If we blow up the children over there, they can't come here.
Donald Trump's goal of reversing everything Barack Obama ever did is set to take a bold new step soon, with the reversal of Obama's 2014 directive mostly getting the US military out of the business of using or stockpiling landmines. The order was a step toward bringing the US a little closer to compliance with a 1997 international treaty banning the devices, which kill or maim between 15,000 to 20,000 civilians annually, according to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. And despite his order, Obama did not have the US join the 1997 agreement, also known as the Ottawa Convention, because the US military still thinks it needs landmines on the Korean Peninsula to deter a North Korean invasion of the south.
Obviously, since Obama did it, it has to be overturned, so yesterday Vox's Alex Ward reported that an "internal State Department cable" says Trump will rescind Obama's order that the US "not produce or otherwise acquire any anti-personnel landmines (APL) in the future, including to replace expiring stockpiles." Trump's order also does away with the part of Obama's order banning the deployment of the deadly things anywhere outside Korea, so look forward to landmines coming to a conflict zone near you!
None of the reporting we've looked at mentions it, but we can't help but speculate Trump may also have a stiffy for mining the US-Mexico border. He's almost certainly been told civilized countries don't do that, just like they don't dig moats full of alligators and poisonous snakes. But Trump got out of the civilization business a long time ago, when he advocated torture during the 2016 campaign and salivating at the thought of shooting Muslims with bullets dipped in pigs' blood. If Breitbart commenters want landmines at the border, then Trump wants them too. When he eventually talks about it at a rally, remember, Yr Wonkette called it first.
But were they 'turbulent'?
Former Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, the war crimer who Donald Trump thinks is the greatest American fighting man since General Patton or maybe Lieutenant Calley, launched his own special operation this week against the former members of his platoon who accused him of shooting at Iraqi civilians and murdering a captured teenage ISIS fighter. In a three-minute video posted on his Facebook and Instagram accounts Monday, Gallagher called the men "cowards" and identified them with their names and photos. And because he's a swell guy who just wants information to be free, the video also provides the current units and duty status of witnesses who are still on active duty.
Isn't it nice that the age of Donald Trump and social media has made it possible for any rightwing hack with a high profile on Fox News to engage in their own campaign of stochastic terrorism? Just another democratizing effect of technology! Former SEALs told the San Diego Union-Tribune that information "places those men — and the Navy's mission — in jeopardy." Which is what heroes do to their enemies!
It's your Sunday show rundown!
We begin today's Sunday show roundup with Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma. Making appearances on both CNN's "State of The Union" and ABC's "This Week," Lankford did his best to be a one-man version of the "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil" monkey.
On CNN, Lankford pretended to be offended that Adam Schiff referred to a report that Trump had threatened senators if they didn't stand with him while simultaneously "seeing no evil" by ignoring Trump's C-level gangster threats towards Schiff when pointed out to him. (We covered it here.) On ABC, Lankford decided to go with "hear no evil" as he told George Stephanopoulos why we shouldn't see new witnesses -- like saying that the House "rushed" impeachment by not waiting on courts to decide subpoenas. Stephanopoulos wasn't having it.
Let them eat yellowcake.
Progressives are always being told we need to face reality. There's no way we can have health care for everyone because it's just not realistic. Controlling global warming can't be done because running an advanced economy on clean energy "defies the laws of physics" (according to an oil lobbyist with a BA in political science). A nation simply can't relieve poverty because the iron laws of economic reality mean there must be winners and losers, and the winners get to write the tax laws, sorry. Regardless of what Anne Frank said, people aren't "good at heart" and the sooner you accept that reality, the better. Anyone who says otherwise has their head in the clouds.
Oh, but as Michael Isikoff and David Corn explain in painful detail in our current Wonkette Book Club selection, Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War, Republicans who want to get their war on don't need to be tethered to mere reality, because they know what they're doing.
In 2003, the wise conservatives of the George W. Bush administration went to war in Iraq because they were absolutely certain it had to happen. Further, they expected it would be a fairly easy win with little chance of failure and that the invasion would spark a wave of democratic reform across the region. Along the way, the executive-branch Deciders, from Bush on down, ignored or dismissed any information that pointed to inconvenient realities in Iraq, because their minds were made up. The war was necessary, and it would be easy. Anyone who said otherwise was either irrationally gloomy or outright disloyal.
