I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity. Dwight D. Eisenhower
Honestly, is there anyone in America who is sentient and moderately aware of the Trump administration that hasn’t seen the current state of affairs as inevitable. Let’s not even go into the “justification” of “imminent” threats to American and foreign targets that Trump and his minions can’t agree on or feel obligated to divulge. So much of Trump’s decisions over the past week about Iran’s response and his bizarre snorted address to the nation was so predictable as to be both pathetic and laughable. Only the Orange One could create, deny, and wallow in his own self delusion like he can. The problem is that the Iran confrontation is far from over for a variety of reasons.
It is a given that Ossem Soleimani has been a bad actor on the world stage for sometime now. He is credited for thousands of deaths, both civilian and military. It might be progressive pessimism to think that Trump’s assassination of Soleimani was little more than a crude attempt by Trump to change the political narrative away from his upcoming impeachment trial in the United States Senate. But when you consider his ham-handed approach to just about everything from foreign policy to immigration to taxation for the rich and prosperous, it surely isn’t out of the realm of possibility. It has become obvious that his political acumen leans toward the maladroit, rather than refinement and finesse in statesmanship.
Then again, why? With the entire Republican Party tap dancing to his every whim, no matter how unconstitutional or illegal, the outcome of a any sham trial in the Senate will certainly exonerate him. Mitch McConnell has made it clear that he will follow the lead of the administration and deliver whatever they demand. Witnesses? No, way. Fair and unbiased presentation of the facts? Nope. The sniveling little skank, Lindsey Graham, has even refused to read transcripts or other material presented to the House committees, and according to Axios,
“I think what’s best for the country is to get this thing over with. I have clearly made up my mind. I’m not trying to hide the fact that I have disdain for the accusations in the process. So I don’t need any witnesses. … I am ready to vote on the underlying articles. I don’t really need to hear a lot of witnesses.”
— Lindsey Graham
Why it matters: Before beginning an impeachment trial, Senate rules dictate that senators must swear an oath to do “impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.”
Graham said in an interview with CNN Saturday that he is “not trying to pretend to be a fair juror.” Axios
Trump’s antics on the world stage coupled with his denial denials and the ever-shifting impeachment narrative are almost enough to inspire schizophrenic behavior in all of us. The battles between Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell, wavering Republicans beginning to demand witnesses be called, and the growing 2020 hoopla of presidential candidates is, quite literally, almost too much to take in and absorb.
Of course, the current chaos du jour is exactly what the Republicans and Trump long for in the end. By keeping the American public in turmoil, especially the Democrats, they control the narrative through lies, outright misdirection, and control of their own party base. “See”, they contend, “the world is going to hell in a handbasket. You need strong, law and order government to control the radical left.” All of the chaos only throws another log on the authoritarian fire that is smoldering among the far right and its enablers.
There are signs for hope on the horizon. Bernie Sanders is surging in the polls giving credibility to the idea that the status quo is feeling the Bern in Iowa and New Hampshire. Certainly, Sanders has his detractors. How could he not? He supports ideas that are radical beyond what Wall Street, Big Pharma, the Republican, and yes, the Democratic Party can phantom. Conversely, Joe Biden is slipping in the polls, even as old-school political prognosticators and much of the mainstream media and Washington old guard claim that Trump’s shortsighted military faux pas in killing Soleimani will play into Biden’s strength on foreign policy. I am not a Biden basher, but realistically, do we need yet another Washington establishment politician feeding us the same garbage we’ve fed on for the last one hundred years?
In recent days the Iran/United States brouhaha has settled down to a mild roar as Iran deals with the international outcries that have resulted from the downing of a Ukraine Airliner that killed all 176 passengers and crew. Iran showed its own inept chops by first denying the incident and then fessing up to the tragic outcome of their retaliatory attack on the American base in Iraq. It’s almost a given that Iran would want a “take back” if one were possible.
Not so for Trump, who has waffled through his own tweets and the words of his cabinet members trying mightily to defend the decision to assassinate Soleimani. Finally, Trump has come to the unusual defense that shows just how morally bankrupt he is and how little he holds the rule of law in high regard. Trump’s newest defense goes like this,
“The Fake News Media and their Democrat Partners are working hard to determine whether or not the future attack by terrorist Soleimani was ‘imminent’ or not, & was my team in agreement,” Trump tweeted.
“The answer to both is a strong YES., but it doesn’t really matter because of his horrible past!” Aljazeera
We all know people with horrible pasts, maybe not as checkered as Soleimani’s, but still judged by normal ethical standards horrible nonetheless. If one of us took a pistol and ended anyone of these people, it would be called murder. We would be tried convicted and sent to prison for the rest of our lives or left to rot in a cell waiting for the inevitable needle. Granted, the comparison is a little skewed, but really, not by much. Trump abused his power and ended Soleimani and the people accompanying him. Did they deserve to die as well?
The issue that makes writing about Trump in a weekly blog is that the newscycle changes daily, often two or three times in a 24 hour cycle. Iran, Soleimani, Trump’s justifications, and the downed Ukraine airliner have all held the lead at various times this week. Now, the letters of impeachment have been delivered to the Senate. One would think that is more than enough for any seven day news cycle, but no.
Last night, Rachel Maddow interviewed Lev Parnas, the point man for Giuliani and Trump in the Ukraine debacle. And what an interview it was. This morning the news airwaves have been alit with scorching assessments of what Parnas revealed about everyone from Trump to Giuliani to Barr to Pence to most of the Republican elite and not so elite like Devin Nunes. And there is more tonight. Part II of the Maddow/Parnas interview will be aired with undoubtedly more damning revelations as they are surprising.
The implications for the impeachment are astounding. Most pundits believe now that witnesses will surely be called like Parnas, Bolton, and god knows who else. McConnell has painted himself into a tight little crack where if he isn’t careful he will be able to see any Republican with a shred of democratic principles and a conscience turning on him and aligning with the Democrats who want to get to the bottom of this stinky swamp that Trump built. The opening Eisenhower quote:
I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.
Seemed appropriate in light of the Iran/United States dustup earlier this week. Now, not so much. A better phrasing might be,
I hate politics as only a true American who has lived it can, only as one who has seen the brutality, the futility, the stupidity of Trump and his administration.
Remember to breathe.