John Hanno May 23, 2017
I Agree With Mr. Trump, For Probably the Very First Time.
Donald Trump responded to the deadly suicide terrorist bomb attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, where at least 22 people were killed and at least 59 more were injured; and like everyone, he had a difficult time putting his shock and anger into words.
“I would like to begin by offering my prayers to the people of Manchester,” Trump said this morning during a news conference with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. “I extend my deepest condolences to those so terribly injured in this terrorist attack and to the many killed, and the families, so many families, of the victims.
“We stand in absolute solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom.”
“So many young, beautiful, innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered by evil losers in life,” Trump said. “I won’t call these people monsters, because they would like that term. They would think that’s a great name.
“I will call them, from now on, losers. Because that’s what they are: They’re losers.”
“Our society can have no tolerance for this continuation of bloodshed,” “We can not stand a moment longer for the slaughter of innocent people, and in today’s attack it was mostly innocent children.”
“This wicked ideology must be obliterated, and I mean completely obliterated, and the innocent life must be protected.”
Trump was obviously trying to avoid giving any little bit of credibility to 22-year-old suicide bomber Salman Abedi, who died in the attack and who Manchester Police believe could have acted alone, or to ISIS, who later claimed responsibility for the explosion, by labeling them as desperate “losers.”
Police subsequently arrested another 23-year-old suspect, possibly a brother, in South Manchester. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility through its social media channels and claimed “one of the caliphate’s soldiers placed bombs among the crowds;” and they also threatening more attacks.
An obviously distraught Ariana Grande tweeted: broken.
from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words.
Scooter Braun, Grande’s manager, released a statement: “We mourn the lives of children and loved ones taken by this cowardly act,” he wrote. “We are thankful for the selfless service tonight of Manchester’s first responders who rushed towards danger to help save lives.”
Grande’s world tour is scheduled to have appearances in London, Belgium, Poland, Germany and Switzerland before heading to South America and Asia, but the tour may be put on hold.
Twelve children under the age of 16 were seriously injured and an 8-year-old girl named Saffie Rose Roussos was killed. Chris Upton, Saffie’s primary school head-teacher, described Saffie as, “a beautiful little girl in every sense of the word.”
18-year-old Georgina Callander, who was studying health and social care, was one of Ariana’s super-fans.
I’m sure in the days ahead, we’ll learn more about the innocents who’s young lives were cut short by Mr. Trump’s vile “losers.”
United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May called the attack “appalling sickening cowardice” and condemned the attacker for deliberately targeting children and young people, who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives.”
“We struggle to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children not as a scene to be cherished but as an opportunity for carnage,” Theresa May said.
London Mayor Sadiq Kahn tweeted: My statement on the barbaric and sickening attack in Manchester last night. London stands with Manchester today.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Tradeau tweeted: Canadians are shocked by the news of the horrific attack in Manchester tonight. Please keep the victims & their families in your thoughts.
Dozens of musical and sports celebrities, who understand first hand, the terrorist threat to them and their fans, when they entertain in a public arena, tweeted their heartfelt sympathies.
The Late Late Show’s James Corden sent a message to Manchester from his show:
“It shocks me every time we hear this sort of news that attacks like this can happen, but especially when there will be so many children at this concert tonight,” Corden said.
“Many of you won’t ever have been to Manchester, but you’ll definitely have heard of it,” he continued. “It’s famous all over the world for so many wonderful things. Great football teams — Man City, Man United. It’s famous for incredible music, Oasis and Joy Division. It was the birthplace of the leader of the suffragettes. It’s the home of the inventor of the first computer. It’s a place full of comedies and curries and character. But when I think of Manchester, the place that I know, I think of the spirit of the people there. And I’m telling you, a more tight-knit group of people you will be hard-pressed to find. Strong, proud, caring people with community at its core. And if it was even possible, the spirit of the people of Manchester will grow even stronger this evening.”
“My thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Manchester tonight,” he concluded. “All of the staff at the Man Arena, all of the security teams, all of the emergency services, Ariana and her team and all of those families affected by tonight. We’ll all go to bed holding our little ones even tighter this evening.”
