Tag Archives: Islamic State

Killing of murderer underscores nature of this fight

The killing this week of Qassem Sulemaini underscores a fundamental question about the crisis that was thrust on this country on 9/11: How we do declare victory in a war against international terrorism?

Sulemaini led the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. He had buckets of American blood on his hands. He needed to be hunted down and killed. And so it happened in a drone strike in Baghdad, Iraq, where he and his forces have been fighting against Iraqis and U.S. troops.

More than 18 years ago this country was dragged into a war of someone else’s choosing. Al-Qaeda terrorists pulled off a stunning and cunning surprise attack on this country from which we likely never will recover emotionally, at least not as long as there are Americans still living who remember that terrible day in 2001.

We went to war. President Bush said at the time that our fight was not with Muslims, but with those who perverted their faith into a demented justification for the act of evil.

And so the fight has gone on and on.

Our special operations forces killed al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden in May 2011. They went into action again in October of this past year and killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State. They, too, needed to die. Did their deaths or the death of Sulemaini spell the end of their terror networks? No. They all found someone to replace them; Sulemaini’s deputy commander has stepped into the commander’s role in Iran.

I don’t intend to suggest this country should give up fighting the terrorist monsters. I merely intend to seek to put this fight into what I hope is a proper perspective.

We should acknowledge that terrorists have existed since the beginning of civilization. The 9/11 attack at the beginning of this century emboldened them. They have become more brazen than before. Moreover, the rest of us are paying more careful attention to their hideous rhetoric and, yes, their actions.

We can take some comfort in the tactical victories our side is able to score: the deaths of terror leaders and the battlefield successes we can secure as we seek to defeat the terrorist monsters.

I cannot stop wondering, however, whether a declaration of victory against terror is even possible. The terrorists, I fear, possess a deep bench full of lunatics who are willing to die for some perverted cause.

Therefore, the fight must continue.

Support the strike; question the strategy

I want to be crystal clear, with no ambiguity about the events that resulted in the death of a bloodthirsty terrorist.

I support fully the air strike that killed Qassem Suleimani, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. No American I can think of is mourning the death of this individual. Indeed, politicians of all stripes are hailing the killer’s death.

What troubles me are the questions that are emerging about whether Donald Trump ordered the strike with a clear post-strike strategy in mind. I am developing growing doubt that the president had thought it out thoroughly.

Yes, the critics have emerged on the Democratic side of the congressional aisle. They were left out of the loop. Congressional leaders say they weren’t informed of the plan to hit Suleimani prior to the attack occurring. They want Congress to authorize any military action that might occur in the event Iran retaliates.

I, too, am concerned about all of that.

We also need to get real about one more important aspect of this raid. The death of Suleimani does not mean the end of the Revolutionary Guard. The Guard also already has elevated his deputy to top of the its chain of command.

Remember, too, that the May 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden did not extinguish al-Qaeda. Nor did the mission this past year that took out Abu Bakr al Baghdadi eliminate the Islamic State. The terror organizations are continuing their bloody campaigns against Muslims and against U.S. forces that are still fighting them on the battlefield.

It all arcs back to the most riveting question of the “global war on terror.” How will we be able to declare victory? My hunch is that we are engaging in a war with no end.

As for the death of this latest murderer, I am glad he is dead.

However, we now must be prepared to deal with the consequences.

It was right to toss al-Baghdadi’s corpse into the drink

The head of U.S. Central Command, Marine Corps Gen. Frank McKenzie, has told us that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was “buried at sea” after Army Delta Force commandos completed their mission to take him out.

I guess I should accept the notion that the military personnel charged with disposing of the Islamic State founder’s remains did so with a modicum of respect. I mean, he didn’t show any respect to those victims he killed over his many years leading the hideous terrorist organization. Thus, he didn’t deserve the respect that Central Command reportedly gave his remains.

However, it was a prudent call to dispose of this individual’s corpse in the fashion that our military did. There would be no way in the world that we should bury him in the ground and create a shrine that would attract Islamic perverts to draw strength from being near his remains.

U.S. forces disposed of Osama bin Laden in the same manner after Navy SEALs killed him in May 2011. They hauled his remains out of the compound where the SEALs found him, took him to the USS Carl Vinson and then sent his body into the drink where it was likely consumed by undersea creatures.

I am going to presume that al-Baghdadi’s remains will meet the same fate. That’s fine with me.

Although it does anger me that these terrorist monsters likely got the respectful treatment they never accorded to their own victims. Whatever. They’re both dead. That’s the best part of how these stories have ended.

Now it’s Mick Mulvaney who’s on the Trump Bubble

This is hardly a flash, but it looks for all the world as if “acting” White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney is heading for the exit.

It turns out that Donald Trump chose to keep his chief of staff in the dark prior to the launching of the most important military mission of his presidency: the killing of Islamic State founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Mulvaney reportedly as at home in South Carolina when Trump tweeted the message: “Something very big has just happened.” Mulvaney then was brought up to speed as the mission was commencing.

What is so odd and frightening about this revelation is that White House chiefs of staff normally are part of the national security team that meets to discuss such operations prior to their being launched. Not so with Mulvaney.

Andy Card, chief of staff for President Bush 43, said he is “baffled” by Mulvaney being left out of the planning of such an event.

Mulvaney’s “acting” status has been in place since he took the job after John Kelly departed at the start of this year. Then he held that disastrous White House press briefing a couple of weeks ago in which he admitted that Trump asked for a political favor from the head of a foreign government, telling the media and others to “get over it.” 

So, the guy who once ran the Office of Management Budget only to step into the snake pit known as the White House is likely on his way out. Just think that this is payback for the guy who famously said when he took the White House job that he intended merely to “let Trump be Trump.”

Chaos, anyone?

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.

No one’s keeping score, Mr. POTUS … except you!

Donald Trump is now engaging in a “Can you top this?” game involving the dispatching of international terrorists.

Disgusting!

The president had the gall to say that the killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was “bigger” than the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden. While he was taking questions from reporters Sunday after announcing al-Baghdadi’s death at the hands of Army Delta Force commandos, Trump decided — and this is no surprise — to suggest he had one-upped the mission authorized by President Barack H. Obama to kill bin Laden.

Oh, he did say that killing the al-Qaeda leader, bin Laden, was “big,” but then he said taking out the Islamic State honcho was an even more significant event.

Well, I won’t enter a debate over which death was bigger. It is pointless and irrelevant.

I just want to re-state what I said earlier, which is that al-Baghdadi’s death was a gigantic blow to ISIS. Moreover, I applaud the president’s decision to authorize the mission.

It was huge. Then again, so was the Navy SEAL mission to kill bin Laden, who masterminded the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington that killed 3,000 innocent victims in both cities.

Why in the world does the president of the United States choose to cheapen a monumental military victory with an idiotic boast that this take-down was bigger than an earlier one?

Utterly bizarre.

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.”