Tag Archives: terrorists

Intelligence chiefs do it again: they’re contradicting Trump

Those pesky intelligence professionals are at it once more.

Donald Trump says “ISIS is defeated.” The intelligence community says “not so fast.” The Islamic State is still planning terror attacks. They’re still recruiting members. Their ranks still number in the thousands.

Yet the president would have us believe that ISIS in Syria has been dealt a mortal blow. They’re gone. Destroyed. Wiped out.

ISIS isn’t defeated

CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told members of Congress today that they are not willing to buy into the commander in chief’s seat-of-the-pants “assessment” that ISIS is done for as a national security threat.

Who do we believe? I’ll stick with the intelligence pros any day of the week. Trump, as I’ve noted before on this blog, doesn’t know what he’s doing, what he’s talking, nor does he know to whom he is talking. He thinks the nation comprises hundreds of millions of rubes who buy into every single lie that flies out of his mouth.

Haspel and Coats did say today that ISIS has been “weakened” by sustained U.S. and allied attacks. For that I am grateful. The organization isn’t defeated, they said. ISIS is still capable of inflicting serious damage, causing significant misery. ISIS keeps taking responsibility for terror attacks against Muslims, which of course belies the notion that our war against terror is in fact a war against Islam; as Presidents Bush and Obama have declared, it is no such thing, that the terrorists aren’t “religious leaders,” but merely are religious perverts.

I am now wondering how the president is going to react to this contradictory testimony. Might there be more firings in store?

What? Is it now ‘Low Energy’ Donald?

I know I didn’t dream this, but didn’t Donald J. Trump once accuse Republican rival Jeb Bush of being “low energy Jeb” and didn’t he say that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton lacked the “stamina” be president of the United States?

So … what happened to the president in Saudi Arabia? He blurted out the term “Islamic extremism” when he meant to say “Islamist extremism.” Muslims understand the difference between “Islamic” and “Islamist.” The former term often is used to lump all Muslims in with the monsters who terrorize innocent people.

The president’s staff blamed the slip on “exhaustion.” Trump was pretty darn tired, they said. He didn’t mean what he said, supposedly.


This is not that big of a deal. It does, however, point out the danger of the kind of rhetoric that poured out of a presidential candidate’s mouth and it brings into sharp relief his performance while holding the office he fought so hard to obtain.

I won’t stoop to calling the president any of the names he hung on so many of his political rivals.

I just thought I would remind everyone of what he said about others and how they might feel now that he’s sitting squarely in the hot seat.

Just think, too: He did this at the beginning of his first overseas venture as president. I mean, c’mon! He had all the time in the world to rest up and get ready for it.

‘I know more than generals about ISIS, believe me’

Strange things occur to individuals who campaign for the presidency and then actually become president.

They boast about how smart and savvy they are on matters about which they have no experience. Then they learn that — by golly — they aren’t as smart as they proclaim themselves to be.

Donald J. Trump once boasted, “I know more the generals about ISIS, believe me.” Sure thing, candidate Trump, who had zero military experience — let alone political experience — prior to running for president.

Then he wins the election. He gets a few briefings and finds out the truth, which is that he doesn’t know squat about the Islamic State, its tactics and strategy or the best way to fight and “destroy” the terrorist organization.

The military then deployed its largest non-nuclear explosive device on an ISIS compound in Afghanistan, killing dozens of terrorists and destroying many tons of valuable equipment.

Now the president says he relied on “my military” to take care of things, that he trusts the brass implicitly to know how to fight the Islamic State.

It is baffling to me in the extreme as I try to understand how this guy got elected president after saying the things he did about the greatest military force in world history.

At least, though, he is acknowledging what he should have acknowledged all along.  Which is that he doesn’t know “more about ISIS” than the career military personnel upon whom he will depend if he has a prayer of keeping his pledge to “destroy” the Islamic State.

Is this an anti-Muslim rule … or not?

Donald J. Trump swears up and down, left and right — puts his hand on a stack of Bibles and says “Scout’s honor” for all I know — that his ban against refugees is not an “anti-Muslim” initiative.

The president, though, has delivered to our enemies a prime-time, gold-and-silver-plated recruitment tool.

He calls our enemies “radical Islamic terrorists.” Yes, they are.

They also are experts at distorting people’s intentions, even their very words, twisting them into propaganda fodder.

