Who did my wondering eyes see at seven this morning but Barry McCaffrey, one of those generals beloved by cable networks for his flinty, sober endorsements of presidential shows of military force. Not this time, though. “I think it would be a mistake to conduct limited political signaling using naval airpower or F-16s flying out of some place in the region,” McCaffrey told Chris Matthews a couple nights ago.
We have said that his foreign policy views were incoherent, and he has shown that to be true beyond all expectations. He went from supposedly being a firm opponent of intervention against the Syrian government to ordering an attack on the same government within the space of a week. He has been charged with being a militarist and predisposed to respond to problems with nothing more than military options, and he has confirmed that charge beyond doubt. He has demonstrated his recklessness and his readiness to use force even though no U.S. interests were at stake. His critics believed that he was ill-prepared to conduct foreign policy and that he would be incompetent in a crisis, and he has regrettably proved us right.
John Kerry joins the token Democratic opposition in support, proving once again that the Middle East has powers to beguile the softest minds. Glenn Greenwald, who’s expert at this sort of attack, tsk-tsks:
Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of the last 24 hours has been watching those who have vilified Trump as an Evil Fascist and Bumbling Clown and Unstable Sociopath suddenly decide that they want him to bomb Syria. Even if you’re someone who in the abstract wanted the U.S. to attack Assad, shouldn’t your view that Trump is a completely unstable and incompetent monster prevent you from endorsing this war, with Trump as the Commander-in-Chief?
What happened to all the warnings about Trump’s towering incompetence and core evil? Where are all the grave predictions that he’s leading the world on a path of authoritarianism, fascism and blood and soil nationalism?
Greenwald misses one point, though. I can still believe in evidence showing that Russians had an interest in destroying Hillary Clinton’s presidential chances and despise what Trump ordered Thursday nights.
The so-called Bombing Beautiful Babies Argument doesn’t wash with me either — how can our strike be humanitarian when American policy has blocked further emigration of Syrian refugees?