Philip C. Johnson, Ph.D.
October 30, 2019
On October 26th, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the world’s most-wanted terrorist finished his time on earth. Thankfully. According to reports, with the help of an ISIS informant, the Kurdish-led SDF and the skill of U.S. special forces, the leader of ISIS was tracked down in his hideout in Syria. He was chased through a tunnel beneath his compound where he found himself at a dead end pursued by commandos and a particularly heroic dog. Al-Baghdadi detonated his suicide vest, killing himself and three of his children.
President Donald Trump described Al-Baghdaid as a coward who was “whimpering and crying “ before killing himself. “He spent his last moments in utter fear, in total panic and dread, terrified of the American forces bearing down on him. He died like a dog,” said the President, “The world is now a much safer place.”
“The only thing I disagree with is the characterization of Al-Baghdadi as a “dog.” It’s an insult to dogs.”
The only thing I disagree with is the characterization of Al-Baghdadi as a “dog.” It’s an insult to dogs. According to the Guardian, “Defence secretary, Mark Esper, said the dog performed a tremendous service, as they all do. The US military commonly uses Belgian Malinois dogs to guide and protect troops, search out enemy forces and look for explosives. The breed is prized for its intelligence and ability to be aggressive on command, said Ron Aiello, president of the United States War Dogs Association.”
“Baghdadi was the spiritual leader of one of the most violent and notorious Islamic terrorist groups in history.”
The killing of Al-Baghdadi is clearly and unequivocally a good thing. Baghdadi was the spiritual leader of one of the most violent and notorious Islamic terrorist groups in history. And yet, media pundits have spent much of their time criticizing how President Trump boasted of the victory and characterized Al-Baghdadi’s last moments. Seriously? Are they really not familiar with the President’s communication style at this point? Is his manner of communicating and celebrating a clear victory really more important than the victory itself?
Disappointingly, but not unsurprisingly, the Washington Post communicated about Al-Baghadi’s death in a tweet that read: “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State, dies at 48.” The tweet was quickly removed, but not before it received much criticism and spawned a number of mocking tweets from other social media posters including:
“Adolf Hitler, passionate community planner and dynamic public speaker, dies at 56.”
“Osama bin Laden, father of 23, killed in home invasion.”
“Wicked Witch of the West, devoted sister, broom enthusiast, died suddenly from oversaturation, age unknown.”
Those tweets are almost as ridiculous as the Washington Post’s comment – but at least those tweets are meant to be ridiculous.
“Maybe people have forgotten all the destruction, suicide bombings, beheadings, rapes, burning people alive, crucifixions, and other atrocities that were committed by the terror group Al-Baghdadi led.”
Maybe people have forgotten all the destruction, suicide bombings, beheadings, rapes, burning people alive, crucifixions, and other atrocities that were committed by the terror group Al-Baghdadi led. Or maybe, just maybe, the media’s collective brain has been so rewired as to esteem a mass murderer, rapist and terrorist more highly than a democratically elected U.S. president.
“Trump was elected to office in part because of his platform to reduce foreign entanglements. So drawing down troops in Syria should not come as something unexpected.”
President Trump has also been harshly criticized this month by the media, Democrats and Republicans for his decision to remove troops from Syria. Why this is a surprise or some sort of new issue is a mystery to me. Trump was elected to office in part because of his platform to reduce foreign entanglements. So drawing down troops in Syria should not come as something unexpected.
As far as the idea of betraying our allies – specifically the Kurds who have fought alongside of us in the battle against ISIS, I can understand that it’s disappointing for them, especially as Turkey used the removal of U.S. forces on the Syrian border as an opportunity to invaded Syria and target the Kurds. Turkey has always viewed the Kurds and their armed efforts of creating an independent state as more trouble than ISIS ever was.
In President Trump’s view, however, his primary loyalty is to Americans – and
disentangling America from pointless global conflict. Personally, I love the Kurds. I have worked with them, taught them, eaten with them, stood with them on the front lines of the battle against ISIS in Iraq and interviewed their generals at the height of ISIS’s rampage through Iraq and Syria.
But in the realistic lens of geopolitics, the current facts are that Trump defeated ISIS in the territorial sense (the ideology will live on), he killed their leader and he has American forces protecting the oil fields in Syria so that ISIS or Iran can’t have them. The Kurds now control the oil fields – it will help with their self determination. We’re still partnering with the Kurds – just in a different way.
“The events of 9/11 and the resulting global war on terror were not a failure of U.S. military presence – they were a failure of our intelligence agencies.”
Now fewer Americans are fighting a war that seems to have little importance to U.S. interests. Is ISIS and Islamic terror still a threat? Of course. Does the U.S. have to police the world in order to keep America safe? Probably not. The events of 9/11 and the resulting global war on terror were not a failure of U.S. military presence – they were a failure of our intelligence agencies. And just as a point of comparison – the U.S. should be much more concerned about the objectives of China – and ask yourself how much blood and treasure China has spilled over the Middle East. Exactly none.
But the good news for now is that the home team has scored a major victory against global terror with the death of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi – without the loss of American lives, including a great American dog.