The more I read Hubris, the more I'm reminded that Donald Trump and his many enablers didn't create "alternative facts." They've simply perfected the art of living entirely in a reality-distortion field. A self-created reality already took America into a disastrous war less than 20 years ago. Those "Just-So" stories the Bush administration told itself killed hundreds of thousands and made the region even more unstable.
Yesterday North Korea announced that, in light of America's failure to lift "brutal and inhumane" sanctions, the country will no longer be bound by any previous commitments to reduce nuclear and missile testing. Two years into their torrid love affair, the Dotard and Little Rocket Man are back to square one. Except now we've legitimated the North Korean dictator with a visit by the US president and canceled joint military exercises with South Korea so ... square negative 38?
Hey, remember that har-har-hilarious time last February when Donald Trump lurched out to the Rose Garden to announce that he'd been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by his good friend Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister?
"He said: 'I have nominated you, respectfully, on behalf of Japan. I am asking them to give you the Nobel Peace Prize.' I said, 'Thank you,'" Trump bragged. But he seems to have left out one teeny, tiny detail. He must have forgotten to mention that the White House asked the Japanese government to nominate Trump after President Arty McDeals "successfully" managed to convince North Korea to give up its nukes. (Spoiler Alert ...)
We chose this month's Wonkette Book Club book selection shortly after Donald Trump wished the world a Happy New War by assassinating Iranian general Qasem Soleimani via a drone attack in Baghdad. Since then, Trump and his war heads seem to have backed off somewhat from any immediate plans for a shooting war with Iran -- at least until there's another event in the region that might put everyone on edge again. But what are the odds of new tensions in the Middle East?
We figured it might be useful to examine the last time a bunch of hot-headed Republicans got us into a war, and that's why we're reading Michael Isikoff and David Corn's 2006 book Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War, which as its title suggests isn't so much a military history as an account of the snow job George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and a raft of neocons did in convincing America to launch a war of choice in Iraq. There wasn't any need for them to convince themselves: again and again, Isikoff and Corn make clear Bush and company were already committed to ousting Saddam Hussein. Many had even wanted to before 9/11 provided a convenient national security crisis to exploit. And too many members of the media were perfectly willing to suspend their skepticism or even to aid and abet the liars.
As we read Hubris now, some parallels to the still unfolding Trump/Iran situation are obvious -- most notably the constant lies and spin around the motives for killing Soleimani (right down to a bullshit claim that he'd been involved with 9/11) and the facts about Iran's retaliatory missile strike. But the differences are striking, too. Bush et al lied us into a war that they'd wanted for a long time, for some very specific reasons. Trump, who acts based on a combination of longstanding bad ideas about the world plus whatever mood he happens to be in, doesn't seem to have any particular direction or consistent motives at all (beyond what he thinks will gain him money or votes). It remains to be seen whether that makes him even more dangerous than the Bush crew.
There are many trees in space.
Though many of us have still yet to fully wrap our heads around the whole Space Force thing, the Twitter account for the currently non-existent military branch revealed what the official Space Force uniforms will look like:
As you will notice, these uniforms are camouflage. More specifically, they are the kind of camouflage that one wears in areas where there are a lot of trees — a thing that "space" is notably lacking. One would think, at the very least, the space uniforms would be unitards of some variety, as we have all been lead to believe by television, but no! Tree camouflage it is!
Trump is his very own Baghdad Bob.
When Donald Trump did his presser the morning following Iran's missile attack on American air bases in Iraq (we stole 'em fair and square and they belong to us) on January 8, he was very clear that both the Americans and the Iraqis at the bases were completely unscathed, HOORAY.
Here, we've cued the video up for you:
Since he was reading from a teleprompter, Trump delivered the news in a relatively straightforward declaration:
I'm pleased to inform you, the American people [sniffsnort] should be extremely [audible exhale] grateful and happy [sniff!] no Americans were harmed in last night's attack by the Iranian regime. [sniff] We suffered no casualties [snort], all of our soldiers are safe, and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases.
