Tag Archives: al-Qaeda

No war against Islam, but against religious perverts

Barack H. Obama made a critical point the night in May 2011 when he told the world that U.S. special forces had killed Osama bin Laden in a daring raid in Pakistan.

The president reminded us that “we are not at war against Islam. Osama bin Laden was not a Muslim leader. He was a mass murderer of Muslims.”

The al-Qaeda leader is long dead. His legacy continues to spread mayhem, murder and misery. More than 200 Muslim worshipers died today when terrorists detonated a bomb in a Cairo, Egypt mosque. The killers appear to be affiliated with the Islamic State, the monstrous outfit that has supplanted al-Qaeda as this country’s No. 1 international enemy.

And that brings me to my essential point. It is that we are at war with religious perverts, not mainstream Muslims. President Bush made that point abundantly clear just days after 9/11; President Obama echoed his predecessor’s assessment during his two terms in office.

Are we hearing such rhetoric from Donald J. Trump? Well, the president did fire off a tweet today condemning the “extremist ideology that forms the basis for their existence,” referring to the ISIS offshoot that is taking responsibility for this latest barbaric act.

I want the president to state categorically that our struggle is not against Muslims or the faith they worship. It is against the monstrous perverts who kill indiscriminately.

Another date to mark a war with no end in sight

I refuse to call Sept. 11 an “anniversary.” I reserve that term to commemorate weddings and other happy beginnings.

9/11 is none of that. It’s coming up Monday. Sixteen years ago terrorists commandeered four jetliners; they flew two of them into the World Trade Center’s twin towers; one flew into the Pentagon; one crashed in a Pennsylvania field after a titanic struggle between passengers and terrorists.

Roughly 3,000 people died on that terrible day.

Not long after that, President Bush sent young Americans to war against the terrorists. The Taliban government in Afghanistan, which had given shelter for the monsters, fell to our forces. The war raged on and on and on.

In March 2003 the war spread to Iraq. We toppled a dictator, who later was captured, tried and hanged. We were told we went into Iraq looking for weapons of mass destruction. We didn’t find any.

What the 9/11 date will remind me on Monday is that we very well may never — at least not in my lifetime — be able to end this war against international terrorism.

President Bush handed the struggle off to Barack Obama in 2009. The fight went on.

In May 2011, President Obama announced “to the nation and the world” that U.S. special forces had killed Osama bin Laden, the 9/11 mastermind. We cheered the news. Crowds gathered outside the White House chanting “USA! USA! USA!” We got the main bad guy.

What happened after that? The war went on.

The Islamic State surfaced during this time. ISIS has continued to bring havoc and horror. There have been beheadings and bombings.

The war rages on, despite the arrest of and deaths of several key ISIS and al-Qaeda leaders.

Our enemy is cunning. He is smart. He knows how to hit “soft targets.” His victims primarily are other Muslims, which puts the lie to the notion that we are “at war with Islam.” As President Obama said while announcing bin Laden’s death, our enemy comprises a cabal of murderers who have declared war on Muslims as well as they have on Christians and Jews.

This year, President Obama handed it off to Donald Trump. The new president campaigned foolishly on the pledge to wipe out ISIS and al-Qaeda. He boasted that he knows “more than the generals about ISIS.” He doesn’t.

No matter the level of presidential boastfulness, the fight will rage on. We’ll keep killing terrorist leaders. Others will slither out and take the place of those we eliminate.

How do we prevent more “soft target” incidents? How do we prevent the so-called “lone wolf” from driving a motor vehicle into crowds? Or how do we stop those from igniting bombs at sporting events or other places where large crowds of victims gather?

9/11 is no anniversary. It’s not a date to celebrate. It’s a date that should serve to remind us of the threat that has lurked among us for far longer than we ever imagined.

And it lurks to this very day.

The war will rage on.

Trump throws down on Pakistan

There’s quite a bit to parse about Donald Trump speech tonight about a change of strategy in our nation’s ongoing war in Afghanistan and its military policies regarding South Asia.

Let’s look briefly at Pakistan

The president has declared that Pakistan has to step up and become a significant U.S. ally in the fight against the Taliban, ISIS and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

I actually agree with the president’s view on Pakistan, a nation I never have trusted fully to be a valuable partner in that struggle. You’ll recall that in May 2011 our SEAL and CIA commandos killed Osama bin Laden in a compound where he lived for years inside of Pakistan. No one has yet produced evidence that the Pakistanis were totally ignorant of bin Laden’s presence inside their country.

So, yes, the Pakistanis have to demonstrate their commitment to fighting the terrorists in Afghanistan.

Then the president reached across Pakistan and tapped its arch-rival India to play a larger role in this effort. Can there be a more stinging slap in the Pakistanis’ face than that?

The strategy change as delivered tonight lacks detail. Trump’s decision to wage war until circumstances dictate a possible end creates the potential for an open-ended conflict. Are we ready for that?

He also laid down a marker at the feet of the Afghan government. Trump wants to see “real results” in an effort to end corruption. He wants to see the Afghans demonstrate a military capability that prevents the Taliban from return to power.

