Remembering Tax Day…1986

Scott Cooper Pic By Monday next week, all Americans should have filed their Federal Income Tax Forms.  When all is said and done, 54.3 % of American’s will have paid into the Federal Tax system and 45.7 % of American’s will “break even” or receive tax credits back from Uncle Sam (2015 Stats from Tax Policy Center Data).

As an entrepreneur at heart, tax day has always been relevant to me, but it changed the course of my life in 2009, the tax day following the bail outs in the Fall of 2008.  More about that another time.

How many of you remember April 15, 1986?  This was another tax day, which impacted my life in a huge way!

April 15, 1986, the day President Ronald Reagan bombed Tripoli, Libya in retaliation for the bombing of a discotheque in Berlin, Germany and ties to Muammar Gaddafi.  The strike was known as Operation El Dorado Canyon.  It is reported that Gaddafi’s recently adopted daughter Hanna was killed in the attack.

I vividly remember where I was when I heard the news.  I’d like to tell you that story.

During this season of life, due to my father’s diplomatic work, I had the privilege of attending College du Leman, an international school in a suburb of Geneva, Switzerland.  At the time I was a 17-year old Junior.

There are countless stories I could tell of my time living in a boarding school which was close to 50 % students from the Middle East.  My graduating glass of around 90 had at least 35 nationalities represented and the combined high school of less than 500 had some 90 nationalities represented.  Being a Caucasian male, I truly lived the life of a minority and thrived in that environment, for two years.

The morning of the Tripoli bombing, I was eating breakfast with the same group I ate with three meals a day.  Sitting on my right was my good friend Salah. Sitting on my left was my good friend Ibrahim.  Both of them were Libyans.  Both of whom learned about the bombing at breakfast.  Both of whom had parents in Tripoli at the time of the bombing.  This was before civilian use of internet. Phone lines were down. Casualties were unknown.

I remember like yesterday telling both of my friends that I was praying for the safety of their family.  I distinctly remember both of them being shaken but appreciative. I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say this was a stressful day; however, my relationships with Salah and Ibrahim, and my other friends from the Middle East always remained about our commonality – not our nation’s ideological and political differences.

How many of you remember the retaliation which Libya engaged in?

Libya responded by firing two Scud missiles at a United States Coast Guard station on the Italian island of Lampedusa which passed over the island, landing in the Mediterranean sea.  I also learned about this immediately at breakfast, because while Salah and Ibrahim never raised their voices to me, ever – there was an Italian student that sat across from me named Angela.  She came to breakfast late that morning.  When she came in, she began swearing at me being a damn American, stating America should learn to get out of the rest of the world’s business.  You see – her parents happened to live in the southern-most part of Italy.  Not on the Island of Lampedusa, but she was none the less angry that Libya had retaliated by sending Scud Missiles to Italy!  I made it through that challenging day, and graduated with each of these individuals – all of whom are still friends, and we follow each other on Social Media today.

One more story about my time living at this boarding school.  One time, mid-year 1986, I was assigned to a room with Two Saudi Arabians, who were cousins, and an Iranian.  When I walked in my new room, they had a poster on the wall, which I will never forget!

The Poster was of our President, Ronald Reagan.  On the top of the poster it had the words “WAR MONGER” and it had a ballistic missile going in one ear, and out the other!

Needless to say, I strategically decided that my first conversation with them would not be the fact that I was in Switzerland because my father was one of the arms negotiators representing that man on the poster, negotiating with the Soviet Union!

I asked Suzanne for a few more than 500 words this week, because I know future articles are going to discuss the worldview conflict we have with Islam.

There are those who will conjure up images and feelings of racism and prejudice in an effort to promote tolerance, which is the worldview of secular humanism.

Personally, in an era where the majority of American’s don’t have a solid foundation of history, this is a great tactic, because it leads to dealing in emotions rather than fact.  Today, that is how many public policy decisions are made, emotion – not fact.

In the future, as I address the issue of Radical Islamic Terrorism, or synonyms which describe it, I will refer back to this article, and I may tell additional stories along the way, of my friends – good people – many of whom I believe are stuck in an ideology, much like the former U.S.S.R., desiring strong leadership in the west, to help them loosen the deathly grip of Shariah Law they are entangled in.

