Posts Tagged Terrorism
I read this excellent column, by Solomon Jones, a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, reprinted in The Miami Herald. It is a fitting response to Donald Trump’s obnoxious behavior, in heckling Sadiq Khan, the Lord Mayor of London, while he is leading his City, during it’s Time of Sorrow. Realistically, I believe that Mr. Jones has unveiled Donald Trump’s true intentions: No, not America First, his arrogance suggests “Me First!”
When three terrorists killed seven people and wounded 48 in the London Bridge terror attack on Saturday, London Mayor Sadiq Khan released a statement expressing grief and resolve. Then he told Londoners they should not be alarmed by an increased police presence.
Shortly afterward, President Trump renewed a monthslong feud between the two men by attacking Khan’s statement via Twitter.
“At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’” Trump tweeted.
That reply — based on the wrongheaded notion that Khan was somehow minimizing the attack — was about more than targeting a man who’d called Trump’s views of Islam “ignorant.” It was a message that is in keeping with Trump’s overall goal.
Trump, after all, wants to ban travelers from six majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States. After federal courts blocked the ban, the Trump administration appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which could hear the case this month.
Trump is not waiting for the courts to decide, however. He is attempting to win in the court of public opinion. If that means exploiting the dead in the wake of a London terror attack, he is willing to do so. Perhaps more troubling, Trump is ready to do everything he can to convince us that Muslims — no matter what positions they attain in Western societies — are not to be respected.
Belittling London’s first Muslim mayor on the world stage delivers that message.
Sadiq Khan is a well-respected, British-born Muslim of Pakistani descent. Born to working-class parents in south London, he earned a law degree from the University of North London and climbed the political ladder. He did so even as the British were fashioning the Brexit campaign around the resentment of people who looked and prayed like Khan.
Khan did everything Western society tells brown people to do. He worked hard. He sought an education. He rose through the ranks. He assimilated.
And still, it isn’t enough, because Sadiq Khan is a Muslim, and in the worldview Trump would have us adopt, Khan should be judged on that basis alone.
That kind of prejudice undergirds the very notion of a travel ban, because it assumes that anyone from a particular country who practices a certain faith must have terrorist leanings. It assumes that they inherently possess certain characteristics that make it necessary to treat them differently.
Prejudice feeds the false notion that such people are always dangerous, whether they are employed or unemployed, leaders or followers, doctors or lawyers, councilmen or mayors.
They’re all alike.
That mindset allows us to paint people with the broadest of brushes. I know, because that same mindset allowed America to embrace slavery, Jim Crow and the disproportionate economic and social outcomes that both systems produced.
If we believe they’re all alike, then we can establish a Muslim registry, as Trump suggested on the campaign trail.
If they’re all alike, we can have a “complete and total shutdown of Muslims” coming to the United States, which Trump also said on the campaign trail.
If they’re all alike, it doesn’t matter whether they’re Osama bin Laden or Sadiq Khan. They all have the same intentions. They all walk in lockstep. They all look alike, sound alike and think alike.
So why do I care if Trump peddles this kind of foolishness? Because that’s what America said about my people. Such reasoning was used to justify everything from enslavement to lynching to segregation to murder. And it began with attacking our leaders.
Black luminaries from Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack Obama were criticized, demeaned and disrespected, all in an effort to show the world that blacks, no matter their achievements, are unworthy of respect.
I recognize that same mindset in the attempt to ban Muslims from our country. Moreover, I see it in Trump’s apparent effort to demean Khan in front of the world.
Khan is not taking the abuse lying down, nor should he. But seven people were killed in the city he governs, and, as Khan’s staff pointed out after reading several insulting tweets from Trump, Khan has a lot to do right now.
He has to lead.
I only wish our president would stop tweeting long enough to do the same.
