When It Comes to Defeating Terrorists, Take the Win

Back in 2011, when word spread across the news media that Osama bin Laden had finally been brought to justice, I remember a friend (a fellow Republican) turning to me and saying, “Obama’s going to get credit for this, isn’t he?”

My answer to that friend was, “So?”

I wasn’t interested in the political fallout. I was just glad that the leader of Al-Qaeda — the man primarily responsible for the deaths of thousands of people on 9/11 — had answered for his crimes, and was no longer around to take more innocent lives. It was a great day for America, regardless of one’s political leanings.

I did understand where my friend was coming from, however. As I wrote in a piece in 2012, where I defended Obama’s use of a campaign video bragging up his leadership role in the successful raid on the Bin Laden compound, there was some glaring irony tied to that part of the president’s legacy:

It was the controversial intelligence and interrogation techniques put in place by the Bush administration that ultimately led the CIA to Bin Laden. These were the very techniques that Obama adamantly condemned while he ran for the presidency. For nearly four years, the Obama administration has routinely blamed the poor state of the country on a situation he inherited from Bush. Yet, he’s now running on one of the very few successes he’s enjoyed as president – one that came to fruition from policies he also inherited from Bush.

Still, I made it clear that, in addition to our military and intelligence agencies, Obama absolutely deserved credit…even if any other president in that same position would have made the same call. I also had no problem with Obama touting his leadership on the matter. After all, if the operation at that Pakistani compound (which came with undeniable military and diplomatic risks) had failed, Obama would have received full blame for the failure.

I feel the same way about this week’s successful operation that took out ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. It was a great day for America, and everyone involved deserves credit for the neutralization of this murderer, torturer, and rapist.

This includes our troops who bravely carried out the operation. It also includes Kurdish officials who reportedly provided most of the intel for the operation, and continued doing so even after Trump’s surprise withdrawal announcement that opened up the Syrian Kurds to a deadly Turkish offensive. Notably, that same move by our president reportedly complicated the jobs of the C.I.A and Pentagon as well, forcing them to speed up their planning of the raid before they would lose their ability to make calls from the ground. So those organizations certainly deserve a lot of credit for still pulling it off. And lastly, Trump deserves credit for making the call to launch the raid.

But because we live in hyper-partisan times, and because this was a political (not just a strategic) win for our president, some folks took a stunningly different view of the situation — one that included framing the newly deceased terrorist as an individual with some notably redeeming qualities.

No, I’m not joking.

The Washington Post’s obituary for al-Baghdadi was given this headline: “Austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State dies at 48.”

Austere religious scholar? This made me want to go back and check if the Post headlined Charles Manson’s obituary with “Renowned singer-songwriter.”

Speaking of the Washington Post, one of their columnists, Max Boot (who has renounced just about every political position he held prior to the Trump era), was so bothered by Trump’s description of al-Baghdadi’s final seconds, that he felt compelled to laud the terrorist’s courage:

The Washington Post’s Max Boot on Twitter (10/28/2019)

Now, to be fair, Boot’s first sentence had some validity. President Trump routinely uses similar verbiage (depicting made-up behavior) in an attempt to emasculate even his domestic political opponents. For Trump to extend such imagery to a dead terrorist leader isn’t particularly surprising, especially considering that it’s been common practice over the years, spanning different administrations, to demoralize America’s enemies in this fashion.

For example, some may recall that under Obama, John Brennan falsely claimed that Osama bin Laden had tried to use one of his wives as a human shield during the Pakistan raid.

Boot went off the rails, however, when he channeled his frustration with Trump’s fabrications into a defense of the terrorist leader. “Whimpering and crying” or not, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi killed himself and three children to avoid his own capture. I’m not sure which definition of courage Boot thought that met.

No one’s under any obligation to give credit to Trump, of course — just like Trump wasn’t under any obligation to give President Obama any credit for taking out Bin Laden:

You don’t even have to believe that Trump did something that any other president wouldn’t have, or that his foreign policy decisions, taken as a whole, have been sound (in my view, he’s made several mistakes).

But there are some things that should transcend politics. And if we can’t agree that dealing a major blow to a terrorist organization is unequivocally one of them, our country’s in worse shape than I thought.

Megyn Kelly, on John A. Daly’s new novel, Safeguard.

