Search Results for: Afghanistan

AFGHANISTAN – THE BIG FAIL

Aquarian Weekly
8/25/21

Reality Check

James Campion


AFGHANISTAN – THE BIG FAIL

Success has many fathers; failure is an orphan.
– Italian proverb

Man, I have written a whole lot about Afghanistan over two decades. Not as much as Iraq, but a lot. It has been a long, strange trip, over three presidencies, two of which claimed some sort of victory there and all three that dangled withdrawal. This past week or so the announced finality and exit of American troops from the region after the nation’s longest war did not go well. The government that we spent two decades building and the military that we spent two decades training, folded in a week to the Taliban that we were sold were defeated fifteen years earlier. The United States streak of losing military actions and de-facto wars since 1945 continues. This is an epic fail for the U.S. And despite the above quote, it has a shit-ton of fathers.

This could have been predicted in 2001, when President George W. Bush knee-jerked into what we all thought – and were told – was a brief military operation to dismantle the wheels of terrorism that led to 9/11, the first in a series of spectacular lies that would take forty columns to review. The Soviet Union had a similar run in the Afghanistan in the 1980s that ran the gamut from swift invasion, troubled occupation, frustrated abandonment, and a nation completely sunk into chaos. Their final report on conditions on the ground in 1989 were as follows: “Clearly visible is the growth of [Afghan] self-sufficiency, self-confidence, ability to evaluate the situation correctly … which they lacked during our military presence in Afghanistan.”

Oops.

Does this skewed overview of the situation sound familiar?

Which brings us back to our own botched calculation over thirty years later.

Despite the above’s recent history readily available to all involved – Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney, and the usual suspects – five years into the “quick military operation,” Bush claimed victory, as he did three years earlier in the notorious “Mission Accomplished” speech about Iraq (that war is still going on, I think? Maybe? Sort of.), stating “We have defeated the Taliban and freed the nation.” Then he sent more troops in and went away, making way for Barack Obama. That didn’t go particularly well either, despite the obvious opposition to the campaign by the incoming commander-in-chief.

After running for office on ending “endless wars” and hoping to bring what was then an already “too long” fiasco in Afghanistan, Obama added 30,000 troops to the fray within months of being elected, claiming an eighteen-month surge to bring the war to a conclusion. This, as you might ascertain, did not occur. So, the last guy ran on absolutely ending “endless wars.” Donald Trump promptly told the nation that Bush and his cronies were war mongers, the generals were idiots, and he alone could fix it. Of course, like everything that came from Trump, this was total bullshit. The former draft-dodger told the press in 2017 after becoming president that “We have wasted too much blood and treasure on Afghanistan” and blustered about pulling out at least a dozen times in his four years. The events of this week prove that never happened on his watch.

This war… was about vengeance for 9/11 and to shroud our dependence on foreign oil in a patriotic security mission.

Then we have Joe Biden, who as senator, watched our secret war to arm the Mujahideen in Afghanistan to help facilitate the Soviet boondoggle, then abandon our allies, leading to the rise of al Qaeda, and the emergence in the 1990s of Osama bin Laden, and, well, you know the deal. Biden was even in the room as Obama’s vice president when word came that bin Laden had been killed way back in May of 2011. Everyone thought, well, maybe, now we can pull out of this mess after ten years. Nah. Let’s do ten more.

Biden, or someone after him, at some point, was going to have to take the L for this. How long are we supposed to police and build and manage a foreign government and prop up its military? This is not rhetorical. I mean to ask this: How long? Thirty years? Forty? Forever? This thing had to end. Afghanistan is not Syria or even Iraq – this was not an ongoing skirmish. This was a finger-in-the-damn proposition. The U.S. Army is not a police unit. It is not a building contractor operation. It is there to invade and break shit, kill people, and get the fuck out. Afghanistan was something else, and that something else, like all things, had to end. The defeat in Afghanistan was inevitable. Okay, you think defeat is too hard, you need the edges smoothed, then how about an Incomplete? Whatever the semantics, it was as immediate as it was predictable. The entire farce of the War on Terror – a never-ending money pit of violence, lies and fuck-ups – was set up for bad endings. Think of all of this like Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. You just know… right?

This does not excuse the images of people hanging off airplanes and women and children running for their lives and the predictable anti-American chanting and effigy burning. These are not good looks for any president. Ask Jimmy Carter. Biden is in charge now, not Bush or Obama or Trump. He wanted the gig. He’s a big boy (unlike the last cry baby) and he has taken the shit storm like a man. And he should. His historically steady approval ratings have sunk five points to under fifty percent for the first time in his first eight months on the job, and while most of it is related to the backlash over the Delta variant and its probable negative effects on an economy that has already dipped its toes into the early stages of inflation, the swiftness of Afghanistan’s fall into the hands of an enemy we were told was bested fifteen long years is a tough pill to swallow for Americans.

But lest we forget, this war was never about protecting women’s rights or nation building or whatever Judea-Christian falderal you hear, it was about vengeance for 9/11 and to shroud our dependence on foreign oil in a patriotic security mission. It was all bullshit. It is always bullshit when it comes to war, and it had to end, badly or otherwise.

Here’s the only silver lining, and it is at best a long shot. I would think, moreover I would hope we take measured, reasoned, and careful consideration before going the war route in the future. George H. W. Bush promised “no more Viet Nams” in his Kuwait show that gave a generation the false hope we had learned from our mistakes there and in Korea a decade earlier. But we clearly did not. And if twenty years of wasted human life, abject destruction, and trillions of dollars spent in Afghanistan just to see the images of the last week isn’t enough a lesson, then we, and anyone we deign to assist in the future, deserve to be fucked.

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Afghanistan: The Original Quagmire

Aquarian Weekly 10/7/09
REALITY CHECK

AFGHANISTAN: THE ORIGINAL QUAGMIRE

The United States must leave Afghanistan now.

Not in eleven months or after careful discussion and continued study to determine an undisclosed time, but now.

Soon after, it must leave Iraq.

Desert Quagmire: The SequelThese and other difficult but sound decisions are only debatable because it is today, and not four or five or six years ago when these hard choices should have been made, instead of the slack-jawed flag-waving, ribbon-tying jingoistic miasma we received. Back then, if you had asked any voter if this country would still be embroiled in two wars seven or eight years on, they would have chuckled, even bristled with fear and fobbed it off as doom-speak and defeatist thinking by a paranoiac borne of anti-American rhetoric.

If only we could have employed a time machine and fast-forwarded the mood then to now, we may have seen how literally insane it is to continue to call what is going on in the Middle East a policy or a strategy or any clearly defined idea that unfolds into a serviceable conclusion.