Solomon Jones is a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. Readers may email him at email@example.com
The horror of the terrorist bombing, at last week’s Adriana Grande concert in Manchester, was indeed horrific. And, as always happens with a young crowd, there were children among those killed. Before responding to those evil acts, I believe that the British Authorities are currently trying to determine the “Who” and “Why”, before they establish a Plan of Action. Everything must be analyzed in detail. (Sorry, Donald!)
But, is the life of a child any more valuable than that of: a young mother, on a night-out, who works to support her young children; the middle-aged husband and father, who teaches in one of the poorest high schools in town; or the retired couple, accompanying their grandchildren? Is one life worth more than another, especially when our very essence can be snuffed-out at any time…in a flash?
To me, all life is equally important; however, when it is one a yours—a spouse, a son or daughter, a grandchild; obviously you look at death differently. I truly understand that! And it doesn’t have to be terrorists to strike at our hearts, and at our very souls. What did it take the mentally unstable mass murderer, at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Connecticut, to execute 20 first graders; or the drive-by gang shooting, taking the life of a little seven year-old girl, playing on her front porch in Miami?
When terrorists use bombs or automatic weapons to kill those who are enjoying life, having fun and not particularly hating anyone, there is no selectivity as to who dies in such attacks. Consider that there were also a number of Muslims who worked at the World Trade Center, and were killed when Saudi terrorists crashed jetliners into the Twin Towers. Once again, by such desperate acts, the terrorists merely reflect their own ignorance, hatred and insecurities.
The murder of anyone—regardless of sex, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual preference— is equally horrendous. I prefer not to point to those of any one group as being particularly saddening, however, because that implies a higher value, to some lives, and perhaps, a lesser importance to others.
And lets’s not kid ourselves: as a nation, we Americans do not have clean hands. Just consider how many civilians have been needlessly killed—“collateral damage”, it’s called—in the unnecessary wars in which America has engaged. Therefore, in a way, we are no better than the terrorists!
#1. I am including a prior post, written just after the Paris Attacks, in November 2015. In it, there is a marvelous letter, from “Le Monde”, written by the father of an infant, advising his little son—when he grows-up—not to hate the people who killed his mother. It’s good advice for Britons, and its good advice for us!
#2. I am also including a post, from the “In Saner Thought” blog, which I have recently come across, and follow. The linked post gave me the idea of placing the terrorist attacks, which caused the deaths of children, into some sort of context.
On Thursday, Donald’s Trump’s (not ours, anymore) Military dropped a GBU-43, a 22,000 pound bomb, on a series of suspected ISIS caves, in the Achin district of Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. Various Jihadist groups—such as al-Qaeda, ISIS and the Taliban—have located their training camps in such areas over the years. Perhaps, Donald feels that he displayed some humane restraint by not going all-out, and using the even larger GBU-77, which weighs 30,000 pounds.
The benefit of this area, near Pakistan, enables the terrorists fighters to cross the border, when they are feel threatened. And then, they return to their caps, once the danger has passed. Thursday’s show-of-force serves no purpose–besides enabling the generals to play with their “Toys of War. Meanwhile, when the Big Show subsides, the residents of those caves will merely find similar accommodations nearby.
Terrorists organizations, and perhaps ISIS more than others, operate as independently controlled cells, located around the world. Like the Hydra of Greek Mythology, when the head of one is cut-off, the hydra just grows two more. And in this case, there is no one head or one cell, to begin with. So, as we found in literally every war since Vietnam, superior firepower can “Win the battles, but lose the War!”
In fact, such outlandish demonstrations generally accomplish little when the assumed audience remains mired in the age of donkeys and mud huts. And, while Thursday’s absurd detonation will possibly provide ISIS with valuable recruiting propaganda, it is most important to remember that those donkeys can traverse the hills of Afghanistan, while our tanks cannot! In fact, such demonstrations of firepower do little to enhance our image, or win friends, in the Developing World!
