Tag Archives: ISIS

‘Over the horizon’ reach? Is it enough?

Although I stand firmly behind President Biden’s decision to end our military involvement in Afghanistan — despite the horrifying rollout of the evacuation plan — I remain concerned about one aspect of our post-Afghan policy and posture.

It’s that “over the horizon” strategy the Pentagon, the White House and the intelligence community plan to employ to protect us from terrorists.

We went to war in Afghanistan 20 years ago to rid the nation of the Taliban hosts who gave al-Qaeda safe haven from which to plan and then launch an attack on 9/11. We rid the government of the Taliban. Now we’re giving it back to them. Wise call? Ultimately, it will save us lives, heartache, misery … not to mention money.

How do we plan to conduct intelligence-gathering in Afghanistan with no physical presence on the ground? President Biden assures us we have assets and know-how and resources to confront terrorists if they emerge to pose threats to us.

Thirteen of our military personnel died in that horrific suicide blast the other day. Joe Biden pledged to make ISIS “pay” for its act of terror. We struck ISIS with a drone strike, killing a couple of terrorist planners. Americans should applaud that effort. However, we still have human beings on the ground there.

In just a couple of days our presence will be gone.

What happens then? I know we have the best intelligence gatherers on Earth. Our director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, is among the best of the best at what she does. I retain faith in her ability and in those at the top of the Pentagon chain of command.

They will have to be on top of their game 24/7 … likely forever, if we’re going to remain safe from terrorists intent on doing bringing harm and misery to our shores.

I just hope they can do so “over the horizon.”

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Pledge for the ages

Rhetoric uttered in anger and pain, while we are grieving, does at times develop a certain staying power.

Right after 9/11, President Bush stood amid the rubble of what once were the Twin Towers in New York City, draped his arm around a firefighter and told the world through a bullhorn: “I hear you and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.”

Twenty years later, 13 American servicemen and women died when an Islamic State suicide bomber detonated an explosive device at Kabul airport where the United States has been conducting an evacuation of U.S. citizens and Afghan allies.

President Biden looked sternly straight ahead and said: “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.”

And so, there you have yet another statement for the ages born out of extreme anguish and pain.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Mission nearly accomplished

You may not include me among the critics of President Biden who are suggesting, without foundation, that our withdrawal from Afghanistan is a botched deal.

That it is a defeat. That we should be embarrassed. Ashamed. That we were whipped.

None of that happened on the battlefield.

Our evacuation of hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens and Afghans wanting out of the country is almost complete. The president is warning us of possible — and possibly likely — terrorist attacks as we complete our withdrawal.

I’ve heard some right-wing talking heads refer to the 1940 evacuation of British soldiers at Dunkirk as the way this kind of operation should go. They pillory Biden for what has happened in Afghanistan. I won’t go there.

The president made it clear that we would remove anyone who wanted out. From my vantage point it appears that we are about to achieve that goal.

Twenty years of combat in Afghanistan degraded al-Qaeda’s terror network. Yes, the Taliban seized control of the country more quickly than anyone imagined.

Ending a war cannot be done cleanly and without some hazard. We have learned to our great dismay that is the case as we end the Afghan War. The Islamic State has struck us; ISIS well might hit us again. The president has issued orders to the Pentagon to ensure maximum protection of our forces who are helping facilitate the evacuation.

So the evac plans will continue until the middle of next week. Then we will be done.

I am one American who wants the war to end. Accordingly, as soon as we get our forces out of there I will consider the mission has been accomplished.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Flags come down, nation mourns

Flags all across Princeton, Texas, are down this morning.

President Biden ordered the flags at the White House and all federal buildings lowered to half-staff to honor the victims of the ISIS attack at the Kabul airport. It looks to me as though businesses and local governments all over the nation are following the lead.

Too often we have seen these flags lowered because of school shootings or some other tragedy involving gun violence in this country. This one is vastly different, but no less tragic to be sure.

