Tag Archives: 9/11

How can we declare victory?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Twenty years ago, the United States decided to retaliate against the monsters who attacked us on 9/11.

I recall asking back then: How will we be able to know when to end this war against international terrorism? I also wondered how we can declare victory in a war that might seem to have no end.

Well, one aspect of that war is coming to a conclusion. President Biden has ordered all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, which had given safe haven to the terrorists who hit us on 9/11.

My questions remain the same today as they were when I posed them back in 2001. President Biden has made what amounts to an executive decision. The time has come, he said, to end the war. How does he know that? Well, he hasn’t explained that to us in terms that I have heard.

As for a victory declaration … there won’t be anything of the sort. We will see no “Mission Accomplished” banner hanging across the White House portico.

Indeed, the decision carries plenty of risk. The Taliban are on the march in Afghanistan. The future of women and children in that country now become tenuous. Biden’s predecessor as POTUS sought to negotiate with the terrorists; it didn’t go well for either side.

To be honest, it has been a haphazard withdrawal. There is no clear plan to offer safety for the thousands of contractors who worked with our forces during the Afghan War. I will retain plenty of hope that the president will come up with a plan to provide refuge for the translators and others who assisted our men and women on the battlefield.

However, a war against international terror cannot possibly signal that we have defeated the terrorists, that we have eliminated the threat. Indeed, the threat was always there, always lurking just below the surface, just beyond our consciousness.

It will be there even as we exit the field of battle in Afghanistan.

Waiting for next ‘greatest generation’

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The nation is about to say goodbye to yet another Fourth of July holiday and it gives me pause to reflect on a conversation I had a few days ago with a North Texas gentleman who offered an observation I felt compelled in the moment to challenge.

He told me he was unsure that today’s young people would be able to storm the beaches of Normandy the way they did on June 6, 1944 when Allied forces launched the campaign to liberate Europe from the tyranny that had gripped it tightly.

I begged to differ from my friend’s view. “Oh yes they would,” I told him. I said my only hope that be that there would be no need for them to mobilize and to act the way our parents and grandparents did.

I long have saluted the Greatest Generation, the 16 million Americans who suited up for World War II. Of that total, fewer than 400,000 are still with us. My dad was one of them. So were several of my uncles and my father-in-law. They’re all gone now and I honor their heroic acts damn near daily.

I do not believe,  though, that they will be final generation of Americans to step. Indeed, the 9/11 generation is full of incidents of young men and women signing up for active military duty on the day the terrorists struck us on that horrifying day, much like my own dad did when Pearl Harbor was attacked on Dec. 7, 1941.

The annals of heroism are full of episodes of greatness among the current generation of young Americans who are fighting for their country. They, too, are facing unique obstacles as they battle face to face with enemies of our way of life.

They are the heirs of the Greatest Generation who, I am convinced, are set to forge their own path to greatness. I am proud of them.

Declaring victory?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President George W. Bush responded with strength and resolve nearly 20 years ago when terrorists declared war on this country.

He ordered the military into Afghanistan  to overthrow the government that had given the monsters safe haven. The war against international terror had begun.

I said at the time that I wondered how in the world we could declare victory. How could we ever know when we have defeated this enemy? I likened it a bit to the semi-cavalier approach espoused by the late, great Republican U.S. Sen. George Aiken of Vermont who said during the Vietnam War that we should “just declare victory and go home.”

President Biden has in a sense declared victory against the terrorists. He is bringing home the remaining U.S. troops from Afghanistan no later than Sept. 11, the 20th year since the beginning of the longest war in U.S. history.

We didn’t start this conflict, but today Biden declared that we are about to finish this particular phase of it.

My fervent hope is that we remain on the highest alert possible for any future evil intent. I heard the president say that it is time for us to look forward, that the terrorist movement has “metastasized” and moved into many other areas of the world. It is time, he said, for us to focus our efforts beyond the Afghan battlefield.

Joe Biden is not wild-eyed. He does not strike me as being prone to making decisions based on hunches and gut feelings. The president is a studied creature of the government he now leads.

I do hope with all that I can muster that he can remove the relative handful of troops from the field of battle while ensuring that we can remain focused sharply on danger when it presents itself. That we can take a proactive posture against threats to our nation.

We do possess the nation’s strongest military apparatus. A first-rate intelligence service complements that force with seasoned and dedicated professionals. We also have a commander in chief who listens and acts on the advice and counsel he receives from the pros who are trained to deliver it.

Can we truly declare victory on the Afghan killing fields? I hope that is the case.

Biden: Bring troops home

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It is with guarded optimism — with the emphasis on “guarded” — that I welcome the pending end of our nation’s longest war as announced today by President Biden.

The president today declared his intention to have all U.S. combat troops removed from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 20 years after what has been called simply “9/11.”

Terrorists hijacked jetliners and flew them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on that horrific day. A fourth jetliner became the scene of a fight between heroic passengers and terrorists and crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. We went to war that day.

