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Levin writes: "As we approach the 20-year anniversary of 9/11, Donald Trump has been doing the rounds with conservative media outlets to talk about terrorism. One of his new takes? That Osama bin Laden, best known as the architect of the September 11 attacks, wasn't actually as bad as everyone makes him out to be."

Donald Trump. (photo: Andrew Harrer/Getty Images)
Donald Trump. (photo: Andrew Harrer/Getty Images)

Donald Trump: Actually, Osama Bin Laden Wasn't That Bad

By Bess Levin, Vanity Fair

28 August 21

Two weeks before the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Trump is out there claiming bin Laden “only” did one terrorist attack, and that he wasn’t a “monster.”

s we approach the 20-year anniversary of 9/11, Donald Trump has been doing the rounds with conservative media outlets to talk about terrorism. One of his new takes? That Osama bin Laden, best known as the architect of the September 11 attacks, wasn’t actually as bad as everyone makes him out to be.

Speaking to radio host Hugh Hewitt on Thursday, the following words actually came out of the ex-president’s mouth: “We took out the founder of ISIS, [Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi, and then of course [Iranian military leader Qassem] Soleimani. Now just so you understand, Soleimani is bigger by many, many times than Osama bin Laden. The founder of ISIS is bigger by many, many times—al-Baghdadi—than Osama bin Laden. Osama bin Laden had one hit, and it was a bad one, in New York City, the World Trade Center. But these other two guys were monsters. They were monsters. And I kept saying for years, why aren’t they getting them? For years, I said it. I got them. The press doesn’t talk about it. They don’t talk about it because they don’t want to talk about it.”

There’s a lot to unpack here but we should probably start with the fact that while Trump is trying to claim that bin Laden was some kind of one-hit wonder for terrorist attacks, the reality is that he was actually also linked to the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings that killed more than 200 people and the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, which killed 17 U.S. Navy sailors. Then there’s the bizarre way he talks about 9/11, where you can tell he doesn’t really want to admit its magnitude because that would somehow undermine his argument, so he begrudgingly calls it a “bad one.” And, of course, there’s the assertion that al-Baghdadi and Soleimani were “monsters,” but bin Laden—the man responsible for the deadliest terrorist attack in U.S. history—not so much. Which may be news to the families of the 2,977 victims killed that day.

Meanwhile, the sickest part here—aside from trying to claim bin Laden gets a bad rap—is that Trump is undoubtedly saying all this because Barack Obama oversaw the operation that killed bin Laden, and he’s pathologically jealous of the guy. Also because he’s a stunted man-child and needs people to pat him on the head and tell him he did a great job and it kills him that, supposedly, “the press doesn’t talk about it.”

Anyway, can’t wait to hear his remarks on the actual anniversary of 9/11. Will he claim bin Laden deserves a posthumous Nobel Peace Prize? That if the guy was still alive he’d try to set him up with his daughter? Stay tuned!

Don’t forget to blame Trump administration bigot Stephen Miller for the debacle in Afghanistan

While the world-renowned xenophobe is out there claiming, “Biden’s flippancy when it comes to American lives is breathtaking,” it’s important to remember that a considerable amount of what’s going on in Afghanistan is his (and his former boss’s) fault. Per HuffPost:

As the United States potentially abandons tens of thousands of Afghans who helped two decades of military and diplomatic efforts there to the mercies of the Taliban, a single person may deserve more credit than any other: top Trump White House aide and immigration foe Stephen Miller. Miller, who worked for all four years as former president Donald Trump’s immigration adviser pushing restrictive policies across the board, was instrumental in slowing down the processing of Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) for Afghan interpreters, embassy staff, and others who are now top targets for Taliban assassination, according to both refugee advocates and those who have worked with him.