A Second Day of Infamy

It’s been twelve years since the Islamic faithful inadvertently brought down the twin towers. I say inadvertently because nobody was more surprised than Osama bin Laden when jet planes crashed into the tops of New York skyscrapers and brought the buildings tumbling down. Because he had no idea how thousands of gallons of burning jet fuel would work on steel girders, he had only imagined he would send a message by murdering a few hundred office workers and airplane passengers.

For that sick puke, murdering 3,000 civilians was like buying a single ticket and winning the Powerball lottery.

As horrific as 9/11 was, we’ve had a succession of truly vile days since. To begin with, we had to listen to American Muslims whining about being racially profiled. It was particularly obnoxious when we discovered that the FBI had to step in and stop them from continuing to fund Hamas, Hezbollah and the rest of the Middle Eastern scumbags, under the pretense that they were making charitable contributions to schools and hospitals.

At the time, I wrote that if Muslims in America wanted to prove that their loyalty was to this country and not to the jihadists, all they had to do was pass the hat at their neighborhood mosques and come up with a sizable reward for Osama bin Laden, dead or alive. It never happened, and as a result every time I heard George Bush or Condoleezza Rice telling us that Islam was a religion of peace, my gag reflex was activated.

The true extent that political correctness dictated policy was on display at every airport in America when 25-year-old Muslim males were treated no differently than 75-year-old Lutheran grannies. If anything, Homeland Security agents were more likely to frisk the old lady because nobody was likely to lose his job if she complained.

Along with everything else, things only got worse once Obama was elected. He not only went on a barnstorming tour of the Middle East, pretty much adding his voice to the chorus of mullahs condemning us as the Big Satan. He went to Cairo and delivered a speech that appeased our enemies and confounded our allies. He even went so far as to state that Muslims had played a major role in the creation of our nation, only stopping short of mentioning the unforgettable contributions of Mohammed Washington, Abdullah Jefferson and Osama bin Hamilton.

It only took him another four years before he deigned to visit Israel, and even that only came after he voiced strong objections to Israel erecting apartment houses in their own country and parroting Islamic demands that they draw back to pre-1967 borders.

In the meantime, we have seen Obama’s choice for head of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, insisting that our security system worked like a charm just because incompetence prevented major terrorist acts taking place in Times Square and over the skies of Detroit.

An Army Major at Fort Hood who owed his allegiance to Allah murdered a slew of his fellow soldiers, and the White House dismissed it as workplace violence. A couple of Chechen brothers whose family should never have been granted political asylum in the first place murdered and maimed a large number of Boston marathoners, and there’s not even a move to belatedly deport the family.

We didn’t have a problem telling the truth about the Germans, the Japanese or the Russians, when they were our acknowledged enemies. Apparently, their glaring mistake was in not pretending that our differences were religiously motivated.

I guess in a country in which cultural diversity is seen as the ideal, when no nation, society or race, must ever be regarded as superior to others, but where it’s perfectly fine to label America and white Christians as inferior, it figures that nobody would be encouraged to speak the truth about Islam or to point out that most of the misery in the world today can be traced to those who believe that “Allah Akbar” is anything but an obscenity.

©2013 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write BurtPrelutsky@aol.com.

More Idle Obervations

When Obama pardoned the Thanksgiving turkey, I said that tradition had nothing to do with it. I attributed it to professional courtesy.

For years now, we have heard people bemoan the fact that, thanks to the profligate ways of Barack Obama, we will be leaving our children and grandchildren with enormous debt. Considering the way the young have flocked out twice to help elect Obama, I say it serves them right. In fact, I say let’s pile it on!

Speaking of the election, otherwise known as Another Day of Infamy, it’s said that in the Valley of the Blind, the one-eyed man is king. Unfortunately, this isn’t a monarchy. In a republic, as we’ve discovered time and again, the blind rule.

Although they are always around us, it’s generally pretty easy to ignore atheists. It’s mainly during the holiday season that they scurry out from under rocks in order to put a damper on Christmas. In a way, they’re like ants. You know they’re out there, but unless you go on a picnic, you forget how annoying they can be.

While I find it hard to imagine why atheists want to be noticed by normal people, it has occurred to me that if they had a sense of humor or irony, they would realize how totally absurd it is to make a religion out of opposition to religion.