But, alas, there will be no conclusion. It will drag on another five, ten years. And when it threatens to die down something else will pop up to take its place. Iran? North Korea? Maybe it will finally spill over into the real threat, Saudi Arabia or maybe the home base of true tyrannical charm, China. Nah, too much money to be made; comrades of convenience can abuse all the civil rights and unleash all the terrorists they please, just keep the oil and loans a-comin’.

Ah, but, don’t fret; you can wager for the rest of your natural born life there will be American foreign military presence wasting our money and stealing our children to not “win” somewhere.

And what the hell is “win” anyway? Can anyone describe what a victory over terrorism would look like? Is it possible? Of course the answer to these and other rhetorically sarcastic queries is no. It is not possible. It will be as it is now; nothing but stemming the tide, waiting them out, bleeding them dry, showing strength, taking the fight to them, all adding up to a slag heap of blood and treasure that will surely bankrupt the United States as it did the last in a long series of history’s fading super powers, the Soviet Union.

Nope, there will be no exiting Afghanistan or Iraq anytime soon.

And why not?

The government needs it.

War is nothing more than another in a spectacular line-up of wasteful, inefficient, badly orchestrated and overly funded government programs.

All these yahoos waving signs about tyranny and government take-overs of Health Care had better start turning their attention to our greatest mismanaged money-pit; the War Machine. With the money poured annually in this finger-in-the-dam waiting it out policy in the Middle East you could bankroll the education, health concerns and retirement of the entirety of North, Central and South America.

War is nothing more than another in a spectacular line-up of wasteful, inefficient, badly orchestrated and overly funded government programs.

This is why our president is “taking time to sort out details on Afghanistan” or some such falderal. When running for the office in 2007, Barack Obama visited Afghanistan and concluded that it was not only winnable but crucial to the war effort, then campaigned diligently on the “right vs. wrong” war ideology: Iraq = Wrong, Afghanistan = Right. The imbecilic college rah-rah mentality of grass roots political hysteria took this as some kind of anti-war slant, just as the poor suckers who were waiting for Obama to legalize gay marriage or even drugs — the latter of which, by the way, would defeat the Taliban in less than thirty days while also rescuing our suicidal farming industry.

But that must all seem like a dream to Joe Cool now that at the conclusion of the bloodiest month in Afghanistan in eight years of baseless meandering, the president hasn’t bothered to speak to the general running things over there but once since he was sworn in. Oh, and before people are all up in arms about this nugget of info, where has your press been? More importantly, where has your outrage been? Since the blatantly fascist ban on the control of the media’s coverage of returning coffins was lifted, only the Associated Press bothers to cover the dead shipped back from these completely useless and utterly winless exercises in abject murder and destruction, all under the appropriation of our beloved nation and on our dime.

Shit, did you even know that Cindy Sheehan is still protesting out there?

Yet, without our vocal participation, much of which is wasted daily investigating the president’s citizenship, which party asshole might be calling the other nitwit a killer, whose lousy children are being indoctrinated into some political mind frap, and an agonizing series of insignificant television personalities trading on unchecked hearsay as some kind of invincible factoid, the powers that be continue to dangle these criminal acts of global stupidity as if a philosophical, and worse still, political carrot of victory. And for the oddest of reasons, we as a people continue to bankroll and support this crap, and allow our brave and impressionable youth the fast lane to its slaughter.

When it comes to endless military campaigns, America goes beyond simple amnesia; it dabbles in a rare stew of revisionist lying and slapdash illusions sold as patriotism. Thus, we are trained to swallow impish notions that to cease making one abysmal mistake after the next is “cutting and running” or “giving up” or forefend, “quitting”.

This, of course, is nonsense, like most of the lies perpetuated by the Dullard Brigade; many of whom with different names from different ages poured our money and blood into stone-cold failures in Korea and Viet Nam and now Iraq and soon Afghanistan.

The Democrats won’t stop it. The Republicans sure won’t. Congress refuses and the president, the one who rightly railed against this cycle of madness appears to be fine with letting it continue.

Of course the generals keep asking for more troops. This is what generals do. Then the guilty and confused in the legislature come running to us with their hands out to get us to pay for it. This is how it goes, over and over and over and over and over until you are dead and a new set of saps take the reigns.

Forget about the national debt and political ideologies weighing heavy on the future of our children.

They’ll be too busy fighting and dying for that endless and most popular, bipartisan government program: War.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

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CALIFORNIA SCHEMING

Aquarian Weekly
9/15/21
 
Reality Check
 

James Campion
 
 
CALIFORNIA SCHEMING
What the Golden State Recall Election Tells Us About National Politics 
 
 
Six weeks ago, California Governor Gavin Newsom was in trouble. The recall election slated for 9/14 looked to be hanging in the balance. When a recall was first broached last year after a backlash resulting from his flouting his own mask mandate and other stressing economic issues facing his state, the idea of ousting him before the end of his term was about 50-50. But there was a serious swell rising against the beleaguered Democrat. Since, there have been alternative Republican candidates entering “the race”. Then the numbers shifted dramatically. The frontrunner, Larry Elder is the biggest culprit, if Republican strategists on the ground are to be believed. Elder’s presence has morphed a competitive contest into a rather banal one.

Elder is another of these goofy “conservative” talk show hosts. Before the age of Trump this used to mean something. Now, it is a place for abject lunacy. His candidacy in a wildly Democratic state centers mostly around name recognition, the usual twenty-nine to thirty-eight percent far-right militant radical vote, and for window dressing, being African American does not hurt. For a while that kind of thing held some sway, especially when he received a rousing endorsement from Trump himself. It was enough to gain a plurality among the right. But then a funny thing happened on the way to the governor’s seat; Elder started appealing to the body politic. It was then when things went rapidly south.

And I need to stress rapidly.

Californians, it turns out, are not so keen on someone who says before his first cup of tea upon being sworn in he would eliminate the mask mandates put in place by the current administration, and then make it more difficult to fully vaccinate the state. This stuff is gold on the radio, where resentment, fear and outlandish blather helps sell beer. On the campaign trail, however, it is poison. In the past two weeks the nearly 50-50 split to kick Newsom to the curb has gone the other way almost twenty percent. Now nearly seven out of ten in the state support keeping the governor right where he is. Twenty percent did not shift by the selling of a new Newsom, but the very possibility of a crazy Elder.

What California tells us, if anything, is that although a chief executive may not be the popular choice, his opponent matters.

Now, I know that contextualizing a state or any local race into a national prognostication is foolhardy at best and quite frankly fucking insane at its core, but for the purposes of fun, let’s take what was happening to an obviously vulnerable sitting executive and extrapolate his story of seeming defeat to an unlikely reprieve on the national scene.

While Newsome’s governorship was being taken off life support, the president of the United States has been in a significant tailspin. Not since George W. Bush, the last president to enjoy a crossover appeal and rejection, has a president suffered the kind of nosedive approval ratings as Joe Biden in the past three weeks. As broached in the space recently, his steady fifty-three percent approvals since inauguration in January has sunk him to forty-five percent. Not once in those weeks has there been a respite. The numbers dive, slowly, steadily.

