Americans are not stupid, although Democratic leadership seems to think so. No example is better than the reaction to President Trump’s takedown of ISIS leader, Al-Baghdadi. The daring mission by Delta Force was a success, and President Trump – as Commander in Chief – called that shot. But Democrat leaders cannot say these words – “Thank you, Mr. President, well done.”
By contrast, they oozed praise for President Obama as he claimed credit for taking out Al Qaida’s leader. Nancy Pelosi gushed she had to “salute President Obama…” blah, blah, blah … “for achieving this major accomplishment.” In lockstep, other Congressional Democrats did the same.
A fawning Democratic press was worse. In 2011, the Washington Post cheered Obama, congratulating him for ending the reign of a “terrorist leader.” In sharp, embarrassing contrast, the Washington Post described this ruthless, despicable ISIS leader as an “austere religious scholar,” just a “shy, nearsighted youth … who preferred to spend his free time in the local mosque.” Really?
This commander of a heartless terrorist group that perpetrated mass murder, routine torture and executions, systematic rape, and wholesale destruction of ancient Iraq and Syria, the Washington Post seems to memorialize. The sense is that the head of ISIS was a wayward son, forlorn, mildly misguided, shy and nearsighted, a reverent fellow, who began humbly as a “religious scholar.” Right.
And why? Because the president who brought him to justice was not Hillary Clinton, not Barack Obama. It was a single-minded, outspoken Republican, a Commander-in-Chief who oversaw what appears to have been a picture-perfect military raid. And his name was Donald Trump.
As is often the case, there is more to this story. What riles House and Senate Democrats more than a Republican President – one they despise – taking down the ISIS leader, is a triple heart-punch.
First, the US military did this thing – and the House and Senate Democratic leadership have pushed for less military, more civilian discretionary spending. The conundrum sits before them now, as they mull FY2020 funding, with a “continuing resolution” ending near Thanksgiving. President Trump just made a strong case for funding the military; that is punch one.
Second, Democratic leaders just launched an assault on the President, claiming he gave ISIS the green light, that ISIS was on the rise and relationships on the ground in Syria unable to coordinate anti-ISIS operations. Well, that may not be right. He appears to have kept relationships on the ground intact – and, inconveniently, there is no more ISIS leader. That is punch two.
Third, and this may be the most galling part of the raid, Trump did not trust loose-lipped, impeachment-crazed Democratic members to keep their mouths shut, as this sensitive raid unfolded. So, logically, he did not brief them.
The Democratic roar-back will be indignance, that they should have been briefed – a courtesy. In ordinary times, their argument would carry water, but not today. Where is the Democratic courtesy shown to this president?
A footnote clinches the argument. Here is a historical fact that vindicates President Trump NOT briefing loose-lipped Hill leakers. In April 1986, after successive provocations, Libyan operatives bombed a nightclub in Berlin, frequented by Americans. A total of 229 were injured, others killed. President Ronald Reagan set in motion a raid on Libyan targets involving 18 F-111 strike aircraft from Great Britain. The raid was secret, well-planned and intended to deliver – which it did, at a cost.
Denied overflight rights by France, Reagan might have canceled the raid. He did not. In deference to Congress, he briefed two members in each chamber, two Republicans, two Democrats. He expressly warned the raid was classified, not to be discussed until done, and that public knowledge could put American flyers at risk – that very evening.
Notably, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy exited the West Wing and promptly sought out television cameras. He told the media – live – the United States was bombing Libya. Shock among White House personnel, and likely the President, must have been palpable. Worse, the forewarning probably allowed Libya to set up anti-aircraft batteries. That night, America lost two brave F-111 flyers.
For the record, President Trump – and America’s military and intelligence community – deserve credit for taking out the head of ISIS. While the Washington Post describes him as “shy,” “nearsighted” and a “scholar,” he was an unrepentant killer of innocents, this man who led ISIS.
Finally, for those members of Congress who take offense at not being briefed – during a gut-wrenching impeachment and against the backdrop of betrayal – stifle it. Mr. President, while we have yet to hear the 234 Democratic House members and 45 Democratic Senators offer thanks, we regular Americans are grateful. Thank you, and well done.