Mr. Military Strikes Again

Trump Maladministration

Trump’s quickie trip to Iraq yesterday would have been a comedy of errors, except that some of the errors could have consequences that are not so funny.

How many ways did he screw up? Let’s start with a small matter.

Video footage and the written report of Trump’s visit with service members in Iraq showed the President signing “Make America Great Again” hats and an embroidered patch that read “Trump 2020.” …

… Department of Defense guidelines say that “active duty personnel may not engage in partisan political activities and all military personnel should avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval, or endorsement of a political candidate, campaign, or cause.”

The questions arose because the hats, emblazoned with the President’s signature political slogan, appeared to be brand new and because there are rules against military personnel participating in political activities while in uniform.

The White House and the military establishment are taking the position that no rules were violated because they say so. Apparently it wasn’t a violation because the troops had purchased the hats themselves. Where? From the post PX? Is Trump making money selling Trump merchandise through the millitary?

Well, of course, the troops have lots of money now to pay for MAGA hats.

Trump also told the troops, falsely, that they hadn’t received a pay raise in 10 years before he took office (they’ve received one each of the last 10 years) and that he’d secured for them a pay raise of “more than 10 percent” (service members will see a 2.6 percent pay bump in 2019, up from 2.4 percent in 2018). “We had plenty of people that came up,” began the president, “they said, ‘You know, we can make it smaller. We can make it 3 percent. We can make it 2 percent. We can make it 4 percent.’ I said, ‘No. Make it 10 percent. Make it more than 10 percent.’”

This next screwup is more serious.

Though the trip had reportedly been planned for weeks, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi was invited to meet the president only two hours in advance, and was unable to make it to the event. The two leaders spoke over the phone instead, and the prime minister later said that the meeting was canceled because of a disagreement over how to conduct the session.

It gets worse:

President Donald Trump‘s surprise trip to Iraq may have quieted criticism at home that he had yet to visit troops in a combat zone, but it has infuriated Iraqi politicians who on Thursday demanded the withdrawal of U.S. forces.

“Arrogant” and an “a violation of national sovereignty” were but a few examples of the disapproval emanating from Baghdad following Trump’s meeting Wednesday with U.S. servicemen and women at the al-Asad Airbase.

See also:

Sabah al Saadi, the leader of the Islah parliamentary bloc, called for an emergency session of parliament “to discuss this blatant violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and to stop these aggressive actions by Trump who should know his limits: The U.S. occupation of Iraq is over.”

The Bina bloc, Islah’s rival in parliament and led by Iran-backed militia leader Hadi al-Amiri, also objected to Trump’s trip to Iraq.

“Trump’s visit is a flagrant and clear violation of diplomatic norms and shows his disdain and hostility in his dealings with the Iraqi government,” said a statement from Bina.

Yeah, that went well. But what else could have gone wrong? Oh, yeah. The Moron in Chief not only revealed on his Twitter account that a covert SEAL team was deployed in Iraq, he posted photos of the team. Now the whole world knows what the SEALS look like.


The president’s video posted Wednesday did not shield the faces of special operation forces. Current and former Defense Department officials told Newsweek that information concerning what units are deployed and where is almost always classified and is a violation of operational security. …

… The pool report went on to say that Trump paused to take a selfie with U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Kyu Lee, who said he was the chaplain for SEAL Team Five, based out of Coronado, California. The chaplain said Trump told him: “Hey, in that case, let’s take a picture.”

After Air Force One left the Iraqi airspace, Trump posted a video to his Twitter account of his time spent with American forces during his visit to Iraq. Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA,” plays over the video and shows the president and the first lady posing for pictures with service members that appear to be from SEAL Team Five. The special warfare operators are dressed in full battle gear and wearing night vision goggles.

The video cuts to team members shaking the president’s hand before cutting to other special operations personnel and support troops.

Newsweek also says that no one at the Pentagon or White House will return calls regarding this incident. Well, maybe their faces were partly obscured by their helmets.

Trump seems to think he deserves combat pay for the excursion.

Trump confirmed to reporters this week that safety was one of his concerns in traveling to Iraq. “I had concerns for the institution of the presidency because — not for myself, personally,” he said. “I had concerns for the first lady, I will tell you. But if you would have seen what we had to go through, with the darkened plane, with all windows closed, with no lights on whatsoever, anywhere — pitch black. I’ve never seen it. I’ve been in many airplanes — all types and shapes and sizes. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Poor baby. Maybe you should have paid another doctor to say you can’t fly on darkened airplanes because of bone spurs.

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  1. doug  •  Dec 27, 2018 @9:06 pm

    "with no lights on whatsoever, anywhere — pitch black. I’ve never seen it. I’ve been in many airplanes — all types and shapes and sizes. I’ve never seen anything like it.”