Our Marines and an Army warrior died when a terrorist detonated a suicide bomb at the airport. He killed dozens o Afghans along with our heroes who were helping with the evacuation of Americans and our allies from Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban takeover of that war-ravaged country.

Biden vows to end our evacuation on Aug. 31. I wish him well in that effort. There might be more terror attacks to come between now and then. The president vows to be on full alert to any hint of an attack.

He also has given the Islamic State warning. “We will hunt you down,” he told them, “and make you pay” for the misery they brought. I am quite sure many millions of Americans are going to hold him to that pledge.

Don’t let us down, Mr. President.

Meanwhile, we will grieve.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Terror group assumes new ID

The new No. 1 terrorist enemy of this nation — apart from the domestic goons who want to overturn an election — has morphed into a version of an old enemy.

The Islamic State today claimed credit for two explosions at Kabul’s airport in Afghanistan. Thirteen U.S. service personnel died in the blasts. I understand 12 of them were Marines; one of them was a Navy corpsman.

This nation is in the midst of an evacuation of U.S. citizens and Afghan allies who aided us during the two decades we fought the terrorists.

Now comes a group called ISIS-K, an offshoot of the monstrous ISIS. ISIS=K is thought to be an enemy of the Taliban, the Islamic fundamentalists who are taking control of Afghanistan as our forces get set to leave.

President Biden spoke strongly, earnestly and with outward conviction. Those who are responsible for the act today — one of the deadliest in the entire Afghan War — should understand that “we will hunt you down and make you pay,” Biden said.

Well, the last time we made that pledge — after the 9/11 attacks — we made good on it with the SEAL/CIA commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011.

I doubt seriously it will take us a decade to find the monsters who did this deed and “make them pay.”

I cannot know this for certain, but I am willing to lay down the wager of a lifetime that President Biden today got on the phone with Army Gen. Richard Clarke, the head of our special operations command, and delivered the order to hunt down the ISIS-K terrorists … and take them out.

But … first things first. Our crack intelligence team needs to find these creatures; it needs to confirm their location; then the strike needs to be planned and then executed.

My heart is broken today as we mourn the deaths of our service personnel. It does, though, appear to give credence to President Biden’s insistence that we exit the battlefield in just a few days. He said he feared terrorist attacks on our forces the longer we stay in the country.

Well, it happened.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Hit ’em hard, Mr. POTUS

President Biden no doubt is weighing his options on how to respond to the suicide attack at Kabul airport today.

Here’s a bit of advice from the peanut gallery, Mr. President.

If you know the Islamic State did it with a suicide bomber igniting the explosive that killed four of our precious Marines along with about 60 Afghans, then find out where they’re holed up and blast them to smithereens. 

It’s just me, Mr. President. I don’t have a dog in that fight, other than being a concerned American patriot waiting anxiously for the end of our evacuation effort to arrive.

The president has a crack national security team and an equally expert team of intelligence gatherers who are combing the region for clues as to where ISIS cowards are hiding.

I just hope that when we find them, we’ll send them to the gates of hell where they belong.

My heart is broken for he lives lost, especially those brave Marines who gave their last full measure of devotion. I also am in the mood for vengeance against the monster who did this dastardly deed.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Bin Laden mission needed time

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Americans are going to be marking a date over the weekend that should fill them with justifiable pride in the capabilities of our military special forces.

It was on May 1, 2011 that Navy SEALs and CIA commandos raided a compound in Pakistan and killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda and the mastermind of the 9/11 terror attack that had occurred a decade earlier.

Ten years have passed since that raid.

I want to talk briefly here about something that flew out of Donald Trump’s mouth not long after Army Special Forces killed the Islamic State leader on Trump’s watch.

The then-president suggested out loud that the bin Laden raid should have occurred far earlier than it did. Trump was crowing about the success his team had in finding Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and dispatching him. Why couldn’t the Special Forces Command do the same with bin Laden, Trump said.