Mr. Trump calls these terrorists “losers,” trying to name the unnameable. I would use the word “inhuman,” being unable to understand how a thinking, feeling human being could even contemplate such vial acts; targeting innocent and defenseless children, at the beginning of their young entry into adulthood, by venturing to see someone they admire and find pure joy listening too. These “inhumans” are void of anything we recognize as a human thought or feeling. They’ve relinquished any right to live among the rest of society. And anyone who supports them financially or otherwise, or who tolerates their “inhuman” conduct, no matter the twisted reasoning, has done likewise. John Hanno
The Morning After Manchester
Hatred is not blind; hatred sees very well.
By Charles P. Pierce May 23, 2017
Nothing about it was unprecedented.
It was a mass casualty terrorist attack in Manchester, in the northwest of England. That is not unprecedented. In 1996, the Irish Republican Army set off a truck bomb in Manchester that injured 200 people and did damage estimated at 700 million pounds. There were no fatalities because the IRA phoned in a warning and 75,000 people were evacuated.
It was a mass casualty terrorist attack that targeted children. This, also, is not unprecedented. Timothy McVeigh set off his truck bomb at the Murrah Federal Building even though he knew the building’s day-care center would be open and full. The separatists who took over the school in Beslan in 2004 certainly knew they were targeting children, and the Russian forces who stormed the place with overwhelming force certainly knew there were children in there. And, if you want to stretch the terrorist designation to fit, Adam Lanza certainly knew who he was shooting when he walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School that day shortly before Christmas in 2012.
There is nothing unprecedented about the darkness in the human heart that causes young people to dress in explosives and murder people on a grand scale. It is that same darkness that encompasses both the Manchester Arena and the bus stop in Maryland where the life of Lt. Richard Collins III ended over the weekend. Hatred is not blind. That’s a lie we tell ourselves so we can sleep at night. Hatred sees very well. Hatred can see several streets over. Hatred can see across seas and across continents. Hatred can see down the block to a bus stop in Maryland as clearly as it can see all the way from a cave in Afghanistan to the streets of lower Manhattan. When it looks for its victims, hatred can see like a hawk.
Hatred is a constant in the human condition, all the way back to Cain, if you believe in that sort of thing. Hatred is part of the connective tissue of human evolution, stretching from the savannas of east Africa to the streets of Manchester. Hatred walked upright as soon as we learned how to do so. Hatred is part of what has bound us to our prehistoric ancestors. The human is a predatory animal. It hunts to feed its appetites. Hatred is an appetite. It demands to be fed.
Its only true rival in the long march of the species is the ability to reason, to think beyond our appetites. It is a constant struggle and it is not always a fair fight. Think of the slaughters over which god to worship, and how, and where. Think of the books and the witches burning. Think of lynching, and of 600,000 Americans slaughtering each other over the self-evident fact that one human being should not be able to purchase another one. Hatred is powerful. So is reason. But sometimes, it seems that reason is Prometheus, chained to a rock, and that hatred is the eagle that comes to feed on its viscera, day after day. Then again, reason is an appetite, too. It demands to be fed. We are better for it when it is satisfied.
None of this is meant to diminish the awful reality of what happened on Monday night in Manchester. The horror is genuine and the pain and loss, all too real. But the surprise at that horror ought not to prevail. We do these things to each other. We always do these things to each other. We gussy them up with political or philosophical camouflage. We anoint them with the preferred incense of whatever faith we pretend to follow. But we do these things to each other because we always do these things to each other, and because, over time and throughout history, hatred and reason have fought each other over the fundamental human impulse to satiate themselves. They fight to no better than a draw, one bloody night at a time.
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There Is Only One Way to Defeat ISIS
We must hold accountable our Middle Eastern “allies”—the states and bankers and political elites—who persist in funding mass murder.
By Charles P. Pierce Nov 14, 2015
There was a strange stillness in the news on Saturday morning, a Saturday morning that came earlier in Paris than it did in Des Moines, a city in Iowa, one of the United States of America. The body count had stabilized. The new information came at a slow, stately pace, as though life were rearranging itself out of quiet respect for the dead. The new information came at a slow and stately pace and it arranged itself in the way that you suspected it would arrange itself when the first accounts of the mass murder began to spread out over the wired world. There has been the predictable howling from predictable people. (Judith Miller? Really? This is an opinion the world needed to hear?) There has been the straining to wedge the events of Friday night into the Procrustean nonsense of an American presidential campaign. There will be a debate among the three Democratic candidates for president in Des Moines on Saturday night. I suspect that the moderators had to toss out a whole raft of questions they already had prepared. Everything else is a distraction. It is the stately, stillness of the news itself that matters.