“The seeds of the insanity that we’re seeing right now were planted in Stephen Miller‘s brain,” said Matt Zeller, a former Army officer who served in Afghanistan and cofounded the group No One Left Behind, adding that Miller is as much to blame for the deaths of interpreters and others as the Taliban themselves. “He’s complicit in their murders.… He’s brilliant at how evil he is.” Olivia Troye, who worked in the White House for former vice president Mike Pence, said Miller had a knack for using the bureaucracy to effect his agenda. “He does it in a very crafty way. You can trace the steps of everything he did along the way,” she said, describing how Miller was even able to use the COVID-19 pandemic to slow down the of processing of SIV applications. “This was just another opportunity to push his anti-immigration agenda.”
Miller became a top adviser to candidate Trump in 2016, then moved to the White House when Trump took office in 2017. With Trump’s encouragement and support, he began implementing anti-immigration policies across the executive agencies, including a slowdown of the SIV program. A State Department Inspector General’s report in June 2020, for example, found that the Afghan visa program suffered from processing times on average more than twice the nine months that Congress had demanded back in 2013. It blamed, in part, the failure of the Trump administration to appoint a senior coordinating official for the SIVs, which Congress had also mandated, as well as the bureaucratic hurdle of requiring the “human resources” employer letter.

“As a result, the stage to determine Chief of Mission approval is a bottleneck in the Afghan SIV program,” the report stated. “As of December 29, 2019, 8,444 of 18,695 applicants (45 percent) were waiting for a Chief of Mission decision.” Spencer Sullivan, a former Army cavalry officer, told HuffPost he could not understand the purpose of requiring such letters if a military service member’s recommendation already existed, but he ventured an idea. “My guess is that is in line with Stephen Miller’s policy of keeping brown people out of the country,” he said.

Miller, who now runs the pro-Trump group America First Legal, did not respond to HuffPost’s requests for comment. Recently, he has claimed that the U.S. should not be bringing Afghans to the U.S. because they might be terrorists and also because it costs too much money. “It’s extraordinarily expensive to resettle a refugee in the United States. They get free health care. They get free education. They get free housing. They get free food. They get cash welfare,” he said on Fox News last week, HuffPost noted. “If the United States takes the policy that every person suffering under Sharia law has a right to live in the United States of America, we’re going to have to make the room for half a billion people.”

And then, of course, there’s the handiwork of Miller’s former boss

Which conservatives demanding Biden resign conveniently fail to remember, and which reporter Scott Dworkin has helpfully recalled:

In Afghanistan, President Biden got dealt yet another losing hand from the Trump Administration. Their Doha Agreement with the Taliban violated the most basic principles of self-government for the Afghan people. There was no way to enforce it or make sure the Taliban kept its word. There was no denunciation of al-Qaeda terrorists. Worst of all, the deal didn’t mandate the Taliban stop attacks against Afghan security forces.
Trump’s deal with the Taliban was flawed from the start, which is why Trump’s own officials are now scrambling to distance themselves from it. “To have our Generals say that they are depending on diplomacy with the Taliban is an unbelievable scenario. Negotiating with the Taliban is like dealing with the devil,” tweeted Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, who certainly voiced no such objections while working for Trump. She was not alone. “Our secretary of state signed a surrender agreement with the Taliban,” Trump's former national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, told journalist Bari Weiss. “This collapse goes back to the capitulation agreement of 2020. The Taliban didn’t defeat us. We defeated ourselves.” Even Mike Pompeo, Trump’s secretary of state and the man who negotiated the deal with the Taliban in the first place, is now denouncing it. He had the audacity to tell Fox News that the “debacle” in Afghanistan “will certainly harm America's credibility with its friends and allies.” He certainly didn’t seem to think so while he was laying the groundwork for the debacle in the first place.

“We’re letting the Taliban run free and wild all around Afghanistan,” moaned Pompeo in that same interview, strangely failing to mention that, as Dworkin notes, he was the guy who “cut the deal to release the Taliban’s leader from prison in the first place,” or the inconvenient fact that Trump agreed to a deal to release 5,000 Taliban fighters.

As for the ISIS attack in Kabul today

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