War is bad and anything keeping us from going to war is good.
Most of the time, bipartisanship is actually gross. The wheeling and dealing of bipartisanship has brought us some of the absolute worst legislation of our time. For the most part, bipartisanship usually means Republicans getting everything they want and Democrats going along with it because they think it will someday come back around, which, you know, it never actually does. That kind of bipartisanship is bad. However, every once in a while, a Republican decides to support something that is actually good, without demanding cuts to food stamps in exchange. That kind of bipartisanship, I'll take.
Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who also got into trouble with his party for criticizing the administration's terrible Iran briefing this week, has signed on to co-sponsor Bernie Sanders' No War With Iran Act, which would freeze funding for any attacks on Iran without express permission from Congress.
In a joint statement to CNN, the senators said:
"As United States Senators, we often disagree on many issues. But standing up for the Constitution is not about partisanship. The Founding Fathers were absolutely clear. They wanted to ensure that our country avoided needless conflict and they understood that presidential war-making would be harmful to our democracy."
How very plausible!
Donald Trump has really been reaching for things to justify the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, an action that will most likely result in our getting into a war with Iran. Just yesterday, during an interview with his good pal Laura Ingraham, he came out with a new one. Soleimani, he claimed, was going to bomb four U.S. embassies and that's why he had to be assassinated.
Via Washington Post:
In an interview with Fox News's Laura Ingraham, excerpts of which were released Friday afternoon, Trump expanded on comments from a day earlier, when he initially told reporters that Soleimani's forces "were looking to blow up our embassy" in Baghdad. He later said at a rally in Toledo that "Soleimani was actively planning new attacks, and he was looking very seriously at our embassies, and not just the embassy in Baghdad."
"Did [Soleimani] have large-scale attacks planned for other embassies?" Ingraham asked. "And if those were planned, why can't we reveal that to the American people? Wouldn't that help your case?"
"I can reveal that I believe it probably would've been four embassies," Trump said.
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.
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:
And other fun with Trump Iran war polls!
In the time between Donald Trump dumbassedly ordering the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani and this morning, when he folded like a common folder (WHICH IS GOOD), a meme proliferated on Facebook, something along the lines of "I will listen to your thoughts on why we should war at Iran just as soon as you identify Iran on this map." It was a good meme! It didn't include any Russian disinformation, the map didn't have any fake hurricane dicks on it, it didn't ask for the name of your first grade teacher or your mother's maiden name, and it made its point succinctly. Most Americans had never heard of Soleimani before last week -- which is actually fine, most Americans have better things to do and aren't Iran experts -- but after the strike, all these MAGA dipshits started acting like he was their age-long sworn arch-nemesis, whose crimes only their orange God could avenge.
Well, some polling has finally come out on the Soleimani strike, and on warring Iran in general, and it's a good thing Trump caved like a common caver (WHICH IS GOOD) because if he thought a war was going to be good for pulling his approval ratings out of the shitter and making a majority of Americans not despise him, hahahahahahahahahahahahaha fuck off. (More on that in a second!)
The survey, from Politico/Morning Consult, also says how many Americans know where Iran is, on maps. It is 28 percent, or a little over one out of four. Or should we say, it's 28 percent when you show a regional map. When you show a map of the whole entire world, it's only 23 percent. (Hint: Iran is the great big one sandwiched between the other two countries we've been warring since 9/11, pop quiz NAME THOSE COUNTRIES!)
Trump will address the nation after last night's Iranian strikes aimed at American troops. Whatever he says, it'll embarrass the shit out of you.
If you haven't heard, Iran retaliated last night for Donald Trump's dumbass, poorly thought out targeted killing of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani. Today, Donald Trump will respond to the strike and tell us his Iran plans and make us all feel better and haha just kidding, we just said Trump has "plans" and implied Donald Trump will "make us all feel better."
Anyway, Donald Trump is going to address the nation in just a few minutes. We should liveblog his stupid idiot face, we guess.
Iran shot missiles at American troops last night. Thank goodness Dear Leader is so ... oh fuck.
Tuesday night, or in the wee hours of Wednesday morning if you happen to be in the Middle East right now, Iran began its retaliation for Donald Trump's targeted killing of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani. And maybe Iran also finished its retaliation for the killing. The Iranian military targeted two Iraqi military bases that house American troops, but so far, we haven't heard that there were casualties, and we hope it stays that way.
Anyway, it's fine.
Congratulations, Chris Cillizza And Mitch McConnell! You've Both Won A One-Way Trip To Go-F*ck-Yourself-Ville!
They are very unhappy with Elizabeth Warren's statements on the Soleimani killing, how will she Yet She Persist her way out of this one?
Mitch McConnell and Chris Cillizza have thoughts about Elizabeth Warren's statements in the wake of Donald Trump's targeted killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani. They are very bad and stupid thoughts.
Let's have a contest to see who can go fuck themselves the fastest!
If you don't support President Stable Genius bumble-fucking his way into a stupid unwinnable war without the slightest hint of a plan, YOU JUST HATE AMERICA.
A lot of people say Nikki Haley sold her soul to Donald Trump, but that would imply the pre-existence of a soul, to which we reply OBJECTION, YOUR HONOR, ASSERTS FACTS NOT IN EVIDENCE.
Haley dons a hero's cape when she feels it will benefit her politically -- like when she reluctantly finally decided it was time to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse just after a white supremacist murdered nine black churchgoers in 2015, except for she defended that flag in 2014 and as recently as like five minutes ago expressed regret that white supremacists had gone and made that flag all racist. (That wasn't a new thought from her, either. She complained that Dylann Roof had "hijacked" the Confederate flag way back in 2016, while expressing her sober wishes that Donald Trump wouldn't be so ugly to the minorities all the time, not that she thinks he's racist, no he never!)
Nikki Haley's message just depends on what audience she's tailoring her message for, is our point. And in the days of Trump, she's tailoring her message for asshole Trump Republicans, because she'd really like to be president in 2024, or maybe 2020 if something comes up, not that she wants anything to come up, perish the thought.
Anyway, Haley was on "Hannity" last night, being a lying, craven asshole, because that's who she is.
What the hell was that?
To call what happened yesterday at the Defense Department a dumpster fire would be a massive understatement. Truly it was such an epic clusterfuck that, in any normal administration, half the leadership would have hired lawyers already amid bipartisan congressional demands for an independent investigation. But with Commander Crazypants going apeshit in the Oval, it'll probably wind up being just a one-day story.
As best we can work out, around noon in DC an Iraqi media outlet run by the pro-Iranian militia group Asaib Ahl al-Haq, which has fought Americans in Iraq and Syria for more than a decade, published a letter from United States Marine Corps Brig. