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Trump, Cruz, Rubio: Russian Roulette With Three Already In The Chamber

Op/Ed By Wilmer J. Leon III Ph. D.


wilmerleon-new( – “We will carpet bomb [ISIS] into oblivion. I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out…” Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rising Tide Summit Convention

As the nation moves closer to the Feb. 1 Iowa Caucus and the Feb. 9 New Hampshire Primary, Americans are being subjected to the absolute worst of the political process instead of the best of what America has to offer.  Republican candidates such as Donald Trump, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) continue to play to the divisive and negative least common denominators of bigotry, hatred, and fear of the mythical “Islamic terrorists” instead of a more positive and inclusive message .

Their jingoistic rhetoric and lies are not making America stronger. Instead, they are making the problems worse. We are all aware of Trump’s now infamous comments about Mexican immigrants:  “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you…They’re sending people that have lots of problems…They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people!”

Trump conveniently ignores the fact that American foreign policy has exacerbated if not caused the migration problem.  One just has to reflect upon the Reagan Administration’s violent and immoral involvement in El Salvador or Reagan’s illegal support of the Contras in Nicaragua to understand the “Blowback” from America’s intervention in the politics south of the border.  More recently, NAFTA has wreaked havoc on Mexico’s economy.  According to The New York Times, because of NAFTA “…the country’s annual per capita growth flat-lined to an average of just 1.2 percent – one of the lowest in the hemisphere. Its real wage has declined and unemployment is up.”

Trump has also called for the “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”  With his doublespeak, Trump says, “The Quran is very interesting. A lot of people say it teaches love … But there’s something there that teaches some very negative vibe … Now I don’t know if that’s from the Quran. I don’t know if that’s from someplace else. But there’s tremendous hatred out there that I’ve never seen anything like it.”

How does Trump’s intentional misrepresentation and demonization of the Holy Koran play to the over 1.6 billion Muslims around the world?  As a result of his anti-Muslim rhetoric and his support for warrantless searches as a part of his plans for increased surveillance of the nation’s Muslims, according to Reuters, “British lawmakers…debated a petition to ban U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump from Britain over remarks on Muslims…” calling his remarks “crazy” and “offensive”.

It does not portend well to have America’s strongest ally debating a ban of the leader for the Republican nomination for the highest office in America.  It’s also important to remember that according to a Pew Research Center estimate, Islam is currently the world’s second-largest religion after Christianity. It is the fastest-growing major religion and Muslims make up roughly 23 percent of the world’s population. As members of the Obama administration negotiated the Iranian nuclear deal, Cruz, Rubio and a host of others criticized President Obama.

It has been a long held tradition in this country that “politics stops at the water’s edge”. Some Republicans have chosen to ignore that tradition in its dealings with the Obama administration. Ted Cruz said if the Iran deal passed through Congress, “the Obama administration will become quite literally the world’s leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism.”  This was before the administration had even announced the details of the agreement.  Marco Rubio went as far as to say, the deal with Iran on its nuclear program could result in war.

“I would argue that a bad deal almost guarantees war, because Israel is not going to abide by any deal that they believe puts them and their existence in danger…” Again, this was before the details of the agreement were made public. Recently, when American sailors were temporarily detained by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and held at gunpoint for sailing into Iranian waters, Cruz, Rubio, Trump and others tried to fan the flames of anti-Iranian sentiment with misinformation and lies.Cruz said on FOX news, “Any nation that captured our military officers, captures our soldiers, should face serious repercussions.”

When Chris Wallace pointed out that the sailors were released unharmed after 14 hours, Cruz replied, “The only reason they were seized is because of the weakness of Barack Obama.” Rubio said, “They took pictures of them on the deck of a ship with their hands behind their back. Then they put them in a jail pen, and they made the female sailor cover her head in a scarf. They took pictures of them and video and put it up on Iranian television as if to say, look what we can do to America, we can capture their sailors, we can make them get on their knees, we can humiliate them.”

What is really humiliating is people like Senator Rubio ignoring history and facts and using what could have been a very tense, dangerous and volatile situation for political gain. First, the brief history.  What gets conveniently left out of the conservative narrative about US/Iranian relations is that in 1953 the U.S. orchestrated a coup d’état and overthrew the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran,  Mohammad Mosaddegh.  The U.S. then oversaw the reinstallation of the Shah.  The Shah’s secret police, domestic security and intelligence service called the SAVAK tortured and executed opponents of the Shah with the help of the C.I.A.

While there are still facts that have yet to surface regarding the recent issue with the U.S. sailors, we do know that Iran is a sovereign country.  Just like the United States, Iran has total control of its boarders (land, sea and air).  When their territorial waters are violated they have every right to capture those in violation of their territory and hold them until they can determine the nature and cause of the violation.  In Iran, all women must cover their heads.  The female sailor was not forced to wear a hijab or a burka. But, in keeping with Iranian law, she wore a scarf over her head.

Oh, the horror. The U.S. sailors violated Iranian territorial waters.  They were detained for 14 hours, questioned and released unharmed.  One of the sailors apologized to Iran for their “mistake”. Remember when Rubio was complaining that the Iranian nuclear deal was a weak negotiation because the freedom of the American hostages was not part of the deal?  He sent President Obama two letters stating that very point. Now that the four hostages that Rubio mentioned in his letters were recently released by Iran, where are the congratulations from Rubio? Are the Republican candidates so anti-Muslim and anti-Obama that they refuse to acknowledge these positive examples of diplomacy? I guess if your only solution is a bomb, every problem is a war.

Oh the hypocrisy. What we also know is with the Obama administration’s assassination of Gaddafi in Libya and George W. Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq, America does not care about national sovereignty.  When a U.S. Senator like Cruz, with no military service, says that he would, “carpet bomb ISIS into oblivion” Americans should take notice. Even Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva said that “carpet bombing” enemies “is not the way that we apply force in combat. It isn’t now, nor will it ever be”. Cruz’s response?  “I apologize to no one”.

Regarding money being exchanged as part of the deal with Iran, contrary to erroneous claims by Trump, Cruz, Rubio and others that the US is “giving” Iran “billions of dollars” in the nuclear deal, the fact is that US taxpayer’s dollars are not going to Iran. According to Politifact,  “the money already belongs to Iran; Iran just hasn’t been able to access it…the $100 billion figure has referred to the dollar amounts of Iran’s foreign assets that could be unfrozen when sanctions are lifted.”

Cruz, like his counterparts Trump and Rubio, are not concerned with facts.  For them it’s irresponsible uber-hyperbolic or “uberbollic” rhetoric that fits best in their irrational jingoistic narratives.When a Sen. Rubio would rather use military force than diplomacy to solve international disputes, we have a problem. When Trump wants to ban Muslims from the US even though we need all allies from Muslim countries to solve the serious problems in Africa/Middle East and other countries around the world, we should be alarmed. When Cruz lies about ISIS is “right now crucifying Christians in Iraq, literally nailing Christians to trees”, we should be very concerned. When Trump would willingly violate the US Constitution with warrantless wiretaps on American Muslims in mosques, we should pause for serious debate. When all the Republican Party can offer America is bigoted, fearmongering, xenophobes like Rubio, Trump and Cruz as its frontrunners to the approval of the Republican electorate; America is standing on the proverbial slippery slope.  It’s playing with a loaded gun. It’s playing Russian roulette with three rounds already in the chamber.

Dr. Wilmer Leon is the Producer/ Host of the nationally broadcast call-in talk radio program “Inside the Issues with Leon,” on SiriusXM Satellite radio channel 126. Go to or email: and Dr. Leon’s Prescription at

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