ALLEN/VOA
  • B.Allen/VOA
  • Khizr and Ghazala Khan speak with Voice Of America's Urdu service in Washington, D.C.

From the moment Khizr and Ghazala Khan stepped on to the stage at the Democratic National Convention to share their story as a Gold Star military family and criticize Donald Trump, the GOP presidential nominee and his camp have made one blunder after another.

Khizr Khan spoke for the family, questioning Trump’s knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and of sacrifice. Trump responded by questioning Ghazala Khan’s silence at the podium, implying that because of they are of Muslim faith, Mrs. Khan wasn’t allowed to speak. Just as any powerful woman and mother would, Mrs. Khan expressed her feelings and actions in a well penned article that was published by The Washington Post.

So then what happened?

Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate and personal edge smoother, issued a statement about the Khan family in an ill-fated attempt to diffuse the situation.
"Donald Trump and I believe that Captain Humayun Khan is an American hero and his family, like all Gold Star families, should be cherished by every American.
Captain Khan gave his life to defend our country in the global war on terror. Due to the disastrous decisions of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, a once stable Middle East has now been overrun by ISIS. This must not stand.
By suspending immigration from countries that have been compromised by terrorism, rebuilding our military, defeating ISIS at its source and projecting strength on the global stage, we will reduce the likelihood that other American families will face the enduring heartbreak of the Khan family.
Donald Trump will support our military and their families and we will defeat the enemies of our freedom."
The statement begins as it should and really should have stopped after the first sentence. It really goes from bad to worse after that.

Pence implying that the death of Captain Humayun Khan lies at the feet of President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton during her time as Secretary of State is grossly inaccurate. Captain Khan died 12 years ago, before President Obama took office and before Clinton was Secretary of State. He died in Iraq under the watch of President George W. Bush.

Instability in the Middle East has been ongoing for 100 years or more. A quick online search will reveal several timelines by various entities that date instability beginning in Syria around 1918 and in the entire region centuries earlier. The most recent conflict between Syria and the United States started when Bush named Syria as a secondary part of the “axis of evil” in his 2002 State of the Union address and invaded Iraq to go after Saddam Hussein while we were "in the neighborhood" already looking for Osama Bin Laden. (Clinton as a freshman U.S. Senator just beginning her second year and Obama was still serving in the Illinois State Senate when Bush gave that speech.)

The most disturbing part of Pence’s statement, however, is in the third paragraph about immigration. Although he begins by honoring the Khan family, Pence ends by saying that limiting immigration from countries compromised by terrorism, among other things, would reduce the likelihood of what happened to the Khan family happening to other American Families.

But does Pence realize that the Khan family represents the very type of family he and Trump would prevent from coming to America in the first place? Khizr and Ghazala Khan moved their family from Pakistan to the U.S. (with a stop in the United Arab Emirates) in 1980. As a Muslim family from the Middle East, the Khans would never have been allowed in the country under a Trump presidency and might even be on the list for families to be asked to leave America as Trump continued to cleanse the country of ethnic Muslim threats.

The parents of an American hero would be expelled from the very country he died to protect.

The Trump-Pence position on immigration also begs the question — if all undocumented immigrants are forced to leave the country and “go back to where they came from,” would that edict include the undocumented men and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces?

The research to verify all of these details took no more than a 15-minute Internet search.

It is unfortunate that those who wish to serve in our nation’s highest offices cannot do the same.

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About The Author

Amber Stearns

Amber Stearns

Amber Stearns was born, raised, and educated right here in Indianapolis. She holds a B.S. in Communications from the University of Indianapolis (1995). Following a 20-year career in radio news in Indiana, Amber joined NUVO as News Editor in 2014.

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