Joe Biden today, in effect, declared a form of “victory” in our fight against international terrorism. He wants to end our combat involvement in Afghanistan, where the Taliban gave safe harbor to al-Qaeda terrorists, enabling them to plot and execute the ghastly terrorist attack that drew us into the longest conflict in our nation’s history.

At roughly the halfway point in that struggle, our special forces killed the 9/11 mastermind, Osama bin Laden.

To be sure, the terror threat cannot possibly be extinguished ever. It was there all along, prior to 9/11 and afterward. Indeed, President Biden today acknowledged that threat and vowed to deploy all available counter- and anti-terrorist strategies to protect us against further attacks.

I hope with all my heart that he succeeds in this effort. I no longer want to send our young men and women into battle. That doesn’t mean, though, that we ever let our guard down against threats such as what befell us on 9/11.

I remain dubious that the Taliban can be trusted as a negotiating partner. Thus, it is imperative that we keep our military on the highest level of preparedness moving past the date set for our withdrawal from the Afghan battlefield.

Joe Biden reminded us that four U.S. presidents — George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Biden — all have dealt with this conflict. President Biden vowed today he wouldn’t hand it to a fifth commander in chief.

I want to applaud this decision. However, I will hold off on that hand-clapping when we can know for certain that we have ended forever the threats of violence that can come at a moment’s notice.

Transition proves tough

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The transition from the presidency of Donald John Trump to Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. has proved tougher than I anticipated.

From a blogger’s standpoint, Trump kept me energized damn near daily with commentary to offer; Biden, meanwhile, is essentially keeping a low center of gravity … which I am certain is a good thing.

I am left, then, to think of what kind of former presidency awaits the 45th White House occupant. How does this guy spend his remaining time on Earth? Will he bask in the reflected glory of having served a single term as president? Or will he continue to live under the ruse of the Big Lie that he keeps telling, the one about alleged electoral thievery by the guy who beat him?

There might come a time when the former presidents gather in one place. It might a funeral for one of them. It might be an event that President Biden decides to host that calls on his predecessors to attend. What might that be? Let’s see, we’ll be commemorating the 20th anniversary of 9/11 later this year. There might be an event at the White House or the Pentagon, or at the World Trade Center in Manhattan that compels the former presidents to show up.

Surely we would see Presidents Bush and Obama there, yes? I mean, 9/11 occurred on Bush’s watch and Obama approved the mission that killed Osama bin Laden. President Clinton is no stranger to comforting a nation grieving over tragedy, which he did after the Oklahoma City bombing. President Carter’s health might not allow him to be there.

What about Donald Trump? Does he get invited to attend such an event?

I am thinking he is going to live out his days as an outcast from this exclusive club of former U.S. commanders in chief. It doesn’t matter one damn bit to me whether he ever rehabilitates himself sufficiently to be welcomed back, or whether he would even feel suited to accept an invitation, were one to be extended.

There might come a day when these thoughts won’t invade my skull. Man, I hope it gets here in a hurry.

Time for thorough examination

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald John Trump’s impeachment trial is over.

The ex-president will walk away and hole up in his luxurious resort way down yonder. Fine. Good riddance.

However, the wreckage that befell the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 needs a careful examination. Recall that in the wake of 9/11, President Bush formed a blue-ribbon, bipartisan commission to look carefully at how to eliminate the kind of national security breach that occurred on that terrible day. The commission, led by Republican former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean and Democratic former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton of Indiana, resulted in — among other things — the creation of a new Cabinet department, Homeland Security.

The results? We haven’t been hit in that fashion in the two decades after that attack.

Why not form a similarly constituted commission now to take a deep dive into the myriad causes of the riot that erupted on the very day that Congress was meeting to certify the 2020 presidential election? As bad as the event unfolded, it could have been much more tragic.

We need to examine how the security broke down and search for remedies to repair it. We need to examine carefully reports of its pre-planning, who was involved, and seek to root out their motives. There needs to be a careful, thorough and unvarnished accounting for all the factors that led to this monstrous attack on our democratic process … and on the very free-election foundation of our government.

President Biden has many contacts associated — past and present — with the federal government. Surely he can find competent, reasonable, fair-minded individuals to serve on this committee to start peeling away the conspiratorial layers that produced this heinous attack.

We need answers and solutions to how we can prevent a recurrence of this monstrous act.

Patriots? No, perverts!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

How about this bit of symmetry?

The terrorists who stormed Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 at Donald Trump’s inciteful rhetoric were no more “patriots” than the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11, supposedly in the name of Islam.

The Trump terrorists were perverts to patriotism, just as the 9/11 terrorists had perverted a great religion.

The more I see the video of the Jan. 6 terrorist riot and hear them screaming their “love” of country while beating cops with Old Glory-adorned flag poles, the more I think of the monstrous terrorist attack on 9/11.

I make no apologies for connecting those events. The mob that sought to disrupt Congress from doing its constitutional duty of ratifying the Electoral College vote that elected Joe Biden as president was every bit as heinous as terrorists who do their deeds in the name of Islam.