What the president has done is create a climate for terrorists such as the Islamic State and al-Qaeda to target American Muslims to join their fight against the “infidels.” He also has delivered to a much wider audience the very message that his two immediate predecessors — Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Barack H. Obama — fought like hell to avoid delivering. Presidents Bush and Obama said clearly: We are not at war with Islam! The enemies are the monstrous murderers who have perverted a great religion.

Now we have the potential for the precise opposite message being delivered to those who might be inclined to join a radical militant movement, to take up arms and to join the fight against the rest of the civilized world.

The president of the United States is expected to speak with absolute clarity and precision. When we’re dealing with the complexities of the current world geopolitical climate, any misstep or clumsy language can produce dire consequences.

The president’s refugee ban has roiled members of the president’s own party, created a firestorm within the legal community over its very constitutionality, and it has possibly enraged Muslims around the world — and in the United States — to the point of causing grievous harm.

U.S. gives up title of ‘Beacon of Hope’

Let’s ponder this for a moment.

This United States of America used to be seen around the world as the place where everyone wanted to go. To visit. Or … to live.

It didn’t matter from where you came. You saw the U.S. of A. as the international beacon of hope. We have that statue in New York harbor that welcomes the poor and dispossessed.

That’s all changed, according to the current president of the United States. Donald J. Trump says if you come from certain countries and perhaps adhere to a certain religion, you are no longer welcome. The welcome mat has been rolled up, the door has been slammed shut and we won’t answer the bell when you ring it.

How in the world does this happen?

International terrorists? They’re to blame? No. We’ve had them in our midst for decades, if not centuries. Terrorists reside here at home, too. The president and his team say they want to protect us from those who would do us harm.

Really? What about the crazed corn-fed American-born morons who open fire in movie theaters, or at night clubs, or — for God’s sake! — in elementary schools! Or, say, the anti-government sociopath who blew up that federal courthouse in Oklahoma City.

The Trump administration has pushed the panic button. It has elevated the fear factor to new levels by excluding refugees from several Muslim-majority nations. But the president insists he isn’t invoking an anti-Muslim policy.

Well, Mr. President, it doesn’t look that way to me.

What’s next? Will he now send crews into the NYC harbor to remove that inscription on the statue?

Speaker: ‘That’s not my plan’ to pull endorsement … yet?

How many times have you heard a politician say he or she has “no intention” to seek higher office? Or that he or she has “no plan” to do this or that, only to change his or her mind and do what was disavowed earlier?

That’s more or less what I’m hearing House Speaker Paul Ryan say as he is peppered with questions about his endorsement of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump.

“That’s not my plan,” Ryan said to questions about whether he would rescind the endorsement.

Meanwhile, Trump continues to hurtle out of control all along the campaign trail. He recently accused President Obama — and this is utterly outrageous — of seeming to favor the terrorists over the protection of American lives.

Ryan keeps condemning Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country. He said he’d never heard of a presidential candidate pulling press credentials for a major media outlet, which Trump did to the Washington Post.

Now comes Trump’s campaign’s assertion that congressional GOP leaders need to support him all the way or “be quiet.”


Is there a breaking point? Is there a line that Trump can cross that would cause the speaker to take it all back?

I’m betting it’s out there. It also might not be as far in the distance as the speaker would have us believe.

Plans, after all, do have a way of changing.

Taliban aren’t ‘terrorists’?


Let us hit the reset button for a moment.

When the United States secured the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who’d been held captive by the Taliban for five years, the rationale was that the Taliban aren’t a “terrorist organization.” That’s what the White House press flack, Josh Earnest, said about the negotiation that led to Bergdahl’s release.

Our policy has been that we don’t negotiate with terrorists, Earnest said. Since the Taliban isn’t a terrorist outfit, well, that gave our side the opportunity to secure Bergdahl’s release from captivity in Afghanistan.

Then we awake this morning to news that at least 20 people have been killed in a terrorist attack at a Pakistan university.

Who took responsibility for the tragedy? The Taliban!

Someone has some explaining to do.

Many of us out here haven’t bought the notion that the Taliban is anything but a terrorist organization. The ultraconservative extremists have been terrorizing Muslim women for longer than any of us can remember. They’ve been denying citizens of Pakistan and Afghanistan access to education. How do they do that? By killing them.

Isn’t that the ultimate form of terror?

It appears to be time for President Obama’s national security team to take another look at how it defines the Taliban.

They got it wrong about this monstrous organization.

Bergdahl may be POTUS’s most stinging embarrassment


Barack Obama’s presidency is just about set to head into the home stretch.