The botched and badly communicated exit from Afghanistan and the return of the Covid restrictions, rising hospitalizations and deaths being the two big reasons. There has always been a sense that Biden is not completely compos mentis, and the former did not help this assessment. The Covid thing is beyond his control. The federal government can only do so much. If states like Florida, Texas, and most of the South wish to force schools to not mask children and basically ignore the Delta variant explosion, then so be it. But among independent voters, these issues have led to a softening and then a mass exodus.

This is a crisis point for Biden. Independents decide close elections. And without an opponent, and if things were to be settled this November instead of three years from now, he would be very beatable.

Which brings me back to California. There is still a fervor to want change at the top, and Newsome’s approval numbers may not be overwhelming (he is at Biden’s former fifty-three percent) but once Larry Elder took his radio schtick into actual politics, it went the other way. If a Trumpian candidate is pummeled in California now, one wonders if Joe Biden might consider trolling Donald Trump to announce his candidacy. Because there is a very strong possibility that if a sane, actual conservative runs in 2024, the president is in deep shit.

Of course, Biden has three years, not three months. But what California tells us, if anything, is that although a chief executive may not be the popular choice, his opponent matters. Not sure there is (the November election is less than a year ago) the stomach for another Trump run or for another Trumpian candidate. And since Elder has already started predictably claiming election fraud a week out, the fallout might also be equally as ugly.

Let’s see if the Elder vote shows up to make this competitive. But if he loses, and if he loses by ten points, his presence in the race clearly forced the electorate to choose between incompetence and bat shit crazy dangerous.  

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WOMEN IN BONDAGE

Aquarian Weekly
9/8/21
 
Reality Check
 

James Campion
 
 
WOMEN IN BONDAGE
Supreme Court Ignores Unconstitutional Bans on Abortion in Texas, Thus Enslaving Women’s Bodies at the Behest of the State
    
 
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
– Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
 
 
The moment former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg stopped breathing the rights of women were put on life support. This overwhelming conservative court is now poised to strike down the forty-eight year-old Roe v Wade decision that we were told (like we were told the twenty-year Afghanistan War would be swift) was “decided law.” It is not. It never was. Until an amendment exists, (but it kind of exists, doesn’t it? – more on that in a couple of paragraphs), there is no such thing as “decided law.” They are likely coming for marriage equality as well. If the slow gutting of the Civil Rights Act is any indication, there is some radical judicial shenanigans to come.

But this is not a column about the vagaries of political justices or religious fanatics or the age-old arguments about fetal rights or heartbeats. This is about one thing, and has always been about that thing: Can a democratically constructed government based on a human’s right to live free in a nation built on the concept of law dictate what happens inside the body of its citizens?

The answer to that question must always be no. The government should not demand you remove your appendix or change your sexual organs. There are anti-choice, pro-lifers who bitch about the strong suggestion they receive a vaccine to save their lives and the lives of other fellow citizens, many of them family and friends. Not a mandate. A Suggestion. Yet, they wholly support the government dictating what goes on inside their bodies.

Oh, no, wait a minute, not everyone’s bodies. Women’s bodies. Just women. So, um, it is prejudicial on top of the other life and liberty stuff. Oh, I get it. Sure. And so, the end of Roe v Wade, a correct legal decision based on the basic principles of liberty, would mean that there can come a day when the government could force a woman to terminate a pregnancy. Oops. Yes. It would. Why wouldn’t it? Roe v Wade protects the systemic control over the bodies of more than half our citizenry. It protects women. Women are citizens. Thus, striking it down makes women’s bodies slaves to the state. This issue should be argued on the merits of the Thirteenth Amendment.

Okay, so maybe the Thirteenth Amendment is going too far – not sure it is – but there is always the Fourteenth Amendment, which grants the rights of citizens (women, the whole of women, including the uterus) over draconian laws instituted by lunatics. Of course, that amendment, passed in 1868, only granted these rights to men. It is specifically in the wording. Men only. But then the Nineteenth Amendment, passed in 1919, supersedes it. Allowing not only women to vote but making them equal in the eyes of laws previously passed for men. So, now we’re up to three amendments. How many do we need to grant equal rights to women? Apparently more, as in the 1970s there was the proposition – stymied, of course – for an Equal Rights Amendment. Because maybe four fucking amendments might get women where they need to be.

Which brings us back to this: My daughter. Your daughter. Our daughters. Slaves to the state. None of them would have control over what happens inside them, now that Texas flouts the constitution, as they do, and many states do now with voting rights, and pushes this issue to its logical end – enslaving women. All of these things to be dictated by government over citizens. Unconstitutional. Period.

Women have taken your shit for as long as there has been anything known as society…

This has not been a good year for the constitution or democracy. It starts with a president trying overturn a free and fair election and become a dictator, then anarchists attacking the state capitol, and now the Supreme Court paving the way to enslave women’s body as the behest of the state.

Yeah, and we fear the Taliban halfway across the globe. No point. It’s here. And now. Next up, burkas. 

I shan’t get into the spectacular level of hypocrisy in the conservative, anti-government, Don’t Tread on Me clan that demand that women cash in their uterus. It is an appalling lack of ideological self-awareness, or really awareness or rationality. It is, in fact, the very definition of irrational, like most of the arguments to allow the government to take control of women. Government control. Over the body of a citizen of the United States. This is where we are heading.

And we need to get our heads around that. It is coming. Both of Donald Trump’s SCOTUS appointees are intractably anti Roe v Wade in previous rulings, comportment and commentary. We’ve already covered this. That particular ship has left the dock a while ago. It is a done deal. Its time is limited. And for those who have fought on the front lines against it for decades, your time has come. Good for you. But that does not mean it isn’t draconian and wrong and has no place in a society built on the concept that we are all free. Not women. Not for long.

Women have taken your shit for as long as there has been anything known as society – long before anyone considered freedom or that women were not property. Women. Property. To marry off and auction off and stigmatize and marginalize and objectify and demean and corner and make less-than. They’ve been on the butt end of religion and law and social mores and bigotry. But since 1973, when a woman couldn’t own a credit card or be a doctor or get a loan, they had at the very least, control of their bodies. And this is our ticking time bomb now. And this non-ruling ruling by the highest court in the land means, for now, there isn’t a fucking thing that can be done about it.

But right now, not tomorrow or next week or some time when we get our shit together, it is time to begin working out a plan to up-end anti-choice candidates for any office. It should be the democratic litmus test of all litmus tests. It used to be. But we got soft. The anti-choice crowd were hoping we would sleep on it. And we did. They made it their crusade. And now they are reaping the benefits. But the only way to protect the rights of women – even the unknowing women who support the pro-life movement at the peril of their own rights – is to upend this and make it our moral fight. Stop playing defense and get on offense to make it a law and maybe even an amendment, or at least evoke the rights granted by three amendments and the existence of a ratified constitution that the systemic control of any citizen is illegal and immoral. 