He went on to add that "No American or Iraqi lives were lost," which to our knowledge still appears to be true. But the stuff about no Americans being harmed is, we learned yesterday, pure uncut Trumpian bullshit. Turns out that in mere reality, 11 American troops were wounded in the attack, and were evacuated to American military hospitals in Kuwait and Germany. Defense One reports the injured US personnel will
be treated for traumatic brain injury and to undergo further evaluation, several U.S. defense and military officials have confirmed[.]
The news of 11 casualties is rather different not only from what Trump said, but also from what Pentagon and White House sources said immediately after the attack, when they insisted the Iranian missile strikes had resulted in "no casualties, no friendly casualties, whether they are U.S., coalition, contractor, et cetera."
And now the administration is spinning furiously to explain there's no contradiction at all between the initial "no casualties" declarations and the inconveniently brain-injured soldiers being treated at military hospitals.
Honoring an American WWII soldier who saved Jewish troops, no less!
Here's a Nice Time break from all the ongoing madness: Congress is taking steps to honor a WWII hero, Roderick W. "Roddie" Edmonds, who after being captured during the Battle of the Bulge refused to tell a Nazi POW camp officer which of his fellow American soldiers were Jews. In 2015, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center in Israel recognized Edmonds, who died in 1985, as one of the "Righteous Among Nations," an honor given to non-Jews who helped Jews escape genocide.
Members of Tennessee's congressional delegation -- Republicans even! -- have introduced a bill to award Edmonds the Congressional Gold Medal, which is different from a Medal of Honor because that one's reserved for heroism in combat. But that doesn't take anything away from the courage Edmonds displayed in the face of very real danger.
Are they Mexican troops? They are not!
We're building the wall! And who's gonna pay for it? That's right, it's our military and their families. PROMISES KEPT!
Last year, after a 35-day shutdown, Donald Trump agreed to accept just $1.4 billion in WALLbux from Congress. After which, he promptly declared a state of emergency to justify raiding military construction funds for another $3.6 billion and demanded that congressional Democrats "backfill" the money to prove they don't "hate the troops." And now he'd like to steal that money again, plus a whole lot more. The Washington Post reports that this year's heist will net $7.2 billion of Pentagon funding that had been allocated to anti-narcotic programming and military construction.
Trump took $2.5 billion from military counterdrug programs for border barrier construction in 2019, but this year his administration is planning to take significantly more — $3.5 billion. Trump administration officials also are planning to take $3.7 billion in military construction funding, slightly more than the $3.6 billion diverted in 2019.
Emboldened by the green light from the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which lifted a lower court stay on spending the filched cash, the White House is racing to get some substantial portion of the border fencing up so that Trump can claim credit for it at his pitchfork rallies. They're no longer even bothering to pretend that Mexico will foot the bill.
Defense Sec Mark Esper, welcome to the Sunday Show rundown!
A lot has happened since last week! After the
assassination targeted killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the Trump administration has been working real hard to justify having done so without consulting Congress. So much so we've had to recap it every few days to ensure everyone keeps up with the new lies.
Last week it was Secretary of State and least popular Pompeo, Mike, lying his ass off on the Sunday shows. This week it's Defense Secretary Mark Esper's turn. Esper began by trying to push the talking points at the top of his dual appearances on CNN's "State Of The Union" and CBS's "Face The Nation." It did not go well!
Stop the news, I want to get off!
Good God, y'all! We have been promoted from Mommyblogger to Warblogger, so buckle up for a roundup of all the military funtimes stories breaking today. We are locked, and also, too, perhaps loaded?
Matt Gaetz ... right about a thing????
Yesterday the House voted on Rep. Elissa Slotkin's non-binding war powers resolution that would revoke the president's power "to engage in hostilities in or against Iran" without specific congressional authorization, unless it becomes "necessary and appropriate to defend against an imminent armed attack upon the United States." Eight Democrats voted "no," and three Republicans -- Gaetz, Thomas Massie (KY) and Francis Rooney (FL) -- voted "yes." Plus independent Justin Amash (Biceps), who can sit with us now, we guess.