I know that the death count on Capitol Hill doesn’t begin to  match the pain inflicted on 9/11. I am making no connection on that level.

Instead I merely am attaching degrees of perversion between the groups of fanatics. I see practically no difference between those who attacked us on 9/11 and those who attacked our sacred government on Jan. 6.

Yes, Dr. Dean, they’re ‘Muslim terrorists’ | High Plains Blogger

Get to the root of the Capitol Hill riot

(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Those of us who are old enough to remember it likely would provide the same answer to this question: What is the most serious security breach in our nation’s history?

I would answer: 9/11. Terrorists flew three passenger jets into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and could have crashed a fourth jetliner into the Capitol Building were it not for the bravery of the passengers who fought them for control of the jet and crashed it into a field in Pennsylvania.

The tragedy of 9/11 prompted a thorough investigation into what went wrong and it produced some important reforms in the fight against international terrorism.

Now we have another monumental security breakdown staring us in the face. It occurred this past Wednesday when rioters stormed up Capitol Hill and ransacked the Capitol Building. They sent members of Congress – as well as Vice President Mike Pence – scurrying for cover. They were gathered to perform a pro forma constitutional act of ratifying the Electoral College vote that declared Joe Biden elected president of the United States. Donald Trump sought to contest that result and, well, he has contested it in hideous fashion!

Now comes the question: What in the name of national security happened and how did the D.C. Metro Police Department, the Capitol Police, and the Secret Service not respond more forcefully and quickly to the mayhem that was unfolding?

I am one American patriot who believes we need to create another blue-ribbon, bipartisan commission to study in detail what went wrong and provide solutions for how to prevent this kind of tragedy from recurring.

I also am one of millions of Americans who was horrified at what I watched on my TV screen. Donald Trump exhorted the rioters to march on Capitol Hill and “take back” the government. The rioters began their march and then all hell broke loose.

A commission charged with finding answers would have many questions to probe. They include:

  • Given Donald Trump’s threat that “something big” would occur on Jan. 6, why wasn’t the Capitol Building swarming with security personnel who could repel the advance of the rioters?
  • Why did some of the cops appear to many of us seem to assist rioters into the building?
  • Others have posed this notion, but I’ll repeat it here: Had the rioters been ransacking the Capitol been Black Lives Matter protesters, there is little doubt that police would have reacted much differently than they did with the pro-Trump mob. The question: Is that a valid assertion?

Was there a massive breakdown in security of our nation’s government? I want answers. I believe a blue-ribbon commission given free rein to search for the truth can provide the answers we need to hear.

BLOGGER’S NOTE: A version of this blog was posted initially on KETR-FM’s website.

Blogging is just so much fun

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I once thought that the terror attacks on 9/11 broke open a dam for opinion writers. I went through a lengthy spell while writing opinions for a daily newspaper that I had to confront more topics that I could comment on each day.

My task after 9/11 became difficult: I had to decide what I could set aside for another day.

I left daily journalism more than eight years ago. I now am a full-time blogger. I am relearning now that the Donald Trump Era of American politics has given me a new surge in subjects on which I can comment.

Soon, though, the Trump Era will come to a merciful end. I am hopeful for a new day in American politics. President Joe Biden promises to restore our national soul. I hope he does. Our soul is in dire need of restoration.

If he does, then I hope that the trove of topics on which to comment will remain full. I am going to use this blog to offer all manner of opinion on issues of the day.

It gives me reason to keep on blogging.

What happened to Rudy?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I have been thinking of the tragedies that have emerged from Donald Trump’s term as president and I come up — so far — with just one tragic story.

It involves Rudy Giuliani, who’s now serving as Trump’s lead lawyer in the futile and feckless fight to overturn the results of the election Trump lost this month to President-elect Biden.

I mean, I have to collect myself a bit just to comprehend what has happened to the man who’s gone from hero to zero in the span of roughly two decades.

There he was, standing with President Bush after the 9/11 attacks on his city and the Pentagon. Giuliani served as NYC mayor. He became “America’s mayor.” Time magazine named him its person of the year in 2001 for the courage he demonstrated in helping his city  clean itself up after the wreckage that the terrorists delivered on that terrible day.

Before that the mayor served as a crime-fighting, mob-busting federal prosecutor.

I watch the videos of him from back in the post-9/11 era and wonder: What in the name of God in heaven happened to this guy?

He has devolved into a shill for Donald Trump. These days he is fomenting crazy and utterly stupid conspiracy theories about phony election fraud allegations. Did you saw him sweating during that presser this week, with hair dye dripping down both sides of his face? My goodness!

Rudy was ridiculous, citing a scene from “My Cousin Vinny” as evidence in a wacky conspiracy theory.

Well, you know all that. You know that America’s mayor has become America’s fool. I don’t know how you might feel about the deterioration of this once-stellar public servant. I will stand by my view that we are witnessing a tragedy in the making.

It saddens me beyond measure.