    Somebody explain this to me. With the windows on AF1 closed I expect the lights were on inside the plane. It gets dark outside at night – it's not new. If they ran without running lights outside the plane at 30,000 feet with military fighter escorts what's the big scary deal?

  2. c u n d gulag  •  Dec 27, 2018 @11:28 pm

    Well, Private (No-class) Bo N. Spers sure made a hash out of his first international visit to "his" beloved military outside of the safety of the US.

    First, he whined about his faux-dangerous flight to Iraq on AF1 in front of  people who'd been in or around actual combat recently.  OY!

    Then, he basically called the assembled military members "suckers" when lauding his part in international affairs, and issuing what can only be called "The tRUMP Doctrine:"  " You's uddah countrues out dere, you's want help from us in the US  YOU'S GOTTA PAY! We ain't the suckers anymore, see?  You's is the suckers, suckers.  See?"  OY2!!

    Later, in a photo, he exposed the faces of the members of Seal Team 5, making it even more perilous for them to go on missions in that area.  OY3!!!

    All throughout this visit, he insulted the leader of Iraq by not visiting him at the capital later (probably out of fear.  See: Shit, Chicken), and invited him too late for him to come to tRUMP!  Oy 4!!!! Btw – asking the leader to come to him when visiting a country is counter to normal diplomatic procedures.  By doing so, and by flying in without notifying  Iraqi leaders, he  created an international incident!


    Not done f*cking-up, his plane layed-over in Germany, and he didn't meet with Angel Merkel – yet another major diplomatic faux pas!  OY5!!!!!

    Twain wrote the first "Ugly American" novel about how crude visiting Americans are in other countries:  "Innocents Abroad."

    Too bad he's not around anymore to write a novel about the 'Ugliest American,' P*OTUS Donald J. tRUMP: 'Guilty, With a Broad. " *

    * My apologies, ladies, about using that old, crude, misogynistic term.  I had to for that bad joke to work.


  3. c u n d gulag  •  Dec 27, 2018 @11:43 pm

    Oh yeah!

    I'd bet that SOB, tRUMP, brought those hats with him!!

    And that this sociopathic MFer SOLD them to our troops!

    And – SUCH A DEAL! – that this grifting fool gave a 'discount' if the soldier paired the hat with a copy of 'The Art of the Stea… Deal!!!!"  (Of course, he'd charge full-price!  How could he not?).

  4. uncledad  •  Dec 28, 2018 @7:43 am

    The man is a bumbling fool, an imbecile, we all know that by now. What these miss-steps in Iraq really show is that his "team" is as incompetent as he is. None of this should have been allowed to happen? As far as the MAGAT hats I'm not surprised, my stint in the Army revealed an organization filled with low functioning dolts, us non-lifers referred to it as "military intelligence". Trump thought he was at one of his rallies because in many ways he was!

  5. Bernie  •  Dec 28, 2018 @12:41 pm

    Krugman writes today of the administration of the worst and the dimmest.  Ethics, civility, values, morality, and the rule of law are violated, at times it seems only to grandstand a bit more.  All press is good press, and missteps only provide opportunity for staff to practice evasion and disinformation skills.  They blunder along, leaving a trail of disgrace, division, and destruction.  Fortunately this is providing some much needed motivation from highly skilled people.  

    CNN reports much effort is underway to organize investigations into this gross misconduct. It seems competent people are coming forward in droves. 

    One person familiar with the Democratic ramp-up in staffing told CNN, "There are a lot of people willing to take pay cuts to come do that work."

    "We're being deluged with resumes, really impressive resumes. There will be no shortage of good candidates. The difficulty will be choosing among them," said Rep. Adam Schiff of California, who will lead the House Intelligence Committee next year and will play a key role in investigating Russian election interference. 

    I , for one, will welcome the change and lend what support I can.  

  6. Dan  •  Dec 28, 2018 @3:10 pm

    Hitler also had people he called “His generals.” Until they weren’t…

  7. Mike G  •  Dec 28, 2018 @5:36 pm

    In what I suspect was a Trump ego move, he took a VC-25 to Iraq. That's the military 747 emblazoned with the presidential seal that screams "Air Force One" to the world. It was seen and reported by planespotters over the UK and Hungary hours before it landed in Iraq. Compare to Bush and Obama who flew in military cargo planes to keep a low profile. Really shitty security.

  8. Mike G  •  Dec 28, 2018 @6:09 pm

    Also he flew in a VC-25 in what I suspect was a Trump ego move — that's the 747 with the presidential seal that screams "Air Force One" to the world. It was reported by planespotters in multiple locations over Europe hours before it landed in Iraq, which could have caused a serious security issue. When Bush and Obama went to Iraq they traveled in military cargo jets to keep a low profile.