Tag Archives: ISIS

Trump’s recklessness roils the military high command

Donald J. “Corporal Bone Spurs” Trump once boasted that he knows “more than the generals about ISIS.” Actually, he doesn’t.

However, he is the commander in chief and I guess that gives him license to say things that are demonstrably false.

So, here we are. The commander in chief has overruled some senior military commanders regarding the status of a convicted Navy SEAL. In so doing the president has turned up the volume of dissent among the men and women who are charged with implementing military policy.

There is talk now about a serious “morale problem” among our vaunted military ranks.

I’ll back up for just a moment. Navy Petty Officer Edward Gallagher was convicted of posing with the corpse of an enemy fighter in Iraq. The Navy wanted to strip him of his SEAL Trident pin. The president intervened. He said Gallagher should keep his Trident. The Navy secretary, Richard Spencer, disagreed. Defense Secretary Mark Esper fired Spencer, who has spent the past few days criticizing Trump for his failure to understand “military order and discipline” and how it’s vital to operating the finest military apparatus in human history.

This tumult is working its way up and down the chain of command and through the ranks of the military personnel.

The commander in chief is empowered to do whatever he wishes. However, with this president — with zero military experience — there well might be a major price to pay if he continues to engender resentment among the individuals we thrust into harm’s way.

Make no mistake: Trump is not the first man with no military experience to serve as commander in chief. It’s just that he blathers so maddeningly about how much he purports to know about military matters.

On that score, this president is an ignoramus.

Liar in chief likely at it once again in describing terrorist’s death

Donald Trump went on that ridiculous riff Sunday in which he said the Islamic State’s founder/mastermind/terrorist in chief was crying and screaming like a little boy when he met his death over the weekend.

Now we hear from the Pentagon that the brass cannot confirm what the president described.

Hmm. Who’d have thought such a thing? Do you think Donald Trump was, um, making it up? Was he lying yet again? Was he seeking to glorify himself about Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death as the U.S. Army Delta Force soldiers were closing in on him?

Well, I have adopted the view that Trump cannot be trusted to tell the truth about anything, under any circumstance. He is unable to speak with any semblance of truthfulness.

Yet the president thought it was fair comment to go into detail about what happened to al-Baghdadi’s body when he detonated the “suicide vest” he had strapped to his torso. I heard him say it in the moment and thought, “Well, duh … ? That’s what happens when you blow yourself to pieces!” 

Yep, as the president’s allies keep telling us: That’s just Trump being Trump.

Good grief.

Don’t trust the Democrats … but trust Russians and Turks?

I am not sure I get how this goes.

Donald Trump did not notify congressional Democratic leaders in advance of the raid that killed the leader of the Islamic State over the weekend on grounds that he feared “leaks” that could jeopardize the critical element of surprise.

The president, though, did inform congressional Republicans of the raid as well as — and this is really rich — the Russians and the Turks! Yep, Russia and Turkey got a heads-up in advance of the raid, apparently because the president trusted those two hostile powers, one of which attacked our electoral system in 2016 and is doing so again in 2020.

But not the Democratic leadership. Not the individuals who are chairing key House committees charged with monitoring events related to our national security. Not the folks who need to be kept in the loop when our armed forces are deployed on these critical missions.

Did he really believe the Democratic House chairs and the Senate Democratic leadership would blab to the world about what was about to happen? Or is he miffed because House Democrats want to hold him accountable for the deeds that are likely to lead to his impeachment?

I believe the embattled commander in chief is suffering from a case of acute and destructive petulance.

Trump ‘spikes the football’ in announcing terror leader’s death

I did not intend to venture down this alley, but now that I have given it some thought …

Donald Trump’s announcement of the death of Islamic State mastermind Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi contained language that seemed, well, more than a bit over the top.

Delta Force special operations commandos launched a raid overnight that resulted in al-Baghdadi’s death. The commander in chief tweeted a message about “something really big” happening and then this morning went on TV to tell the world that al-Baghdadi is dead.

However, the president went much farther than merely telling us about the bravery and precision of our special forces. He talked about how al-Baghdadi “died like a dog,” how he was a “coward,” how he was whimpering and sobbing before he detonated the suicide vest strapped to his body.

So I am left to wonder: Why did Donald Trump feel the need to prance and preen over the death of a monster? Why did he spike the proverbial football and seemingly gloat over the mission he authorized?

According to Time.com: Trump was doing more than running down an adversary; he was actively trying to break the spell al-Baghdadi holds over his followers, says a White House official. “He felt it was important to mock this guy,” the official says, adding that Trump wanted to “rub in everybody’s face that this guy was killing and ordering rape of thousands of people and at the end of the day blew himself up with his three kids rather than fight.”

