Tag Archives: ISIS

Commander in chief shows disregard for military

I have to ask: How in the name of pride in our military does the president of the United States get away with the utter denigration he heaps on distinguished military personnel?

Donald Trump did it (in)famously in 2016 when he said the late U.S. Sen. John McCain was a “war hero only because he was captured. I like people who aren’t captured.”

Trump went on to win the presidential election after declaring he knows “more about ISIS than the generals.” Then he surrounded himself with current and former four-star officers, proclaiming some sort of phony affinity for the expertise they bring.

And now the latest tumult has erupted. The president has disparaged the May 2011 raid that killed 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden and, particularly, the man who coordinated that effort, retired Admiral William McRaven.

McRaven, a decorated Navy SEAL, headed the Special Operations Command when President Obama issued the order to kill bin Laden.

Trump now says we should have taken bin Laden down “a lot sooner.” Again, the commander in chief has denigrated a war hero and has mocked the effort that was carried out with precision and professionalism by a dedicated team of SEALs, Army Green Beret pilots and CIA deep-cover operatives.

Moreover, he gets away with it! The “base” that adores him gives him a pass. They don’t care that the commander in chief thinks so little of the brave men and women who volunteer to do something that the president waffled on when he had the chance when he was of draft age during the Vietnam War.

I do not get it. I never will get it.

Is the defense boss next one to go?

Oh, I was hoping James Mattis could survive the on-going purge of grownups within the Donald J. Trump administration.

It appears the hope is fading.

Mattis is the defense secretary, a retired U.S. Marine Corps general, a decorated combat veteran, a seriously competent military expert and a man known to be a bona fide check on the president’s lack of knowledge of damn near anything involving foreign/military policy.

He once was one of Trump’s favorites. He’s no longer among those folks, according to The New York Times.

As the Times reports: In the second year of his presidency, Mr. Trump has largely tuned out his national security aides as he feels more confident as commander in chief, the officials said. Facing what is likely to be a heated re-election fight once the 2018 midterms are over, aides said Mr. Trump was pondering whether he wanted someone running the Pentagon who would be more vocally supportive than Mr. Mattis, who is vehemently protective of the American military against perceptions it could be used for political purposes.

Mattis has become a subject of some chatter of late, given the release of Bob Woodward’s new book, “Fear.” Mattis reportedly has actually explained to Trump that U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea to “protect us against World War III.” Trump supposedly asked out loud just why in the world do we have those troops on duty in South Korea.

Mattis reportedly has said the president has the attention span of a fifth- or sixth-grader.

Mattis is pushing back

Ah, yes. The grownup speaks a version of the truth about service within an administration run by a man who once claimed to “know about ISIS than the generals.” Actually, he doesn’t … know anything, let alone “more about ISIS.”

There’s this from the Times as well: Mr. Mattis himself is becoming weary, some aides said, of the amount of time spent pushing back against what Defense Department officials think are capricious whims of an erratic president.

This, according to the president, is how a “fine-tuned machine” functions.

Donald Trump is delusional. To the max!

ISIS is still out there … somewhere

The Islamic State has faded in recent weeks from the front end of Americans’ consciousness, or so it seems.

There was a time when terror attacks throughout the Middle East were occurring and ISIS was claiming responsibility for its latest heinous act. It seems that the terrorists have gone a bit quieter of late. I know it’s foolish to presume they aren’t plotting and conniving ways to inflict damage to innocent people.

Do you remember during Barack Obama’s second presidential term how it became somewhat fashionable to refer to ISIS by a name deemed to be detrimental? Secretary of State John Kerry often would refer to the terrorists as Daesch, which reportedly is deemed in the world of Islamic terrorists as a derogatory reference.

Kerry would use the term to get under Daesch’s skin, rankle them, get ’em to make a foolish mistake.

Then we might hear about a drone strike, or some military action that wiped out an ISIS leader, or a Daesch leader, if you prefer.

I wrote about the terrorist group while I was blogging for Panhandle PBS.

