Friday, December 21, 2018

Turn out the lights

In normal times, the resignation of even a major Cabinet secretary is a one-day story.   In 2018, it blots out the sun.  Some responses to the Mattis "retirement":

"Everything that indicates stability, everything that indicates strength, everything that indicates knowledge, is leaving this administration."  (Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY)

"He will not be easy to replace."  (Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL)

"Deeply worrisome."  (Adm. James Stavridis, USN)

"This is scary."  (Sen. Mark Warner, D-VA)

"A national security crisis."  (Sen. Chris Murphy, D-CT)

"This is bad news for the nation and the security of the world."  (Rep. Will Hurd, R-TX)

"Old Marines never die, but they do resign after the President ignores their advice, betrays our allies, rewards our enemies and puts the nation's security at risk.  Turn out the lights when Mattis leaves; we will not see his like again while Trump remains in office."  (Rep. Adam Schiff, D-CA)

"Oh shit."  (Rep. John Garamendi, D-CA)

And if you think they're gobsmacked, think how James Jeffrey feels.  He's the U.S. special envoy for Syria engagement, and it's only been four days since he assured everyone we were there for the long haul, go home, enjoy your Festivus, nothing to see here.  He's almost as stunned as the Kurds, the ally we betray and abandon on a regular basis, this time at the request of their worst enemy, Recep Ergodan (probably relaying orders from V.V.P.).  If ISIS has indeed been defeated in Syria, a lot of the credit is theirs, so they probably feel justified in promising to release over three thousand captured ISIS fighters, which will make life interesting for the Syrian people, to say the least.  It's the bottomless bowl of shit here at Orange Garden -- grab a spoon!

Next, here's Ivo Daalder, former U.S. representative to NATO, quoted in today's Stars & Stripes:  "Yesterday, Syria.  Today, Afghanistan.  Tomorrow:  South Korea?  Germany?  It all fits a pattern and it shouldn't be surprising.  Trump has said he would since the day he ran for President."  

Clearly this was the last straw for Jim Mattis.  Coming on top of the purely political deployment of troops to repel the Caravan of Doom last October -- generals really hate it when some draft-dodging moron uses soldiers as window dressing -- and empty bluster about forcing said troops to become masons and bricklayers, he decided he could best serve by refusing to serve any more.  The spectacle of John Kelly in retreat and Michael Flynn humiliated by Judge Sullivan may have helped to convince him that anyone who associates with Trump for even a scaramucci will never be able to wash off the taint, even a decorated general.  Maybe he has been reading the work of his great predecessor Smedley D. Butler in the small hours.  Butler particularly objected to having the Corps used as "enforcers" by corporate America.  Don't bother looking in your child's American history textbook -- Butler was disappeared long ago and he won the Medal of Honor.  Twice.

It is no comfort -- all right, maybe just a drop -- that no one was made more jittery by all this cut-and-run than the Israelis.  Trump may not care if Russia dominates the Middle East, but they have to live there.  Bibi could erect a Golden Calf with Trump's face on it, but his sole concern right now is keeping the bigots and bozos who make up his base as sweet as possible.  Mueller is closing in, the House Democrats are already drafting their subpoenas, and Trump has to believe his supporters will "revolt" if anyone comes after him.  Thus, shutting down the government unless he gets five billion for a Wall that would cost ten times that much and for which Mexico will pay not a centavo.  Thus, deporting, or refusing asylum to, or just killing all the non-white people who can be found.

Shit got real this week when even Trump's chorus of cretins turned on him.  He was forced to un-Twitter Ann Coulter, author of Truly, This Trump Is the Son of God, who condemned him because there is no Wall yet.  He had to listen to Brian Kilmeade, dean of the Fox Couchetariat, call the Syria retreat "stunning and irresponsible."  ("If I've lost Kilmeade I've lost Fuckwit America," Trump might say if he knew anything about Johnson and Cronkite.  Although apparently LBJ never said that, it's part of our folklore.)  Kilmeade went on to accuse him of "re-founding ISIS," because the right has also persuaded itself that Obama "founded" ISIS, with seed money from George Soros and lizard people from Planet Icke.  That's gotta sting.  Appease the right!  Free James Fields!  Find Jakeline Caal and kill her all over again!  We're at war, just not in Syria any more.

And for the record, I  have opposed all this Middle East bombing and blundering since our troops weren't greeted with candy and flowers when they marched into Baghdad.  I remember the known unknowns, and the looted museum, and the billions of dollars that disappeared in the desert.  I was in New York City when a gang of mostly Saudi Arabians flew hijacked planes into buildings, and even then we knew Bush was rounding up relatives of Bin Laden and flying them to safety prior to ramming his PATRIOT Act through Congress unread and undebated, and setting his long-standing Operation Revenge for Saddam Threatening My Dad in motion.  We can't fix the Middle East.  But bugging out and leaving instability behind is nearly as bad a bugging in.  Hours and hours of harassing Hillary Clinton about Benghazi, and the one question Republicans never ask is "Why was Libya so violently anarchic in the first place?"  Why the hell do you think?

Well, you want the goofy news or the great news?  Goofy:  Trumpette Katrina Pierson demanded on Twitter that John McCain answer her question about his role in compiling the Christopher Steele dossier.  McCain did not respond.  Katrina needs to lighten up on the blue hair dye.

The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold a lower court's ruling against Trump's latest anti-immigrant order.  This is great news for immigrants, and fabulous news for fans of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who cast the deciding vote from a hospital bed.  She underwent surgery to remove cancerous nodules from her lung.  Bill O'Reilly was overjoyed to hear that an 85-year-old woman had cancer for the third time, but decent human beings hope she's back on the bench soon.



Post a Comment

<< Home