Donald Trump Still Unable To Master Being Presidential

There is no way not to talk about another odd and truly awful display from Donald Trump.  We know one of the points repeatedly made in opposition to Trump is that he fails to act presidential.  Fails to act in a fashion that does not embarrass our nation.  There was such scorn over his behavior that it forced him to address the problem.

Trump said that he can be one of the “most presidential” presidents to hold office at a campaign rally Tuesday.

Trump told a crowd at a rally in Youngstown, Ohio, that “with the exception of the late, great Abraham Lincoln, I can be more presidential than any president that’s ever held this office.”

That line roared back into my mind while watching a replay of Trump’s long remarks about the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State.  There is no doubt the news was fitting for one who had lived such a sordid life.  While Daesh will not fold up and cease to exist, as there are so many branches and leaders, there is no doubt a psychological blow was suffered by the organization.

But like everything that Trump does he makes the story either about him or uses his lower brainpower to mess up the larger points that really should be the headline.  In today’s case, the news of the death of a terrorist was on an equal par to the odd, and unpresidential manner in which Trump told it.

Mr. Trump nonetheless reveled in the moment, using boastful and provocative language unlike the more solemn tone typically adopted by presidents in such moments. He repeated the word “whimpering” six times and made a point of repeatedly portraying Mr. al-Baghdadi as “sick and depraved” and his followers as “losers” and “frightened puppies.”

“He died like a dog,” Mr. Trump said. “He died like a coward.”

Just a low-class way of explaining the news to the nation. 

The opposite way of conveying this type of news can be recalled when President Obama told the nation on a Sunday night Osama Bin Laden was dead.  Obama did not ramp up the rhetoric or need to sound tough.  He knew the power of the office he held and did not need to roll around like a pig in the mud.  Obama sat in the same communication center but did not need to compare it to ‘watching a movie’.  It was quite breath-taking to hear Trump talk today about the details and events that led to the death of children.  And most important to recall is the fact our forces at the time bin Laden was killed made a point of treating the body with respect, so as not to offend Muslims around the world.

But there was more to this odd performance from Trump this morning.

You know, if you read my book, there was a book just before the World Trade Center came down. And I don’t get any credit for this but that’s OK. I never do. But here we are. I wrote a book, a really very successful book and in that book about a year before the World Trade Center was blown up, I said there is somebody named Osama bin Laden, you better kill him or take him out, something to that effect, he’s big trouble. Now, I wasn’t in government. I was building buildings and doing what I did but I always found it fascinating. But I saw this man, tall, handsome, very charismatic making horrible statements about wanting to destroy our country. And I’m writing a book. I think I wrote 12 books. All did very well. And I’m writing a book, World Trade Center had not come down. I think it was about, if you check it was a year before the World Trade Center came down. And nobody heard of al-Baghdadi. And no one heard of Osama bin Laden until really the World Trade Center. But about a year, a year and a half before the World Trade Center, before the book came out, I was talking about Osama bin Laden, you have to kill him, you have to take him out. Nobody listened to me. And to this day I get people coming up to me and they said you know what, one of the most amazing things I’ve seen about you is that you predicted that Osama bin Laden had to be killed before he knocked down the World Trade Center. It’s true. Most of the press doesn’t want to write that but it is true. If you go back and look at my book, I think it’s ‘The America We Deserve.’ I made a prediction — let’s put it this way, if they would have listened to me, a lot of things would have been different.

Of note, Trump made just one passing reference to bin Laden in that book, published in January 2000.  His claim that he delivered a prescient warning about Bin Laden is hyperbolic. His book, The America We Deserve which was published in January 2000.  Within its 304 pages, this is the part which deals with bin Laden.

One day we’re all assured that Iraq is under control, the U.N. inspectors have done their work, everything’s fine, not to worry. The next day the bombing begins. One day we’re told that a shadowy figure with no fixed address named Osama bin Laden is public enemy number one, and U.S. jet fighters lay waste to his camp in Afghanistan. He escapes back under some rock, and a few news cycles later it’s on to a new enemy and new crisis.

Dealing with many different countries at once may require many different strategies. But there isn’t any excuse for the haphazard nature of our foreign policy. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel for every new conflict.

One more day with glaring examples as to why Trump is not suited for the office he holds.  He is not able to conduct himself with any degree of character and maturity that the office requires.

And today the world was watching.

And so it goes.

Alia Ghanem, Osama bin Laden’s Mother, Gives Interview

This was interesting as I can not recall ever reading of an interview with this woman before.

Ghanem listens intently, becoming more animated when the conversation returns to Osama’s formative years. “He was very straight. Very good at school. He really liked to study. He spent all his money on Afghanistan – he would sneak off under the guise of family business.” Did she ever suspect he might become a jihadist? “It never crossed my mind.” How did it feel when she realised he had? “We were extremely upset. I did not want any of this to happen. Why would he throw it all away like that?”

Rod Blagojevich Would Have Traveled To Afghanistan To Kill Osama Bin Laden

Secret Agent Man

No one should be surprised at the theatrics that are taking place during the corruption trial of Rod Blagojevich.    But even the most hardened watchers of this event had to be startled with the latest news.