ISIS kicks up recruitment activities

Donald Trump campaigned for the presidency by proclaiming that “I know more about ISIS than the generals. Believe me.” Well, he really doesn’t.

However, for the time being, ISIS — or Daesch — continues to feel the heat of the world’s greatest military machine. As we mark the 17th year since the 9/11 assault on this country, let’s keep these monsters at the top of our minds, even if they aren’t making news.

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.

ISIS: Perverts kill more Muslims

As if we needed more examples …

The Islamic State has taken responsibility for a bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan that killed at least 41 Muslims at a Shiite center.

Let’s ponder that for a moment. Yes, ISIS — a radical Sunni cabal — has declared war on the United States of America. And, yes, the terrorists have killed many non-Muslims. However, the preponderance of this monstrous group’s victims have been Muslims.

This group, which claims its mission is on behalf of Islam, simply is an organization of religious perverts. They do not adhere to traditional Islamic faith. They adhere instead to a perverted version of their so-called “faith.”

President Barack Obama made the point quite clearly the night he announced the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. He said that bin Laden was “not a Muslim leader. He was a killer of Muslims.”

The very same thing can be said of the Islamic State.

ISIS is on the run throughout the Middle East. To the extent that the United States has contributed to ISIS’s further degradation, we must continue that struggle and I welcome Donald Trump’s commitment to waging that fight to the fullest extent of our nation’s ability — which happens to be formidable, indeed.

Before we label Muslims as inherently evil, though, let us understand that the terror organizations, such as ISIS, are themselves the source of the evil. They do not represent the tenets of a great religion.

Trump’s first year: some hits, some misses

Donald Trump is ending 2017 on a high.

He managed to stuff a tax cut down our throats, with help from his Republican allies in both congressional chambers. I get that everyone likes to pay less in taxes. What’s unclear at this moment is whether the cuts are going to help every American or just the rich folks, like Donald Trump.

It will explode the national budget deficit, which used to drive Republican politicians crazy. Not any longer … apparently.

The Hill newspaper listed the president’s top 10 accomplishments as 2017 draws to a close. The paper selected the tax cut as No. 1, citing it as a campaign promised kept.

I would call it a mixed blessing — at best!

Here’s The Hill list

My own top Trump accomplishment would be The Hill’s No. 10: fighting and degrading the status of the Islamic State.

The president vowed during the 2016 campaign that he would destroy ISIS. The commander in chief has carried on with great vigor the battle against ISIS, al-Qaeda and other lesser-known terrorist organizations. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama launched and continued that fight.

Trump has said in recent days that ISIS has been defeated in Syria and Iraq. Indeed, the Iraqis have declared victory in their fight against ISIS, which they have waged with continued U.S. military support, advice and training.

We all know the war will go on possibly forever. This post-9/11 world has put the entire planet on high alert, where it likely must remain as long as the forces of evil lurk anywhere on Earth.

I applaud the president’s effort to keep up the fight.

What about the rest of The Hill’s lineup?

The Neil Gorsuch appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court? I wouldn’t have picked Justice Gorsuch for that spot. Period. End of argument. He’s far too right wing for my taste.

Rolling back of regulations? This is one of many anti-Obama initiatives that Trump has vowed to do. To what end? It looks to me as if he just wants to undo his immediate predecessor’s agenda.

The travel ban? The president has implemented an anti-Muslim ban that smacks of religious discrimination. Shameful.

Declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel? This move has set Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts back at least a decade. The Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital, too.

Pulling out of Paris climate deal? We are virtually alone in this effort to curb carbon emissions.

Withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Hey, aren’t Republicans supposed to be “free traders”? Oh, wait! Trump isn’t a real Republican, even though the rock-ribbed base of his party’s support stands by him. Confusing.

Rolling back of Obama’s Cuba policies? Are you kidding me? What kind of threat does a Third World, dirt-poor country like Cuba pose to the world’s greatest military and economic power?

Repealing the net neutrality rules? Trump wants to release the Internet from any government regulations. This one is scary in a still-vague manner. It well might unleash forces we cannot even fathom.