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BIDEN AT THE CENTURY MARK

Aquarian Weekly
5/7/21

Reality Check

James Campion

BIDEN AT THE CENTURY MARK
The First 100 Days in Our National Recovery

It is going to be difficult to judge this president without gazing through the dismal lens of the last one. Donald Trump was such an ineffectual, downright moronic and haphazard president, anyone who followed him would have an advantage of “not him”-ism. Think of how good a McDonald’s hamburger might taste after a pile of steaming shit – it’s not rib-eye, but it’s sort of edible. This will be Reality Check’s fourth president hitting his first 100 days in office, and the first that will skew the numbers from any semblance of reality. Sure, Joe Biden has a 54-percent approval rating at the century mark, which is below George W. Bush (63-percent) and Barack Obama (62-percent), but way above Trump’s 45-percent. And that was Trump’s four-year high – he was just warming up to suck – but it is hard to know what I am analyzing here. Nevertheless, I’m bound to duty, so let’s do this.

To get the obvious out of the way, Biden is not Trump. When the president used my “house on fire” analogy I had worn out last year during his congressional address this week I had to smile. Because for these first 100 days the most important thing Biden could have done was turn the page, fast. Especially since we are still enduring a pandemic that has taken the lives of a half-million Americans and sunk the economy. All of this was defiantly ignored by his predecessor, especially when Trump lost the election and spent his final three months disappearing to whine or emerging to blather tired bullshit about election rigging, ending his sad tenure with the gathering of lunatics to attack the Capitol. What a merry time of misrule it was.

When I write, Any new administration had to be better, it comes with heavy emphasis, like, ANY NEW ADMINISTRATION HAD TO BE BETTER. And for the first couple of weeks Biden shifted tone, connecting the otherwise abandoned federal government response to Covid-19 with the states to expand testing and get the new vaccines out to as many places as possible, specifically lower-income urban and rural areas, and did things presidents do, like function and not tweet at four am about craziness, embrace foreign despots, deny reality, and lie, lie, lie, and more lying. So, is this success? I guess? It’s not a shit show, so that’s a win.

People who somehow find the temerity to defend the Trump presidency conveniently forget he was hired to wreck shit. On that front, and by that measure, the experiment to send a game show host to run the free world was a rousing success. What revisionist historians try and tell us is this was a form of functioning, like having someone demolition your home and call it redecorating. Biden, on the other hand, is being president. Whether you agree with his policies or ideology is up for grabs, he is actually doing the thing he was elected to do, instead of running the federal government as a vanity project wrapped in criminal activities.

To say the very least, confidence in a functioning president was paramount in late January 2021, and on this count, Biden delivered by quickly undoing much of the damaging silliness of the Trump era by going executive-order crazy. Even supporters of the president realized that this was a speed-train approach, but since Trump mostly altered the terrain through a phalanx of executive orders, this sidewinding method held sway in changing course accordingly.

The other key element of Biden’s first 100 days is his restocking the business of government – the gutted state department, the eviscerated diplomacy tract, politicized justice department, embattled intelligence community, and the use of the national guard to deploy vaccines, etc. (220 million shots in 100 days – he promised 100 million). But this is just doing the job. After the last four years, it is apparently big news.

He is actually doing the thing he was elected to do, instead of running the federal government as a vanity project wrapped in criminal activities.

On the ideological front, Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic rescue package was as progressive and big government as it gets. No Republican would touch it under the hypocritical auspices that it would add to the debt and it was too expensive, all the things they ignored for the four previous years of senseless corporate handouts and tax-cuts. Spending is always suggested in economic crisis, especially one created by the government when shutting it down in the first place, but Biden came in swinging. And if his address to congress is any indication he intends to spend some more. To be fair, again, expanding infrastructure investments was a Trump/GOP edict – roads, bridges, airports, schools, broadband – but once again the $2 trillion price tag is too high for them, and unless Biden can get a couple of his sticky centrist Democratic senators onboard there is likely to be compromise or fancy politicking.

One major cross-political pollination occurred in the final weeks of the century mark for this president; Biden’s decision to remove troops from Afghanistan. There have been both left and right arguments for and against this war since we invaded that country twenty years ago, making it by-far the longest running U.S. military engagement. First, it was a Bush plan (GOP backed), then it was Obama’s inheritance (wait and see, and then wait, and wait and wait some more) for eight years, then Trump went all America-First No More Stupid Wars, but kept it going, despite threatening a few times in his final year to end it, but, ironically, was met this time from Democratic blowback. The Pentagon also weighed in, warning of doom and gloom, but this was expected, since the generals always want war. Keeps them in business. Gives them a reason to exist. Biden, unlike Trump, is old-world. There is more Reagan and Bush in Biden than Trump. Biden is a Cold War vet. He still sees America as the Shining City on the Hill. Devoid of perspective, Trump didn’t see any money is supporting our allies. But for all his bluster and maverick nonsense, four years went by and we were still at war in Afghanistan. Biden wants out.

Not sure what this tells us about a Biden Doctrine. His job for the past 100 days was to get us back in the international game, wipe the egg off our face and put us back into conversations about climate change, international treaties, alliances in Europe and Asia, all left to rot or were sabotaged in the last administration.

One major failure for Biden, he miscalculated the partisan divides in his town. All that “work together” rhetoric revealed he was out of touch. Even his close friends on the other side like Lindsay Graham have long ago sold their commitment to govern for faux heroism in the eyes of the far right. Biden also needs to come to grips with the centrists on Capitol Hill, specifically West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who has shown more empathy for the Republican caucus than his party’s president. Yet, this should not shy Biden from being bold on his agenda, (national referendum on voting rights to placate the Black vote that put him in the White House and to stem the tide of voter suppression the Republicans seek to stay relevant, for one). Seeing how the weight for 2022 looks to be shifting back to a GOP controlled House and Senate, there is no better time than now.

The mark for Biden’s first 100 days is incomplete. He has shown he can transform and rebuild. He has brought decency and sanity back to the presidency. He has been really liberal (big government solutions) and steadfastly moderate (keeping Trump era immigration regulations in place). He has not yet shown his hand on the refugee crisis at the southern border, which has been punted to the next 100 days, or three and a half years.

But one thing can be said about Joe Biden. He is no Donald Trump.

cmini

And I will take that every day and twice, please, on Sundays.       