Recently, I read an account of Osama bin Laden’s burial on May 2, 2011. It seems, according to Rear-Admiral Charles Gaouette, his body was first bathed and placed in a white sheet. Then the body was placed in a weighted bag. A military officer read prepared religious remarks which were then translated into Arabic. After that, the body was placed on a board, which was then tipped up, and the corpse slid into the sea.

I’m surprised he wasn’t accorded a 21-gun salute. If I had been in charge of the event, the bag would have been weighted with pig intestines. If memory serves, bin Laden was responsible for murdering over 3,000 Americans. What is wrong with this administration that they would feel compelled to give the Islamic creep such a respectful send-off?

Makes you wonder what will happen when Charles Manson finally kicks the bucket. Internment at Arlington?

A recent poll determined that most Americans regard Canada as our closest ally. In second place was Great Britain. The next four were Israel, Japan, Germany and France. I found it interesting that two of the top five were our sworn enemies 70 years ago. And, frankly, I found it odd that France wound up ahead of, say, Australia, Poland, Botswana, Costa Rica and the Czech Republic. The French must have one hell of a terrific publicist.

Recently, I came up with the suggestion that wealthy conservatives quit blowing their wad on occasional elections, and that, instead, they spend their money buying up newspapers, magazines and TV stations. That’s a far better way of swaying public opinion in the long run.

In a similar vein, I would suggest that instead of having them show up to do occasional segments on Bill O’Reilly’s “Factor,” Fox should give guys like Dennis Miller, Adam Carolla and Greg Gutfeld, their own shows.

Young people aren’t going to sit through 55 minutes of O’Reilly’s endless ego-tripping in order to watch a few minutes of comedy, but they might very well switch over from Bill Maher, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, to watch comedians ridicule such rich, ripe targets as Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Al Franken, Joe Biden, Charley Rangel, Michael Bloomberg, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Henry Waxman.

Recently, I was asked the question that allegedly stumped Sigmund Freud: What do women want? After giving it some thought, I came up with: Women want what they don’t need, but suspect that other women have.

Speaking of women, rumor has it that Bill Clinton has now asked Paula Broadwell to write his biography.

©2012 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write BurtPrelutsky@aol.com.

The No-Brainer Bin Laden Card

Last week, President Obama’s reelection campaign received a lot of media attention with the release of a video advertisement detailing the president’s decision to conduct the successful raid on the Bin Laden compound in Pakistan last year. Almost immediately, criticism streamed in from Republicans who argued that it was inappropriate to politicize such a unifying, sacred event.

I disagree. I think the president has every right to use the killing of Bin Laden as an argument for his reelection.

Candidates running for office should be able to cite their leadership achievements, even when it comes to sensitive issues. They should be able to provide evidence of their successes, define why those successes make them a good leader, and explain why that leadership qualifies them to be in office.

I felt the same way about Rudy Giuliani in the 2008 presidential primaries. When someone displays the kind of leadership that he showed on 9/11 in the midst of chaos and destruction, the notion that he can’t reference that performance when running for the presidency of the United States is absurd.

Notably, the president and members of his administration didn’t always feel the way I do.

Four years ago, when then U.S. senator Barack Obama was contesting to be the Democratic party’s presidential candidate, his campaign chided opponent Hillary Clinton for using Osama Bin Laden in one of her political ads. Joe Biden, on more than one occasion mocked Rudy Giuliani for speaking of his experience at ground-zero on 9/11. Even in the wake of the Bin Laden killing, President Obama stressed that we shouldn’t treat the terrorist’s death like a “trophy” and that we shouldn’t “spike the football”.

Hypocrisy aside, I do believe our president deserves credit for ordering the Bin Laden raid, and I have no problem with him touting its success.

What I do have a problem with, however, is the narrative that has been widely pushed by the media and the administration, categorizing the tactical decision to take down Bin Laden as some sort of exceptional effort on the part of President Obama. It wasn’t.

Don’t get me wrong… There were certainly military risks involved, and the issue of Pakistan’s sovereignty could have certainly opened a can of worms in our relationship with that country. However,  I can’t imagine that ANY president wouldn’t have ordered the kill or capture of the man behind 9/11 if he or she was told by the CIA that they found him. Who would NOT act on that intelligence? It seems to me that it would be nearly an impeachable offense not to.

It wouldn’t have made a difference if it was George W. Bush, Al Gore, John Kerry, John McCain, or Hillary Clinton. In a post-9/11 world, finding Bin Laden would have resulted in the terrorist becoming toast.

