General Incompetence

The news from Syria yesterday is too horrible to joke about: The Assad government launched a nerve gas attack -- probably Sarin -- against civilians in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, killing at least 72 people, many of them children. It's a war crime, and there aren't a lot of laughs to be had when it comes to war crimes. But then Donald Trump had to go and issue an official statement about that war crime, and it was once again time for very low farce -- which doesn't lessen the tragedy in Syria anymore, but is at least something we can get our heads around.

So what insights into the Syrian disaster did the Leader of the Free World have to offer? It sure was Presidential!

Someone really should take Mr. Trump aside and let him know he's not running for president anymore. He really won the election, and he actually has to do stuff like governing, not just blaming war crimes committed by Bashar al-Assad's government on Barack Obama. And of course, as everyone has been busy pointing out, in 2013, Trump had plenty to say about what Barack Obama should do in Syria: Absolutely nothing. Let's crib some 2013 TrumpenTweeten on Syria, as collected by David Corn and AJ Vicens at Mother Jones yesterday:

We should take a moment to note here that Rachel Maddow had entirely too much grim fun with the colloquy between the future president of the United States and "@BigSexyBDAvis" on the weighty matter of whether America should take strong action against Bashar al-Assad. (No. America should do NOTHING.) You have to laugh or you'd vomit.

So we think you get the idea: In 2013, Barack Obama was a dangerous warmonger who wanted to attack Syria, but Donald Trump knew that the Syrian civil war was none of America's business, that we won't make any money off attacking Syria, and the best thing to do is just "let them all fight with each other-focus on US!"

So obviously, as of 2017, that weak, irresolute Barack Obama should have taken a much tougher stance on Syria, and should have followed up on his "red line" on Syria. Now, if you want to get all roiled up in facts, Obama actually did do something after the "red line" speech: He asked Congress to authorize force against Syria. And Congress, empowered with the job of declaring war, wanted nothing to do with it. They were far happier bitching about Obama not doing anything in Syria than actually authorizing attacks on Syria, which would have been complicated and unpopular, because Jesus Christ have we had enough wars in the Middle East yet? Oh, and Obama also lucked into a deal with Syria and Russia to dismantle Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles, which of course counts for nothing now since the Syrian military apparently didn't delete the "Nerve Gas Recipes" file from its hard drive. We especially like the Trumpian logic of predicting in 2013 that if Obama were to attack Syria, it would merely be an attempt "to save face over his very dumb RED LINE statement," while now in 2017, Barack Obama is the worst sort of weakling for failing to follow up on his very dumb RED LINE statement. That's some catch, that Catch Trumpy-Two.

In a joint press conference with Jordan's King Abdullah today, Trump repeated that Obama had missed a "great opportunity" to deal with Assad -- somehow -- years ago, and promised he'd now take responsibility for Syria, now that he's president -- which will, we predict, mostly consist of blaming Obama some more. Trump also said, with his usual combination of cluelessness and bluster, that he's a man who is able to reach new conclusions once he sees video of Syrian children dying:

"I like to think of myself as a very flexible person. I don't have to have one specific way, and if the world changes, I go the same way," Trump said. "It's already happened, that my attitude towards Syria and Assad has changed very much."

Not that he's going to let any of those threatened Syrian children come to the USA as refugees, because they're all terrorists, you know.

Mostly, we get the impression Trump just wants to bomb some people to make all the suffering stop. If we just drop enough bombs on enough bad people (they'll all be bad people because we'd never bomb good people), then everything will be OK. Also, maybe we can torture some people too. Trump can't wait to start torturing people, because he loves peace.

Oh, and what about Assad's chief ally, Russia? Why would Trump want to say anything bad about Russia? Russia is a ruse.

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[ / WaPo / Mother Jones / ABC News]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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