Tag Archives: 9/11

American Taliban is out … oh, how I wish he wasn’t

John Walker Lindh became known as the American Taliban. He decided in 2000 to convert to a form of Islam, then joined the terrorists in Afghanistan.

Then came the 9/11 terror attack and the start of our war against terrorism. Lindh got captured early in that fight, was charged with crimes relating to his involvement with the Taliban and al-Qaeda, convicted and sentenced to 20 years in a federal prison.

He walked out of that lockup in Terre Haute, Ind., today. He will live in northern Virginia.

Has this lunatic disavowed his radical views? Apparently not!

That is what makes his release so troublesome, at least to me.

He got out of prison a bit early because he behaved himself while behind bars. Lindh was known to read the Quran daily. He prayed per Islamic tradition. Lindh was 22 years of age when he was captured.

He reportedly also has made pro-Islamic State statements while in prison. Still, the feds decided to turn this guy loose three years before the end of his term?

He was accused initially of a host of crimes related to the uprising in Afghanistan in which he participated, but worked out some sort of a deal in exchange for the 20-year prison term he received.

The feds have put some constraints on Lindh, trying to ensure they keep an eye on him. I’m going to presume he will be unable to leave the country and rejoin his Taliban pals. He also will be disallowed from having any non-English-language telecommunications equipment and his Internet use will be monitored carefully.

There’s just something about this story that gives me the heebie-jeebies.

I hope the federal authorities keep all eyes wide open on this guy and watch his every move.

Lying has become ‘tolerable’ among politicians?

Jimmy Carter once promised that he would never lie to Americans if they elected him president of the United States.

To the best of my knowledge and memory, the 39th president kept that promise. Perhaps he didn’t tell us everything in real time about sensitive negotiations with Egyptian President and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin as they crafted a comprehensive peace treaty. He might have held back on what he told Iranian leaders who held our citizens hostage for 444 days in 1979-80.

I don’t believe he lied.

We fast-forward now to the present day. The current president has demonstrated that he cannot tell the truth.

Donald Trump lies at every level. He lies when he doesn’t need to lie. He lies when it is easier to tell the truth. He lies about matters large and small.

I cannot single out the major lies he has told. They usually involve a political foe. He will say something that puts someone in a negative light. If it’s a lie, well, so be it.

The petty lies are equally remarkable. He lied about his late father being born in Germany; Fred Trump was born in New York City. He lied about losing friends on 9/11; he lost zero friends, he attended zero funerals of those who died on that terrible day.

Trump is lying at an astonishing pace. The Washington Post is keeping a running tabulation the falsehoods; it has passed the 10,000 mark so far and the pace is quickening.

I mention all of this because Donald Trump keeps insisting that he has been “totally exonerated” regarding the Russia matter. No, he hasn’t.

Thus, Trump lies even when the public record demonstrates precisely the opposite to be true. Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation into alleged collusion is clear: The special counsel could not clear Trump of obstruction of justice; nor could he prosecute him. Still, Trump lies when he says he has been “totally exonerated.”

How in the world can we accept a single thing this individual says as truth? My view: We cannot. 

‘Happy anniversary,’ you monster … you

A hilarious Facebook meme came to my attention this evening.

It shows a mug shot of Osama bin Laden and notes that on May 2, 2011, he was snuffed out by a team of Navy SEALs, Delta Force and CIA commandos. It wished him a “happy anniversary . . . fu**er.” 

Wow. Eight years ago tonight, President Obama stood before the nation to tell us and the rest of the world that the “United States conducted a mission that killed Osama bin Laden.”

I remember that evening quite well.

My wife and I were watching TV when we got a news alert that the White House had announced that the president would make “an announcement” later in the evening. It didn’t specify the topic — quite obviously.

Hmm. What could it be? Why would Barack Obama come on in the evening to make some sort of an announcement.

Then it occurred to me. I blurted out to my wife, “I think they got bin Laden!”

Sure enough. There it was. The announcement came. Cheers broke out in front of the White House, and in Times Square and in town squares all across the nation. “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Yes, it was a moment that brought joy to households across the land. The man responsible for the worst singular act of violence on U.S. soil had been killed. He was as dead as dead gets. We cheered.

Sadly, though, bin Laden’s death did not signal the end of international terrorism. The fight has gone on past. It was being fought full throttle when Obama took over from George W. Bush. It was still being fought when Donald Trump took over from Barack Obama.

I don’t know when we can declare victory, or even if we’ll ever able to make such a declaration.

Our dedicated anti-terror network, though, did score a huge single victory when it sniffed out bin Laden, laid the groundwork for this most perilous mission and then waited as the skilled U.S. warriors carried out the order to kill this terrorist monster.

It’s worth noting here today. I only hope for many more such victories as the fight goes on.

This isn’t how you MAGA, Mr. POTUS

Well, Mr. President, you’ve crossed a fascinating threshold so early during your time in the only public office you’ve ever sought.

The Washington Post tally of lies/misstatements/fibs/prevarications has just crossed the 10,000 mark. Are congratulations in order, Mr. President? If so, then I offer them to you.

Your lying — and I’ll stick with that description for the purposes of this blog — has transcended anything many of us can remember.

