Tag Archives: 9/11

The warrior responds to POTUS

Back and forth they go.

The president and the decorated Navy SEAL are at each other’s throats. I’m pulling for the SEAL.

Donald Trump — as is his tendency — fired off a totally inappropriate tweet challenging whether the head of the U.S. Special Operations Command could have taken out Osama bin Laden “sooner” than he did.

That commander is retired Admiral William McRaven, on whose watch U.S. commandos killed the 9/11 mastermind in a firefight in Pakistan.

McRaven had the temerity to declare that Trump’s attack on the media presents the “greatest threat” to the nation. Trump responded with that hideous Twitter taunt about the bin Laden raid.

McRaven has answered the president. He stands by his comment about Trump’s attack on the media. Trump also had accused McRaven of “backing” Hillary Clinton. McRaven said “no.” He isn’t a fan of the former Democratic presidential candidate. He also said he backs all presidents, because he respects the office. McRaven also notes in his response that he served under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama while leading the Special Operations Command.

He told Trump, “When you undermine the people’s right to a free press and freedom of speech and expression, then you threaten the Constitution and all for which it stands.”

If only the president understood the damage he does with his reckless and feckless rhetoric.

‘When I can, I tell the truth’

Wow! I’m just now catching my breath.

The quote in the headline comes from the liar in chief, the president of the United States, Donald John Trump Sr.

He said it to ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl, who scored an interview with the president after a campaign rally this week.

Karl asked the president about the veracity of his statements. He said, “Well, I try. I do try. I always want to tell the truth.” Man, that is astonishing in the extreme.

When someone says they “try” to do something, I have found it is code for admitting they fail to do something. “I am trying to lose weight.” “I am trying to quit smoking.” My favorite is when you invite someone to an event and they respond, “I’ll try,” which always means “I can’t make it.”

I understand full well that presidents on occasion have to shade the truth for, say, national security purposes. They cannot reveal all that they know for obvious reasons. Trump’s lying is vastly different from that type of fibbing.

Donald Trump’s “trying” to tell the truth doesn’t account for the gratuitous nature of his lies. He said he tells the truth “when I can.” Baloney! That doesn’t explain the countless whoppers he has told: witnessing “thousands of Muslims” cheering the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11; the United States is “the only country” that grants birthright citizenship; he has “proof” that Barack Obama was born abroad and was unqualified to run for president.

Hey, I’ve only peeled the top layer off the thousands of lies Donald Trump has told.

More lies than we can count

The Washington Post Fact Checker has detected more than 5,000 lies in the 600 or so days since Trump became president. It adds that the pace is quickening.

Just as George Washington reportedly said “I cannot tell a lie,” Donald Trump cannot tell the truth.

That is no lie.

We have presidents … and we have Trump

I have been listening to comparisons between Donald Trump and his three immediate predecessors, namely their reaction to extreme acts of violence.

The preceding presidents knew how to rally a nation, to speak to our better angels, to show strength and resolve in the face of tragedy.

President Clinton dealt with the Oklahoma City bombing in April 1995. He urged us to ignore the angry voices that prompted Timothy McVeigh to blow up the Murrah Federal Building, killing 167 people, including many children.

President Bush stood on the rubble at Ground Zero immediately after 9/11. He took a bullhorn, threw his arm around a New York City firefighter and told the nation that the terrorists “who knocked down these buildings will hear all of us soon.”

President Obama wiped away tears as he spoke of the slaughter of 20 first- and second-graders and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Now we have Donald Trump. Someone or some group is sending pipe bombs to Democratic politicians, a donor, a former AG, a cable news outlet and an legendary film actor/political activist. Does the president demonstrate any sense of fear or compassion for the recipients of these packages?

Oh, no! He blames Democrats for fomenting the anger, along with the “mainstream media,” which he says is guilty of sending out “fake news.”

Then he pokes fun at calls to be more “civil” in leading the public political discourse.

The current president simply doesn’t measure up to the three men who preceded him in performing this fundamental duty of his high office: unifying and healing a nation in distress.

‘Middle Easterners’ in the caravan mix?

Donald J. “Fearmonger in Chief” Trump is at it again.

He said the “caravan” of refugees heading for our nation’s southern border contains “criminals” and “unknown Middle Easterners.” Does the president have any evidence of it?