I believe history over time will judge the Obama presidency well, even as many Americans now worry about the terror threat that, frankly, has been with us all along.

There likely will be a singular embarrassment, though, for the president that he might have to explain.

U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is facing a court-martial on two critical counts: desertion and endangering his unit. Bergdahl was the subject of a prisoner exchange in which our side gave up five Taliban fighters in exchange for Bergdahl, who’d been held by the Taliban for about five years.

Once Bergdahl came out, he was honored by Barack Obama in a White House ceremony that included his parents. The president spoke of how the U.S. military “never leaves comrades behind.” He spoke of Bergdahl as a hero.

Well, a military court is going to decide whether Bergdahl abandoned his post in Afghanistan and whether his conduct put his fellow soldiers in danger.

I’ve sought to withhold judgment on Bergdahl, preferring to let the court decide his guilt or innocence.

If the court-martial convicts him, then the president will have to explain to Americans the reason for giving him such a hero’s welcome. And, of course, there’s the issue of negotiating the release of five known Taliban terrorists — which is what they are, no matter that the administration refuses to label the Taliban as a “terrorist organization.”

This court-martial will be worth the nation’s attention.


Let’s slam door on immigrants? Uh … let’s not

First bricks of new house. Brick wall foundation isolated 3l illustration

Larry Kudlow used to believe in immigration reform.

Then he swilled the Kool-Aid being served up by the likes of Donald Trump.

Kudlow, in a National Review column, has posited a profoundly preposterous notion. He wants a nation built by immigrants to slam the door shut — temporarily, he says — on all future immigrants. Anyone coming here in search of a better life need to look elsewhere, he says.

Kudlow believes the nation needs to enact what he called a “wartime lockdown” while we fight the Islamic State and other terrorists.

The term “un-American” only begins to define, in my view, the outrageousness of such a proposal.

“There may be some unfairness to this. But I don’t care,” wrote Kudlow. “Wars breed unfairness, just as they breed collateral damage. We may set back tourism. We may anger Saudi princes whose kids are in American schools. But so be it. We need a wartime footing if we are going to protect the American homeland.”

Saudi princes aren’t the only folks we’d offend. How about offshore business tycoons who want to send their young executives here to set up shop, to do business with American clients? How about folks from all corners of the planet seeking to come here because they read somewhere that America is “the land of opportunity”?

While we’re at it, Mr. Kudlow, let’s be sure to sandblast the inscription off the Statue of Liberty, the one that welcomes the “tired and the poor” to our shores. Hey, if not sandblast it — given that he says his idea is just temporary — we can hang a black shroud over it.

Kudlow has changed his mind on immigration reform because we’re now at war. I agree that we are at war. We’ve been at war since 9/11. Truth be told, we likely should have declared war on terrorists even before that. We’ve known for decades about the existence of terrorists willing to commit unspeakable acts.

The 9/11 attacks acted as the proverbial two-by-four between our eyes. The bad guys got our attention.

Do we shut down our borders, though, to become a nation none of us recognizes while we fight this international scourge? No.

If we are going to continue to be the world’s exceptional nation, then we keep our border open, welcome those who want to come here — while remaining hyper-vigilant in our quest to prevent terrorists from infiltrating us — and we keep taking the fight to the enemy.


We are a nation of refugees


The debate over how — or whether — to welcome refugees to our land is continuing at full throttle.

It is dismaying to hear talk from presidential candidates that we should slam the door shut on Syrians — or Muslims — out of fear that some of them might be terrorists intent on harming Americans.

President Obama has declared several times, “That’s not who we are.”

Well, who are we?

By my reckoning, we are a nation founded and built by refugees.

You’ve learned about these individuals. They sailed to the New World to flee religious and political oppression. They came here in search of a new life. They encountered the indigenous population here and were met with mixed feelings by their new “hosts.”

The refugees persevered throughout most of the 17th century and into the 18th century. They rebelled eventually against the empire from which they had fled. They launched a revolution. The fighting ended in 1781 and a nation was created.

Those refugees then crafted a government built on a document that specified certain things. One of them would be that they would apply no religious test for those seeking political office.

However, some politicians today actually have said in the current climate that people of a certain religion are not “qualified” to seek public office. That’s not who we are, either.

Do we intend to live in fear? Are we doing to forsake the very principles on which those first refugees founded this great nation?

How about we take a break, look inward at just who we are as a people — as a nation?

How might those first refugees think of what has happened to their descendants and their reaction to world events?