The next Federal Budget hasn’t been finalized; however, the Trump Regime had suggested slashing the State Department and Health and Human Services, while increasing our Defense Budget, which is already as large as those of the next ten countries combined. Just think how cost-effective it would be to spend that same money, through State and HHS, to: build hospitals and schools; fight malaria and tuberculosis; and provide clean water and electric power. In other words, we could get more bang-for-the-buck, and enhance our reputation–by doing Good!
Donald Trump has a reputation for: his ignorance about complex issues; excessive hubris; and surrounding himself with Yes-Men. Although he boasts about having generals in his Cabinet, I seriously wonder whether he even listens to them! But, I am still concerned about what this fool might do next! And now, Mr. Trump has, once again, raised the issue of a pre-emptive strike on North Korea. Need I say more?
The attached Miami Herald article, from parent McClatchy Washington Bureau, suggested yesterday that the bombastic attack, on a maze of reinforced caves in Afghanistan, might have all been for naught.
The following video is analogous to Donald Trump’s personal reaction to his BIG BANG! Once again, he just played through it!
trumpAnyone with TV or broadband access, undoubtedly saw videos of the dead and wounded, following a poison gas attack, in Syria on Tuesday. The U. S. responded with a massive 59 Tomahawk Missile attack on the Shayrat Airfield, the base which the U. S. believes that the planes, loaded with the Sarin-laden bombs, took-off from. Russia helicopters also uses that base, however! It is unclear as to whether the Syrians, or the Russians, heeded the advanced-warning of the attack; however, there did not appear to be any aircraft debris on the field, in photos that I saw on the following day.
It is commonly believed that, since the War began six years ago, President Bashar Assad’s forces have killed 500,000 of his own people. The photos of dead and wounded, after the Sarin air strike, were horrible to watch; but still, I remember the lifeless body of a three year-old boy, a couple of years ago, who drowned while crossing the Mediterranean, with his mother and brother. That still photo reminded me of just about any small child, just curled-up sleeping; but, that small boy was dead! Why hasn’t anyone acted before—the U. S., Russia, the U. N., the Arab League, etc? How approaching this problem like the seven nation Nuclear Agreement with Iran?
Why didn’t Donald Trump delay the meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, iust a day or two, so that he could devote his full attention to the missile attack? Or, he could have changed the venue to the White House, rather than to his Mar-a-Lago estate. How much time did the two presidents, and their various advisors waste, in flying down to Palm Beach? And that faux “situation room”, with flags a-flutter, truly looked just like a group of businessmen waiting for their dinner reservation. The flags were a photo-op give-away, in a room where tough decisions were charaded to be made? And, no jackets off. sleeves rolled-up?
In a recent post, I had suggested that Congress needs to reaffirm its sole authority to Declare War! Whether we like it or not, Syria is a sovereign state. Also, as a signatory to the United Nations Charter, we can only use military force on another country’s soil, either with its consent, in cases of self-defense or with the approval of the U. N.
As morally warranted as last Thursday’s attacks might have been, what the Trump Regime did was unconstitutional, and also against International Law. The U. S. Department of Defense justified the attack as being: “intended to deter the regime from using chemical weapons again,” That is clearly NONSENSE!.
An initial use of force against an enemy, by the way, would generally be the first of several, or ,many, narrowly-focused actions, designed to progress toward a long-range, strategic mission. So far, however, since no end-game has been revealed, it certainly appears that the Trump Regime is just making this up as it goes along!
During the Administration of President (and former General) Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Defense Department formulated its “First Offset Strategy”, which has always been expected to be an on-going blueprint, for keeping militarily our superiority over the Soviet Union. Ike’s Plan was to take advantage of on-going advanced technological applications within our weapons arsenal. Currently, that top tier of adversaries is composed of Russia and China, with lesser adversaries grouped accordingly. Two years ago, Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work, described the newest version of that blueprint, the “Third Offset Strategy”, to a group of U. S. partners and allies. In his presentation, Mr. Work said:
“While the United States and our closest allies fought two lengthy wars over the past 13 years, the rest of our — the rest of the world and our potential adversaries were seeing how we operated. They looked at our advantages. They studied them. They analyzed them. They looked for weaknesses. And then they set about devising ways to counter our technological over-match.”