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TRUMP & RUSSIA – THE LAST CHAPTER

Aquarian Weekly
8/5/20
 
Reality Check
 

James Campion
 
 
TRUMP & RUSSIA – THE LAST CHAPTER          
 
The weird, bizarre and dangerous history between the current president of the United States and Russia, specifically its tyrannical president Vladimir Putin, took another odd turn this week after Donald Trump acted first aloof and then dismissive of intelligence reports from last month that Russians have been bankrolling terrorist fighters in Afghanistan and since late 2019 putting bounties on the heads of U.S. soldiers. After a July 23 phone conversation with Putin of unknown original or subject – because Trump has been silent about these in the past anyway – there appeared to be no discussion of this rather grave information between the two “leaders”.

“No, that was a phone call to discuss other things, and frankly, that’s an issue that many people said was fake news,” Trump told in reporter Jonathan Swan, who has already conducted several revealing interviews with Trump in the past. Shockingly and quite embarrassingly for the craft of American journalism, Swan is the first reporter to press Trump on this. For some reason this has not been a high priority for the sleepy White House press that takes Trump’s click-bait nonsense about injecting bleach, postponing the election and V-shaped economic recoveries instead. This is especially egregious since, as covered in this space weeks ago, there is evidence the White House knew about what the official report registered as Unit 29155 of the GRU – Russia’s military intelligence agency – since it began and there have been actual military deaths allegedly associated with the allegations.

Oh, there were some chatter about it for a day or so a few weeks back when the NY Times published a deep-dive into the reports, but understandably while Trump is assisting in the death of hundreds of Americans a week by continuing his unconscionable battle against scientists, doctors, governors and everyone else concerned with the spiking numbers of this virus, not to mention his fascist deployment of secret police to jail protesters and fly spy planes over American cities gathering cell phone information from all citizens, whether they are dissenters or not, will distract the press. But then television personality turned “press secretary” Kayleigh McEnany told the American people Trump never saw the briefing. “He doesn’t read briefings,” went the excuse. Then the poor overwhelmed simpleton spent the next days trying to convince everyone Trump does and can read. Or some such. All of it effectively kiboshing the killing of American soldiers as the commander-in-chief has no idea or could not care any less. “Why doesn’t anyone like me?” Trump asked instead, and then tweets that social media is “unfair.”

I get that it is hard to concentrate in a circus. But no way should this have gone unchecked for this long, especially when considering this presidents proclivity to defend and prop up the myth of Putin, even against his own country’s intelligence, as in 2018 when he stood on foreign soil and committed treason refuting American intelligence, defending the Russian president, and brazenly siding with our enemy. 

His feckless, damaged psyche makes it easy for him to subjugate his fragile ego to strongmen – Putin being the Mac-Daddy.

After using his prerequisite “hoax” routine with Swan, which is our president’s running “Take my wife, please” bit and has worked like a charm with the original Russian investigation that got him impeached and this Corona virus which he said would disappear magically in a few days and be gone when it warmed up in April, Trump said, “I have never discussed it with him.”

This is odd for any president, even one as dumbfounded as this one. I mean, Trump consistently re-tweets nonsense that teenage racists post on the dark web with absolute zero vetting. His constant knee-jerk reactions to the slightest criticism by Hollywood celebrities, political opponents, cable news network pundits are legendary. Shit, in 1990 Trump took out a full-page newspaper ad asking for the death penalty against five black teenagers for a crime they did not commit. But a foreign enemy that has used cyber-attacks to interfere with our elections, along with aggressive international military moves in the middle east and all the rest, is a “hoax”?

“I have never discussed it with him.”

Hmmmm.

And what exactly does “discuss other things” entail?

Again, the Trump-Russian “thing” as Trump liked to call it when the president unceremoniously sacked the head of the FBI investing Russian interference that began to close in on him because a laughable preponderance of his campaign staff and people he tabbed for his cabinet had been busted talking to, making deals with, and having shady connections with Russian that began to surface as early as late 2016 and into 2017 when he was president, has been a consistent part of this presidency. It never fails to pop up. Why was Trump bragging to Russian diplomats about firing Director of the FBI James Comey hours afterwards in the Oval Office? Why did Trump make a deal with Russian ally and American enemy Turkey to pull troops from Russian stronghold Syria? And why did the United States pull 1,200 troops from Germany a few days after this mysterious July 23 call between Trump and Putin?

Now, to use a Trumpism, many say it’s because Putin has “something on Trump.” The infamous Steele dossier that has been proven mostly correct over years of scrutiny makes allegations of Trump’s sexual exploits during Russian visits. Of course, there is the money-laundering and ties to the Russian mafia, some of which came out during the Mueller investigation and has his personal lawyer, the demented troll Rudy Giuliani, in hot water. But I tend to dismiss these as too conspiratorial. I have always thought Trump too stupid to actually hatch this kind of clandestine plan. I have maintained, and Trump has shown this to be true on several levels during his public career as a conman, that his feckless, damaged psyche makes it easy for him to subjugate his fragile ego to strongmen – Putin being the Mac-Daddy. “Daddy” being the operative word here.

Think of Trump’s support for macho “domination of the streets”, as he commanded mayors during the first weeks of the George Floyd/Black Lives Matter protests, using force as the first resort. His praising of China’s use of tanks to murder students during the 1989 Tiananmen Square and the bombshell from former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s best-selling book, The Room Where It Happened about a private meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, wherein Trump advised Jinping to “go ahead with building concentration camps for Uighur Muslims” because it “was exactly the right thing to do.”

Whatever the reason, Trump has been and still is very much in the back-pocket of one of the most despotic leaders on the planet who has been at cyber war against the U.S. for the entire time he has been president. Blessedly, that time is coming to an ignominious close. The American health system, its economy, its democracy is in ruins. Planned or not, Trump has succeeded in helping Putin weaken America. As I wrote years ago, Trump is our greatest threat, a terrorist that must be stamped out this November to return us to a sovereign nation that holds our enemies accountable. Whatever issues Trump has with Putin or the Russians then becomes private. Let his hidden tax returns be someone else’s concern.

But make no mistake, something is going on with Trump and Russia, since the very beginning of this garbage-heap presidency. The latest actions of a president soon to be defeated is enough evidence. Listen carefully when the president questions our free and fair elections, our system, calling it “fraudulent”. Listen as he undermines the democracy and the nation he was elected to “lead” and see with your own eyes how the lives of American soldiers and our safety must take a backseat to the whims and wishes of a madman Russian.

“I have never discussed it with him.”

“That was a phone call to discuss other things.”
    

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THE IRAN MISTAKE

Aquarian Weekly
1/8/20
 
Reality Check
 

James Campion
 
 
THE IRAN MISTAKE
Forget Impeachment, Crimes, Lying, Stupidity & Sucking Up to Tyrants – This is the Worst Part of the Worst First Term
 
 
We are at the brink of war with Iran.

The executive branch is at war with Congress.

The Senate and the House are at war.