I’m old enough to recall how presidents have hidden the truth from us. They do so because of because of perceived national security issues that could put the nation in peril if they were to reveal the “whole truth.”

The Vietnam War, the Cold War, specific crises (such as 9/11) all have produced incidences of presidents keeping certain information from the public.

Not you, Mr. President. You lie at every opportunity. You lie when you don’t need to lie. You’re penchant for making things up simply is mind-blogging/blowing in the extreme.

I have to wonder how you live with yourself. Oh, never mind. I know the answer to that. Your entire life prior to becoming a politician was predicated on self-enrichment. So, I gather that to further your own self you feel as though you had to lie to make yourself look better than you are . . . which I have determined isn’t all that difficult a chore.

Why, you even lied about the size of one of those buildings that has your name on it, inflating it by 10 stories.

You make these outrageous claims of being the “most” this or that, or the “best” at whatever you endeavor to do. One cannot categorize those as lies, per se.

However, you are really and truly good at lying.

Well done, Mr. President.

I just want to note that lying your way through life is not going to “make America great again.” Really. That, sir, is the truth.

Waiting for the right candidate to challenge Trump

I do not yet have a favorite candidate I want to challenge Donald John Trump in the next presidential election. I am waiting for that candidate to present himself or herself.

I do know this: The president’s unfitness for the office he occupies is becoming more obvious damn near each day he sits behind that big desk in the Oval Office.

This latest gambit of considering whether to set illegal immigrants loose on the streets of “sanctuary cities” to punish congressional Democrats who oppose him on his desire to build The Wall along our southern border is just the latest example.

Donald Trump lies when he doesn’t need to lie. I watch clip after clip of his lying throughout the 2016 presidential campaign and I simply am aghast. I am appalled that he eked out an Electoral College win to become president. I am astonished that his lying didn’t disqualify him at one of countless points along the campaign trail. He lied about seeing and hearing “thousands of Muslims” cheering the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11; he lied about “helping” clear the rubble from Ground Zero after that tragic event; he lied about how he built his company from scratch.

This is the most untrustworthy man ever to hold the office of president.

His personal insults demean the office. He mocks individuals with physical disabilities. He insults individuals’ physical appearance.

Donald Trump foments hate against Muslims, against Latinos, against those seek to enter this country from “sh**hole countries.”

He denigrates others’ contributions to our national life. He infamously disparaged the heroic service during the Vietnam War of the late Sen. John McCain.

This won’t surprise anyone who reads this blog regularly, but my mind was made up about one aspect of the 2020 election the moment it became clear to all of us that Donald Trump would win the 2016 election. There could be no way in this entire galaxy I could support this individual’s re-election.

My task now is to await to see who arises from the thundering horde/herd of candidates seeking to get the nation’s attention.

My statement that my preference would be for someone to arise from the middle — or perhaps the back — of the crowd to establish himself or herself as a frontrunner. I just do not yet know who will step forward.

I want my 2020 presidential vote to be for someone who presents a positive vision for the future of this country. I want it to be in favor of someone who can correct the hideous course on which the Liar in Chief has taken us.

I truly would hate casting my vote only as a statement against the presidency of Donald Trump. I do not want to hold my schnoz while casting my ballot.

However, I am able to do so . . . if that’s what it takes.

‘No president has worked harder’

This isn’t a huge leap, so I feel comfortable in presuming that Donald Trump is angry over the revelations about all that “executive time” he takes in the White House.

That has to explain the Twitter messages he fired off declaring how “no president has worked harder than me” at making America great again and all the myriad tasks associated with being president of the United States.

He bellowed something about the “mess” he inherited in January 2017. How he has restored the military, repaired the Veterans Administration, dealt with “endless wars,” stopped the North Korean nuclear threat . . . and on and on.

No president has worked harder than this guy?

Hmm. Let’s see about that.

I wonder if his work ethic exceeds that of, say, Abraham Lincoln, who served while the country was killing itself during the Civil War; or when Franklin Roosevelt was trying to win World War II after the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; or when John F. Kennedy had to face down the Soviet Union’s missile threat in Cuba; or when George W. Bush had to respond to the 9/11 terror attacks.

Donald Trump would have us believe he has worked “harder” than those previous presidents? And what about the results of all those issues Trump has tackled? North Korea is still developing nukes; we’re still at war in Afghanistan and Iraq; the VA work remains undone; the military was just as strong when Trump took office as it is now.

It is typical Trumpian hyperbole, exaggeration and — dare I say it — outright lying.

Twitter use? Sure, why not? ‘Fake News’ epithet? Unacceptable

I have learned to accept that Donald Trump is going to use Twitter to express himself whenever he wants. I don’t like it, but that’s his way of communicating, so I’ll let that aspect ride.

What I cannot let stand is his continual use of the term “fake news” to describe media with which he disagrees.

He said this regarding the Davos economic summit, which he decided to skip  because of the partial government shutdown:

Last time I went to Davos, the Fake News said I should not go there. This year, because of the Shutdown, I decided not to go, and the Fake News said I should be there. The fact is that the people understand the media better than the media understands them!

