Columnists should not hesitate to condemn terrorists

An unhealthy level of disdain for President Trump can lead to an un-American mindset.

Adam Pigott, Freelance Writer

Whether it is President Donald Trump’s outrageous and unnecessary tweets, childish name-calling or high-level of arrogance, there’s no question he has a fair share of imperfections. While it is alright to not like him, some people have taken it to the extreme. 

Last week, Abu Bakhr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, died during a Trump-approved, U.S.-led raid. Instead of facing capture and justice, al-Baghdadi committed suicide by activating his suicide bombing vest. His death marks a tremendous victory for the U.S., as the man led an organization responsible for the slaughter of thousands of innocent people. However, after Trump labeled him as a coward, columnists at the Washington Post decided to go against him and his statements regarding al-Baghdadi. The piece shows the columnist’s hesitation to condemn a terrorist before the president.


Max Boot, a Washington Post columnist and CNN analyst, wrote an opinion piece criticizing Trump for calling Baghdadi a coward and for saying that he whimpered like a dog.

“Trump could not have heard whimpering or crying because there was no audio, and Esper and Milley refused to confirm those details,” Boot previously said in his article and on Twitter in a now-deleted tweet. “The assertion that Baghdadi died as a coward was contradicted by the fact that rather than be captured he blew himself up.”

In Boot’s defense, there was no audio to support Trump’s claim that al-Baghdadi was whimpering and crying before he killed himself and he has made changes to his piece. Although Boot claimed it was not his intention to defend al-Baghdadi. He initially went against Trump for calling the terrorist leader a coward. He also claimed that he misrepresented himself, although there are not many ways to interpret the statement that a terrorist is not a coward. While it is possible that Boot did not intend to defend al-Baghdadi, I see no conceivable reason for that statement to have ever been written other than to defend. His corrections come off as backpedaling in response to the high amounts of backlash. 

Boot’s defense, intentional or not, of al-Baghdadi’s dignity gives off the impression that he is less hesitant to go against Trump than a terrorist leader. His long list of anti-Trump articles shows his lack of hesitation. In addition, whether or not al-Baghdadi whimpered and cried before he died is irrelevant. He committed suicide instead of facing justice for his appalling crimes, which is the epitome of cowardice, and he also killed two children in the explosion. He is a murderer and a rapist. There should be no hesitation to label him as such, as he encapsulates the highest form of evil in the human race.


In addition to Boot’s opinion piece, the Washington Post also published an obituary for al-Baghdadi. In the headline, they described him as an “austere, religious scholar” who was the head of the Islamic state. That is clearly an understatement. He was not just a religious leader, he was a violent extremist.

The headline sugarcoats the terror and brutality that al-Baghdadi inflicted on thousands of people. An obituary headline for Hitler should not say “Adolf Hitler, devout German leader and ethnic studies enthusiast, dies at 56 from self-inflicted gunshot wound.” He should forever be known as the genocidal psychopath responsible for carrying out the Holocaust. Nothing should change in al-Baghdadi’s case. The headline has since been changed, but the backlash undoubtedly played a huge role in the modification. 


Some columnists at the Washington Post are willing to criticize the president and his supporters, such as the Covington Catholic High School Trump supporters, but they are hesitant to label a terrorist leader for the barbaric monster that he was. Disagreeing with the president and his supporters is acceptable, but taking jabs at him in a time of victory that should be celebrated by all Americans is pathetic. 

This article should not be seen as criticism of the Washington Post as a whole because one opinion does not represent the entire newspaper. But that un-American mindset rises from the obsessive animosity directed at the president. President Trump could be better, but in spite of his imperfections, columnists should control their disdain for him—lest they come off as un-American. We should applaud both Trump and the special forces team for carrying out this operation.

Regardless of political leanings and professions, American citizens should not hesitate to recognize extremism and condemn atrocities that are committed by extremist groups. Justice requires us to call criminals and terrorists for what they are: evil.

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