A game show host is in charge of all this.

Welcome to 2020.

What a shock. Impeachment. Then the assassination of a key war figure of a perpetual enemy. Is this what they call “wagging the dog”? Crisis. Distraction. Didn’t Bill Clinton do some bombing after he was impeached? Yeah. Same shit. Trump. Clinton. Shamed. War. Got it.

What makes this worse is Donald Trump appealed to the great unwashed for his constant mocking of stupid moves in the Middle East and now he has got himself one. It is a good distraction, for sure. Making bold idiotic moves to change the narrative is all well and good when you are stealing real estate in Manhattan or selling a pro wrestling gig. It even worked to sucker the duped into voting for you. Using the presidency as a queer business maneuver – like the Ukrainian nonsense which got him impeached – is another direr story entirely.

Assassinating Iran’s top military commander, suddenly the most important thing in the world – as Syrian burns and North Korea spits in our face and Europe laughs at us – with a gutted State Department and a Department of Defense in shambles is a bad move. War with Iran was always a bad move. Even in the best of times. These are not the best of times. Far from it. We are not prepared for this shit. Hell, this was an imprudent move in 1979 and through the 1980s and into 9/11. Always bad. Ask Saddam Hussein. Oh, shit. You can’t. They hung him. Why? Because we made him our puppet to take on Iran and they beat him mercilessly and we decided to hunt him as a despot, invade his country and then turn him over to what amounted to Iranians.

This is just another in an agonizing series of foreign policy blunders for this president. What the fuck am I talking about? There is no foreign policy. There is no domestic policy. This is reality TV for Trump. His capacity to parse these things does not exist. He is a damaged personality living in paranoia and madness and the best place for that kind of thing is the Pentagon. They love a commander-in-chief with his back against the wall. But no one, not even our top generals think we can sustain a third-front war in the region. We are still at war in Syria, despite rhetoric to the contrary, and in Iraq, where this guy was offed, and of course in Afghanistan – our longest running military mistake, which we have learned (yet again) was run on a lie and perpetuated for nearly two decades on more lies. Your brothers and sisters, sons and daughters died for a lie, just like in Korea and Viet Nam. And this lie by the most untrustworthy human to ever take the office is a doozy.

Even for the far less cynical, the timing is more than intriguing.

And it could have been avoided. In fact, it was avoided. Because the previous commander-in-chief had a choice; engage in an unwinnable conflict with the largest country in the Middle East or try and curtail its nuclear capabilities while giving lip-service to its inclusion in the world politick. Barrack Obama wisely chose door #2. It was his finest hour. It had international support and by all accounts (not most) it was working. For the first time, Iran was not pursuing nuclear capabilities. It was good for the region, especially good for our most cherished ally, Israel, and good for the world. I supported it wholeheartedly, and I support almost nothing. It was certainly not perfect. Nothing is perfect. This is not Disneyland. This is the real world. Things are difficult and have setbacks and bumps and bruises and you work with that. But all of this, reasoned the game show host, had to go, because Obama did it and all-things Obama had to go, because Donald Trump is a simpleton and should have been sent packing in the first weeks of a Republican primary, but has now engaged us in a war with Iran.

Again, even for the far less cynical, the timing is more than intriguing. And since it is hard to believe anything this dunce has to say we find that the same day hundreds of incriminating unredacted emails between the Department of Defense (trying to release the halted funds to Ukraine as directed by Congress and signed originally by the president) and the Office of Management and Budget (doing the bidding of Rudy Giuliani/Donald Trump) further implicated the president in criminal activity, an overt act of war ordered by Trump is sketchy.

However, regardless of timing and distraction from his disgraced presidency, this nation is on the brink of war with Iran. From its statements, Iran believes we are already there. Oil prices soared overnight. Israel is in lock-down. The over-reaching battle against ISIS, already damaged by recent ill-advised actions by this administration, is over. Trump has escalated troop numbers to the region already. Congress is being kept in the dark. Zero Pentagon briefings. Propaganda talking points. Trump tweeted an American flag.

Welcome to 2020. The year we have to find a way to oust this bleating cancerous boil from the White House and try and undo three years of astonishing destruction. That is if we see 2021.

Happy New Year. 

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PRESIDENT TERRORIST

Aquarian Weekly

10/23/19

Reality Check


James Campion

PRESIDENT TERRORIST

Trump’s Attack on American Interests in the Middle East Sets Up Next 9/11

You are creating a Frankenstein.
– Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to President George H. W. Bush, 1989

The president of the United States has now gone completely mad. Donald Trump was pretty much on the brink of insanity for some time, but this flimsy house of cards he’s shoddily erected over the initial years of his colossally inept presidency is tumbling daily as more and more people from the gutted State Department bury him in impeachment hearings. His unhinged press conferences, erratic tweets and these Nuremberg-esque rallies have become a surreal insight into the deranged paranoia that the leader of the free world has entered in. He is fucked. And he knows it. The only thing that stands between Trump and official ignominy is Rudy Giuliani, who will soon join his last “fixer lawyer” in prison.

This leads us to what transpired in Syria last week, which has caused even many Republicans to see the light.

In one seventytwo hour run of the most bizarrely dangerous foreign policy that has come from the executive branch in my lifetime, Trump green-lit the massacre of America’s only true ally against ISIS and Iran in the Middle East, the Kurdish forces, which were heretofore assisted with U.S. aid, weapons, and military presence. This knee-jerk lunacy, done without alerting the Pentagon or our intelligence agencies, handed Syria over to the Russians and Iran and invited the Turks to run rough-shod over miles of real estate that American lives were sacrificed to hold for half a decade. Then when he was publicly and privately eviscerated by GOP hawks in his administration, the Pentagon, and Congress, most of which are normally seen carrying buckets of his water, he spastically tried to reverse course by tweeting craziness about destroying the Turkish economy and then drafting what could only be described as a letter written by a middle school bully trying to cover his ass. When none of these absurd tactics worked, the president blithely told the world that the U.S. doesn’t give a crap what happens in the Middle East anymore and to let the rest of them “play in the sand”, summarily dispatching his secretary of state and vice president to secure a deal to turn Kurdish land over to its sworn enemy and send them scrambling into oblivion. When it was done he called it “a great day for civilization.”

This has been the Trump Doctrine: Cause an international crisis, like taking North Korea to the brink of war on Twitter, then capitulating with a deal that give a tyrant the store and claim victory. It’s like the game Risk for the mentally challenged. 

When piled on top of Trump’s abjectly stupid decision to pull out of the Iran anti-nukes treaty with nary a backup plan, the downright pathetic defense of the Saudi government’s murder of an American journalist, and the unnecessary violence-trigger of moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, abandoning Syria to ISIS, Russia and Iran will soon be remembered in the annals of history as the second greatest terrorist sponsorship against America.

