Today Americans should celebrate. Today we should acknowledge the blood and treasure, as President Trump says, spent on fighting our enemies and eliminating terror around the world.
The death of this villain, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is not just a Trump administration accomplishment and it’s not just a single military operation. This victory is brought to us by years of deployments, thousands of U.S. troops losing limbs and sacrificing their lives, and a generation determined to seek vengeance and justice abroad so terror doesn’t strike us at home.
Today should quiet voices of partisanship and give way to celebrating a moment in history when honorable men and women executed orders and brought some semblance of justice to four American families and countless innocent people around the world who have suffered from the actions of this religious perversion we call ISIS, which was led by Baghdadi. But that isn’t the Washington way, although I would argue it is the American way.
Unfortunately, as fear and the fate of certain death reverberates through the minds of our enemies, partisan spin and political talking points will be strewn across D.C. and onto our TVs and phones.
The left will say this is exactly why Trump’s recent decision to pull back from Kurdish held Syria is a mistake. Some may be so petty as to suggest that the death of Baghdadi isn’t the victory for Trump that killing Usama bin Laden was for Barack Obama. They’ll call this a calculated campaign move to help secure Trump’s re-election.
However, when the sun rises tomorrow, one thing is unquestionably true: our number one enemy is dead. A man who left a trail of pain and destruction through evil acts and unimaginable terror saw his own life end after he was hunted down by American troops. More importantly, whoever takes his place knows his fate will surely be the same.
Baghdadi may become a martyr and ISIS may not be fully defeated, but the message we have sent to the world is that we will never succumb to such evil.
I served in Afghanistan. I lost my legs and more than a dozen friends there between 2009 and 2012, a decade after we invaded that country to eliminate the threat of Al Qaeda and kill Bin Laden. It’s no secret that distractions like Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Taliban muddied our fight in the War on Terror, both abroad and here at home. Politics and election rhetoric skewed foreign policy and defense strategy. That's why I believe we should welcome a president intent on disrupting such a cycle.
The day Bin Laden finally was killed, I felt a sense of accomplishment, a vindication for pain and suffering endured and witnessed. I knew he wasn’t calling the shots for Al Qaeda; I knew his death wouldn’t instantly make the world a better place. But his death did send a message that we are a nation intent on accomplishing our mission, even when our own politics seems to get in the way. We sent a similar message with the death of Baghdadi.
We will not soon forget, we will not give up, and we will never quit. In the words of President Trump himself, “We will win.”