Qatar-ata: A case of political astigmatism?

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CRISPIN R. ARANDA

A PERSON with a medical condition where the lens of the eye becomes progressively opaque is likely to develop cataract, resulting in blurred vision.

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That by itself does not sound serious. Combined with “a defect in the eye or in a lens caused by a deviation from spherical curvature, which results in distorted images, as light rays are prevented from meeting at a common focus,” a person could be declared legally blind.

In 2014, the National Federation of the Blind in the United States reported a total of 7,358,000 people in the United States with visual disability, with 3 million plus 65 years old and above.

A person committing an act that endangers people (regardless of race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, political belief or affiliation, gender orientation) may not be legally liable but could be morally responsible.

One such move is the swift, Twitterrific rejoinder of US President Donald Trump on the diplomatic isolation of Qatar by Arab states. Not only did Mr. Trump take credit for the Arab states’ blockade of Qatar but also boldly predicted that isolating Qatar would mark the “beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism.”

Appearing in the Rose Garden with visiting Romanian President Klaus Johannis, Trump told Qatar: “Stop funding (terrorism). Stop teaching hate. Stop the killing,”

This from the man who on December 7, 2015 called “for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”

A week after getting elected, Trump issued an executive order seeking to ban immigration from six Muslim-dominated countries.

In upholding the order stopping Trump’s travel and Muslim ban, the US appeals court judge pointed to a March 2016 interview then-candidate Trump gave on CNN, in which he said “I think Islam hates us.”

Hate was the prevailing mood in Trump rallies during the presidential campaign such that a lawsuit has been filed against the US President for inciting Trump supporters to attack protesters during a March 1, 2016 rally in Louisville, Kentucky. The plaintiffs are Kashiya Nwanguma, Molly Shah, and Henry Brousseau.

Two other Trump supporters that have been named defendants in the lawsuit, Alvin Bamberger and Matthew Heimbach, admitted to having used physical force after Trump’s repeated order to “get them out, get them out!” and shoving the protesters. ”I physically pushed a young woman down the aisle.” Bamberger wrote to the Korean War Veterans Association.

Never mind that during the campaign Trump denounced the Saudi government for “executing homosexuals” and treating women “horribly.” In the third presidential debate of October 2016, Trump pilloried Hillary Clinton for “taking $25 million from the Saudis,” from “people that push gays off … buildings. These are people that kill women and treat women horribly and yet you take their money.”

Seven months before, Trump had accused the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of being behind the 9/11 attacks. “Who blew up the World Trade Center?” Trump asked during his interview at Fox and Friends on February 17, 2016. “It wasn’t the Iraqis; it was Saudi — take a look at Saudi Arabia, open the documents.”

Later that day, Trump repeated the charge that “secret papers…could prove that the Saudis were in fact responsible for the 9/11 attacks that killed 2,996 people.

Of the 19 hijackers who carried out the 9/11 terror attacks, 15 were from Saudi Arabia. All 15 were all affiliated with Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden himself was the scion of a wealthy and well-connected Saudi family.

Trump’s sight appeared to be warped by an arms deal worth $350 billion over 10 years, and $110 billion in weapons that Saudi Arabia will buy from the United States.

The White House Press Secretary tweeted on May 20, 2017: “Beyond $109b in military sales, @potus deal w US & Saudi Arabia incs another $250b commercial investment creating hundreds of 1000s US jobs.”

Trump’s business preceded his new political insight. CNBC reported on June 6, 2017, that the “Trump International Hotel recently took in about $270,000 in payments tied to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the country fights to roll back a US terrorism law, according to newly filed lobbying reports.”

The payment was disclosed by Trump’s own justice department, CNBC continued, with the “filings last week by MSL Group Americas, a public relations firm for work done by the firm between October 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017 on behalf of the Saudis, Bahrain and other foreign governments.”

Putting 11,000 people at the biggest concentration of US military personnel at Qatar’s Al Udeid Air Base in harm’s way may be an acceptable risk to the US Commander in Chief. The $350 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia trumps the risks.

That, in addition to about 250,000 OFWs, according to our own Department of Foreign Affairs, facing displacement and life-threatening scenarios in Qatar should the blockade turned ugly and violent.

Trump may not be visually impaired but his actions show the Donald is morally blind.

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