Donald Trump boasts about his unpredictability. After the Election in November, when he received the full Presidential Briefing, he allegedly asked: “Since we have nuclear weapons, why don’t we use them?” So here we are, just three days after the (conventional) attack on Syria, and he’s already talking about installing nuclear weapons in South Korea. He had also suggested sending a (presumed) special ops team to assassinate Kim Jong-Un, the Supreme Leader of nuclear-armed North Korea.
Donald Trump boasts about being unpredictable and, with his lack of any clearly defined strategic objectives, as well as his total disregard for the Rule of Law, I am deeply concerned about the potential outcome. He does;t seem to realize that Power Kills, and that means real people’s lives! Under his misguided “Leadership”, Donald Trump could transform America into just another irrational state, but with a vast nuclear arsenal!
Given Mr. Trump’s unprecedented conceit, he doesn’t realize how ignorant he is about: knowing where the Syrian attack might lead America to militarily; the disapproval that the recent action might bring from the International Community; the ramifications from ignoring the U. S. Constitution and the International Rule of Law…and, now he wants to “Do it again”–in North Korea. The GOP seems enamored with him; but, only so they can push through their Draconian laws. But, when will the American People put a stop to this Megalomaniac?
Over the past couple of years, the political environment among many Americans has become heated. Friend against friend, neighbor on neighbor, they are now embattled; but, they often know little more than the political slogans or the soundbites, and there is little focus, if any, on understanding, either the underlying causes, or finding possible solutions.
Over the next several weeks, I intend to describe some of these issues—how they appear on the surface, and what, I believe, the underlying problems might be. If Americans wish to work together, we can possibly find workable solutions. But first, we need to take the political boxing gloves off, and discard our biased emotions.
For some of these problems, I have already posted blogs: the Infrastructure Scam; the impact of Immigration Policy on our economy; Institutionalized Racism in our Public Schools, etc. But, only when we consider these issues, as part of a greater, and even more important, problem—Preventing the Destruction of America—might we possibly find solutions!
I don’t claim to have all of he answers or, perhaps, even know all of the questions. But, if America keeps festering from within, What Will We Become?
Donald: Do you remember when, following the horrendous attacks in Paris, fourteen months ago, President Francois Holland advised the French to go about their normal business? And, even during the Darkest Hours of World War II, before America joined in, Prime Minister Winston Churchill similarly warned the British People: “(to) Never give in. Never, ever give in…”
Over the past several years, there have been a number of terrorist attacks, literally, in every corner of the world. Afterward, in every single instance, the People have refused to cower in fear, and they have chosen to live their lives—as free, and caring, people do. Think, Donald, aren’t we supposed to be the “Land of the Free…?”
Antoine Leiris, perhaps responded best, in Le Monde, in an open Letter to the Terrorists. He addressed them directly, and told them about the loss of his wife, “The Love of my Life”.
Madam Muyal-Leiris was one of 129 people, who were needlessly murdered, at The Bataclan Nightclub, on November 13, 2015. Mon. Leiris goes on to advise them that he will not teach his 17 month-old son, Melvil, to hate them. That Letter is quoted from Le Monde, as follows:
“On Friday night you stole the life of an exceptional being, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you won’t have my hatred.
I don’t know who you are and I don’t want to know – you are dead souls. If this God for which you kill indiscriminately made us in his own image, every bullet in the body of my wife will have been a wound in his heart.
So no, I don’t give you the gift of hating you. You are asking for it but responding to hatred with anger would be giving in to the same ignorance that made you what you are.
You want me to be afraid, to view my fellow countrymen with mistrust, to sacrifice my freedom for security. You have lost.