The president talked for quite a long time before running for office that the Afghan War was a foolish contest. Then he took his seat behind the Oval Office desk, he said tonight, and saw things differently. I’m glad he recognized how perspectives change when you obtain power.

Something is gnawing at my gut that we’ve just heard the president of the United States commit this country to continuing fighting a war that still seems to lack a strategy for winning.

U.S. forces won far more battles in Vietnam than they lost. Conventional wisdom held that we should have actually won that war. We didn’t. The Vietnamese outlasted us. We left and the enemy we “defeated” on the battlefield took control of the government we sought to protect and preserve.

Is there a similar outcome awaiting us in Afghanistan?

Where’s the battle plan, Mr. President?

“I know more about ISIS than the generals. Believe me.”

— Donald Trump, while campaigning for president in 2016

This is one of my favorite moments from the 2016 presidential campaign. Donald J. Trump sought to persuade his (now-shrinking) legions of fans that he was the man with the plan to fight the bad guys.

He won the election. Trump took command of our armed forces. The fight against ISIS, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Boko Haram and other terror groups goes on.

Now, though, the president of the United States is angry. Those generals who have been engaged in this fight against terrorists haven’t defeated them yet. Our vaunted military hasn’t yet killed every single terrorist and brought those villainous organizations to their knees.

Trump’s reliance on “the generals” is a ruse, isn’t it? Doesn’t the commander in chief know more about how to fight ISIS and, I presume, other terrorists than they do? Were that the case, then where in the world is the presidential battle plan? Why doesn’t he reveal to the Pentagon brass how they should implement his strategy?

Reports have bubbled out of the White House that the president is dissatisfied with the progress of the Afghan War, which the United States has been fighting since 2001 in response to the 9/11 terror attack in the United States.

The president ought to consider settling down just a bit.

He has a fine man leading the Defense Department, retired Marine Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis. The new White House chief of staff is another retired Marine general, John Kelly. Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, is an active duty Army lieutenant general. He has two four-stars and a three-star general as critical parts of his national security team. They’re all brilliant military men.

They also are fighting a profoundly unconventional enemy. These terror groups took the fight to us on 9/11 and we have responded with precision, professionalism and cold calculation. Our nation’s counter-terrorism team tracked down Osama bin Laden and a SEAL/CIA team took him out, killed him dead.

Donald Trump clearly doesn’t “know more about ISIS” than the military professionals who provide him with advice and military counsel.

And, no, Mr. President, the United States is not “losing” the Afghan War. Everyone in America knew this would be a long slog when we went to war in Afghanistan.

If only the president simply would pay attention.

No, Mr. President; Obama did react to Russian hacking

Donald J. Trump keeps harping on a canard, which is that Barack Obama “did nothing” when he learned in the summer of 2016 about Russian efforts to hack into our electoral process.

Wrong, Mr. President.

Trump keeps dodging the question about whether he believes the Russians sought to influence the 2016 presidential election. Today, he once again gave the Russians some political cover by saying that “other countries” are hacking us, too.

My point here, though, is that President Obama did react to reports of Russian hacking.

He imposed economic sanctions against individuals; he tossed Russian diplomats out of the United States; he closed two Russian diplomatic compounds — all of this in reaction to reports of Russian hacking.

Trump is having none of it. He wants to divert attention from the questions and suspicion that continues to swirl around him regarding the Russians and whatever — if any — relationship they had with the Trump presidential campaign.

I get that presidents have blamed their immediate predecessors for real and imagined problems. Obama laid a lot of blame at the feet of his predecessor, George W. Bush — although he did give the Bush administration plenty of credit for the work it had done in helping locate Osama bin Laden prior to the May 2011 commando raid that killed the al-Qaeda leader.

Is there ever going to be a moment when the current president would offer a good word to his immediate predecessor? Don’t hold your breath. I won’t.

As for Trump’s insistence that Obama did “nothing” to respond to Russian hackers, that’s just another lie.

How would Trump react if he had ordered bin Laden hit?

I have watched a fascinating interview with Donald J. Trump. CNN broadcast it before Trump became president.

Wolf Blitzer asked Trump to identify something positive about Barack Obama’s presidency. Trump said it was “very hard” to find one to say positive about the 44th president of the United States.

Blitzer then blurted out that he “got (Osama) bin Laden.” Trump responded that Obama was taking “too much credit” for authorizing the commando raid that killed the al-Qaeda leader in May 2011.

Here’s the video:

Trump offered a seriously stupid response.

I am struck by this notion: How do you think Donald John Trump would have responded publicly had he been the commander in chief and had he ordered the raid that killed bin Laden?

Something tells me he might have declared that he flew one of the helicopters into bin Laden’s compound himself, rushed the building where the terrorist was holed up and put a bullet into him.

Just sayin’, man. Just sayin’.

That’s some good shootin’, eh?

There might be no greater example of the difference in battlefield strategy between our side and the Islamic State than a story I’ve just read.

A Canadian special forces soldier fired a high-powered rifle shot at an ISIS fighter and killed him — from a distance of two miles! The kill shot reportedly set some form of record for long-distance sniper fire.

