Bombs Away? A Reagan-Trump Comparison

President Trump has stirred the criticism pot with his military actions: striking an air base in Syria and using the largest bomb in the US arsenal to destroy terrorists’ caves in Afghanistan. It has led some to question exactly what authority a president has to use the military without first consulting Congress.

That’s an important question because the Constitution gives Congress the authority to declare war, not any president unilaterally. Of course, Congress hasn’t passed an actual war declaration since WWII. All of our actions militarily since then have either been in conjunction with the UN (Korea, Persian Gulf War) or with tacit approval of Congress to defend American lives (Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq). The latter were with congressional resolutions that fall short of true declarations.

Yet are there times when a president cannot wait for Congress to debate a matter because surprise is essential? Can the use of the military for one specific action be taken by presidential authority without a full declaration of war?

Let’s look at the Reagan years for a couple of examples.

In 1983, a militant pro-Castro faction overthrew the government of Maurice Bishop, a moderate Marxist, on the island of Grenada. Reagan immediately understood the implications of the coup: if the new government survived, a third Cuba (Marxist Nicaragua was viewed as the second Cuba in Reagan’s mind) would have come into existence during his watch. Grenada would become another Soviet client-state in the Western hemisphere.

The new Grenadian administration brought in 600 Cubans to construct an airstrip that could accommodate large military planes. This worried not only the US but other island-nations in the region. Prime Minister Eugenia Charles of Dominica came to the White House to share her concerns with Reagan and ask for help.

Another factor Reagan had to take under consideration was several hundred Americans who were attending a medical school on the island. He wanted to ensure their safety, but knew that if word got out that action was being contemplated, those Americans could easily become hostages. The threat of another Iranian-type hostage situation loomed.

So, for national security reasons and fear for the safety of American lives, Reagan chose to act swiftly and as quietly as possible. He did bring in congressional leadership, both Republican and Democrat, before taking action, informing them of the situation. He got the go-ahead from them to proceed.

On October 25, Reagan sent 10,000 U.S. marines and army airborne troops to invade the island. All resistance was eliminated after three days of fighting. At first, some members of Congress were outraged, but public support for the invasion soared as TV coverage featured interviews with the grateful American students.

Then there was Libya in 1986.

This radical Islamic state ruled by strongman Muammar Qaddafi had used its oil revenues to bankroll terrorists in Europe and the Middle East. On April 15, 1986, having concluded that Libya had supported and financed the bombing of a nightclub in Berlin frequented by American military personnel, Reagan ordered the bombing of five targets in Libya, including the presidential palace.

Reagan wanted to send a message to Qaddafi that he needed to back off his financial support for terrorism, and that he should think twice before aiding and abetting attacks that might kill and injure US soldiers.

Again, Reagan felt that giving advance warning for this punitive action would allow Libya to prepare for it and minimize the damage. He had already publicly proclaimed the US perspective on Libya and other nations directly involved with terrorism when he said in a speech that Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Libya were “outlaw states run by the strangest collection of misfits, loony-tunes and squalid criminals since the advent of the Third Reich.” Of Qaddafi, he said, “He’s not only a barbarian, he’s flaky.”

In both of these instances, Reagan took into consideration national security and saving the lives of American citizens. Both actions were short-term, not full-fledged wars, and required secrecy for their success.

Trump’s decisions have to be evaluated in that same light. I have no problem with the Afghanistan bombing, as it is part of an ongoing effort to eliminate terrorism aimed at America. It would be nice, though, for Congress to go the whole way for a declaration of war and make it more constitutional. Yet I realize that it is difficult in this situation because terrorism is not confined to one nation; it is a continuing problem that pops up everywhere.

As for Syria, I have mixed feelings. Trump apparently decided to go ahead with that bombing because of the use of chemical weapons on Syrian citizens. He saw pictures of the results and was horrified. Who wouldn’t be?

But was there a direct danger to American citizens over Syria’s use of chemical weapons? Was our national security threatened by this terrible action? We are a compassionate people who want to stop atrocities, but can we do that everywhere in the world? Aren’t atrocities occurring in many nations? Where do we strike and where do we not?

Decisions need to be made on the basis of national security and saving American lives first and foremost. Other reasons may enter in as well, but there needs to be a compelling need to act; we can’t merely make emotional decisions.

My concern is that Trump often makes decisions based on emotion. He has little understanding of constitutional authority and limitations; neither does he care to learn.

