What if NYC Terrorist was bin Laden?

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The question is asked because even though President Donald Trump initially said that the man who killed 8 and injured about twice as many in an Islamist rampage on the Lower West Side of Manhattan bike lane using a rental truck should be sent to Gitmo and tried as an enemy combatant, but then later changed his mind, saying it would take too much time compared to a Federal prosecution.

He had it right the first time.

If the NYC terrorist is an unlawful combatant in the Global War on Terror, then he belongs at the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (a.k.a. Gitmo).

The problem is Obama’s 2009 Military Commissions Act, which gives unlawful combatant detainees accused of war crimes virtually the SAME rights you or I would enjoy in a Federal court of law. That’s why it’s taken years for several accused detainees to come to trial.

The Law of Land Warfare (U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10) and the Geneva Conventions allow accused war criminals only the same rights as an accused U.S. soldier would have under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Giving accused terrorists (unlawful combatants) an opportunity in U.S. Federal Court to be read Miranda rights, go free on technicalities, go to a Federal prison where they can spread their rhetoric and recruit other inmates and then eventually be set free puts us all at risk. Expediency should never come before security.

Gitmo is legal, and it is a small but essential piece to the big puzzle of how we defend ourselves in the Global War on Terror.

Trump needs to get Gitmo right and use Gitmo as a tool in our efforts to defeat the Islamist threat. He is fence-sitting, and it doesn’t suit him or his objective of winning the Global War on Terror.

Imagine for a moment that Osama bin Laden had been captured instead of killed in a raid. Would the President believe he should be tried in Federal court or a Military Commission? Why?

If Osama bin Laden had been captured it would have been the ultimate test of legal and political wills.

We are either at war or we are not at war. The Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) provides the legal permission to wage war against terrorists. It allows us to capture, interrogate and retain detainees. Once captured, the Law of War and Geneva take over as guiding edicts on treatment and privileges for those detained and those accused of war crimes.

Would bin Laden have been tried in Federal court or a military tribunal?

His status as the leader of al Qaeda and the planner of the attacks of September 11, 2001, would make him the top commander for the opposing forces. Surely if anyone could be tried for war crimes it would have been him.

Why then is there even a debate about the status of those who followed his example and perpetuate the jihad against the infidels?

Lawfare and politics.

Using the liberal legal system of the United States against us is not a new tactic, and has been practiced vigorously by our enemies since the very beginning of the Global War on Terror, shortly after the attacks of 9/11/01.

An al Qaeda manual captured by British intelligence prior to 9/11 revealed our enemy’s protocols if captured. They should lie about their treatment, claim they were abused and tortured, disrupt detention operations, threaten and harass guards and demand a lawyer.

That last part has proved most advantageous. The result? 730 Gitmo detainees have been released. None have been executed, beheaded, blown up, hacked to death, dragged naked and lifeless through the streets, drowned or burned alive, all things our enemies have done to us and/or our allies.

Never mind that at least 30 percent of released detainees are either confirmed or suspected to have returned to the fight. My concern is more about the 70 percent of released detainees we don’t know about. Where are they, your neighborhood, trying to rent a truck?

Even in a game of Capture the Flag the jailer knows not to release captured members of the other team until the game is over. Why then has our strategy been to release unlawful combatants before the end of hostilities? That’s not a winning formula, and it sends a message to the enemy that we are inferior and weak.

Some released detainees have been paid off by their governments of origin and profited from published book proceeds. So, if you survive the jihad and get captured by the Americans, you’ve hit the jackpot!

Former Gitmo detainees were allowed to claim habeas corpus, even though precedent dictated that even lawful combatant POW’s could not challenge their wartime status in civilian court. How then did we get from there to here, where an obvious and confirmed case of jihad has been turned almost matter-of-factly into a civilian crime? Expediency?  Convenience?

My patience with the POTUS on this one is running thin.

If your gut tells you that the NYC terrorist should be held and tried at Gitmo then so let it be done.

If bin Laden would have been taken and then tried at Gitmo, then so too, should the lowest member of the group.

If not, then we are not at war with unlawful combatant Islamists who want to kill us; we  are victims of random, disconnected violence, and should study the childhood of every terrorist and attempt to empathize with their disadvantaged upbringing and feel sorry for them and others like them, and then bear our throats for beheading.

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Answering the Jihad: Did Someone Say ‘Crusade’?

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What’s the difference between the Crusades, the Barbary Wars and the Global War on Terror?

As far as jihadist Islamists are concerned absolutely nothing.

These conflicts were and are simply an excuse to murder anyone who is not like them. Like an obsessed teenager high on caffeine and sugar playing marathon rounds of Mortal Kombat, Islamists murder for sheer pleasure, the terror effect is just a pleasant byproduct for them.