In closing, just like I rarely spoke with my friends about the work my father was doing, I learned on Graduation day in 1987, 16 months after the bombing of Tripoli, that Salah did the same thing!  On Graduation day, Salah’s father came up to me and thanked me for being such a good friend to his son, and gave me a present, a watch, which had the image of Muammar Gaddafi on it!  It turned out Salah’s father was a General in Gaddafi’s army!

We have challenging times ahead, in my humble opinion.  Dealing with these challenges will require level heads, who can speak truth, without name-calling or stirring up emotions which are unhelpful.  We must educate ourselves in history and worldview in order to be successful.

I hope you have a blessed week!

Scott Cooper

6 Responses to "Remembering Tax Day…1986"

  1. NanaMary   April 19, 2016 at 9:31 am

    Wisdom from experiences in this column and these responses warrants attention.
    But, we now have easy access to wisdom from many others who have dealt with Islam over the centuries, including kings, popes–who sent devout men into crusades to protect Europe– and more recently, statesmen like Thomas Jefferson and Winston Churchill. I only wish we would learn from their experiences too. Christians turned the other cheek for hundreds of years before finally resorting to war. This Islamic military/political/”religion” is totally unlike our Judeo-Christian religious experience, and most of us are too naive to understand what we face. I pray we will find a way to convert them to our way, somehow, before we too, like so many in history and even today, must make a painful choice.

  2. Tom   April 19, 2016 at 9:01 am

    this trip down memory lane (1980’s) reminded me of a related event of my own in 1980-81. I was working with a defense contractor that had a project in Ramallah Saudi Arabia. The scope involved a new communications system that included several European partners. One of the office staff, (young female West German),was attacked by a angry mob for improper dress, and no male escort. She basically was whipped , no serious injuries, but it caused a huge uproar in the staff. Soon after, several staff members witnessed a stoning, one male and one female, complete with a doctor to check for life signs during the festivities.
    At the time there was little discussion of radical Islam, but as events unfolded, Iran hostage, Marine barracks,USS Cole, the reality of the HUGE theat to the western world and our collective socities sank in….it’s only gotten worse

  3. Marilyn Stoflet   April 18, 2016 at 8:31 am

    This article reminds me of those days as we lived on an Air Force Base. Back then, and up until then, me living in my young, small, protected world had never even heard of the Islamic way of life people lived under. I was shocked at what I learned woman were subjected to. However, even what I learned back then didn’t prepare me for what I learned more than a decade later after 9/11. This article really put a good perspective of why we must step back and out of our anger, fear, shock, and suspicious feelings of Islam coming into our Western World. Not that our feelings are not warranted or even justified, but that we must learn about the facts of what we must know moving forward in today’s World. It’s everyone’s job to learn about each other. In saying this, I do not believe it is our job necessarily to welcome these changes in our society. It is our job to learn about it and deal with it accordingly in our society. How we deal with it at this point is critical, because our part of the world, whether that be Europe, America, or wherever your Western Society is being “invaded” upon by this foreign way of life, is dependant upon our “reaction” to this situation we are being dealt. Our children, grandchildren and beyond are relying upon giving them a future we always assumed we could guide them into. Right now is the time we are being given the opportunity to make the decisions of which are keys to unlock the doors to their paths. Me, I’m praying we unlock the right door. It’s not like “Let’s Make a Deal” where we don’t know what’s behind each door. We know the futures that await our future loved ones. But it is up to us to unlock the door we KNOW is right. But God Save us, our future and the future our loved ones will have to face if we allow those in power to unlock the most difficult path we all will have to endure; all in the name of greed, money, lust, hatred and all the selfish reasons that are filling up their feelings under the name of a “legacy for the President”, who so far has done everything in what he FEELS is right for himself. We must secure a future that is what our Forefathers envisioned for their future loved ones. Shouldn’t we take all the good we’ve learned, keep our strong foundation and build upon it and improve the weak points. Don’t destroy the entire country and change it into what others have tried to achieve and have failed. Keep what has been built, what so many have enjoyed and keep our eyes on what has made us so successful! I for one, do not want my future to be a life of misery under a dictator or living under an oppressive theocracy. Tolerance isn’t all it’s being shouted out to be! Yes, let’s step back and learn, just don’t step so far back that we find ourselves living in a society we thought had been scrapped left thousands of years ago.