The attacks were a brilliantly coordinated act of war. They were a brilliantly coordinated act of pure terrorism, beyond rhyme but not beyond reason. They struck at the most cosmopolitan parts of the most cosmopolitan city in the world. They struck out at assorted sectors of western popular culture. They struck out at sports, at pop music, and at simple casual dining. They stuck out at an ordinary Friday night’s entertainment. The attacks were a brilliantly coordinated statement of political and social purpose, its intent clear and unmistakable. The attacks were a brilliantly coordinated act of fanatical ideological and theological Puritanism, brewed up in the dark precincts of another of mankind’s monotheisms. They were not the first of these. (The closest parallel to what happened in Paris is what happened in Mumbai in 2008. In fact, Mumbai went on alert almost immediately after the news broke.) They, alas, are likely not going to be the last.
The stillness of the news is a place of refuge and of reason on yet another day in which both of these qualities are predictably in short supply. It is a place beyond unfocused rage, and beyond abandoned wrath, and beyond unleashed bigotry and hate. It is a place where Friday night’s savagery is recognized and memorialized, but it is not put to easy use for trivial purposes. The stillness of the news, if you seek it out, is a place where you can think, sadly and clearly, about what should happen next.
These are a few things that will not solve the terrible and tangled web of causation and violence in which the attacks of Friday night were spawned. A 242-ship Navy will not stop one motivated murderous fanatic from emptying the clip of an AK-47 into the windows of a crowded restaurant. The F-35 fighter plane will not stop a group of motivated murderous fanatics from detonating bombs at a soccer match. A missile-defense shield in Poland will not stop a platoon of motivated murderous fanatics from opening up in a jammed concert hall, or taking hostages, or taking themselves out with suicide belts when the police break down the doors. American soldiers dying in the sands of Syria or Iraq will not stop the events like what happened in Paris from happening again because American soldiers dying in the sands of Syria or Iraq will be dying there in combat against only the most obvious physical manifestation of a deeper complex of ancient causes and ancient effects made worse by the reach of the modern technology of bloodshed and murder. Nobody’s death is ever sacrifice enough for that.
Abandoning the Enlightenment values that produced democracy will not plumb the depths of the vestigial authoritarian impulse that resides in us all, the wish for kings, the desire for order, to be governed, and not to govern. Flexing and posturing and empty venting will not cure the deep sickness in the human spirit that leads people to slaughter the innocent in the middle of a weekend’s laughter. The expression of bigotry and hatred will not solve the deep desperation in the human heart that leads people to kill their fellow human beings and then blow themselves up as a final act of murderous vengeance against those they perceive to be their enemies, seen and unseen, real and imagined. Tough talk in the context of what happened in Paris is as empty as a bell rung at the bottom of a well.
Francois Hollande, the French president who was at the soccer game that was attacked, has promised that France will wage “pitiless war” against the forces that conceived and executed the attacks. Most wars are pitiless, but not all of them are fought with the combination of toughness and intelligence that this one will require. This was a lesson that the United States did not learn in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001. There are things that nations can do in response that are not done out of xenophobic rage and a visceral demand for revenge. There are things that nations can do in response that do not involve scapegoating the powerless and detaining the innocent. There is no real point in focusing a response on the people whose religion makes us nervous. States should retaliate against states.
It is long past time for the oligarchies of the Gulf states to stop paying protection to the men in the suicide belts. Their societies are stunted and parasitic. The main job of the elites there is to find enough foreign workers to ensla…er…indenture to do all the real work. The example of Qatar and the interesting business plan through which that country is building the facilities for the 2022 World Cup is instructive here. Roughly the same labor-management relationship exists for the people who clean the hotel rooms and who serve the drinks. In Qatar, for people who come from elsewhere to work, passports have been known to disappear into thin air. These are the societies that profit from terrible and tangled web of causation and violence that played out on the streets of Paris. These are the people who buy their safety with the blood of innocents far away.