The reason I feel compelled to even make that point is because of the one tacky element the Obama campaign chose to introduce into their Bin Laden drive. They insinuated that Mitt Romney would not have acted on the Bin Laden intelligence, had he been the president. Of course he would have. To think otherwise would be silly.

I think it’s safe to say that the Romney campaign won’t criticize the Obama administration for his handling of Bin Laden. They shouldn’t. Obama made the right call (one of the very few he’s made over the past three and a half years), and it would be politically dumb for them to do so.

Still, there’s a glowing irony that I can’t seem to push out of my mind when I listen to the Obama administration now spike the football over the Bin Laden raid. It was the controversial intelligence and interrogation techniques put in place by the Bush administration that ultimately led the CIA to Bin Laden. These were the very techniques that Obama adamantly condemned while he ran for the presidency. For nearly four years, the Obama administration has routinely blamed the poor state of the country on a situation he inherited from Bush. Yet, he’s now running on one of the very few successes he’s enjoyed as president – one that came to fruition from policies he also inherited from Bush.

Somehow, I doubt that little tidbit will turn up any of Obama’s future campaign videos.

Defending Our “Shore”

You’re not going to believe this, and I really don’t believe it myself, but I’m going to defend those yo-yos on “Jersey Shore” – well sort of.

Just this week, I read that the “stars” of Jersey Shore are heading to the shores of Italy to start filming their next season.  Well, the Italians are not too keen about the idea – and the octet hasn’t even arrived yet.

According to columnist Roberto Del Bove of the Roman newspaper, New Notzie, “they embody the worst stereotypes of Italians, multiplied by thousands and Americanized.”

Corriere della Sera was a little kinder when it described them as a group with “slicked hair, exaggerated narcissism, boundless love for the family and outlandish eccentricity.”

What got me reeling, however, was a reported note from an unidentified “commenter on an MTV Italia website” who said, “When I see this, I wonder whether Osama Bin Laden had a point.”

I have no idea what was going on in this “commenter’s” mind, but, really, does the antics of eight young people create such delirium in one’s head that they would think terrorists who fly planes into our buildings and kill thousands of our people had a point?

Let me say I’ve never seen an episode of “Jersey Shore,” but I’ve seen enough clips and blurbs about the show and the comings and goings of Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, the Situation, and the rest of them to know that it’s something I don’t want to waste my time watching.  But that’s why they invented the remote control.  I don’t have to watch it.

It actually disturbs me that people like this get million dollar book deals – although I’m not sure how many viewers of the show can actually read – or get to dance on Dancing with the Stars, or have the opportunity to start their own dress line, or speak at Rutgers University.  The fact that they have millions of followers on Twitter is a mystery to me.  I’m clueless as to why anyone would want to know what these eight goofballs do all day.   If I were to channel my late 90+ year old friend, Anne, she’d say, these useless twits are “using up our air.”

I’ve known lots of very talented people, great singers, writers, screenwriters and actors, who’ve never caught a break but that’s just the way it is.  Some people are lucky.  Some people are in the right place at the right time.  These eight numbnuts made it – at least for the next fifteen minutes.

But that’s the beauty of America – the land of opportunity.  No where else in the world could a 4’9” troll-like creature named “Snooki” who uses inordinate amounts of hairspray and tanning spray become a millionaire doing absolutely nothing.

So, when I read that Osama Bin Laden may have had a point when he set in motion his henchmen to carry out the greatest tragedy to hit our country, I get a little ticked off.  Am I being over-sensitive?  Yeah, sue me.  But it was my country that was hit on 9/11 and, after almost ten years, the wound is not completely healed.  Our country did not deserve it, those who lost their lives didn’t deserve it, and the surviving families who lost their loved ones did not deserve it.

It bothers me that stupid shows with ridiculous characters fill our airwaves at this point but, like I said, no one is forced to watch.  But I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit back and think that the existence of these shows justified 9/11.  Bin Laden and his crew hate our freedom and the opportunities we have in this country.  And it’s precisely that freedom and the opportunities America provides that allows the “Snookis” in this country to rise to national (and perhaps international) fame – whether we like it or not.

So, to the person who made the comment that perhaps Osama Bin Laden may have had a point, my husband would say, “you don’t have to say everything you think.”

For me, I’ll end by saying, “Io non lo capisco, ma se tu lo capisci, che Dio ti benedica.