C’mon, Mr. President! Knock off the “fake news” epithet.

He throws that term out whenever he describes media outlets that report news he finds objectionable, which is another way of saying he dislikes media that report the news accurately.

Moreover, the president of the United States is the uncrowned king of fake news. He foments lies continually. He has continued to speak untruths about current events, about his political foes, about the media. He promotes “fakes news” whenever he opens his trap and says things such as:

Barack Obama was ineligible to run for president because he wasn’t a U.S. citizen; he witnessed thousands of Muslims cheering the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11; millions of illegal immigrants voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016; the “caravan” of refugees fleeing Central America contained many “Middle Eastern” terrorists intent on killing Americans.

That’s just a sample of what I am talking about. The president is the master of “fake news.” For him to accuse the media of promoting “fake news” is just, well, another example of Donald Trump’s penchant for prevarication.

Bush Library and Museum: worth your time

I finally made my way to the Highland Park neighborhood of Dallas to see the nation’s latest presidential library and museum, the one carrying the name of George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States.

It’s a beauty. I want to share a couple of takeaways from it with you.

The 9/11 exhibit is stunning and so help me it doesn’t make it any easier to listen to the audio or watch the video of that horrendous day.

I want to call attention to a particular aspect of it. There’s a wall with thousands of names on it, reminiscent of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, which has the names of 58,000-plus fallen servicemen and women inscribed on that long black granite wall.

The George W. Bush Library and Museum has an exhibit with the names of the passengers who died aboard those four jetliners hijacked by the terrorists on 9/11. Two of them flew into the World Trade Center; one into the Pentagon; the fourth one into that field in Shanksville, Pa. It also has the names of the victims who died in the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

One name jumped out at me: Todd Beamer. It was an amazing moment. I noticed Beamer’s name immediately upon approaching the wall. He, of course, was the passenger aboard United Flight 93 who famously declared “Let’s roll” while leading the passengers in their valiant effort to wrestle control from the hijackers of the jetliner that plunged into the Shanksville pasture.

Just as the names in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial remind us of the loved ones left behind, so do the names inscribed inside the Bush Library and Museum.

It is powerful, indeed.

The second takeaway, related to 9/11, is the realization that watching the videos and listening to the reporting and the statements from the president so many years later don’t make it easier. Indeed, I get more emotional as the years tick away. It gets harder to relive that terrible day.

The events of Sept. 11, 2001 defined the George W. Bush presidency. It thrust the still-new president into a wartime posture. It continued through the Barack Obama administration and is doing so now during the Donald Trump administration.

I am glad to have visited this marvelous exhibit. It contains much more, to be sure. It talks about the president’s HIV/AIDS initiative, his effort to reform education, the first lady’s desire to improve literacy among our children. It papers over, not surprisingly, the financial collapse at the end of the Bush presidency.

But . . . those names on the wall. Goodness gracious.

Have we gotten rid of ISIS permanently?

“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.”

So said Donald J. Trump this morning via Twitter as he signaled a planned withdrawal of about 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria.

I am dubious of this declaration of victory. My concern is as it has been throughout the war on terror, which commenced after 9/11. It is that a declaration of victory is a tenuous proposition at best.

The Islamic State is not — as President Obama infamously described it — the “junior varsity” of terror organizations. ISIS is the real thing. They are monstrous murderers who have, along with al-Qaida, perverted a great world religion and used it to justify their horrendous attacks on fellow Muslims, let alone against Christians and Jews.

To suggest that we can declare categorical victory in the fight against ISIS is risky in the extreme.

How will we respond if ISIS launches another hideous attack in Syria after we have left? Do we send the troops back in?

The president has gotten some push back from congressional allies, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who called a U.S. withdrawal from Syria “a big win for ISIS.” He said pulling out prematurely would be an “Obama-like mistake.”

This war against terror cannot possibly be concluded the way “conventional wars” have ended, with someone on one side surrendering and then signing documents signaling the end of a conflict.

I don’t yet know how you determine whether you’ve eradicated the last known terrorist from any battlefield. I just fear we haven’t accomplished that mission in Syria, or anywhere else.

Give thanks to Saudis? I don’t think so

The president of the United States says Americans should “give thanks” to Saudi Arabia for the relatively low cost of gasoline.

I don’t think I’ll do that.

I will give thanks instead to a domestic energy policy that has enabled the United States to achieve energy independence. I’ll give thanks to a president, Barack Obama, who had the foresight to insist on an energy policy that sought to develop alternative sources of energy.

I’ll also give thanks to automakers for developing more fuel-efficient motor vehicles. My wife and I own one, a Toyota Prius, that we gas up about every, oh, three or four weeks.

No, I don’t believe the Saudis are our friends. They are murderers. The president likes to foment fear of terrorists coming to this country from Latin America. Hell, the Saudis are the breeding ground for terrorist monsters; 15 of the 19 hijackers who flew those commercial jets into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon on 9/11 hailed from Saudi Arabia.

Am I going to give thanks to Saudi Arabia for anything? Cheap gasoline? Energy independence? For their alliance with us against Iran and other hardline states in the Middle East?

Hah! Hardly.