While I can inwardly cheer that the bombing in Syria sends a message, I can wonder about the wisdom of that decision and whether it really accomplished its purposes.

My concerns about how Trump makes decisions and whether he has any bedrock principles have never gone away. I’m also concerned that too many Americans don’t care about those principles. Yet without a proper understanding of the rule of law, we are in trouble.

Countering False Images

My previous post highlighted some of my ongoing concerns with President Trump. In the spirit of balance, let me offer some positives today because even though my concerns will probably never disappear, it’s always important to counter the false images being presented by Democrats and their minions in the media.

For instance, take that presumed travel ban on Muslims. I critiqued the administration for a bungled announcement about it that gave opponents what they needed to play the bigot card. The substance of that order, though, was widely mischaracterized. Let’s look at what it did and didn’t do.

But a little thing like facts is not what interests the ideologically blind.

I’m also, at this point, hopeful that Trump has a better understanding of what needs to be done to combat Islamic extremism. He, at least, unlike Obama, seems to realize it’s a genuine threat:

I didn’t comment earlier on his address to Congress. I have my concerns about his domestic plans when it comes to the amount of money he wants to spend on things that even the Democrats like. But what’s more interesting is that those Democrats are now exhibiting furrowed brows over domestic spending. When has that ever happened before?

It couldn’t be that it’s all just political, could it?

After Trump’s speech to Congress, the Democrats were ready with their response. I thought this particular cartoon was able to dispel the fog of vacuous verbiage and get to the heart of the matter:

Hypocrisy is never admirable, regardless of political party or particular politician.

Obama, Iran, Clinton, & Trump–Oh, My!

That Iran “deal” is back in the news. Normally, a deal has something good for both sides, but Iran is walking away with the store while we pretend that it will now keep its word not to develop nuclear weapons for a few years.

The deposit of $400 million to Iran by a cash payment, a move that was carried out secretly by the Obama administration, has showcased once again the empathy our current president has for a terrorist state because it is Muslim.

Night Depository

Well, we owed it to Iran, we are told, but it was interrupted by the Islamic Revolution of 1979. You remember, the revolution that took Americans hostage in their own embassy? And that new government at the time wasn’t exactly the one we were dealing with all along, now was it?

We’ve had a long history of not negotiating with terrorists. What has changed?

Don't Negotiate

What makes this secret cash payment even more disreputable is that the four hostages Iran recently released were done so, apparently, only after this money arrived by plane. One of those hostages, pastor Saeed Abedini, has said that his plane, which was to take him back to freedom, wasn’t allowed to take off until another plane arrived. One filled with cash?

Well, maybe I’m being too cynical. Maybe I should just believe what I’m told by my president.

Coincidence

Ransom

Tribute

After all, he has such a fine history of telling us the truth:

Not a Ransom

This is par for the course, though, for Democrat politicians:

Huge Sums

We are about to follow the most radical administration in American history with what may be the most corrupt. If only Republicans had gotten their act together this year rather than decide to throw a temper tantrum:

Eminently Beatable

We have sown. We are now reaping.

The Progressive War on Anything but Islamic Terrorism

I can’t say we’ve entered a new realm of silliness after the Orlando terrorist attack. There’s nothing new about the silliness that has been making the rounds from those on the progressive side of the cultural and political spectrum.

How to lay blame for what happened? If you listen to most Democrats/progressives/mainstream media (these are synonymous terms), you have a choice of targets: Christians (for not endorsing homosexual acceptance in society); Republicans in general (because they are naturally in favor of anything the “Christian Right” wants, right?); the NRA (those bloodthirsty gun owners who can’t wait to conduct their version of the Valentine’s Day Massacre); any combination of the above.

Never mind that the shooter boldly claimed allegiance to ISIS. Forget his history of radicalism, even to the point of rejoicing over 9/11. No, the blame for this attack must not be laid at the feet of Islamism. As President Obama famously stated in one of his autobiographies (more to come?), he will always take the side of Islam if he perceives it being under attack.

That’s why the words “radical Islam” or “Islamic terrorism” must never be uttered.

Not Saying

You can make too much of words, our Ideologue-in-Chief instructs us. Funny, but I remember him saying pretty much the opposite when he was first running for the highest office in the land:

Just Words

How does a mind like Obama’s perceive reality? This illustration might offer a clue:

Dangerous Part

And that’s why he has once again focused laser-like on what he believes is the crux of the problem:

At War

And the solution is what?

