A War in Syria Will Benefit Trump
I don’t know about you, but that’s enough reason to be highly skeptical of doing it.
Yet all these former Obama alums are falling all over themselves to praise him.
“I feel like finally we have done the right thing,” Anne-Marie Slaughter, who served as Obama’s first-term chief of policy planning at the State Department and long publicly urged a more forceful response to Assad’s horrific attacks on civilians during the six years of war that have wracked Syria, told me. “The years of hypocrisy just hurt us all. It undermined the U.S., it undermined the world order.”
“Slaughter, now the head of the New America Foundation and a major backer of Trump’s defeated opponent Hillary Clinton last November, tweeted, “Donald Trump has done the right thing on Syria. Finally!! After years of useless handwringing in the face of atrocities.” I later asked her if it was awkward to be cheering for Trump now. “I’m just glad to see it,” she said. “It was the right thing.”
“Obama should have done this four years ago when the problem was easier. History will judge him harshly because he didn’t,” said Jane Harman, a former Democratic congresswoman from California who is now director of the Wilson Center, a Washington think tank.
“We have to depersonalize this. Some people don’t like Trump, so they’re upset that he did this,” she added. “If a policy is right, congratulate those who are carrying it out.”
First of all, you can’t ‘depersonalize’ this. It’s not just what you do but who is doing it. Even if you agree with the action do you trust Trump to carry it out? If we agree on a trip from NY to California does that mean that we don’t care if the pilot is drunk, never went to flight school, and by the way this is his first day?
Glenn Greenwald-I’m no fan, but when he’s right, he’s right:
“How can those who view Trump as an Inept Fascist now trust him to wage war?”
“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?”
First of all, I want to understand this ‘Road to Damascus’ conversion. This is not just something he has never talked about doing but he’s talked about doing the opposite for five years. Even if you like the policy isn’t that worrisome? It certainly shows that his words don’t mean anything.
More Glenn Greenwald:
“New wars will always strengthen Trump: as they do for every leader.”
“The instant elevation of Trump into a serious and respected war leader was palpable. Already, the New York Times is gushing that “in launching a military strike just 77 days into his administration, President Trump has the opportunity, but hardly a guarantee, to change the perception of disarray in his administration.”
“Political leaders across the spectrum rushed to praise Trump and support his bombing campaign. Media coverage was overwhelmingly positive.”
“New wars trigger the worst in people: their jingoism, their tribal loyalties, their instinct to submit to authority and leaders. The incentive scheme here is as obvious as it is frightening: great rewards await political leaders who start new wars. In Federalist 4, John Jay warned of all the personal benefits a leader obtains from starting a new war – which is the reason it was supposed to be difficult for U.S. Presidents to do it.”
“Trump is going to see – and feel – the establishment and media respect he craves, the sensations of strength he most lacks, by dropping bombs. Every person, let alone Trump, would be tempted to keep pursuing war as a result of this warped incentive framework. Indeed, Trump himself has long been aware of this motivation as he accused Obama in 2012 of preparing to start a new war in response to falling poll numbers.”
What is my takeaway from this? The Democrats must not rollover on Syria for Trump. The Dems have demanded that if Trump plans any further action in Syria, he must get Congressional approval-must Republicans have said as much. Good.
But if and when this happens, the Dems might now want to give him approval too quickly. I know there are these calls to ‘depersonalize’ this, to just do the right thing. The right thing is not to empower a sociopath with dubious legitimacy.
There will be those who say the Dems have to ‘do the right thing’-think of all these suffering Syrian civilians. You mean, the same civilians Trump has banned from coming the the US? I don’t get why if you’re so worried about the Syrian civilians you don’t let any of them settle in our country. If compassion is really what’s leading you.
Trump has since he’s been in office, accelerated civilian deaths. He’s pushed back many army restrictions meant to keep collateral damage down.
What’s more, Syrian civilians have been suffering for years. Back to Greenwald:
Whatever happened with this event, the Syrian government has killed hundreds of thousands of people over the past five years in what began as a citizen uprising in the spirit of the Arab Spring, and then morphed into a complex proxy war involving foreign fighters, multiple regional powers, ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Russia.
It’s been going on for years. With it going on Trump has said we don’t want to mess with Assad. We should work with Assad and Russia to combat ISIS.
The Dems need to do the right thing, alright, but the right thing here is not empowering a fascist madman. Don’t give him W’s 90% approval rating for the next two years. After all, if Democrats are going to support him when he launches missiles then it makes sense for him to launch more missiles which means more and more Democratic support.
Learn from the GOP. Despite their hawkish strutting when Assad launched a chemical attack in 2013 he killed 2500 civilians not the 70 he killed this week. But even then the GOP wouldn’t give Obama authorization:
“The secret of our success in government is that we did not have us in opposition.” That quip from a friend in an allied government applies with even greater force to the Republican Party of the United States. Trump’s action has gained support from Democrats that was never available to Obama from Republicans. In the fall of 2013, even the hawkish Marco Rubio—who had long called for action in Syria against Assad—nevertheless opposed Obama’s request for authorization to do just that. Rubio’s explanation focused on the flaws in Obama strategy and commitment. “I remain unconvinced that the use of force proposed here will work … I believe that U.S. military action of the type contemplated here will prove counterproductive.”
“Rubio’s points surely had some validity. Surely they apply even more forcefully today—yet Democrats from Chuck Schumer to Nancy Pelosi to even Elizabeth Warren have offered support for Trump’s actions. Pelosi praised the action as “proportional.” Schumer went further still: “Making sure Assad knows that when he commits such despicable atrocities he will pay a price is the right thing to do.”
“Unlike Rubio, who understood that viability in the coming Republican presidential contest required absolute opposition to any action by Obama, Democrats operate in a more permissive environment—at least for now. If any further proof is required of the asymmetry of the two parties, here it is.”
Here is what Boehner said in 2013:
— Ned Price (@nedprice) April 7, 2017
Perhaps the Dems should study Boehner’s questions before any hearings for authorization.
My own take: Dems should withhold their support for any action Trump wants to take. Like the GOP did in 2013.
I would urge my fellow Democrats to call their Democratic Senators and Congress critters and tell them not to be Trump’s rubber stamp.
Again, I have no trouble saying that if Obama or Hillary Clinton asked for the same thing I’d support giving it to them. They aren’t drunk, they went to flight school, this isn’t their first day.
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will