Steve's Blog

What Kind of Sick Mind?

What kind of sick mind does it take to assemble a bomb, made of nuts and bolts and nails, and then detonate that device among children? Children who are innocent, and excited about attending a pop concert with their friends, and have done nothing whatsoever to harm anyone, Muslim or non-Muslim. Children who will have their young flesh torn by those pieces of metal in a searing flash; will have their bones crushed; and their eardrums burst. Of those who survive, many will be disfigured, blinded; their lives changed forever. What kind of sick mind?

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Well, it’s the same kind of sick mind that drove a stolen truck through a crowd in Nice, France; that blew up U.S. embassies in Kenya and in Tanzania; that blew up trains in Madrid, Spain; that murdered innocent people in a nightclub in Orlando, Florida; that slaughtered unarmed U.S. military personnel at Ft. Hood; that killed and maimed innocents at the Boston Marathon; that butchered people at an office Christmas party in San Bernardino, California; and yes, that brought those buildings down in New York City on September 11th, 2001.

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It’s radical Islamic terrorism. And we can cower from it. Fear to say its name. Hope that realistically, the odds are in our favor. Try to comfort ourselves with the reasoning that even though thousands and thousands of innocent lives have been snuffed out in recent years due to Jihadism, we probably won’t be one of them.

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But that’s not good enough. It’s not good enough for the vast majority of wonderful people who inhabit the globe we all share. People who just want to live their lives; raise, cherish and protect their families; and would never dream of harming another human being. The good people must be protected from the bad – from the evil.

And to a considerable degree, that is what Donald Trump’s first foreign trip as President is all about. Saudi Arabia was his first stop. That’s where most of those 19 hijackers who took down our towers and attacked the Pentagon on September 11th had been born and raised. And their minds poisoned against us, and all that we stand for. They had learned to hate, in fact detest, our freedom of thought, our tolerance of other religions and lifestyles. They wanted to take us back to the 7th century. One religion – Islam. One god – Allah. One messenger – Mohamed. And if you disagreed with them – well, you died.

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Of course they died too. And in their sick minds, they had 72 virgins waiting for them on the other side. (19 times 72 – that’s a lot of virgins.) And undoubtedly, that’s the same sick mindset that the Manchester bomber had several days ago. (Although rather than 72 virgins, I believe his sorry soul went straight to Hell, where he’ll now roast for eternity.) But I digress.

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President Trump on his first foreign trip went first to Saudi Arabia. To state pretty clearly to the Saudis and a collection of other Sunni nation leaders, that the United States was once again serious about fighting, and destroying, the forces of evil arrayed against civilized nations of the Middle East and the rest of the world.

President Trump’s speech was the opposite of the message delivered by his predecessor, Barack Obama, who famously went on an “apology tour” early in his presidency. Obama’s message was that it was the United States that was largely responsible for the world’s problems, and that we were pulling back. Unfortunately, the power vacuums which resulted were filled by bad actors across the globe.

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Trump said – no more. But that it would be necessary for our allies, including the wealthy Gulf nations like Saudi Arabia, to step up, and pay for a more aggressive effort against the terrorists and evildoers.

Trump also made it clear that Obama’s shift from our traditional allies, like the Saudis and the other Gulf Sunni nations, to Iran, was over. The Obama Administration was so determined to reach a nuclear deal, any deal, with Iran that our longtime friends got the back of our hand for the last eight years. The Obama Administration’s love affair with Iran was over. The Saudis liked what they heard from President Trump. And President Trump liked what he heard from the Saudis.

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Having served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee for 20 plus years now, I like what I see from Donald Trump in the foreign affairs arena thus far. With one caveat. He seems quite enthusiastic about reassuring words he’s received from some quarters recently. China says they’ll work with us to pressure North Korea. Russia says they’ll help us defeat ISIS. And now the Saudis claim they’ll finally get serious about combating extremist elements within their own borders and around the region. In my view, rather than effusive praise, the response should be more along the lines of – we welcome your commitment, but we’ll believe it when we see it.

epa05026327 Russian President, Vladimir Putin (R), poses with Chinese President, Xi Jinping (L), during the BRICS leaders' meeting prior to the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, 15 November 2015. In addition to discussions on the global economy, the G20 grouping of leading nations is set to focus on Syria during its summit this weekend, including the refugee crisis and the threat of terrorism.  EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV

But that’s just me.

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