The 3,450-meter shot took 10 seconds to hit its target after being fired from the weapon. The soldier was perched atop a high-rise structure when the incident occurred over the past 30 days.

Wow, man!

I love this quote from a Task Force 2 spokesman: “Instead of dropping a bomb that could potentially kill civilians in the area, it is a very precise application of force and because it was so far way, the bad guys didn’t have a clue what was happening.”

Therein lies the difference between the good guys and the bad guys. ISIS, al-Qaeda, Taliban and other terrorist organizations target civilians. They intend to inflict mass casualties on so-called “soft targets.” The approach taken by U.S. and allied forces in return is to seek to minimize such collateral damage.

In the case of this Canadian sniper, well, he did his job with extreme precision — not to mention extreme prejudice.

Read the USA Today story here.

According to the newspaper: “Canada has a world-class sniper system,” the source told the paper. “It is not just a sniper. They work in pairs. … This is a skill set that only a very few people have.”
They also have to account for wind speed and the increasing downward motion of the bullet as it loses speed over such a long distance.

Count me as one who is glad to know these guys are on our side in this fight.

Hoping ISIS leader is a goner … finally!

The Russian government usually isn’t to be trusted to tell the truth about anything.

The country’s foreign ministry, though, has put out a tantalizing morsel: Russian air strikes might this past month have killed the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Before we get all a-flutter over this possibility, it’s good to ponder some elements that ought to keep us grounded.

Is the terrorist really dead?

Al-Baghdadi’s death would not mean the end of ISIS. It opens the door for another madman to step forward to take his place.

You might recall that when U.S. special forces killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011, there was dancing in front of the White House and chants of “USA! USA! USA!” Sure, we got the 9/11 mastermind, but the fight against al-Qaeda goes on.

There also have been earlier claims of al-Baghdadi’s death. The Russians have been hitting ISIS targets in Syria with air strikes and ground-based artillery. Are the Russians to be believed now? Do we hold out hope that they actually got this monstrous madman? Furthermore, are the Russians to be believed?

I guess I could remind all of us that terrorism doesn’t exist within the ranks of international organizations. “Lone wolf” terrorists lurk among us. They skulk out from under rocks. Latest example? The guy who shot the Republican lawmakers practicing for a charity baseball game, wounding several people, including the House GOP whip, Steve Scalise.

I am going to hope the Russian claim that they might have killed al-Baghdadi. I am going to retain the realism of the fight in which we are engaged against terror. The fight likely never will end.

Another prime al-Qaeda target emerges

Welcome to the world of most wanted public enemies, young man.

I refer to the son of Osama bin Laden, a fellow named Hamza bin Laden, a 28-year-old terrorist with visions of walking along his late father’s blood-soaked trail.

The young bin Laden has declared that he wants to rekindle al-Qaeda as a terrorist force, a force for evil.

OK, then. Here’s a thought for Donald Trump’s national security team.

You’ve got a professed killer on the loose with the stated aim of juicing up a bloodthirsty terrorist organization. That means he has declared himself to be an enemy of the United States of America.
What does this mean? It means the young man is fair game. He’s a target for our special ops forces, our CIA spooks and those who might be close to him who could help guide our personnel toward a hit in the manner of the mission that took out Osama bin Laden in May 2011.

The president has a first-rate national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, on the job. His homeland security secretary, John Kelly, also is a competent former Marine general. They have the best military apparatus ever assembled at their disposal; indeed, former Marine Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis has emerged as a serious-minded secretary of defense. They also have the best intelligence-gatherers available to them as well — no matter what the president might think of them.

Let’s get busy and find this guy.

I think they ought to commence — if they haven’t already — a “search and destroy” mission to rid the world of Osama bin Laden’s son.

Good hunting. We’ll await your report.

Is this an anti-Muslim rule … or not?

Donald J. Trump swears up and down, left and right — puts his hand on a stack of Bibles and says “Scout’s honor” for all I know — that his ban against refugees is not an “anti-Muslim” initiative.

The president, though, has delivered to our enemies a prime-time, gold-and-silver-plated recruitment tool.

He calls our enemies “radical Islamic terrorists.” Yes, they are.

They also are experts at distorting people’s intentions, even their very words, twisting them into propaganda fodder.

What the president has done is create a climate for terrorists such as the Islamic State and al-Qaeda to target American Muslims to join their fight against the “infidels.” He also has delivered to a much wider audience the very message that his two immediate predecessors — Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Barack H. Obama — fought like hell to avoid delivering. Presidents Bush and Obama said clearly: We are not at war with Islam! The enemies are the monstrous murderers who have perverted a great religion.

Now we have the potential for the precise opposite message being delivered to those who might be inclined to join a radical militant movement, to take up arms and to join the fight against the rest of the civilized world.

The president of the United States is expected to speak with absolute clarity and precision. When we’re dealing with the complexities of the current world geopolitical climate, any misstep or clumsy language can produce dire consequences.

The president’s refugee ban has roiled members of the president’s own party, created a firestorm within the legal community over its very constitutionality, and it has possibly enraged Muslims around the world — and in the United States — to the point of causing grievous harm.