However, this wouldn’t be the first time a Republican administration fostered anti-American sentiments through bungled foreign policy. That one ended up causing the deaths of hundreds of our citizens on 9/11.

It is worth noting.

During of the decade between 1979 and 1989, the CIA ran among many half-assed maneuvers in the Middle East something called Operation Cyclone, a covert venture to arm and finance the Mujahideen, an Afghani fighting force that attempted to thwart its country’s invasion by the USSR. By the early 1980s this turned overt, becoming a proud function of what would become known as the Reagan Doctrine – illegal proxy wars fighting off communist uprisings globally. It was just a new-fangled sad repeat of the “domino effect” catastrophes in Korea in the 50s and Viet Nam in the 60s and early 70s that Reagan thought went well and would eventually lead to his Iran-Contra crime that should have cost him his presidency. Reagan, we now know was suffering early stages of dementia, convinced these duped warriors that part of America’s interest in Afghanistan went beyond the ousting of communists from its region. Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and Secretary of State George Shultz sold a dream of a democratized Afghanistan to stabilize the region, promised aid to their refugees that fled to neighboring Pakistan, and the continuation of defense funds to assist in what was then considered burgeoning radical Arab factions.

Of course, this was complete bullshit, as America, then under President George H.W. Bush, would dismissively abandon all interest in Afghanistan and its people around the region, which was beginning to boil over. These funds were handed instead to Pakistan to ironically fight the very same Mujahideen and Iraq’s dictator, Saddam Hussein to combat Iran. The fallout from this bait and switch led to the complete destabilization of Afghanistan and caused the fractured segments of the Mujahideen to form the Taliban and al Queda. You may have heard of them.

Does any of this sound familiar to what the president just did to the Kurds in Syria?

The president is a terrorist. Not even I saw that coming.

Not to Trump. And why would it? You could barely jam into the Grand Canyon what Trump doesn’t know about anything. Shit, when all of the above was transpiring Donald Trump was blowing daddy’s money paying whores to drip candle wax on his balls and selling off parts of NYC to Arabs to use that money to buy weapons to kill Americans. He was also unaware that the country he was running for the past two years had promised the Kurdish fighters cover as they jailed thousands of captured ISIS fighters. As a result, our only defense against ISIS and Iran in the region has been sold out by Donald Trump as their women and children are being slaughtered on the Internet by the Turkish Army.

This is much worse than the Reagan/Bush fuck-ups of yesteryear, in that it is random, erratic and done with no support from our intelligence community or the Pentagon. Moreover, American troops are already there and in harm’s way. This presidency, as Trump promised, is a one-man operation, one that has resulted in a shadow foreign policy he’s been running through the state department, the department of justice and his private attorney. It was only a matter of time before it unraveled before congress and the American people. Trump’s best defense is to yell at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, scream again about fake news and dispatch his chief of staff to admit to the current impeachment charges of using foreign influence for political gain. “There is going to be political influence in foreign policy,” shouted Mick Mulvaney in front of cameras. “We do that all the time with foreign policy. Get over it.” Then he pulled a Trump and blamed a misquote, even though he was on camera saying it.

It’s over for Trump. He will be a sad footnote in a long series of American bungles. But what about us? What kind of fallout will the next generation suffer by the sins of this one? We can only hope it is only a 9/11 and not worse. His buddy in North Korea has other ideas too.

The president is a terrorist.

Not even I saw that coming. 

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THE MORAL LOW GROUND

Aquarian Weekly
7/3/19

Reality Check

James Campion


THE MORAL LOW GROUND
Conditions at Our Southern Border & What It Says About Our Country

Admittedly, the person who pens this column every week is either an asshole or a genius. Or both. The mantle I have chosen to drape myself in does not come with gray areas. I sometimes point out that hypocrites fail to see those in their black and white existence, but mostly I tend to work on the margins between beauty and disgust. Predominantly disgust. This is due primarily to my insistence on commenting on politics, but that is merely a subtext for the great human experiment, America. We’ll be celebrating its two-hundred and forty-third birthday this week, so this is where the asshole comes in: Sure, remind us of our shitty side when we’re about to merrily force-feed hot dogs at an alarming, get our dime-store mini flags out of mothballs and blow stuff up. But consider the genius of this. It is not unlike Dickens getting all up in your self-absorbed misery when you just want to get some eggnog and a new tie. Humanity is a tricky subject.

And it is of our humanity of which I write this week. Forget politics and countries and religion and the rest of that John Lennon song. Let’s concentrate on humans. For the purposes of the true grit here, children.

The images and news emanating from what amounts to concentration camps, or if you are Laura Ingram – a comedy show host from a cable network – “essentially summer camps”, has really struck me hard. From the very beginning when we became aware of what our government was doing with our money I tweeted daily, “There are children locked away in cages and we’re paying for it.” I thought this might cut through the usually self-absorbed hate-fest that is Twitter. After a time, even I thought it silly to keep bringing it up. Apparently, like perpetual war (Americans have been fighting in Afghanistan for eighteen years now and Iraq for sixteen), we have more or less come to accept this as our national normal.

Now, I am not here to cast blame. We know who is to blame, if you choose to blame anyone. Our president, who likes to say he runs everything, so get out of his way and get sick of winning, blames congress. Congress blames the game show host. Some people blame Mexico. Some blame past administrations. But I blame humanity. And if you’re reading this, you’re human, so yeah, us. Our government, that means us in this fancy American experiment, is putting fellow human beings in hot, clammy, lice-infected flu-cages in stifling heat under inhumane conditions. And that cannot sit right with anyone. Can it?

This always gets me to think about the moral high ground that America is supposed to, theoretically, or for some, theologically, stand for. In other words, if this were happening in the Middle East or Central America there would be debates on when the bombing should start. Yet, we’re paying for it. When I am done with this piece, I will send it to press, and then at the end of a period, I will get money. Then, at some point, I will pay taxes on that money. Those taxes will go to what doctors have recently described as “torture facilities”. Now, I have written extensively in the past about the kind of torture or “enhanced interrogation” methods our government used on apprehended terrorists at the beginning of this century. I believe for terrorists, anything goes. Once you choose terrorism, you’re essentially saying “no thanks” to society and its norms. If you wish to see those norms eradicated, then you kind of hand in your human card. However, not sure people escaping poverty and violence and sneaking into the country equals the same thing. Some argue it is. Those people have wildly exaggerated what they feel is an open attack on our nation and for them, this nightmare of caged children is justified. No tolerance. Stay home or get this kind of treatment.

Makes sense. But is it good? Or even moral? Or something we represent as a nation or as fellow members of humanity?

I blame humanity. And if you’re reading this, you’re human, so yeah, us.