I wish I could support more of what The Hill ranks as the president’s biggest victories. I can’t.

We’re winning the ‘war,’ but the fight will go on

Iraq has declared victory in its war against the Islamic State.

It has declared that ISIS is defeated in Iraq. The terrorist fighting force no longer is able to wage war against the Iraq military machine. Good news, yes? Of course it is.

But wait. What about the terrorist who tried to kill innocent victims in New York? He is “ISIS-inspired,” according to the FBI and New York law enforcement officials. How are we going to stop these monsters? How do we prevent the so-called “lone wolf” terrorists from perpetrating their evil acts against civilized society?

We cannot?

A Bangladeshi immigrant is now recovering from his injuries after he terrorized people in a New York train station. He tried to blow himself up, but failed.

Bold pledges and declarations of our intent to “destroy” the Islamic State shouldn’t be ignored. Indeed, our military forces have taken out many thousands of ISIS fighters; they killed or captured many ISIS leaders; they have disrupted ISIS’s command and control network.

The fight should go on. It must go on.

We are going to fight this war, however, for as long as terrorists exist anywhere on Earth. U.S. and Allied forces bombed Germany to ashes during the World War II; our forces killed thousands of Nazis; Adolf Hitler killed himself in that Berlin bunker.

Did that eradicate Nazi sympathizers in Europe — or in the United States of America? No! Nazi lone wolves are still on the prowl throughout the world.

This post-9/11 world continues to teach us a hard but necessary lesson, which is that we cannot let our guard down — ever — against those who would do us harm.

They are everywhere.

Turn off the TV, Mr. President

Donald J. Trump told us he wouldn’t tweet once became president of the United States.

“I’ll be too busy” making America great again, building a wall, defeating ISIS and bringing back jobs that had been shipped to “China and Mexico,” the president said.

The president has gone Twitter crazy. He can’t stop tweeting policy decisions, criticism of foes, friends and the media.

He also told us he wouldn’t have time to play golf, that he doesn’t even think he’ll take vacations once he took the presidential oath. How’s he done there?

Trump is set to play more golf in his first year than his predecessor, Barack H. Obama, did during his eight years as president.

He’s now zero for two.

OK, now he says he doesn’t watch much television. No time for that, either. The president says he reads “a lot of documents.” Is he telling the truth on this one? The New York Times reports that Trump watches more than four hours of TV daily; it might be as much as eight hours.

He watches CNN, Fox, a little MSNBC, perhaps a broadcast network news show or two, according to the Times. Then he tweets almost immediately after hearing the news, whether it’s “fake” or whether it comes from Fox — his favorite news network.

So, by my score, the president is zero for three on these promises and declarations.

Oh, but what the heck. He “tells it like it is.”

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.

How do we stop these ‘lone wolves’?

The immigrant from Uzbekistan who drove a rented truck into the New York City crowd this week illustrates the extreme difficulty in fighting this war on international terrorism.

How does the United States prevent a lone wolf who enters this country legally — even if he’s been through “extreme vetting” — from committing the act of terror we saw in New York?

Donald Trump says the nation is going to end the visa lottery program that enabled the suspect to enter the country in 2010. Of course, as is the president’s tendency, he has politicized the issue by blaming Democrats for their so-called lax immigration policy; he ignores the fact that the law under question was signed by Republican President George H.W. Bush.

My point on this matter is that lone wolf attacks are going to occur despite our best and most diligent efforts to root out evil doers before they commit their terrible act.

I say this also as someone who supports the president’s desire to implement an “extreme vetting” policy for those seeking to come to this country.

But let us not forget, too, that homegrown Americans are capable of committing infamous and dastardly acts. The Las Vegas massacre this summer; the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995; the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre; the Charleston, S.C., church slaughter? All of those evil men were native-born, corn-fed Americans; they only represent a fraction of the carnage committed by American-born terrorists.

The Uzbek suspect came here under an existing policy. There reportedly was no sign that he harbored pro-Islamic State sympathies. He became radicalized while living among Americans.

Then he took out his rage. This is why the war against international terrorism is so damn difficult to wage.