For more than a week, news feeds have been filling up with rip-n-read stories of betrayal and inconsistency, manic highs, depressive lows, unanticipated reversals, upheavals and humiliating concessions.
Donald Trump, Syria, the Kurds, war, ethnic cleansing, well-intentioned lying, benign extortion, moral failure, deeply considered impetuosity, malignant stupidity, and morbid idiocy are all good metadata words and phrases that inspire search engines seeking double-negative superlatives.
Mainstream news uses special filters so their researchers can boil down reality into a tolerable brew. It allows people like Trump to manipulate what others think they know the way Edgar Bergen manipulated his fast-talking dummies Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd.
News used to be spun by editorial writers driven by a diverse board of learned colleagues. It was usually a well-reasoned spin regardless of the opinion expressed. Now, machines fueled by algorithms rather than pathos try to do the same thing.
Trump doesn’t bother. He gets on Twitter and writes a nearly incomprehensible rave, knowing that learned people will examine each pearl on the odd chance that one of his words might be more than egregious bullshit. It provides Trump and his screwball regime with a constant source of currency it didn’t earn.
Taste is an old-world concept that once defined the edges of moral turpitude. Unfortunately for the world, Trump doesn’t have any taste, style, or class. Fashion in Trumplandia is golden toilets and burnished brass glitz. In Trump’s world, things that were real yesterday have no basis in fact tomorrow. The press, meanwhile, eats it up, enabling him to lie even more.
Some military veterans, particularly those who walked the walk, are deeply offended by Trump’s callous betrayal of yet another “indigenous ally,” the Pentagon’s label for the latest local yokel to bite into the Puzzle Palace’s propaganda sandwich.
Bret McGurk, who served as the special U.S. presidential envoy for the fight against ISIS from 2015 to 2018, said this about Trump, his former boss:
“Donald Trump is not a commander-in-chief. He makes impulsive decisions with no knowledge or deliberation. He sends military personnel into harm’s way with no backing. He blusters and then leaves our allies exposed when adversaries call his bluff or he confronts a hard phone call.”
Not according to Trump, who says now that he has a triple-secret plan to replace the withdrawing troops with airpower and oil. But just two days ago, he said the U.S. was done in the Middle East. Let the Russians deal with the crazy bastards, Trump said.
At least that was the plan until Moscow Mitch told Cadet Bone Spurs that his time as president was going to be finished rather sooner than later unless he got his act together as a real commander-in-chief.
Since then, Trump’s behavior has been like a common river eel caught sideways on a fishhook. River eels in distress like to wrap their slinky bodies around the offending line, oozing copious amounts slick slime until the barb gives up and it slips away.
Trump is trying to demonstrate how to turn shit into shinola, using unintended consequences as ironclad proof of his prescient infallibility. Worse, he is being enabled by Army Gen. Mark Milley, the 20th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the suddenly insecure Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who graduated first in his class at West Point and should know better than most what catastrophes Trump’s intemperate decisions in eastern Syria will ignite.
An ambitious political soldier, Pompeo has waffled more on Trump’s vacillating Syrian non-policy than a cook at a Waffle House.
Imagine, just two days ago at a Kurdish enclave in Syria, CNN showed the locals throwing rotten vegetables at the withdrawing American soldiers. It was a remarkable, shameful sight.
Trump said of the Kurds last week, “They’re not angels.” Before long, Trump will mention the vegetable-throwing while talking about the ingratitude of the Kurds he just gave up to the Turks for disposal.
Trump will tell his MAGA-hatted sycophants that he can’t imagine why the ungrateful Kurds are harboring such cruel resentment just because some of their kinsmen are getting ethnically cleansed. It had to be, he will tell them, because he promised his constituency he would dismantle the only working wall his regime had built, a speed bump made of a thousand American troops keeping thousands of unrepentant ISIS murderers at bay.
On Sunday, Trump said he now plans to withdraw U.S. forces to bases in Iraq and then use airpower as the principal instrument to deter ISIS and other regional powers from further aggression in Syria. No doubt bombing Russian and Turkish forces will ameliorate the Kurdish problem by tilting the world toward another regional conflict, or worse.
Not everyone thinks Trump’s Syrian withdrawal plan stinks. An enlightened, peace loving Trumplandian citizen and self-described former Army Ranger and security consultant in Afghanistan and Iraq is a useful example. He told the Washington Examiner he is joining an “anti-war” group in Washington to speak on the failure of military leadership to plan for troop withdrawals after conflicts end.
The Examiner reported the anti-war group was a gathering of “conservative supporters of the president.”
The former reputed super soldier and well-paid mercenary did not say if the group’s agenda included the current “endless” war he was protesting.
“It’s not Code Pink (sic) or any crap like that,” he reportedly said.
CODEPINK, according to its website, is a grassroots organization led by women that works to end U.S. wars and militarism, support peace and human rights initiatives, and redirect tax dollars into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming programs.
What the hell is the matter with those people? Who in their right minds wants a sane bunch of do-good ladies like CODEPINK to disturb the Trumpian vision for the world when it is already working so well?