Make no mistake. I applaud the decision to launch the mission. The president could have chosen other options that carried less risk to our special forces. He chose instead to rely on the extraordinary skill of our soldiers who carried out the mission with extraordinary precision and professionalism.

I am thinking at this moment of the evening of May 1, 2011 when President Barack Obama told the world of the SEAL mission that killed Osama bin Laden. He spoke for about 9 minutes. He told us bin Laden was dead; he hailed the men who conducted the mission; he heaped praise on our intelligence team that toiled for many years over two administrations to find bin Laden; he offered words of comfort to the friends and loved ones of the 3,000 people who died on 9/11. He asked for God’s blessing on the United States of America and then walked away from the microphone.

Trump didn’t do that this morning. He went into extraordinary detail about what he perceived about al-Baghdadi’s final moments on Earth.

The president seemed — if you’ll pardon my use of the term — to “glorify” the circumstances of al-Baghdadi’s death.

It was unbecoming. It was, oh, let’s see, so very un-presidential.

War on terror: a conflict with no end in sight

While the world digests the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi at the hands of U.S. Delta Force and CIA commandos, it is grappling with what the Islamic State leader’s death means in the war against international terrorism.

I want to offer this perspective, which is that al-Baghdadi’s death won’t signal the end to the war against terrorists, let alone against the Islamic State.

It is my view at least that 9/11 signaled a new era in U.S. geopolitical activity that doesn’t appear to have an end anywhere in sight.

We’ve known for many decades that terrorists were out to “get” us. The 9/11 attack 18 years ago simply burst that awareness to the front of our minds. Al-Qaeda’s daring attack signaled to us all that we were perhaps more vulnerable than we ever thought.

So the war has commenced. I share the critics’ view that the war on terror has taken a bizarre turn at times, particularly with our invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the misery that the Iraq War brought, given that Iraq had no connection with al-Qaeda, nor did it possess weapons of mass destruction.

However, the war on terror is likely to continue until the world no longer contains terrorists willing to die for the perverted cause to which they adhere.

In other words, we’ll be fighting this war forever.

Whether we fight at the level we have been fighting remains to be seen over the span of time. If 9/11 taught us anything it should have taught us that we cannot let our guard down for a single moment.

Not ever.

POTUS makes courageous call in authorizing raid

It must be said — and I’ll say it here — that Donald John Trump made a gutsy call in authorizing the raid that killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi somewhere in Syria overnight.

Commanders in chief on occasion face life-and-death decisions that given all the moving parts of highly complicated military operations can result in tragedy.

The president’s authorization of a mission to send Delta Force soldiers and CIA commandos into Syria to kill the Islamic State leader was one of those nail-biters.

Barack Obama faced a similar situation in 2011 when he made the call to send in SEALs and CIA agents to kill Osama bin Laden. The president knew then that that the operation was based on what he called a “55-45 probability” that bin Laden was actually in the compound where they ended up killing him. He was. The mission succeeded famously and the nation cheered its outcome.

So it should be with the al-Baghdadi raid.

I get that presidents don’t shoulder weapons themselves, or pull the trigger, or fly aircraft into harm’s way. The responsibility of success o failure rests solely on their shoulders.

Thus, when they make these decisions they must face the possibility of tragic consequences if one of those many moving parts falls apart. When they do, the mission can fail. Think of the Desert One Iranian hostage rescue mission that ended tragically in 1980 and think, too, of the terrible burden that President Jimmy Carter likely carries to this very day.

President John F. Kennedy said famously after the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba that “victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.” He took the failure heat all by himself.

The al-Baghdadi raid was a huge success. The capability of our military special forces is unparalleled in all of human history. The Delta Force team served the nation and the world well. To that end, the president who sent the soldiers on this perilous mission deserves credit for making a courageous call.

He has eliminated an example of, um, “human scum.”

Baghdadi is dead, but ISIS remains a threat

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death overnight in northwestern Syria at the hands of U.S. Army Delta Force and CIA commandos is a gigantic blow to the Islamic State terrorist organization he led.

But forgive me for emphasizing what ought to be the obvious: ISIS will remain a serious threat for as long as there are young men and women willing to buy into the terrorists’ religious perversion.

Donald Trump this morning confirmed what had been reported during the night, that special forces conducted a raid that killed Baghdadi. The commander in chief had authorized the raid after hearing extensive briefings from military and intelligence analysts that they had located the terrorist monster hiding underground near the Syria-Turkey border.

One cannot possibly overstate the importance of killing Baghdadi, just as the death of al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden in May 2011 was a huge blow to that terrorist organization. Let us take stock in the fact that just as al-Qaeda was able to reconstitute its leadership after bin Laden’s death at the hands of a Navy SEAL team in Pakistan, so will ISIS likely be able to do the same thing.