This caused great Sturm and Drang in Wingnuttistan, with Lou Dobbs growing so distracted that he left his Just For Men on for an extra hour, to disastrous effect.
Army Not Giving Pardoned Admitted War Crimer Back His Boy Scout Badge -- No, The OTHER Pardoned War Crimer
Countdown to Twitter tantrum starts now.
Army Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn was facing charges of premeditated murder for the 2010 shooting of an Afghan man. Golsteyn had even confessed to the killing during a job interview with the Central Intelligence Agency. It was a bold answer to the otherwise trite question, "What is your greatest weakness?" The Army closed the case in 2013 but Golsteyn couldn't do the same with his mouth. He confessed again to killing the man during a 2016 Fox News interview. The Army reopened the case.
Golsteyn never stood trial for his crimes because Donald Trump pardoned him last November -- which, we'd like to note for the record carries "an imputation of guilt." (Trump can thank the Supreme Court for that in Burdick vs. US.) Trump fancies himself a sort of superhero who specializes in saving accused war criminals. Trump tweeted that Golsteyn was charged with "killing a Taliban bomb maker." He wasn't, you know. He was charged with killing a "suspected bomb maker," who wasn't even on a list of "targets" the military was approved to kill. The suspect was already detained but there was a concern he could escape and go on a roaring rampage of revenge. During his interview with the CIA, Golsteyn said he took the suspected bomb maker off the base, shot him, and buried him in a shallow grave (he really tanked this job interview). He returned with two other soldiers later that night and dug up the body, returning it to the base and setting it on fire in a pit used to "dispose of trash." Unless there was compelling evidence the Afghan man was a vampire, Golsteyn is a complete monster. But that's who receives the president's mercy -- not immigrant children but men who start bonfires with the dead.
Tulsi Gabbard continues embarrassing herself and loved ones.
You might've noticed the hashtag #IVotedForHillaryClinton trending on Twitter earlier this week. People wanted to declare that they'd chosen sanity over what actually wound up in the White House. Donald Trump is marching us to a senseless war, as Republicans like to do whenever they're in office. Hillary Clinton tried to warn us. She didn't belabor the point. She often just pointed at Trump during debates and shouted, "Are you fucking kidding me?"
Some conservatives are claiming, however, that Clinton's Iran strategy wouldn't have differed much from Trump's. That assumes Trump actually has an Iran strategy and there's no evidence of this. His entire foreign policy is just a game of pin the tail on the dildo.
Oh NOW Republicans are mad?
Utah GOP Senator Mike Lee is mad. He described Wednesday's briefing on the Qasem Soleimani killing as "probably the worst briefing I've seen at least on a military issue in the nine years I've served in the United States Senate." Enraged at getting the brush off from defense officials, Lee says that he and Rand Paul will now support Democrat Tim Kaine's Resolution to stop President Trump unilaterally bumbling us into a war with Iran.
Just lookit him come out of the SCIF all pissed off and sweaty after Mike Pompeo and Mark Esper tried to run the rope-a-dope on him!
Congressman From 'Hee Haw' Wishes Democrats Hated Terrorists As Much As Trump Loves Gold Star Families
Yep, that's what he's going with.
On Wednesday, senators and congressmen had classified briefings where they learned the very real super-secret intel Donald Trump examined with his brain and thereby decided it was mandatory that he order the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani. When they came out, those who were honest were appalled -- not by the intelligence, but by the briefing. Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly called the briefing "sophomoric." Republican Senator Mike Lee said it was the most fucking embarrassing briefing he's seen in the entire time he's been a senator, adding that it was (real quotes!) "lame" and "insane" and that the briefers spent more time telling Congress they "need to be good little boys and girls and not debate this in public" than they did actually, you know, briefing them.
Rep. Doug Collins (R-Hee Haw) presumably attended that briefing too, but when he went to visit North Korean news lady Lou Dobbs on Fox Business last night, that's not what was on his mind. Instead he decided to enter the "Let's call Democrats America-haters/terrorist lovers" contest (currently in first place: Nikki Haley and this guy!) and oh boy, he really stepped in some fresh dogshit:
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