What has always made me ill about the concept of morality is its vacillating institutional tool, religion, and especially its most bizarre creatures, evangelists. Mostly it is their sadly quixotic ways in which they flub the very idea of it. All religions are filled with this craziness, but Christians, when considering the source, do and say the most hateful and judgmental things. We can argue whether Jesus was an egalitarian and hated capitalism and money and property and welcomed the inclusion of all peoples against the ruling religious class or not. We can even assume him God. But I am not entirely sure how you balance what is happening to the children at the border with any level of comprehension about a Christ figure. Never mind Yeshua the Nazarene. Yet, there are a whole lotta Christians who support this policy and this administration, and I don’t get that. Never will.

I only bring this up because the No Tolerance Policy that led to these horrors was sold, predictably, by quoting Biblical scripture. Then Attorney General Jeff Sessions said “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order. Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.” Ignoring that the former Saul of Tarsus, a man known for torturing Christians as a weekend hobby before some shit happened to him on the road across the border, using the Bible to sell oppression and systemic criminal activity is as old as the damn thing. But that brings us back to our national morality, even a secular compassion for our fellow humans.

How do we, a nation so full of itself, so prideful of our accomplishments to assist the less fortunate and protecting the weak and needy, stand by and watch this happen?

I have no answer and that is not a rhetorical question. I want to know.

Do you?

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The Trump Doctrine

Aquarian Weekly
4/19/17

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

THE TRUMP DOCTRINE
Spoiler Alert: There Is None

“After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy. I felt pretty strongly that they had a tremendous power [over] North Korea. … But it’s not what you would think.”
– President Donald Trump to the Wall Street Journal, April 12, 2017

When an unhinged simpleton is commander-in-chief of the most power and richest armed forces on the planet you get the week we just had.

Let’s review.

Under mounting evidence that key members of the 2016 Trump campaign committed high treason in colluding with the Russian government, a known and hostile adversary of the United States, to intervene on its behalf in this country’s previous presidential election, President Trump dispatched his heretofore missing-in-action Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Turkey to proclaim that “the longer-term status of President [Bashar] Assad will be decided by the Syrian people.” This sent neo-cons like Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain into the predictable tizzy, but it did echo the president’s oft repeated vow to be a different Republican and the new voice of “America First” to stay out of the civil wars of foreign nations with little to no lasting sovereign or fiscal interests to the U.S.

This was especially prevalent to matter of Syria, where not only had candidate Trump shrugged his shoulders about Assad, using the “We should have left Saddam Hussein in power because a tough dictator is far more stable than the mess that emerged in the vacuum after the failed maneuvers of the Bush Doctrine”, he doubled down with a constant and almost creepy defense and praise of Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin throughout 2016.

Citizen Trump famously tweeted his advice on this issue in 2012 to the former president, “We should stay the hell out of Syria, the “rebels” are just as bad as the current regime. (caps are his) “WHAT WILL WE GET FOR OUR LIVES AND $ BILLIONS? ZERO.”

Then, with no warning beyond a four-minute aside by Tillerson prior to the arrival of the Chinese to Trump’s private residence in Mar a Largo, Florida, no discussion with congress, or any announcement to the American people, the president dramatically shifted his stance, more like violently spun the whole thing around with dizzying speed, bagging the very foundation of his campaign’s divergence from the usual “fix the planet” Republican mantra of the Bush Administration he unmercifully mocked for over a year by bombing an Al Shayrat airfield in Syria. Something Citizen Trump thought better of in 2013 when someone else had this gig, judging from his tweet tsunami on the subject: “What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long term conflict?” and “Obama needs Congressional approval. The President must get Congressional approval before attacking Syria-big mistake if he does not!”

This was of course in response to the horrific photos and videos taken after Assad’s chemical weapons dump on Syrian civilians, many of them children, the week before. Trump had commented on how affected he was by them, which is noble and human and no one blames him. However, Trump no longer hosts a TV show and gets up at four am to angrily tweet about shit he knows little to nothing about. He owns this now, and by owning it, he owns America’s role in the greater construct of foreign affairs and relations. This is something, again, an unhinged simpleton is learning on the job, and this past week the very notion of a Trump Doctrine has been laid to waste.

During all of this, while consuming in his Louis XIV style meal and what he described to FOX News as “the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake you’ve ever seen” with Chinese Presdient Xi Jinping at his aforementioned luxury accommodations a thousand miles or so from D.C., Trump gave the orders that upset several international apple-carts. First and foremost, American military personnel are working mostly under cover in the fight against ISIS (the only reason we are in the country in the first place) had to summarily evacuate missions, the Russian government, under heavy suspicion of meddling in the American election by congress and the FBI, has a reed-thin agreement on overt military action, especially from the air, as there are daily missions to ostensibly defeat ISIS as an ally, and finally pushing us head first in a civil war in which there are no allies or strategic end-game.

Beyond the president acting like a tough guy and playing with his boats in the bath, what exactly does any of this accomplish?

One is right to ask about the moral imperative for the United States to not sit idly by and watch children slaughtered by a mad man, but if this kind of thing, which has gone sideways now since 2001 in two other countries, and went mostly badly in Libya for the previous administration, (another maneuver derided by TV show Trump) then one might ask what “help” does bombing one airbase actually do to curtail Assad or his ability to wreak havoc on his people? And one also then has the right to ask what to do about Assad, to which Trump has offered no plan, except to punt any thought of removing him from power, which before Tillerson’s fancy speech in the final days of last month was the official stance of the U.S. It no longer is, or is it?

Then there is North Korea.

Trump gladly admitted this week in a lengthy interview with the Wall Street Journal he had no idea about Chinese/North Korean relations, its history, or how complicated all this “curbing” the lunatic, Kim Jong Un would be. Yet this didn’t stop him from blathering on about Un and North Korea being “in trouble” and sending what he described as an “armada”, actually the 97,000-ton USS Carl Vinson with an escort of a guided-missile cruiser and two destroyers, to the Korean peninsula heightening tensions there beyond anything seen since the early 1950s when this country was in a conflict there known as the Korean War.

Beyond the president acting like a tough guy and playing with his boats in the bath, what exactly does any of this accomplish? And let’s say there is an all-out war where thousands are killed and the North Korean situation is “taken care of”, who pays for the reconstruction and all that fun stuff that this president vowed to eliminate from the federal government’s responsibilities in lieu of American jobs ignored by fixing the world’s problems that all the stupid weak politicians prior to him got mired in?

Before the week ended apparently the Pentagon, which has unilateral approval from the White House without express consent from the president, unleashed the largest bomb since the atomic blasts in Japan over sixty years ago on ISIS tunnels at the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

And so I ask, and not rhetorically, what is the Trump Doctrine?

Bush Doctrine? Aggressive vengeance and nation-building.

Obama Doctrine? Diplomacy and stasis.

This has been replaced by seat-of-the-pants knee-jerk nonsense.

Let’s see how that works.

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