Spin It To Win It: The High Cost of Trump’s Military ‘Strategy’

As the end of Trump’s first 100 days in office approaches, we can already see the novice commander-in-chief’s approach to military action. The approach is to empower “his” generals. And the results? A triumph of image over substance. “Spin it to win it” is the byword for Trump’s military “strategy.”

A few examples:

  1. The disastrous raid on Yemen that led to the death of a Navy SEAL as well as many civilians, including children, was spun by the Trump administration as a great success. At the same time, Trump pinned the death of the SEAL on his generals, saying “they” lost him.
  2. The launch of 59 expensive cruise missiles against a Syrian airfield did little to change the actions of the Assad government. Nor did it knockout the airfield. Yet it was spun by Trump as a remarkable victory. In his words, “We’ve just fired 59 missiles, all of which hit, by the way, unbelievable, from, you know, hundreds of miles away, all of which hit, amazing. It’s so incredible. It’s brilliant. It’s genius. Our technology, our equipment, is better than anybody by a factor of five. I mean look, we have, in terms of technology, nobody can even come close to competing.”
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New IHS Jane’s Study: Overthrow Assad and ISIS Comes Out on Top

President Trump’s about-face on Syria has left many of his supporters reeling. Repeatedly on the campaign trail – and over the past several years – he has mocked President Obama’s decision to get involved in a "regime change" project in Syria. He correctly warned Obama back in 2013 that if you attack Syria, "very bad things will happen." In his first several weeks in office the president has gone from praising Syrian President Assad for his fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda, to agreeing that "Assad can stay," to suddenly resurrecting the Obama mantra of "Assad must go!" All in a matter of two weeks!

But what happens if Trump, who is apparently under the spell of the neocons, is successful and Assad is finally overthrown? According to a new study by the prestigious, London-based IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre, the chief beneficiaries of such a "success" will be ISIS.

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Flashback! Questions From the Last Time America Was Supposed To ‘Take Out’ Assad

History is a funny thing, because we forget it so easily, and so quickly. That forgetting is usually based on the political needs of the moment, and politicians and the media count on us being that way so they can manipulate us. Works nearly every time, too.

One of the latest versions of this is the media meme that the Syrian quagmire is kinda new-ish, and that the most recent American spurt of 59 cruise missiles into that country represents something, maybe an escalation, maybe a change of policy, maybe some domestic political thingie. To help disprove all that, here’s an article I wrote about a year ago.

Let’s see how that holds up in hindsight.

Quick Summary:

Despite over 400,000 dead and ongoing ground and air campaigns inside the country by the U.S., Russia and several others, 51 US diplomats in 2016 publicly demanded the Obama administration launch strikes directly against Bashir Assad in Syria.

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Tell Us Why We’re At War, President Trump

People speak of Afghanistan as “our generation’s” Vietnam, a quagmire, a war that goes on simply because it has been going on.

The Afghan war is dragging into being our generation’s, and soon the next generation’s Vietnam as well, over a decade and a half old. There are troops deploying now that were two years old when the conflict started. There are fathers and sons deploying together. Bin Laden’s been dead for years.

With a slight break, the current war in Iraq has been ongoing for some 14 years. If you want to think of it in a longer view, Trump is now the fifth consecutive president to make war on that country. Saddam’s been dead for years.

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How do YOU justify things like this?

“Another east Mosul resident, Jasim Mohammed Ali, said his son and six grandsons were killed … Ali said that during the [coalition bomb] attack in the modest Aden neighborhood [in Mosul, Iraq], his grandsons were crushed by rubble in their bedroom as he cowered next door with his 17-year-old son, who was also killed. His pregnant daughter-in-law lost her baby, a girl who had yet to be named. His wife suffered scarring burns to her head and back. His daughter’s legs were crushed as she tried to hold her 6-year-old son, buried beneath the concrete. Although surgeons inserted metal pins in her legs, she still can’t walk. Unable to reach the cemetery…  the family buried the bodies in a nearby schoolyard, marking the graves with cinder blocks.”  –Civilian casualties from airstrikes grow in Iraq and Syria. But few are ever investigated – Los Angeles Times

Peter Van Buren: Sorry, No War in North Korea

I’m so sorry to disappoint so many people, but there is not going to be a war with North Korea.

No, no, Trump is not going to start a war there. And, no, Kim Jong Un is not going to start a war there. It is not going to happen, despite a cottage industry of pundits who seem to really believe war is only moments away.

Let’s start with the obvious. A war on the Korean peninsula benefits no one and is really, really bad for everyone (we’ll get to the irrational madman theory in a moment.)

Any conflict means the end of North Korea, and the end of the Kim dynasty. The U.S. will win any fight, nuclear or not, and Kim and everyone with any power or money in the North knows that. North Korea has no reason to start a war that will end in its own destruction. The people there with power and money do not want to give those things up.

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