With an approval rating average as enthusiastic as middle America’s embrace of foie gras, Donald Trump has decided the Afghan theater needs more men to pacify a country that the Soviets and British couldn’t. Less than eight years ago, Barack Obama, pursuing a strategy called escalate-then-exit that seemed borne out of a junior college’s one PR section, committed several thousand troops, to no avail. But presidents of both parties relish these discussions when they distract from falling poll numbers; now “Morning” Joe and “Mika” Brzezinski need not discuss Charlottesville tomorrow. “Trump’s foreign policy has become almost entirely one favored by Republican hawks because the president doesn’t hold firm convictions on these issues and yields to what his hawkish advisers want,” Daniel Larison writes. “He has accepted a foreign policy of endless war because he is too weak and self-serving to pursue any other course.” This would be true if Democratic presidents and their enablers on the Armed Services Committee didn’t bow before received wisdom so abjectly.
At any rate, let’s begin.
9:44. And voila! Cable news gas bags are giving the president points for delivery. Because I believe I shouldn’t deprive myself of torture — er, enhanced interrogation — I’ll return to listening to The War on Drugs.
9:29. To quote the sapient Donna Summer, who do you think you’re foolin’? No matter how much Americans may recoil from the deaths in Barcelona or may want safety, they don’t want more blood spilled for the sake of Afghanistan.
9:26. “We must restore the bonds of loyalty” among our citizens, said the spokesman for white nationalism.
9:24. What aromatic boilerplate the president has served The American People. Lest I’m accused of partisanship, I called bullshit on Obama’s commitment to stupid wars in which he nevertheless invested American lives.
9:20. I’d believe “micromanagement” does not “win” battles if our president believed in any management, micro or otherwise.
9:17. “We are not nation building. We are killing terrorists.” He loves his sibilants.
9:15. “We will not talk about numbers of troops,” the president says after every wire agency and media outlet has reported how many troops he will send. And since when has any president announced where and when troops will strike?
9:12. Trump knows that when he became president he knew he had inherited “big and intricate problems.” But he’s a problem solver.
9:11. Trump pronounces ISIS like Dylan did in 1976.
9:10. The consequences of a rapid exit are “predictable and unacceptable.” The ghosts of Ike, JFK, LBJ, and Nixon clink bourbon glasses.
9:08. He’s got me when he says we’ve spent billions on reconstructing foreign countries in our image, therefore he’s sending more troops to Afghanistan to reconstruct the country in our image.
9:04. “We cannot remain a force of peace” without remaining a force of peace “for each other,” he has the audacity to say. What does Trump know about “sacred bonds of love and loyalty”?
9:03. He’s speaking slowly — he’s using a Teleprompter. “The men and women on our military operate as one team, with one shared mission and one shared purpose,” he writes. The American family, he calls it. Admirable sentiment. He has showed them more respect than civilian.
9:01. God help me but when Trump approaches the dais he reminds me of this august moment.