Of course not! He never produces evidence of anything when he makes these bellicose assertions. It makes his crowds cheer. It fires him up. He speaks the language that his “base” understands and to which it is drawn.

The unknown Middle East component, of course, harkens back to 9/11 and the view being promoted by those on the far right that the Middle East is populated by millions of Muslims who “hate America” and will do whatever they can to do harm to Americans.

So now, according to Trump, they’re slipping into the crowd of Latin American refugees and are heading toward our soft underbelly.

I wish I had an answer to what we should do when that “caravan” arrives along our Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California borders. I don’t.

I do not believe the president is helping quell the fear of many Americans by suggesting — without attribution — the notion that the refugees are full of criminals and “Middle Easterners.”

No. Donald Trump is stoking the fear. That’s what he does. It is how he rolls.

Waiting for some expression of horror from POTUS

Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist who lived in the United States and worked for the Washington Post, died a gruesome death in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

His captors began cutting him apart as he screamed for his life. They dismembered his body and took it … somewhere.

A U.S. journalist dies at the hands of murderers from a country ruled by a mega-rich family. And the president of the United States cannot find the words to declare his abject horror at what happened to this man?

Donald J. Trump continues to sidle up to authoritarians. We have Russia. There is North Korea. Or the Philippines. Trump cannot condemn these rulers for the hideous acts that occur under their rule? So it is now with Saudi Arabia, an ostensible ally of the United States of America.

Let’s remember, though, that 15 of the 19 terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 came from Saudi Arabia.

Sure, Trump has declared the “event” in the consulate to be “awful” and “unacceptable,” but then he buys into the Saudi government’s lame explanation that Khashoggi died in a fistfight with his captors.

Are we to believe that these monsters then dumped his body somewhere, anywhere after a fistfight?

How the U.S. president can accept this phony explanation is stupidly mind-numbing in the extreme.

Sickening.

Reporter died in a ‘fight’? Then gets disemembered?

A hideous event that resulted in the dismemberment and death of a journalist who lived in the United States has taken the strangest turn possible.

Saudi Arabia government officials have confirmed that Jamal Khashoggi is dead. He died in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. He reportedly was cut into pieces while he was still alive by Saudi agents.

But now the Saudi government says he died in a fight at the consulate. With whom? Why? Do we now believe that Khashoggi died because he got into a tussle?

What happened to his body?

Saudi officials say they have arrested 18 individuals. One of the suspects reportedly died in an automobile accident. The Saudis have fired five men linked to the tragic event in Istanbul.

It needs to be said that Saudi Arabia is an ostensible ally of the United States of America. The Saudis are about to make a major arms purchase from this country. Donald Trump hasn’t yet condemned the attack, other than to say “it’s a bad thing,” and other words to that effect.

Khashoggi wrote for The Washington Post. He lived in Virginia and had been a U.S. resident for many years. His gruesome murder has shocked and repelled many Americans.

As for the Saudi relationship with this country, it needs also to be said that of the 19 terrorists who attacked this country on 9/11, 15 of them were Saudis. Yet the Saudi government said at the time that the attack was the work of Israeli intelligence agents, that it was an inside job meant to implicate Arab nations. What horse manure!

The president of the United States needs to turn the heat up full blast under the backsides of the Saudi royal family, which also has been implicated in this matter. He should do so on behalf of a journalist and his grief-stricken family.

I don’t believe for an instant the Saudi “explanation” that Jamal Khashoggi died in a fight.

Hey, Mr. POTUS, what about the rest of the country?

It has become an established fact that Donald John Trump Sr. loves talking exclusively to those who support him no matter what.

He speaks their language; they adhere to his message.

The latest so-called “dog whistle” was blasted out today when the president fired off a Twitter message in which — and this is really rich — he actually denied that nearly 3,000 Americans died from the wrath brought to Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria.

He blames the death toll on Democrats who are intent on making him look bad. That’s it! The Puerto Rico territorial government’s death toll, revised way upward from a formerly official count of 64 fatalities, is a plot, a conspiracy.

He made this astonishing, idiotic and utterly baseless claim as Hurricane Florence bears down on the Carolina coast, threatening to bring even more havoc to the Eastern Seaboard.

Let’s talk, briefly, about his Puerto Rico remarks.

