Dog Day Afternoon

As Islamic State boss Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi learned last month, when a military working dog (MWD) shows up at your compound, you might have a problem. While U.S. Special Forces disposed of al-Baghdadi’s praetorian guard, MWD Conan, a Belgian Malinois, chased down the whimpering ISIS boss in a tunnel, where the terrorist blew himself up with an explosive vest.

Conan was injured in the operation, and President Trump says he wants to bring the hero dog to the White House. As that visit awaits, Trump has already been a target for the deployment of the canine.

“Humans may use animals for war, but we mustn’t abuse them,” proclaimed a column in the Sacramento Bee, which came across as something written by the ASPCA. As writer Markos Kounalakis explained, whether human lives are worth more than pets is “a debate worth having,” and “we are increasingly deploying eagles, dogs and dolphins against growing tech threats, big bombs and drone delivery systems.” Down lower, Kounalakis acquires his primary target.

“The Trump administration accepts the killing of journalists as the strategic cost of doing business. Given this indifference to human suffering, perhaps U.S. lawmakers should condemn Jeddah’s animal cruelty to focus the American public’s mind on how the kingdom mistreats not only its domesticated animals but its humans, too.” The author also cites China’s “practice of torturing dogs before feasting on them at an annual festival.” By implication, Trump accepts that, too.

In some papers, Kounalakis was identified as someone who “grew up with farm dogs” and a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution. Readers had no clue that Kounalakis is a Clinton crony who pulled front-line media duty in the Russia hoax.

“Presidential debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton included a third participant: Vladimir Putin, standing in the background, stealthily inserting himself in the process.” Putin’s Russia “uses deniable cyber-hooliganism to actively prank the American political system. And it’s taking a toll.” The piece reads like a Clinton press release, but it’s headlined “Putin’s power playbook: Hack, steal, disrupt, mislead, confuse,” in the October 28, 2016 edition of the Sacramento Bee, days before the crucial election. Markos Kounalakis then came billed as “a senior fellow at Central European University” but his credentials are far more extensive.

Kounalakis is the husband of Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis, daughter of real-estate tycoon Angelo Tsakopoulos. According to Greek USA Reporter, the elder Tsakopoulos is a “top political donor to the Clintons as well as the Democratic Party,” whose “donations to former President Bill Clinton were rewarded with a night in the prestigious Lincoln Bedroom.” In 2013 Tsakopoulos, “confirmed that Hillary Clinton will seek the Democratic nomination in the next Presidential election.”

Eleni, a protégé of Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer, raised more than $1 million for Hillary Clinton in 2008, and that money found its reward. On January 7, 2010, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton swore in Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis as U.S. Ambassador to Hungary. That stint paid off in Eleni’s successful 2018 run for Lt. Governor of California as she promised to use the office as “a bully pulpit to stand up to the biggest bully in America—Donald Trump.”

As Eleni’s official site explains, “Dr. Markos Kounalakis is an award-winning, nationally syndicated foreign affairs columnist, author, and scholar. Wars and revolutions are where Markos cut his teeth as a foreign correspondent.” His columns “not only offer strong prose and strong opinions, they offer an education” and in 2017, “President Barack Obama appointed Dr. Kounalakis to the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.”

So no surprise that Markos’ columns never included anything less than worshipful of the 44th U.S. president and his chosen successor. Markos’ April 30, 2016 column came headlined “In choosing female leaders, U.S. trails many nations,” and the erudite author contended that a woman president “would be following the lead not only of the world’s most developed nations, but of many countries spanning a broad economic and political spectrum.” Markos also explained that the elevation of Nancy Pelosi to speaker of the House changed the North American meaning of “a woman’s place is in the house.”

Markos followed with a disclosure that “My wife served as a U.S. ambassador under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and actively supports her,” and Markos also “actively supports” Hillary Clinton. On the other hand, after running his animal column on October 29, the Sacramento Bee did not identify Markos Kounalakis as an Obama appointee, a Clinton supporter, or the husband of California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis.

So as a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, home to Victor Davis Hanson, Bruce Thornton, and other conservatives, Markos Kounalakis is the ideal media mole to promote any candidate the Democrats serve up for 2020.

Meanwhile, as Fox News reports, the Baghdadi operation was not Conan’s first tour of duty. The Belgian Malinois has worked with special operations for four years and taken part in some 50 missions. As General Mark Milley explained, military working dogs are “critical members of our forces,” and Conan “performed a tremendous service.” So did the Belgian Malinois who accompanied U.S. Navy SEALs on the 2011 raid that took out al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, but that mission apparently did not provoke criticism from Kounalakis.

General Milley cited no cases where a military working dog ran away from the enemy, in the style of Bowe Bergdahl. Conan ran toward the enemy and accomplished the mission, so it’s hard to deny that the canine deserves a White House visit.

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About Lloyd Billingsley

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Hollywood Party and other books including Bill of Writes and Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation. His journalism has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Spectator (London) and many other publications. Billingsley serves as a policy fellow with the Independent Institute.

Photo: Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

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