I believe it is important, too, to salute the meticulous work done by our intelligence forces in tracking Baghdadi down and enabling our special forces to find him, hunt him down and deliver ultimate justice to him. The president, infamously I should add, has been critical of some aspects of the intelligence community’s work in certain areas … relating, for example, to the Russian interference in our election.

They did their job with great skill and professionalism, which we all know they are capable of doing.

As for the special forces team that completed this highly dangerous mission, their capabilities are unmatched all of the world’s military history.

All that said, the fight against ISIS, al-Qaeda and all other terrorists who declared war on the United States on 9/11 must go on.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead. May he rot in hell.

Oops, those troops aren’t exactly ‘coming home’

Donald Trump declared his intention to bring our troops “home” from Syria. He made a surprise announcement this past week that he would pull about 1,000 U.S. military personnel off the bloodstained battlefield.

He didn’t want our men and women to fight in “endless wars.”

OK, so the president followed through … with part of his plan.

The troops have left Syria, except that fewer than half of them are going “home.” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that about 700 troops are headed for Iraq.

I’ve commented already about the idiotic decision to abandon our Kurdish allies in the fight against the Islamic State. What is troubling now is that the president’s decision to leave one battlefield is apparently going to put our troops onto another field of battle, where soldiers are still dying.

I concur with Trump’s view that we shouldn’t be fighting in “endless wars” with no conclusion anywhere to be seen. There should be careful consideration, though, on how you do it. Such a plan needs to be crafted with intense consultation with national security, intelligence, military and diplomatic advisers. It doesn’t appear that the president did any of his seemingly mandatory due diligence prior to making this decision.

What’s more, he is sending troops to Iraq?

What the … ?

Trump to Sen. Graham: ‘I am the boss’

It took me a moment or two to digest the quote I read about what Donald Trump reportedly said to Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican U.S. senator who transformed himself from a severe Trump critic to one of the president’s most ardent sycophants.

Graham is angry over the president’s decision to pull troops out of Syria and his abandoning of our Kurdish allies who have fought with us in the war against the Islamic State.

The Associated Press said that Trump told Graham, “I am the boss.”

The boss? Of what? Of whom?

Trump is the “boss” of the executive branch of the federal government. He has no authority over the legislative branch, of which Graham is one of 535 House and Senate members. The Constitution grants Congress “co-equal” power with the executive branch.

Graham, despite his disappointing fealty to Trump, does recognize that South Carolina’s voters sent him to the Senate to do their bidding and to stand up for himself when the need arises. He doesn’t work for Trump. He doesn’t have to do a single thing the president might demand of him.

As an MSNBC blogger, Steve Benen, reported: “With all due respect for the president, I think I’m elected to have a say about our national security,” Graham said. “I will not be quiet. I will do everything I can to help the president get to a good spot, but if we do not leave some residual forces behind to partner with the Kurds, ISIS will come back, it will put our nation at risk, we will have been seen as dishonorable in the eyes of all future allies.”

So, there you have it. Sen. Graham is beginning to show a bit of the spine he exhibited while campaigning against Donald Trump for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. I hope it continues to stiffen … although I am inclined to doubt that it will.

Democrats to blame for Turkish slaughter of Kurds?

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney said the following, in part, during an interview with Fox News: “It was not an accident that the Turks chose this moment to roll across the border,” she claimed. “And I think the Democrats have got to pay very careful attention to the damage that they’re doing with the impeachment proceedings.”

OK, do you follow that? The Wyoming Republican — who happens to be former VP Dick Cheney’s daughter — believes the threat of impeachment has prompted the Turks to launch their invasion of northern Syria. Impeachment has prompted Turkey to slaughter Kurdish allies who have fought and died in the battle against the Islamic State.

My head is spinning. My jaw has dropped. I cannot grasp what Liz Cheney has posited to her pals at Fox News.

Here’s my take. The Turks launched their attack because Donald Trump talked to Turkish President Recep Erdogan and then decided to pull all U.S. troops off the battlefield; the Turks now have attacked Kurdish positions in Syria, killing Kurds on sight. We have abandoned a valuable ally in the ISIS fight and the Turks are taking full advantage. Trump acted without any input from his national security team; the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were blindsided.

That, I believe, is the sole reason for the Turkish incursion. The threat of impeachment has not a damn thing to do with this foreign policy disaster in the making.

Oh, why is the reference to VP Cheney worth mentioning? I guess it’s because Daddy Dick Cheney was known as a partisan creature, too, meaning that the fruit didn’t fall far from the Cheney tree.