No Embracing Terrorists:
A Tale of Two Presidents

Last month, U.S. special operations forces, with military working dog Conan in tow, took down Islamic State boss Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on a daring raid into Syria. “Death of al-Baghdadi happened in spite of President Trump,” headlined an editorial in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, charging, “President Trump took several graceless victory laps Sunday for a success that he nearly undermined.”

The default response of the Left might have been different if the raid had failed or hadn’t happened at all. Imagine President Trump charging that military action against terrorists is futile and that instead, the president wanted to give al-Baghdadi a big hug. Something similar recently took place south of the border.

In early November, Mexican gunmen murdered nine Americans, including six children, leaving bodies and vehicles incinerated. Dawna Langford, a relative of the victims, told Fox News the attack was a demonstration of “evil.”

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, also known as AMLO, had a different response.

“It was lamentable, painful because children died,” AMLO said. As victims’ families might consider, “lamentable” would better suit an accident, and the proclamation that children “died” implies some sort of illness. Not to put too fine a point on it, AMLO seemed unaware that the Americans were all murdered, including a baby only eight months old. On the other hand, AMLO didn’t want to throw down with the murderers. 

“Do we want to resolve the problem the same way? By declaring war?” asked the president of Mexico. “That, in the case of our country, showed that it does not work. That was a failure. It caused more violence.” More than a detached analyst, AMLO offered a better plan. 

Abrazos, no balazos,” said AMLO. “Hugs not bullets.” This is because “violence cannot be confronted with violence” and “the bad cannot be confronted with the bad. The bad needs to be confronted doing the good.” Mexico’s president had apparently had failed to notice that mass murderer Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, head of the violent ISIS cartel, was recently confronted with violence by American special operators. 

For all those not comfortable with the ISIS, the result was very good. In similar style back in 2011, U.S. Special Forces took down al Qaeda terrorist Osama bin Laden, responsible for more than 3,000 deaths on September 11, 2011.  

In 2014, before AMLO took office, 43 Mexican students went missing and are presumed killed. Evidence points to Mexican police and military but AMLO has not been particularly vocal about those missing students. As it happens, they were on their way to commemorate the Tlatelolco Massacre of October 2, 1968, when Mexican troops and police gunned down hundreds of unarmed student protesters. 

That was the largest unsolved mass shooting in North American history but like all other Mexican presidents, AMLO did not have much to say on the 50th anniversary of the slaughter in 2018. Maybe he thinks it’s too late to give the perpetrators un abrazo 

Last month, police in California arrested Mexican national Carlos Vazquez-Orozco for the murder of police officer Brian Ishmael, and also arrested Mexican national Romiro Bravo Morales as an accessory. No word from AMLO on that one.  

The Mexican president was also quiet when Mexican national Gustavo Perez Arriaga, illegally present in the United States, was arrested for the murder of California police officer Ronil “Ron” Singh, a legal immigrant from Fiji. AMLO failed to register any response to that murder, one of many by Mexican nationals in the United States.  

In fact, the worst mass murderer in California history is previously deported Mexican national Juan Corona. He murdered and mutilated at least 25 victims, all Americans and including blacks and Native Americans. By all indications, no Mexican president has ever called those murders “lamentable” or “painful,” much less “evil.” 

President Trump, who ordered the hit on al-Baghdadi, offered help in going after the murderers of the nine Americans in Mexico. AMLO turned it down and after one of the evilest acts in recent memory he rattles on about abrazos. That might be the most fatuous statement since Barack Obama proclaimed ISIS the “JV team” or President Gerald Ford announced, “there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.” So if anyone were inclined to tell AMLO to STFU, it would be hard to blame them.  

Meanwhile, the Sun-Sentinel wrapped its editorial, “Nor does the death of al-Baghdadi end the threat from the Islamic State.” President Trump is aware of that reality and in February tweeted “I have instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and he fully agrees, not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!” Muthana traveled to Syria, had a child with an ISIS fighter.

As Ellie Hall noted at Buzzfeed, Muthana “praised the deaths of Americans at ISIS’s hands and encouraged vehicular attacks worldwide. She encouraged horrific attacks that have killed thousands of people around the world, including dozens in the very nation she wants to call home again.”  

Earlier this month, a federal judge ruled that Muthana is not a U.S. citizen and the ISIS cheerleader remains in Syria. Thousands of ISIS fighters are still at large but a ballpark figure for the number President Trump wants to accept is zero. Wherever they may be, ISIS fighters deserve balazos, no abrazos

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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: Hector Vivas (left)/Joshua Lott/AFP (right) via Getty Images

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