Tag Archives: al-Qaida

9/11 still seared into our memory

Many millions of Americans are recalling a terrible day that dawned 18 years ago today. It didn’t start out that way, but it got dark in a major hurry.

They’re remembering where they were when they heard the news. Me? I was at work at the Amarillo Globe-News.

My colleague walked into the office and stuck his head in the door: “Did you hear the news. Someone flew an airplane into the World Trade Center.”

I asked two questions: How big was the airplane? How was the weather? I don’t recall my colleague knowing it was a jetliner. He did say the weather in New York City was beautiful.

“What kind of moron would fly into a building?” I asked with all the appropriate derision.

I turned on a small TV I had in my office. I watched one of the towers burning. Then — in real and horrifying time — the world watched the second jet liner crash into the other tower.

In that moment, we knew what we had: an act of war!

The Pentagon was hit by a third jetliner. Then we heard about the Shanksville, Pa., crash involving a fourth hijacked airplane.

We would go to war in Afghanistan. We would toss the Taliban out of power in that remote land and then launch the hunt for al-Qaida terrorist leaders who masterminded the hideous attack.

I will admit to being frightened in the moment. Anger? Absolutely!

I wanted the nation to fill with resolve to defeat the bastards who committed this horrific deed. Sadly, I fear our nation has lost some of its collective resolve. We’ve been torn asunder by a war that President Bush launched against Iraq, telling us that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had “something” to do with the terrorist attack … when he didn’t.

To be honest, I remain puzzled on how we “declare victory” in this war. Or if we can ever actually make that victory declaration.

However, the fight goes on. It must go on.

Another bin Laden is wiped out … hooray!

Hamza bin Laden, the son of Osama bin Laden and a reported “heir” to the terror group al-Qaida leadership is dead.

That’s according to U.S. officials who today declined to give any details on bin Laden’s death, or whether the United States played a role in the individual’s demise.

Donald Trump said simply “I don’t want to comment on that” when asked by reporters to comment. That’s OK, Mr. President. No need to speak out just yet.

Hamza bin Laden’s death, if true, marks another milestone in the nation’s ongoing war against terror groups that have declared their mission to be to bring harm to Americans and others around the world.

On May 1, 2011, when U.S. special forces killed Hamza bin Laden’s father in that spectacular raid in Pakistan, President Obama told the world that Osama bin Laden was not a “Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims.” His son, Hamza, was cut from the very same blood-stained cloth as his old man.

Now he’s dead. That’s my hope. I also hope that the United States military did kill him. May he rot in hell.

Another terror leader gets ‘justice’

There goes the need for another costly trial.

U.S. military officials have confirmed the death in an air strike of one of the terrorists who planned the attack on the USS Cole in 2000, killing several sailors.

Jamal al-Badawi was killed in a precision strike, according to the Central Command. Al-Badawi was an al-Qaida leader who coordinated the attack on the Cole. The strike that killed him occurred on New Year’s Day in Yemen.

What does this individual’s death mean in the overall war against international terror? Probably not as much as one would hope in the grand scheme. However, the hunt for these monsters goes on and on and on. As it must!

The federal government had indicted al-Badawi on murder charges. Our counter-intelligence officials had been searching for him ever since the attack that occurred in the final weeks of the Clinton administration.

Donald Trump issued a Twitter message saluting the “great military” operation that “delivered justice” to another radical Islamic murderer.

Let us applaud the efforts that have eliminated another terrorist monster from planet Earth. Let’s not relax in our effort to find the cowards.

As the great heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis used to say: “They can run but they can’t hide.”

And the fight goes on and on

You remember al-Qaida, yes? That was the terrorist cabal that hurled the United States into a global war on 9/11. It’s a new form of worldwide conflict.

In recent years our attention has been riveted on the Islamic State, which emerged as Public Enemy No. 1 in that ongoing war.

ISIS has produced its share of public figures who’ve taunted the rest of the world. Perhaps the most notable of them was a British national nicknamed “Jihadi John,” who beheaded prisoners. Jihadi John got his, though, in a missile strike that took him out in 2016.

Here is some more good news: The U.S. military, working with Libyan forces, has killed a key al-Qaida leader in another strike. Musa Abu Dawud was one of two key militant leaders to get blown to bits in a strike in Libya.

Now, before we start our end zone dance and high-five each other, I would like to remind us all of an irrefutable truth in this war: We will need to kill every single terrorist if we have any hope of ending this threat. In other words, although an al-Qaida leader has been smoked, another one — or more — is likely to emerge to replace him.