I saw her this morning. Finally, after many nights and days of waiting. She was just as beautiful as when she left on Friday night, just as beautiful as when I fell hopelessly in love over 12 years ago.
Of course I’m devastated with grief, I admit this small victory, but it will be short-lived. I know she will accompany us every day and that we will find ourselves in this paradise of free souls to which you’ll never have access.
We are two, my son and I, but we are stronger than all the armies of the world.
I don’t have any more time to devote to you, I have to join Melvil who is waking up from his nap. He is barely 17-months-old. He will eat his meals as usual, and then we are going to play as usual, and for his whole life this little boy will threaten you by being happy and free.”
Donald, how can you possibly “Make America Great Again”, by pulling-in the Welcome Mat over which, both your forebears and mine stepped? When you close the borders, even for one moment, you are giving-in to hatred, intolerance and cruelty. And furthermore, that Ban will merely act as a recruiting tool for the terrorists, and just “Make America their Number One Target!”
Soon after he announced his candidacy for President, in June of last year, besides his attacking virtually every faction in the American Demographic, Donald Trump began to suggest that a President Trump would strive for Isolationism and Protectionism. Contrary to common sense, Donald boasted that the nations overseas love him. That’s just par for the ignorance that seems to engulf Trump.
When I check-in with foreign media, from time-to-time, I’m just not seeing that love for Donald Trump. Au contraire, other than Presidents Vladimir Putin, of Russia, and Xi Jinping, of China, most world leaders and their seem advisors seem to detest him. Accordingly, I am linking recent articles , which seem representative of what I have been reading in various foreign periodicals on a regular basis.
The Guardian, of the United Kingdom, represents the nation from which we inherited most of our political philosophy. The “Forget Gary Johnson.” article refers to the Libertarian’s apparent lack of Foreign Affairs awareness, but Dave Schilling then goes on to predict that a Donald Trump Presidency would be one long “Aleppo” moment.
The “Spiegel”, of Germany, reports that the German Administration has had low-level contact with the Trump Campaign, just in case he wins the Election. Perhaps one of the most poignant comments, was made by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier who recently described Trump as a “preacher of hatred.”
The linked article from The Sydney Morning Herald reflects a quite interested following of our Presidential Campaign, literally from the other side of the world. This report is in regard to Donald Trump’s comments at a town hall meeting, that very same day, for a retired veteran’s group in Virginia, last Monday. In them, Trump suggests that veterans with mental health issues are not strong. Donald, you’re a “Chicken Hawk”: when these guys went off to war, you searched for a doctor to give you a mythical medical deferment! Besides, most health care practitioners are trying to advance mental health into the mainstream acceptance.
The Editorial from the Japan Times—one of the two countries that would be most directly impacted by a Chinese invasion of North Korea (as mentioned in my last post)—cites the difference between Secretary Clinton’s preparedness and Donald Trump’s vagaries. It cites his comments on using nuclear weapons: “When asked about nuclear weapons, Trump first said that ‘I would certainly not do first strike.’” But later, he added: “At the same time, we have to be prepared. I can’t take anything off the table.”.
The article from the Miami Herald, by Andres Oppenheimer, suggests that every single nation in Latin America, even the pro-America ones, to significantly shift the the Left—and away from a President Donald J. Trump. I have found Mr. Oppenheimer to be one of the most knowledgable writers in analyzing the Americas, and sort-out where we might be headed.
In an oversight, I forgot to include our friends to the North, in Canada. The columnist for The Globe and Mail, of Toronto, asked the question that every Republican–even those who do not endorse him–must come forward and rebuke him. All three of President Ronald Reagan’s children have done so. It’s time to step forward, en masse!
Over the past several weeks, Donald Trump have moved from one pot of hot water to the next. It’s hard to believe that many in the Republican Party do not take action, mindless of the downward slope that he is taking the GOP on. As the much-belovedauthor and,poet Maya Angelou once said: “When people show you who they are, believe them!”