Disarm

If you think some logic might be lacking here, that might be because you are a logical person:

Gun Control for Dummies

But if the president can convince enough people to think as he does, he can accomplish his goal of protecting those poor, oppressed Islamists. I’m certain he will have their undying gratitude:

Infidel Scum

Meanwhile, more of his fellow citizens will be dying—literally.

Obama’s Response to Orlando

Orlando StatementHe did it again. Although, to be honest, I expected nothing less. What am I talking about? President Obama’s statement after the terrorist rampage in Orlando this weekend. Once more, he ignored what was staring him in the face. He refused to call what happened Islamic terrorism.

Yes, he said it was an act of terror, but, as always, he hid behind the old mantra of not really knowing what was behind it. We don’t have all the facts, you see. Never mind that the perpetrator called police and said he was doing this in solidarity with ISIS. Never mind that he shouted that typical “allahu akbar” phrase as he murdered 50 people.

No, this had nothing to do with Islam.

Don't Have a Clue

Then he did what he always does best: switch the subject to gun control. Again, never mind that this terrorist passed a background check and bought his guns legally. Never mind that no law will ever stop a lawbreaker from obtaining a weapon. Never mind that the penalty for this action will now fall on innocent gun owners who are responsible citizens and merely want a means of self-defense.

This is pure emotion, disconnected from reality. Unfortunately, some courts are willing to go along with it, such as the nefarious Ninth Circuit, well known for its “progressive” decisions.

Bear Arms

President Obama learns all the wrong lessons from events. That’s because his ideology blinds him.

For those of us who refuse to be blinded, let’s take this away from the horror in Orlando: Islamic terrorism must be dealt with forcefully; regardless of the target of that terrorism, we must stand firmly against it. The terrorists want to destroy America. We must not allow that to happen.

It’s going to take leadership to turn that tide. I’m sad that the choices being put forward by the political parties are not the leaders we need. When I say we must pray for the future of our nation, I’m not just using a cliché. God is our refuge and our hope.

What Follows Obama?

One hardly knows how to express anymore the depth of the disaster of the past seven years of Obama. I’ve tried, but am almost at the end of words to describe how he has damaged our country, perhaps irreparably.

The main responsibility of our government—with a president leading the way—is to understand the threats we face and protect our liberties. Yet President Obama has gone out of his way to discard basic liberties, especially for Christians whose consciences are being threatened by that very government. We’re now supposed to bow to the new morality of LGBT correctness in all areas of life, even to the point of accepting transgenderism as natural.

Victim & Bigot

On the economic front, we now have someone who promotes the very ideology that has laid waste to many other nations:

No Difference

And his visit to Cuba only solidified his fascination with that ideology:

Feel So Young

When Islamic radicals terrorize Europe, he practically invites them to come here also:

More Refugees

His anti-colonialism dominates his worldview, blinding him to the real threat:

Message for Pres

When asked what he’s going to do about this threat, he mouths some of the right words for public consumption and says he’s already dealing with it—trust him, his plan will work:

My Plan

What could be worse for the country than what we have experienced in two terms of Obama? Well, a couple of things:

Trump Game

We Prefer

This is why I want Ted Cruz to prevail.

Obama’s Terrorism Legacy

President Obama’s South-of-the-Border tour continues. After going to a baseball game with Raul Castro and having his picture taken in front of a building honoring brutal executioner Che Guevara, and after saying that the only real difference between capitalism and communism is that you simply have to choose what you think will “work” for you, he tripped on down to Argentina.

There his most newsworthy event was being filmed dancing the tango. Along the way, he commented on the Brussels terrorist attack—sort of. Part of his astute commentary is that the attack, which was highly successful, only showed that we are winning and ISIS is losing.

Huh?

Cartoonists were quick to pick up on the tango theme and weave it into our president’s apparent lack of understanding of the terror threat:

Cut In

Dance While Burning

Ignore It

It’s normally at this point in a presidency when the lame duck becomes very concerned for his legacy. No problem. Obama’s is clear, when it comes to his terrorism policy:

My Legacy

Of course, he hasn’t accomplished this alone. The entire Western world has followed the path of least resistance, grounded as it is in a false philosophy of peaceful coexistence with those whose only goal is to kill and destroy:

Suicide Vest

We have become a foolish people. The terror attacks will not abate. They will be coming with even more force and regularity. Will we now choose the path of wisdom in dealing with an enemy?