It’s not like this is any kind of secret. In 2010, thanks to WikiLeaks, we learned that the State Department, under the direction of then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, knew full well where the money for foreign terrorism came from. It came from countries and not from a faith. It came from sovereign states and not from an organized religion. It came from politicians and dictators, not from clerics, at least not directly. It was paid to maintain a political and social order, not to promulgate a religious revival or to launch a religious war. Religion was the fuel, the ammonium nitrate and the diesel fuel. Authoritarian oligarchy built the bomb. As long as people are dying in Paris, nobody important is dying in Doha or Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest source of funds for Islamist militant groups such as the Afghan Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba – but the Saudi government is reluctant to stem the flow of money, according to Hillary Clinton. “More needs to be done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaida, the Taliban, LeT and other terrorist groups,” says a secret December 2009 paper signed by the US secretary of state. Her memo urged US diplomats to redouble their efforts to stop Gulf money reaching extremists in Pakistan and Afghanistan. “Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide,” she said. Three other Arab countries are listed as sources of militant money: Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. The cables highlight an often ignored factor in the Pakistani and Afghan conflicts: that the violence is partly bankrolled by rich, conservative donors across the Arabian Sea whose governments do little to stop them. The problem is particularly acute in Saudi Arabia, where militants soliciting funds slip into the country disguised as holy pilgrims, set up front companies to launder funds and receive money from government-sanctioned charities.
It’s time for this to stop. It’s time to be pitiless against the bankers and against the people who invest in murder to assure their own survival in power. Assets from these states should be frozen, all over the west. Money trails should be followed, wherever they lead. People should go to jail, in every country in the world. It should be done state-to-state. Stop funding the murder of our citizens and you can have your money back. Maybe. If we’re satisfied that you’ll stop doing it. And, it goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway – not another bullet will be sold to you, let alone advanced warplanes, until this act gets cleaned up to our satisfaction. If that endangers your political position back home, that’s your problem, not ours. You are no longer trusted allies. Complain, and your diplomats will be going home. Complain more loudly, and your diplomats will be investigated and, if necessary, detained. Retaliate, and you do not want to know what will happen, but it will done with cold, reasoned and, yes, pitiless calculation. It will not be a blind punch. You will not see it coming. It will not be an attack on your faith. It will be an attack on how you conduct your business as sovereign states in a world full of sovereign states.
And the still, stately progress of the news from Paris continues. There are arrests today in Brussels, of alleged co-conspirators. The body count has stabilized. New information comes at its own pace, as if out of respect for the dead. In the stillness of the news itself, there is refuge and reason and a kind of wounded, ragged peace, as whatever rolled up from the depths of the sickness of the human heart rolls back again, like the tide and, like the tide, one day will return.
Christian Science Monitor Commentary
Comfort for Manchester, England
A Christian Science perspective: Praying to find strength and comfort in the wake of the bombing in Manchester, England.
Rosalie E. Dunbar May 24, 2017
When I heard about the bombing in Manchester, England, these words from the Bible came to me: “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God” (Isaiah 40:1). As the news unfolded, it became clear how much comforting was needed.
As I reached out with an earnest desire to help, it struck me that the Latin root of the word “comfort” means “with strength.” How could I offer strength to those so far away? For me, strength, hope, and courage are found through prayer, and so many of my life experiences have shown prayer to be a deep comfort and help. As I prayed for those in Manchester and beyond, I thought of all the ways that strength could be apparent – as the courage to help people who were injured or terrified, as tenderness toward those who had lost loved ones, and as the mental clarity the authorities needed to establish and maintain calm.
I have come to see that these qualities come from God, so it must be that all the strength, love, and anything else that was needed would be present. My study of the Bible and of Christian Science has shown me that God is ever present for all of us, all the time, and that we are made by God. In times of crisis, this means we are made to resist being overwhelmed. It means we can let God inform us what to do and how to do it.
I recalled the strength and peace Jesus was said to have had during times of great danger and loss. The Bible speaks of Christ Jesus being a shepherd – guiding those who are lost, offering healing and comfort, and stilling storms both mental and physical. He knew God as a loving and faithful Father, ever present to help His children, and this enabled him to say “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
You and I can also experience this comfort, even in the face of tragic situations today. This is possible, not because we are ignoring the danger and suffering that occur, but because we understand – at least to a degree – God’s power to help and save us. Rather than be overwhelmed by evil, we can instead hold on with all our hearts to God as the supreme power, caring for and loving all of us.
God is Love. This means that whenever there is an evil event, it could never have come from God or been motivated in any way by Love. By the same token, it means that all the powers of good are motivating those seeking to establish peace, neighborliness among nations and within communities. As we trust in divine Love’s power to lead all people into peace, we will surely experience the comfort that is always available to us.
In the words of the Monitor’s founder, “May the great Shepherd that ‘tempers the wind to the shorn lamb,’ and binds up the wounds of bleeding hearts, just comfort, encourage, and bless all who mourn” (Mary Baker Eddy, “Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p.275).