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Street Smart

The courage to stand up to terrorists


January 16, 2020

President Trump’s decision to take out Iranian General Qasem Soleimani has generated a great deal of controversy. While no one can predict what the future holds, we can confidently look back at recent history to see what would likely happen if our President hadn’t taken such decisive action.

How many readers remember a terrorist thug named Osama bin Laden and September 11, 2001? I certainly do, and after that tragedy, I became a student of that incident. In preparing for this column, I revisited numerous books and articles regarding Osama bin Laden and his activities prior to the attack on the World Trade Center. One article in particular interested me and is pertinent to this topic. An article in the February 16, 2016, edition of The Washington Post had the headline, “Bill Clinton and the missed opportunities to kill Osama bin Laden.” The article described nine missed opportunities to kill bin Laden by the Clinton administration from May 1998 through December 2000 (amazingly, the report indicates that any effort to kill bin Laden after the terrorist attack on the U.S.S. Cole appears to have been lost in the transition from the Clinton to the Bush administrations). The author, Glenn Kessler, relied heavily on information taken directly from the 9/11 Commission report. As I read, one sentence from that report almost jumped off the page at me! The report quoted a Department of Justice attorney who stated, in pertinent part, “The [Clinton] administration’s position was that under the law of armed conflict, killing a person who posed an imminent threat to the United States would be an act of self-defense.” When I first read that, my initial thought was, “no kidding…did the Clinton administration really need a legal opinion on that issue?” However, after thinking about it, I realized it may well have been that verbiage that guided President Trump in his decision making. The president’s action was clearly an act of self-defense. Also, to be fair, a few of the Clinton administration’s failures to take out bin Laden were entirely reasonable. For example, the report describes one instance where 200-300 civilians in the town of Kandahar would likely have died along with bin Laden if an attack had been launched. That said, the 9/11 Commission report clearly identified reluctance and confusion within the Clinton administration when it came to the overall effort to decide what should be done about bin Laden.

Fortunately, that’s not the case anymore! We now have real leadership. By all accounts, Soleimani was a terrorist goon on par with bin Laden. The pivotal word in that last sentence is “was.” Thanks to decisive action on the part of President Trump, we don’t have to worry about him anymore. Unfortunately, we still have many in government with the same “hand wringer” mentality as the Clinton and Obama administrations, whining about what might happen next. Let’s be very clear about this. President Trump took a decisive, pro-active step to wipe out a terrorist (his official title may have been general, but he was clearly a terrorist!) who was responsible for killing Americans and planning to kill others. Our president’s actions undeniably saved innumerable American lives (the very definition of the “self-defense” described in the 9/11 Commission report). Additionally, he obviously learned from the failures of Obama and Hillary Clinton, because he avoided another Benghazi by providing our embassy in Baghdad with the security they needed. If there’s a downside to all of that, I’m failing to see it!

Some Americans appear to have incredibly short memories. They have already forgotten about bin Laden and his crimes. We have the gutless Nancy Pelosi (and other D.C. Democrats of her ilk) calling for a congressional resolution to curb President Trump’s ability to protect American lives! Our president took action to protect American lives and these people want to take away his ability to do so without checking with them first!? Absolutely incredible! They don’t think and can’t come to terms with reality. There’s one, and only one, way to deal with a person like bin Laden or Soleimani. Quick action leading to annihilation. Simple as that. The extremists in Iran have been chanting “Death to America” since 1979. The actions of Iranian “generals” like Soleimani only confirm their commitment to that chant.

This situation is evolving but I believe President Trump has handled it masterfully. Initially, many of the “hand wringers” were predicting the possibility of World War III as a result of President Trump’s actions. Some also say that people with the same opinion as me would actually welcome a war. Speaking as the grandfather of newly minted soldiers (one of whom shipped overseas just last weekend), I can assure all readers that war is the absolute last thing I want. I pray for the safety and wellbeing of all our troops every day. However, I’ve seen enough in my lifetime to know that evil can’t be ignored or reasoned with. It must, instead, be destroyed. I also believe America should do all that we reasonably can to avoid a fight. However, if a fight is inevitable, we should fight to win. My grandchildren feel the same. I thank God that we still have young people willing to confront our enemies.

Thank you, President Trump, for having the courage to ignore the “hand wringers” and act to protect American lives! What would it look like if the Clinton administration had shown the courage to take similar action and wipe out Osama bin Laden? Furthermore, how many lives might have been saved if Obama hadn’t tripped over his “red line” in the Syrian sand or given Iran over a billion dollars? I’m glad to see my tax dollars used to destroy terrorists rather than to fund their activities. As my wife said, “you can’t poke a bear too many times before he gets pissed!” I’m proud to have a leader with the courage to stand up to terrorist thugs and D.C. cowardice.

Blaine Blackstone is a retired Los Angeles Police Sergeant who enjoys the simpler life in Thompson Falls. He can be reached by email at [email protected]


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