Donald Trump once told us knew knows “more about ISIS than the generals.” OK, but there must be continued pressure put on the original top enemy, al-Qaida. That organization has continued to wage terror campaigns even though its leader, Osama bin Laden, died in that U.S. commando raid in May 2011.

This is my way of reminding us about the nature of this war against terror. There likely is no way we can declare victory the way we did in World War II, when the world put down the forces of tyranny emanating from Berlin, Rome and Tokyo.

We aren’t fighting military forces that march under the banner of a nation or even a group of nations. We are fighting shady, cunning and creative terrorists who lurk in darkness before striking out.

The president vows to continue the fight, bringing the full weight of our immense military power to bear against terrorists, whether they represent ISIS, al-Qaida, Boko Haram or any sinister organization that seeks to do us harm.

May the fight go on … for as long as it takes.

Is this the year the U.S. gets hit?

ISIL%20fighters

Well before the sun set on Sept. 11, 2001, defense analysts and terror experts were almost unanimous in their assessment of our nation’s future.

If was not a matter of “if” we would be hit again, but “when.”

The head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, told the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, that he believes this is the year it will happen.

The Islamic State, he said, is going to continue to hit Europe and well might plan a coordinated attack on our shores.

When will it occur? The general didn’t say. He cannot know.

In reality, though, he didn’t provide a serious scoop on what’s been understood since the terror attacks of 9/11.

That attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was so daring, so audacious, so brilliantly executed that it prompted President Bush and his national security team to create an entirely new Cabinet agency assigned to protect us. The Department of Homeland Security has been on the job ever since.

Now, the question always has been: Will this country be able to protect itself forever against the next terror attack? There can be zero guarantee against another attack that could rival the horror that al-Qaida brought to our shores on the beautiful Tuesday morning in New York and Washington.

But then again, had we been fully alert to the dangers that always have lurked, perhaps we shouldn’t have been so totally shocked at what transpired that day.

The Bush administration — once it gathered itself after the horror of that day — managed to keep us safe for the remainder of its time in office. The Obama administration has kept up the fight and has continued to keep the terrorists at bay.

But Gen. Stewart’s prediction of another terror attack — this time by the Islamic State — shouldn’t be seen as a big-time news flash.

Al-Qaida managed to get our guard up. Our task always has been to ensure we stay on the highest alert possible.

The enemy, though, is as cunning as they come. Many of us will not be surprised when they strike again.

 

Time to end the Afghan War

President Barack Obama said it succinctly today: It is harder to end a war than to start one.

With that, the nation’s longest war now appears to be drawing to a close.

I’m glad about that.

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/05/obama-afghanistan-troops-stay-9800-stay-2014-west-point-107115.html?hp=l2

The president’s critics were quick — as they have been all along — to blast him for setting a well-chronicled timetable for withdrawal. The United States, Obama said, will leave 9,800 troops in Afghanistan in an “advisory” capacity by the end of this year; we’ll draw down to that level from the current level of 30,000-plus.

Our combat role will end. Afghans will be responsible for their own country’s security. Our war effort will be over.

The critics say the timetable gives the Taliban time to plan, strategize and hit back hard at the Afghan government that seeks to cement its control.

That’s an interesting view, to which I have a single-word response: Vietnam.

President Nixon did not set a timetable for the “Vietnamization” effort he began shortly after taking office in 1969. But by the time he left office in August 1974, our combat role had diminished to near zero. Fewer than nine months later, in April 1975, the North Vietnamese communists had mustered enough firepower to overrun South Vietnam.

My point is this: With our without a timetable, the other side is going to keep fighting. The task, then, is to prepare our allies in power to defend themselves adequately against an enemy that’s been degraded significantly over the course of the past dozen years.

As the president noted, al-Qaida isn’t extinct. Its leadership has been decimated, Osama bin Laden has been eliminated, its organization has been scattered. Is it still operational? To a large degree, yes. Our forces, though, continue to hunt down and kill bad guys when and where we find them. That effort will — and should — continue.

It’s time to end this war.

Pentagon strikes hard at al-Qaida

Something tells me the Pentagon brass is embarrassed enough to take some serious action against the world’s pre-eminent terrorist organization.

A video surfaced a few days ago in Yemen that showed a large crowd of al-Qaida thugs rallying in broad daylight; they were chanting, cheering and carrying on as if they didn’t have a care in the world.

