Wag the Dog: Trump Continues to Cede Civilian Control to the Military
Right after the Yates hearing-as Rachel Maddow pointed out-we got this headline.
“Trump ponders Afghanistan surge to “start winning again”
“The Washington Post’s lead story, “U.S. is poised to ramp up Taliban fight,” by Missy Ryan and Greg Jaffe, reveals one of the most consequential decisions that has yet faced this young administration:
- “Trump’s most senior military and foreign policy advisers have proposed a major shift in strategy in Afghanistan that would effectively put the United States back on a war footing with the Taliban.”
- “The plan comes at the end of a sweeping policy review built around the president’s desire to reverse worsening security in Afghanistan and ‘start winning’ again, said one U.S. official.”
- “The new strategy … has the backing of top Cabinet officials.” Trump’s view is unknown.
- Why it matters: “The … changes would … reverse moves by … Obama to steadily limit the U.S. military role in Afghanistan.”
- “Trump is expected to make a final call … before a May 25 NATO summit in Brussels.”
“Inside the White House, those opposed to the plan have begun to refer derisively to the strategy as ‘McMaster’s War…”
Yes, I’m sure he does want to start ‘winning again’ in the polls and in terms of taking Russia out of the headlines.
Right after the hearings, the Washington Post had this Afghanistan buildup as it’s lead story.
“U.S. poised to expand military effort against Taliban in Afghanistan.”
“The new plan, which still needs the approval of the president, calls for expanding the U.S. military role as part of a broader effort to push an increasingly confident and resurgent Taliban back to the negotiating table, U.S. officials said.”
“The plan comes at the end of a sweeping policy review built around the president’s desire to reverse worsening security in Afghanistan and “start winning” again, said one U.S. official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.”
“The new strategy, which has the backing of top Cabinet officials, would authorize the Pentagon, not the White House, to set troop numbers in Afghanistan and give the military far broader authority to use airstrikes to target Taliban militants. It would also lift Obama-era restrictions that limited the mobility of U.S. military advisers on the battlefield.”
So this is worrisome for two reasons-wag the dog, and also ceding civilian control of the military. Trump did the same thing with MOAB-It wasn’t me it was the military as if the military was on the ballot.
The Washington Post gave Trump exactly the headline he wanted-allowing themselves to be diverted from Sally Yates and Michael Flynn.
But they did this with the Comey hearing last week. They chose as the big headline Comey’s claim that Huma Abedin forwarded ‘hundreds to thousands’ of emails some classified to Weiner’s laptop.
We now know this is false.
But the fact that what Comey said was completely false didn’t make it to the Post’s lead headline.
“FBI director James Comey generated national headlines last week with his dramatic testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, explaining his “incredibly painful” decision to go public about the Hillary Clinton emails found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop.”
“Perhaps Comey’s most surprising revelation was that Huma Abedin — Weiner’s wife and a top Clinton deputy — had made “a regular practice” of forwarding “hundreds and thousands” of Clinton messages to her husband, “some of which contain classified information.” Comey testified that Abedin had done this so that the disgraced former congressman could print them out for her boss. (Weiner’s laptop was seized after he came under criminal investigation for sex crimes, following a media report about his online relationship with a teenager.)”
“The New York Post plastered its story on the front page with a photo of an underwear-clad Weiner and the headline: “HARD COPY: Huma sent Weiner classified Hillary emails to print out.” The Daily News went with a similar front-page screamer: “HUMA ERROR: Sent classified emails to sext maniac Weiner.”
“The problem: Much of what Comey said about this was inaccurate. Now the FBI is trying to figure out what to do about it.”
“FBI officials have privately acknowledged that Comey misstated what Abedin did and what the FBI investigators found. On Monday, the FBI was said to be preparing to correct the record by sending a letter to Congress later this week. But that plan now appears on hold, with the bureau undecided about what to do.”
So neither WAPO, even less the NY Post, nor the FBI itself is in a big rush to correct the record.
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.