I am still on my hiatus as I commence this article. I was my intention not to write until I got back in metro Raleigh but that all changed Thursday night. President Trump has lied at a rate never even approached by any American politician of prominence in recorded history. Juxtapose the events of last Thursday night, Trump and Aesop’s fable, The Boy Who Cried Wolf and you have the reason I am writing this article on a Sunday night.
Thursday evening I received a news alert on my phone that an attack had killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani on route to the airport in Baghdad, Iraq. Soleimani was a key figure in Iran’s military and its politics. We do not have a direct counterpart in America. For comparison he was something of a key General combined with a high profile Cabinet Secretary.
My initial reactions were, (as always), it is breaking news and I need more details along with wow I hope America had nothing to do with this. About an hour and a half later the Department of Defense confirmed that it was an American missile attack. My first reaction was to remember that World War I began with an assassination. Almost immediately I thought what a complete idiot Trump is and how desperate he is to distract from his impeachment.
Time and space do not allow me to get deeply into all the issues related to this action but I must cover a few at least a cursory level.
Time has proven that Trump took this action unilaterally without even notifying the Gang of 8. I’m not saying discussing, seeking counsel or asking permission; I’m simply saying making a phone call. The advent of the nuclear age after World War II and the Congressional abdication of war powers have enabled rapid responses but this is still a clear violation of, if not of the law, of common sense and courtesy on Trump’s behalf. Remember Trump is man who cares nothing of his country and only of himself.
In fact the Gang of 8 found out about the assassination the same we did; in the news. The White House didn’t even notify Congress until Saturday. (By the way the Washington Nationals won the World Series.)
Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the attack was to prevent imminent, planned attacks on US troops and diplomats. Let’s look at the credibility of that for a moment. While Trump is a world class liar, Pompeo isn’t exactly the gold standard of truth telling in Washington. This illustrates something that has long concerned me: What if we have a serious national emergency and it is vital for the nation to rally behind the president? I was far from a George W. Bush fan but I agreed with what he did in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and have repeatedly publicly said so. Why? Because for the most part he had something Trump lacks – credibility.
Let’s give Trump and Pompeo the benefit of the doubt for a moment and assume there were imminent credible treats. Did taking out the leader prevent them? Soleimani certainly wasn’t going to do them himself. Was he so instrumental that sans his presence Iran lost the ability to carry them out? A conclusion other than “No” is preposterous. I understand that the actionable window of opportunity to take him out was small but it certainly wasn’t a do or die situation; in fact it was undoubtedly a bad decision.
This is much like basketball and you have to ask yourself if I do “A” what will the other guy do to counter my move? In other words what are the repercussions of your action? Trump only appears to have taken an opportunity to get impeachment off the A block of weekend political talk shows.
This was good for Trump (in the short run anyway) and bad for the country. There is no doubt that by this action Trump has killed Americans and their blood will be on his hands. The only questions that remain to be answered are of the casualties: who, how many, where, when and will you or your loved ones be among them.
If we are ever really challenged will Americans believe Trump? I fear the answer is no.
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