You remember al-Qaida, yes? They’re the murderers responsible for the 9/11 attacks, not to mention countless other acts of bloody terrorism before and since that heinous act more than a dozen years ago.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/21/world/meast/yemen-drone-strike/index.html?hpt=hp_c2

Well, the video suggests that al-Qaida is growing yet again. The group is brazen enough to prance around in the open, apparently right under the noses of U.S. and Middle East intelligence-gatherers.

Over the weekend, drone strikes and special operations forces began a concerted effort to wipe out a number of these terrorist leaders. Pentagon officials called it a massive operation conducted in cooperation with Yemeni government operatives and commandos. News of the strikes was announced late Sunday and early Monday it was revealed that the strikes are continuing.

This is the nature of war these days. The war on terror that President Bush declared after the 9/11 attacks is continuing. My hunch is that it will continue for as long as terrorists lurk among us anywhere on the planet. Osama bin Laden is dead, but others have surfaced to take his place.

Al-Qaida got our attention in a serious way when its henchmen flew those jetliners into the New York skyscrapers and into the Pentagon. All that dancing and prancing just made us angry all over again.

Terror group won't die

Al-Qaida is “stronger than ever,” says the Republican chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee.

Interesting, eh?

The infamous terrorist group has been seen in a large gathering in Yemen, apparently getting past U.S. intelligence officials whose job is to ensure that these gatherings don’t occur.

Chairman Mike Rogers is alarmed, as he and all of us should be.

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/04/mike-rogers-al-qaeda-105722.html?hp=r4

It never has been assumed that al-Qaida would wither and die the moment those U.S. Navy SEALs gunned down 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May 2011. You kill one leader, and others would surface to succeed him. That’s been the thought all along.

The troubling part of this is that al-Qaida seemingly is strong enough to appear to be plotting major attacks against the United States. The video of the Yemen meeting shows terrorist group leaders meeting in the open in plain view. Others’ faces are blurred, but the meeting is large and is occurring right under the nose of U.S. drone aircraft supposedly on the hunt for these very types of terror group gatherings.

The fight will go on, regardless of whether our troops are fighting in Afghanistan; that military engagement is scheduled to conclude at the end of the year.

However, our “war on terror” must continue vigorously — and with vengeance and extreme prejudice.

Bin Laden is still dead, al-Qaida is growing

President Obama has sought to quell the thought that some had back in May 2011 that Osama bin Laden’s death would doom the terror organization he led.

Thus, it shouldn’t be a surprise that experts now say that al-Qaida likely is gaining strength in the Middle East and in North Africa.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/28/world/meast/al-qaeda-growing/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

Navy SEALs killed bin Laden in Pakistan. The president announced it to the world that evening. It brought cheers in this country and throughout the world and shouts of “USA! USA! USA!” by crowds that gathered in front of the White House. But the warning came out — from the White House and from other quarters — that the war on terror must continue.

It has.

Drone strikes have taken out dozens of al-Qaida leaders; others have been captured and are awaiting justice. The nation has maintained its aggressive stance against al-Qaida and other terror groups ever since the 9/11 attacks.

We well might have entered a war without end.

That doesn’t mean we don’t keep fighting. It does mean the nation perhaps has entered a period of what could be called some form of a “new normal.” It is that we cannot ever let our guard down for a moment against those who would harm us.

The new normal requires the nation to be on high alert. Always.

Al-Qaida threat prompts needed response

The standing down of U.S. embassies throughout the Middle East provides an example of a lesson learned from a tragic event.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/05/politics/us-embassies-close/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

I refer to Benghazi, which has become a sort of shorthand for the terrible Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in that Libyan city, which left four U.S. officials dead, including the nation’s ambassador to Libya. Benghazi also has become a prime target for right-wing conspiracy theorists who keep contending that the “scandal” is the result of gross negligence on the part of the Obama administration and the State Department.

I contend, however, that it was a tragedy brought on by the confusion of a fire fight that certainly was the result of some mistakes. Are senior administration officials to blame for purposely deceiving the public? I doubt that is the case.

But the standing down of embassy compounds shows that national security officials can learn from those mistakes and seek to prevent future tragedies.

Al-Qaida reportedly had been planning some kind of major attack on U.S. installations, which prompted the State Department, the CIA and the National Security Agency to order the closures of the embassies and the heightened alert of our military forces stationed near the trouble spots.

I, too, wish Benghazi never had happened and I wish we could bring those brave Americans back to life. What’s done is done and the nation mourns that tragedy. I am grateful, though, that our national security team can learn from — and act on — the mistakes it has made.