Wagging the Dog

If you missed Chris Hayes last night — this is a good, brief (5 minutes) explanation of the Pentagon documents released yesterday that clearly show Trump ordered the Ukraine aid to be held up. And then a few hours after these documents were made public, the U.S. military on Trump’s order kills Qassim Suleimani at the Baghdad airport.  Coincidence?

News stories are tellling us that the operation was planned after a rocket attack killed an American contractor in Iraq a few days ago. If so, this was a totally disproportionate retaliation. And, the U.S. had already disproportionately retaliated by striking Iraq and Syria and killing 25 people. I still say this was more about impeachment than protecting Americans.

We’re hearing that this strike was done with no notice to or clearance from Congress, although some Republicans claim to have been briefed. Many people also have unearthed a series of old tweets by Trump predicting that President Obama would start a war with Iran to help his re-election chances in 2012. Trump obviously thinks that starting a war is politically smart. If the situation escalates, we can also count on Mitch McConnell declaring that we can’t very well have an impeachment trial while there’s a war going on.

Of course, this provocation was utterly unnecessary. A number of people who served in the Obama and Bush II administrations have stepped up to say that taking out Qassim Suleimani was something considered but rejected by their bosses. It was too incendiary. But fools do rush in where angels fear to tread.

Trump and SecState Pompeo are claiming that Suleimani was planning an “imminent” operation that could have taken “hundreds of American lives.” Of course I don’t believe this is true. Congress must demand that Trump share whatever intelligence he has to prove this statement. Even so, if there were such plans the plans still exist, as does the military force Suleimani headed. There is no reason to think that killing Suleimani would put an end to the alleged plans.

In short, this was a colossally stupid move on Trump’s part that almost certainly will have disasterous consequences. Republicans are falling in line behind Trump to support his decision. What are Democrats doing? Most of the 2020 candidates for the presidential nomination have denounced Trump’s act as dangerous and reckless. And then there’s Bernie —

I hope we’re all clear on that.

Stuff to Read:

Fred Kaplan, Trump Just Declared War on Iran and Trump Is Clueless on Iran and North Korea.

Zack Beauchamp, Trump’s Iran War Has Begun.

Charles Pierce, Trump’s Order to Assassinate Qasem Soleimani Has Kicked Over the Hornet’s Nest. (Pierce provides quotes from an old Hugh Hewitt interview in which Trump plainly had no idea who Qasem Soleimani was and complained that the U.S. was being unfair to the Kurds.)

Greg Sargent, Trump’s Iran strike demands a serious response from Democrats.

9 thoughts on “Wagging the Dog

  1. None of his "deals" have been what he claimed they'd be.  I doubt his war with Iran will be, either. And I do think he is going to have that war. Remember how the call for an exit plan used to echo? I'm not hearing it yet.


  2. It's virtually certain Trump's playing the Commander in Chief card was intended as a distraction from impeachment, and he had not thought for one second what might happen next.

  3. Was Suleimani deserving of being killed brutally?


    There's a reason not only prior American administrations didn't do this, but also Israel and Saudi Arabia declined to assassinate him:

    The blow-back!

    But not our stable genius!

    tRUMP wanted some giant shiny bauble to take attention away from his upcoming impeachment trial. 

    And of course, no one in his maladministration can tell King Donald he's wrong in killing Suleimani, because they know the response: tRUMP'S twitter-fury! 

    And so, we're on the verge of yet another war in the Middle East.

    And so, the nlow-back will look like tRUMP's hairpiece: HELL TOUPEE!

    What a fool!

    To quote two of America's greatest philosophers:

    Bugs Bunny:  "What a dope!  WHAT A MAROON!!!"

    And Foghorn Leghorn:  'That boy's about as sharp as a beachball!!!"




  4. When you're in trouble at home, you go for an international win.

    Just what Bolton wanted and Trump starts it after Bolton is gone. Did we dodge a bullet? It's too soon to know but Trump is a BS artist. Bolton wanted to shed blood and lots of it. Trump is a bully who prefers to beat up the helpless OR bluster against those who are willing to take risks and bear the costs of warfare. 

    Trump doesn't 'win' with a war in the mid-east. Trump wants and needs an agreement that's 'better' than what Obama and Europe negotiated.  Kim flushed the love affair so de-nuking Korea is out. If Trump goes into the final stretch of the election without a deal with Tehran, Trump's zero for two internationally. So IMO, Trump is dialing up the pressure in the hope Tehran will negotiate. 

    All this strengthens China's hand in negotiations – a collapse there would be zero for three. The problem is what Trump may do when things get desperate. Escalating in Iran reminds me of the history of how Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon got in deeper and deeper.


  5. In my attempt to foresee how this situation is going to play out I go back to the episode where Trump is sitting with his cabinet and top advisors  and they go around the table where everybody is required to lavish praise and gratitude on Trump for his superior intellect and mercies for allowing them to be in his presence and be partakers in his genius.

     What that episode shows is how deeply insecure and emotional damaged Trump is as a human being, and that he purposely surrounds himself with the most sycophantic of characters thereby denying himself any possibility of receiving wise counsel. He's surrounded by a bunch of groveling idiots who tickle his ears with affirmations of his wisdom. Today I heard Lindsay Graham extolling Trump's virtue as a strategic thinker and encouraging him to knock out Iran's ability to produce and market oil if there is any retaliation from Iran over Trump's assassination of Soliemani.

     Trump might have had great success in verbally beating the women in his life into submission of his will, but when you're dealing with a nation and all that that entails it's not that easy to force compliance to ones will. There is a human element of sovereignty and self determination that Trump doesn't understand or won't factor it into his flawed strategy in dealing with Iran.

    My guess is that it won't end well because Trump doesn't have what it takes to bring this situation to a peaceful resolve. He's a big bag of shit!

  6. Another shining example of the abuse of power.  Is it any different than the extortion of Ukraine?  How much different than ripping the children of refugees from their parents and treating them like criminals?   Or things like denying basic health care to lots of citizens, trampling on women's rights, and normalizing white supremacy to name but a few.  And when you are done abusing the people why not just give the planet a little more abuse.  Let mother earth eat some coal dust and breathe it's toxic fumes.

    At least the policy is consistent in that foreign policy mirrors domestic policy and environmental policy.  All must be abused.  Oh, except Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.  When you run high dollar hotels, you need guests that can shell out the big bucks or a place like Turkey which is real estate friendly. So they get the special "no abuse" treatment to show them the most favored state status they occupy.  It is probably no coincidence that all three of them like to abuse a little power from time to time also.  

    Charts of Twitter output show record levels of activity from the Man of Mar a La Go.  So many wayward people are needing that dreaded abuse it seems. It is the preferred pulpit of the bully along with rallies of the faithful.  There, the faithful, can cheer and encourage their favorite targets of abuse, the leave primed and ready to "share" the hate. 

    Iran seems to be poised to play a little of the "share" the hate game.  Creating a martyr tends to perk interest that way. I think Trump and cronies know that.  It is the type of knowledge that bullies are gifted about.  It creates a needed diversion too.   

  7. Who advised him of this? We have a right to know.  And killed a hezbollah leader also, two hornets nests. Bibi  is under indictment also.  Who do we work for ? Turkey, Syria Russia saudi Arabia 

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