It’s easy to say that the president doesn’t know what he’s talking about. However, he knows precisely what he’s saying. He is speaking to his “base,” the 35 or so percent of voting-age Americans who are behind him to the very end. The base doesn’t care about the truth. It doesn’t care about reality. It cares only that Trump stands up to the so-called “mainstream media,” those who oppose him.

Trump himself declared during the 2016 campaign that he could “shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any votes.” Americans were aghast in the moment when Trump said it. That boast doesn’t seem quite so ridiculous now.

So he continues to talk to the base. He continues to make assertions without a scintilla of evidence to back them up. Democrats are to blame for the deaths of all those U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico? Millions of illegal immigrants voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016? He watched “thousands of Muslims” cheering the fall of the Twin Towers on 9/11? Barack Hussein Obama was born in Kenya and was ineligible to run for president?

That’s what I call “fake news.”

Fist pumps? Really, to commemorate 9/11 tragedy?

I’ve noted this before, but it came back in a big way this week as Donald J. Trump sought to commemorate the worst attack on U.S. soil in our nation’s history.

The president and first lady Melania Trump flew to Shanksville, Pa., to honor the memory of the airline passengers who battled the terrorists who hijacked the jetliners and flew them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. United Flight 93 passengers fought the terrorists and crashed the plane in a field, saving possibly hundreds more lives.

It’s a tragic event. It is worthy of somber, quiet and dignified commemoration. The president’s arrival? It featured fist pumps and outward behavior that reminded observers of a political rally.

Hmm. I don’t quite know how to react to all of that.

Fist pumps at this event?

It’s been commented on since he became president that Donald Trump seems to lack the gene that compels presidents to serve as pastor in chief, comforter in chief. Trump doesn’t have it. He doesn’t rise to the occasion. His first and final instinct is to treat these kinds of events as political rallies.

Yes, he spoke seriously and somberly about the heroism exhibited on 9/11 aboard United Flight 93.

However, that was a moment in time. The event should have been treated the way one would expect a president to treat it: with solemnity and sadness.

It just makes me wonder whether this man, the president, is capable of comforting a nation in mourning.

Remembering 9/11 … with false praise

Donald J. Trump chose to remember 9/11 in a most curious — and shameful — manner.

Yes, he went to Shanksville, Pa., and delivered some moving remarks paying tribute to the passengers who fought the hijackers intent on crashing United 93 into the U.S. Capitol.

Then he returned to the Oval Office and boasted about how “great” the government performed a year ago when Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. The response, he said, was the best in history.

Oh, but wait! The death toll in Puerto Rico has been, um, adjusted. Instead of 64 deaths, we now know that 2,975 Americans died from the wrath of the storm that ravaged the island territory.

It took a year to restore power. Food and water was painfully slow to arrive.

So, on the day supposedly dedicated to remembering the heroes and victims of 9/11, the president decided to lie — yet again — about the government’s response to a human tragedy in Puerto Rico.

Donald Trump’s penchant for self-aggrandizement continues to amaze many Americans. Sure, he has those who support him. They’ll cheer him on. Not me.

The president’s inability to set aside the false narrative about the government’s response to a tragic event demonstrates yet again the president’s ignorance about the complex nation he was elected to govern.

Recalling profound tragedy’s impact on us all

9/11 is seared into our memory. Most of us likely recall where we were when we heard the news.

I was at work the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 at the Amarillo (Texas) Globe-News. A colleague came to work, stuck his head in my office and asked, “Did you hear the news? Someone flew an airplane into the World Trade Center?”

My first reaction? “What’s the weather like?” My colleague said it was clear and sunny in New York. “What kind of idiot would fly into a skyscraper?” I asked, rhetorically.

I turned on the TV. I watched the coverage of the burning WTC tower. Then the second plane plowed into the neighboring tower.

That … changed everything.

The entire nation knew at that moment we were under attack.

All of this occurred, of course, before the media were declared to be the “enemy of the people.” We all did what we do. We started gathering information, making phone calls to local sources to try to chronicle the events and their impact on our communities. We did that in Amarillo.

I won’t equate our efforts with those who ran into the burning buildings, but our attempt to keep our community informed of the events of the day were critical (a) to those who consume the news and (b) to those who seek to explain it.

I was proud to help provide some commentary, context and wishes of solidarity to the nation that was under siege from forces we hadn’t yet identified fully in the moment.

It was one of those days one never forgets.