Islamists have used the Crusades (four major armed Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land from 1095-1289) as a recruiting tool with low-information Muslims, who are easily radicalized, especially if they are of meager means and background. Improving one’s standard of living or social status through joining radical terrorist movements is tough to counter if we are not in a position to do so, and are in fact running away from the fight.

Even Pope Francis seems to be calling for a Fifth Crusade, saying in response to the crisis in Iraq, over which he said he was “dismayed” and in “disbelief,” that there was a need for “a professional, well-equipped army” because “the situation is going from bad to worse.”

But the United States can’t seem to get out of it’s own way with regard to foreign policy chaos. It’s as if we’re drunken gamblers betting our shirts after losing all our money, watch, shoes, boat and home!

Politically, all the death and destruction is bad for business in the Obama camp, especially after seemingly endless foreign policy mistakes, from red lines in the sand to putting five big time Taliban bad guys back in the fight in trade for a suspected U.S. Army deserter. Trying to figure out the thinking behind these and other incredible missteps drives one to distraction!

After the bloodshed in Orlando, with over one hundred injured including at least 50 dead, the Islamic State has claimed responsibility. Their crusade continues.

If an enemy is bold enough to shoot high quality video of the beheading of an American journalist (Daniel Pearl by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, February 2002; and James Foley, August 2014) in the Middle East then they are able to do so in the streets of America, and have now done so.

Radical Muslims from around the world have answered the clarion call to join the Islamic State in their caliphate, including those from the United States, Canada, Europe, Russia, Asia and parts of Africa.

What will be our answer now?

For too long we have resisted the fact that Islamists are at war with us. We have responded with force and resolve during certain times and then responded with our heads in the sand at other times. The result? Nightclub bloodbaths in American cities.

And now? Nearly 100 dead innocents on the streets of Nice, France. 130 dead in Paris. Europe is on fire with “migrating” jihadist’s. “Home grown” or refugee, student visa or immigrant. Islamists who believe in Sharia Law are incompatible with the Judeo/Christian ethic or even socialist. Muslim theocracy is the antithesis of democracy.

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American patriot Thomas Paine once said:

“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must . . . undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”

That “fatigue” has weighed heavily on us, especially on the victims of terror and on our military community, who have borne the brunt of the burden.

President Barack Obama’s and his cabinet’s lack of military background are handicapping their decision-making regarding military action to protect and defend the interests of the United States. Barack Obama has even been recently exposed for not meeting even once with his Defense Intelligence Chief, Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn.

The modus operandi of this naïve group is to grossly politicize every single crisis after putting their proverbial licked finger in the air to determine the direction of the politically correct wind before making a statement or tenuous commitment.

The result is a weakened and vulnerable United States at the mercy of barbarians. But how we got here is not nearly as important as where we’re going and how?

It is imperative that we begin and then sustain a planned and committed offensive against the tyranny of Islamists. There should be no safe haven, no quarter given, and no mercy for the members of the murderous caliphate. But if we call it a “Crusade” what could possibly be the down side? It might even inspire a new generation of committed anti-Islamists.

In the early days of the 19th century this country battled and then defeated a former Islamist caliphate in the Barbary Wars. Barbary pirates of Northern Africa demanded tribute for captured merchant and military ships and the merchants, sailors and Marines on them. President Thomas Jefferson refused to comply, as did President James Madison. Instead, the United States sent warships and Marines to rescue our ships and personnel, and to destroy the pirates, and their will and means to terrorize us on the high seas.

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In the end, our resolve and resources won the day, and after our example was set, European countries followed suit, building and then deploying some of the world’s fastest and most powerful ships at the time in a combined effort to suppress the pirates.

For Islamists to be defeated, once and for all, a combined effort is necessary. But this combined effort needs a leader.

If not us, who? If not now, when?

At home we  need better vetting and/or a moratorium on immigrant and other Muslims entering the country. It sounds xenophobic, but enough is enough. We’re not being killed by little old lady Catholics, Protestants or Jews. We’re being targeted and killed by Muslim men (mostly). Enough already!

Deploying the 82nd Airborne Division and United State Marines to the Middle East may seem a drastic and painful choice, but we must stabilize the area of Islamist infiltration with a physical presence and then invoke a Middle East Marshall Plan when the dust settles and all Islamists are either dead, or no longer have the means or will to kill us.

Helping to rebuild the infrastructure and self-esteem of people exploited and terrorized by Islamists will win hearts and minds, as it did against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.

We still have troops in countries we defeated in World War II over 70 years after the end of that war. These countries are now among the most peaceful and prosperous in the world, not in spite of our presence, but because of it.

Peace and prosperity should be enticing rewards for those who currently choose violence and destruction. The alternative we are living now is unacceptable, the price already paid by our military members and their families and loved ones too great.

So, if our enemies call it a Crusade, why not at this point fulfill their dreams of 72 virgins and play along? Nothing else is working.