The other day Donald Trump gave a press conference to speak about the mother of all bombs dropped in Nangahar Province in Eastern Afghanistan, 'targeting' a tunnel complex used by ISIS.
As usual, Trump didn't tell the truth, which is that the Obama administration set up the preparations for using the bomb there, against ISIS. All Trump, or somebody at the Pentagon, had to do was give the order. Who actually did is still unclear, notwithstanding Trump's boast that he told his military, the best military in the world, to use the bomb, making it sound as if the whole idea was his from the first, and was the result of well-thought out strategy.
He made no mention that the Intelligence regarding the tunnels was gathered in the Obama Administration, or that he has widened the powers of the Pentagon, so they didn't actually need his permission, and glaringly, he did not directly say that he personally approved of the mission, giving himself an out. He can blame the generals if the mission is proved a failure, as he did of the strike in Yemen, which killed too many civilians.
Trump did say, however, that the Obama Administration could have used the MOAB—Massive Ordinance Air Blast, aka Mother of All Bombs—but failed to do so, implying weakness on their part.
No mention that all the preparation had been done by them, or that the bomb has never been used before because it cannot be targeted and the possibility of massive collateral damage was too enormous to just drop it without thought. As has been proved time and time again, thoughtful planning is not a requisite in this Administration.
In an email to motherjones.com, Ian Overton, Executive Director of Action on Armed Violence, explained that the MOAB sucks all the oxygen out of the air for a mile in all directions and sets it alight, so the collateral damage is extensive. In an unpopulated area such as Nangahar, 25% of those killed or injured will be civilians. And extensive damage will have been done to infrastructure, making the harmful impact a great deal more extensive than injuries and deaths.
All of these facts contribute to the reason the Obama—and even the Bush—Administration had been hesitant to use the MOAB. Not so Donald Trump. In full-flight bragging mood, he said that the strike was another tremendous success.
For "success" read "failure", not least of which are that National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, caught lying with his pants on fire, was forced to resign; AG Jeff Sessions, also caught lying, had to recuse himself from the Russian intervention investigation; two Muslim bans masquerading as Travel bans have been blocked; Trumpcare was a disaster; the utterly unfounded accusation that Obama wiretapped Trump and that GCHQ knew about it made Trump a laughing stock of the world.
Devin Nunes, leading the House Investigation into #TrumpRussia, is now in the crosshairs of Washington ethics watchdogs for attempting to divert the Russia probe, mishandling classified information, and—you got it—lying. Like Jeff Sessions he had to recuse himself. The only success in 83 days has been Neil Gorsuch's confirmation as Supreme Court Justice. And that had nothing to do with Donald Trump.
Militarily, there have been no successes either. The strike in Yemen, which killed 30 innocent civilians, including 10 women and children, was such a failure that Trump distanced himself from it and blamed the failure on the generals. Then there was the Syrian airstrike which has turned into a total fiasco. Everybody was talking about Syria and how Trump's strategy has centered on a turnaround on Russia, and supporting the UN.
Then MOAB, and now Trump is provoking Kim Jong-un. Strategy has nothing to do with it. Trump is fumbling in the dark. He's never had any coherent plan; you have to understand your subject to be able to formulate one. Trump has no knowledge of anything. He's just a mean spirited, extremely unintelligent, compulsive liar with impulses he can't control. He instinctively knows how to rabble-rouse, how to con people, and how to create chaos.
He's followed that instinct since he started campaigning. By instinct he's wagging the dog. It's not intelligent strategy. Trump doesn't have the smarts for that.
For heaven's sake, he reads speeches and signs executive orders (or forgets to) without understanding the content, or having any knowledge of the subject. When he was reading his speech on Syria after the strike, he couldn't afford to take his eyes off the sheet of paper for more than a couple of words. Somebody could have written gobbledygook and, none the wiser, he would have read it out with his ludicrous attempt at a Churchill imitation which fools nobody and only succeeds in making Trump look like a very dull-witted praying mantis.
He's never had to deal with consequences. Suddenly he had to. He was told what to do regarding the fall-out with Putin and Assad after the airstrike, but again, it wasn't his strategy, or anybody else's. They were all just frantically trying to put out fires, amid infighting and back-stabbing. The idea that a strike that didn't take out the runway and was never going to be followed up could possibly be effective in scaring either Putin or Assad is laughable.
Putin is way, way ahead of Trump, Nikki Haley, and of Rex Tillerson too. He knows more about American politics than any of them. So this whole affair will settle down with absolutely nothing achieved for America and with some wretch having to wipe the egg off Donald Trump's face.
It would have gradually faded from the news, as the #TrumpRussia investigation, which is still in full sway, hit the headlines again. But then there was MOAB, the largest non-nuclear bomb in the world, to suck up everybody's attention. The shock wave could be heard for miles and miles, And the headlines made shock waves around the world. International news broadcasters had a field day.
In the meantime, whether it's in the news or not, Putin has come out of the Syrian episode having entrenched his bully position and confirmed his understanding that the Trump administration is putty in his hands, the UN is utterly toothless in the matter of Syria, and Assad is free to continue doing whatever he wants, perpetrating crimes against humanity.
And the military industrial complex is off and running again. Donald Trump's Pentagon is free to drop bombs, cause collateral damage, waste lives. Somebody's making a lot of money out of this. One MOAB costs the US taxpayer $16 million to manufacture.
This reckless president, who doesn't have a clue what he's doing, who is influenced by the Machiavellian agenda of whoever talks the sweetest at any given moment, shoots his mouth off whenever he feels like it. People found his antics laughable when he was campaigning. Not so laughable now is the mess he has already made of domestic policy and the chaos that has descended on international relations.
Least laughable is the reality that Trump, in the Syrian airstrike, in taking out ISIS tunnels the way he did, and in his previous rabid anti-Muslim rhetoric, has no doubt enraged ISIS leadership and members, securing a target on his own back and that of his family and Administration, but worse than that, on the entire US. Add to that the dick-waving, childish and dangerous threats he is leveling at Kim Yong-un, a sociopath megalomaniac who is fast developing the capacity to nuke the US, and who has a large stockpile of chemical weapons, weapons that could be attached to modified long-range missiles.
Vladimir Putin recently accused the US of destroying world order. Ironically, although his reasoning is spurious, there's truth in what he says. Ultimately, this is a game of wag the dog, its sole purpose being to distract Americans from Trump's involvement in Russia. That he's going about it so clumsily doesn't diminish the lethal effects of the game.