  4. Jim DeWitt   April 18, 2016 at 6:15 am

    Dragging the discussion back on topic, this is a thoughtful and level-headed commentary, which seems to be all too rare these days. People today want quick and simple solutions to complex issues. There are no simple solutions to the problems we face from Islamic terrorism. On one hand, it is shallow and irrational to paint all Muslims with a broad brush. There are many who are described as moderate that wish no harm to others, and truly live peacefully. However, from our side this is complicated by the practice of Taqiyya (worth looking up). We are trying to understand a thought system which creates a great deal of disagreement for those within it; how difficult is good understanding for those of us on the outside? This is a topic which the West has dealt with, on and off, for the past 14 centuries. There is a great deal of misinformation and revisionism to sort through. We will need level-headed men of sagacity to guide us rationally through the days, and years, ahead. The situation is much larger and more advanced than the average person realizes. Take the time to educate yourself on “The Project”, and on the advances the Muslim Brotherhood has made in advancing their agenda in our country. As the saying goes, buckle up – it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

  5. Bill Coleman   April 18, 2016 at 4:55 am

    (a repost of mine from 3/23/16)
    One of the goals of jihad is to give non-Muslims the false hope that Islam can be reformed or that moderate Islam is sustainable. There are no moderate Muslims and those that appear to be moderate are either engaged in jihad or are less devout “slacker” Muslims who will be removed from the gene pool by devout Muslims when jihad in a surrendering culture has progressed to the point where the opportunity for the bloody purification of Islam is feasible.

    The mission of the “silent majority” is to vote for political leadership that will in turn provide the structure for organization of the present voters who understand the threat of unrestrained Islamic jihad to their constitutional culture of freedom. The desired process is to constitutionally identify, fight and win the political and legal battles that will stop the advance of Islam in the USA while we still have the freedom to do so, before the surrender to Islam is past the point of return to constitutional freedom and without fighting a bloody war against the world wide forces of tyranny which we will lose if we were not motivated or organized enough to win the political and legal battles while we could.

    You can “take this to the bank”: The advance of Islam will not be stopped by people who only express “pie-in-the-sky” goals and apparently do not have a clue about a constitutional path towards those goals or who to vote for in order to make progress towards stopping the advance of Islam . Such statements of false hope are counter productive to stopping the advance of Islam. The success of stopping the advance of Islam in the USA is proportional to the number of people that understand and act on these statement(s).

    (1) Nonmuslims must be constitutionally organized to constitutionally identify, fight and win the political and legal battles required to constitutionally stop the advance of Islam in the USA or the advance of Islam will never be stopped.

    (2) Politicians must be effectively vetted as to their motivation, knowledge and desire to constitutionally stop the advance of Islam in the USA.

    (3) The end result must be that Islamic leadership has been shown that constitutional freedom is sustainable and that there is no hope for jihad to work in the USA because of our sustained use of our constitutionsl freedoms. The longer the unarmed political battle is put off ….. the greater the threat of a bloody war and the loss of that war and all we who love liberty hold dear. Who is tired of hearing people talk about how evil Islam is without hearing enough discussion of strategy that will constitutionally stop the advance of Islam in the USA? Bill Coleman.

  6. Robert Scott   April 17, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    I remember April 15, 1986, thirty years ago this week. As stated, President Reagan was in office. Myself, I had just taken command of USS PENSACOLA nine days earlier, and wondered whether we, my crew and I, were going to be involved in another war as we had been in Vietnam, with us going it alone and no European allies. We were retaliating against Libya for bombing a nightclub in West Berlin and, if my recollection is correct, West Germany itself stated that such retaliation was unwarranted and did not participate. None of our European allies thought this retaliation was legal, and all the countries geographically between our bases in the UK and the targets in Libya even refused to let our airplanes fly over their airspace. We as a nation bombed Libya anyway, apparently out of a sense of “we have to teach these guys a lesson” (not a reason our NATO allies considered to be supported by international law) — and lost two U.S. Air Force pilots in the process. Fortunately, my ship and I were not sent to fight in a new war. That didn’t happen until the next Republican President and (for me) a couple of commands later, when we sent Navy detachments to support our Marines fighting in Operation Desert Storm. By the time the Republican President after that sent forces to invade Iraq itself, I had completed my three decades of military service. I guess we taught Gaddafi a lesson. I wonder when we will learn ours?