August 22, 2017
Yesterday, President Trump unveiled his new plan for the prosecution of the war in Afghanistan. Even rabid Trump followers must be disappointed with his latest pronouncement. The United States has been fighting this undeclared war for sixteen years. In his speech yesterday he spoke of the frustration of the American people. He said his new policy was the result of being educated as to the facts by his top advisors. I’m happy to hear that the president is able to discard his campaign rhetoric in favor of informed analysis, but now instead of being the free-thinking populist he pretended to be during the election, the man on the white horse who would “drain the swamp”, he appears to have joined the “military-industrial complex” that President Eisenhower warned about in his farewell address.
President Trump would not explain his new war policy except to say the United States was moving away from a policy of Nation Building. Instead, he said that our new policy would focus on finding and killing bad guys. The details of this policy are secret. Implicitly, he signaled that additional troops would have to be sent to the front. He said he had changed his mind about fighting wars on foreign soil. The past has proved that politicians are on safe-ground when they fight wars “over there.” Trump has discovered the shield which he hopes will protect him from the on-going congressional investigations. He may assume that the American people will not want to “switch horses,” or deranged pretenders, in mid-stream.
Now we are presented with the specter of Trump the Warrior. This is a frightening thought. Trump the Misogynist is ugly, but not a national nightmare. Trump the Talk Show Host-cum-President is intellectually indigestible, but not earth-shaking. The United States has had its share of actors, dancers, pop singers, and comedians wearing the mantle of high public office. We have survived other unqualified pretenders in the Oval Office.
As Trump begins to define his presidency as one of active warmongering, we must all be concerned, and I do mean everyone. The election is over. The voting results cannot be changed, but we cannot wait until the year 2020 to see how this whole fiasco plays out. Earlier this month, President Trump threatened North Korea with “fire and fury.” His intensity of vitriolic rhetoric makes him sound like a man who is very close to pushing the button. Misguided patriotism and years of hopeful indifference have led America into this corner. We have tolerated a permanent state of war and a state of national emergency since the 9-11 attacks. Whether our response to those attacks has been appropriate or not should be a topic of national debate.
I sense Trump’s Afghanistan policy is part of a new scheme to stay in office. He is stirring the pot of patriotism and war: first with last April’s missile strikes in Syria, then with his North Korea tough-guy talk, and now with the expansion of the war in Afghanistan. Donald Trump has discovered the cure for his lack of fitness for office, for his tasteless unprofessional public behavior, and for his alleged collusion with Russia. He has seen the poll results. When he presents his Trump the Warrior image, patriotism prevails, and more people support him.
This is his only Trump Card—the War Card. President Trump is wrapping himself in the flag. Let us hope that Mr. Mueller, the Special Prosecutor, will move quickly to light a fire under Congress before we all experience the tragic result of our nation’s election day mistake. “Fire and fury” in the age of nuclear warfare, unleashed by an irrational, childish, narcissistic pretender, whether he is the leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea or the United States of America, may lead to the end of intelligent life on this planet.