He has compared himself to Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. He has drawn parallels between himself and Winston Churchill as well as Abraham Lincoln. 

But during his fifth day on the witness stand, even Rod Blagojevich managed to startle observers with a new one: 

If he had appointed himself to the U.S. Senate seat in 2008, he would have traveled to Afghanistan to try to hunt down one Osama bin Laden. 

His lawyer, Aaron Goldstein, asked if Blagojevich talked about appointing himself to the Senate “in exchange for going to Afghanistan and hunting down Osama bin Laden.” 

“Yes,” A straight-faced Blagojevich replied, bringing yet another prosecution objection, hushed snickers and head-scratching in the courtroom.

New York Post Has Fun With Porn And Osama Bin Laden

You just knew the New York Post would do something with the story about Osama bin Laden’s stash of porn.

Is Saturday Night Live a new show tonight…..can there be a skit planned….?

Large Porn Stash Found At Osama Bin Laden Compound

What does one do when not planning jihad?

The pornography recovered in bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, consists of modern, electronically recorded video and is fairly extensive, according to the officials, who discussed the discovery with Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The officials said they were not yet sure precisely where in the compound the pornography was discovered or who had been viewing it. Specifically, the officials said they did not know if bin Laden himself had acquired or viewed the materials.

Latest Version Of How Osama Bin Laden Was Killed

The aspect of the Osama bin Laden killing that is not running anywhere near as perfect at the SEALS operation in Pakistan, is how the White House remains unable to convey the whole story in a seamless fashion. 

Thursday a new version of the bin Laden killing was released.  I am not sure if this series of missteps lands at the feet of the new White House Chief of Staff, or the head of the CIA, or perhaps even the Defense Secretary.  But from a political point of view this is not the way the information about this foreign policy success should be handled, or passed out to the nation.   The information flow aspect to this story has been dreadful.

CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports the 40 minutes it took to kill bin Laden and scoop his archives into garbage bags were all recorded by tiny helmet cameras worn by each of the 25 SEALs. 

Officials reviewing those videos are still reconstructing a more accurate version of what happened. We now know that the only firefight took place in the guest house, where one of bin Laden’s couriers opened fire and was quickly gunned down. No one in the main building got off a shot or was even armed, although there were weapons nearby. 

The SEALs first saw bin Laden when he came out on the third floor landing. They fired, but missed. He retreated to his bedroom, and the first SEAL through the door grabbed bin Laden’s daughters and pulled them aside 

When the second SEAL entered, bin Laden’s wife rushed forward at him — or perhaps was pushed by bin Laden. The SEAL shoved her aside

Osama Bin Laden Killing Could Have Included Fighting Pakistan Military Forces

This is a huge nugget to the story of killing Osama bin Laden.

The fact is the United States needs, for better or worse, Pakistan.  The region can not allow for this country to fall into the hands of those who have no sense of modernity.   Like it or not we need to play ball with the government of Pakistan, and not allow the forces that seek to undermine the region to gain sway.

Having said that it makes the following story from CNN even more troubling.  The last thing Pakistan needs at this time is to be further humiliated on the world stage.  As much as we may have substantive issues with Pakistan I am trusting that much of the hard-nosed lessons that Pakistan needs to better understand can take place through diplomatic and behind the scenes moments.

The Obama administration had “very detailed contingency plans” for military action against Pakistani forces if they had tried to stop the U.S. attack on Osama bin Laden’s compound, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the plan.

Their names are not disclosed because of the sensitive intelligence information involved.

“No firepower option was off the table” during the Navy SEALs’ 38-minute mission on the ground, or during the time U.S. helicopters were in the air, one official told CNN. “We would have done whatever we had to in order to get our men out.”

The two U.S. officials also told CNN about the plan if bin Laden had been captured alive, which included taking him to Afghanistan and then out to the USS Carl Vinson in the Arabian Sea.

All of the senior U.S. officials in the White House Situation Room during the assault were prepared to call their Pakistani counterparts if fighting between U.S. and Pakistani forces appeared imminent, one of the officials told CNN. The SEALs at all times retained the right of self-defense, and they could have fired at the Pakistanis to defend themselves.

Most Unusual News Story Today Involves Tape Measure, Osama Bin Laden Corpse

I must be honest here, and say up front I was not sure where this story was going when I first read it…..

Another measurement was to determine the height of the corpse. Bin Laden is listed on his FBI most wanted poster as being between 6-feet 4-inches and 6-feet 6-inches and weighing about 160 pounds. 

However, the heavily-armed, electronically wired SEALs didn’t come with a tape measure to get an accurate height reading. According to reports, a Navy SEAL of about 6-feet laid out next to bin Laden’s corpse to gauge the Al Qaeda leader’s height. The corpse was several inches taller.

Whew….

After Mr. Obama learned of the improvised height measurement technique, he reportedly said, “We donated a $60 million helicopter to this operation. Could we not afford to buy a tape measure?”