Tag Archives: ISIS

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.

Terrorism is terrorism, no matter who commits it

A terrorist drove a truck into a crowded New York City recreational area, killing eight people and injuring many others.

A terrorist also opened fire on a crowd of music revelers in Las Vegas, killing more than 50 of them, injuring hundreds more.

The media and the government, though, are calling only one of them an “act of terror.” It’s the NYC event. Why is that? I guess it’s because the perpetrator is an immigrant from Uzbekistan who happens to be a Muslim and who has professed allegiance to the Islamic State.

The Las Vegas shooter? He was just a madman who happened to possess a lot of firepower, which he used to slaughter those victims from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.

I’m a bit baffled as to why we call one incident a terrorist act but not the other.

My take on it goes like this: The spectators who fled the gunfire in Las Vegas were scared out of their wits; they were terrorized by the sound of automatic gunfire that was raining down on them. They were not expecting to be shot by a lunatic perched high above them. Did the gunman commit an act of “domestic terrorism”? Yeah, I believe he did.

The media coverage of that act, though, didn’t make that connection. Neither did the president of the United States, Donald Trump, who said immediately after the Las Vegas massacre that it was “too soon” to comment on it. The president experienced no such reticence about the Uzbek loon who drove the truck into the crowd.

Why is that? Oh, it’s because he’s a foreigner … and a Muslim to boot!

Terrorism has the same impact on its victims, no matter who commits such a heinous act or the motivation behind it.

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.