The military commander of that mission was Admiral William McRaven, himself a SEAL and head of the Special Ops Command. It took McRaven’s team time to assemble and analyze all the intelligence it had collected on bin Laden’s location. Indeed, as President Obama said at the time, he wasn’t absolutely sure that bin Laden would be in the compound once the SEALs and the CIA spooks arrived. It was a gamble … but it paid off!

Thus, for Trump to denigrate the great work that anti-terrorism experts from the Bush and Obama administrations did to locate and to ascertain with some degree of certainty that their findings were correct simply went beyond the pale.

I am going to celebrate the victory our forces scored when they eliminated Osama bin Laden. No amount of cheap second-guessing ever would denigrate the courage of the commander in chief to issue the order and the extraordinary skill of the men who executed it.

Fight the home-grown terrorists

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Domestic terrorism has entered the current political debate.

It is about damn time!

For the past four years, we have paid too little attention, or exerted too little emotional capital on the scourge of domestic, home-grown, corn-fed terrorists who hide in plain sight in our midst.

They presented themselves in full force on the Sixth of January when they marched to Capitol Hill, smashed their way into the Capitol Building, killed five human beings and threatened to stop the democratic process of certifying the results of a free and fair election.

President Biden has introduced the term “domestic terrorists” to the current lexicon, reviving it in the face of what the entire world witnessed early this past month.

FBI Director Christopher Wray told congressional committee members in 2019 that domestic terrorists posed an exponentially greater threat to Americans’ security that foreign terrorists working for, say, ISIS or al-Qaeda.

Did the Donald Trump administration act on that statement? Did it call out the proverbial cavalry to answer the call to root out the terrorists? No. It didn’t. Instead, we heard the president of the United States say in 2017 that there were good people on “both sides” of a dispute that erupted in Charlottesville, Va., between counter protesters and — get this — the Ku Klux Klan, Nazis and assorted white supremacists.

Yep. Donald Trump sought to elevate the Klansmen and Nazis to the same moral level of those who fought against them.

That cannot continue. Thank goodness we now have a president, Joe Biden, who knows better than to utter such moronic rhetoric out loud. You see, words have consequences and it is time this nation deal forthrightly with the terrorists who live among us.

The leadership required to commence that fight has just taken office in Washington, D.C. I believe the battle must be fought at least as long and hard as we are fighting the overseas enemies … and we mustn’t back away from calling what they are.

Terrorists.

Trump’s recklessness roils the military high command

Donald J. “Corporal Bone Spurs” Trump once boasted that he knows “more than the generals about ISIS.” Actually, he doesn’t.

However, he is the commander in chief and I guess that gives him license to say things that are demonstrably false.

So, here we are. The commander in chief has overruled some senior military commanders regarding the status of a convicted Navy SEAL. In so doing the president has turned up the volume of dissent among the men and women who are charged with implementing military policy.

There is talk now about a serious “morale problem” among our vaunted military ranks.

I’ll back up for just a moment. Navy Petty Officer Edward Gallagher was convicted of posing with the corpse of an enemy fighter in Iraq. The Navy wanted to strip him of his SEAL Trident pin. The president intervened. He said Gallagher should keep his Trident. The Navy secretary, Richard Spencer, disagreed. Defense Secretary Mark Esper fired Spencer, who has spent the past few days criticizing Trump for his failure to understand “military order and discipline” and how it’s vital to operating the finest military apparatus in human history.

This tumult is working its way up and down the chain of command and through the ranks of the military personnel.

The commander in chief is empowered to do whatever he wishes. However, with this president — with zero military experience — there well might be a major price to pay if he continues to engender resentment among the individuals we thrust into harm’s way.

Make no mistake: Trump is not the first man with no military experience to serve as commander in chief. It’s just that he blathers so maddeningly about how much he purports to know about military matters.

On that score, this president is an ignoramus.

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.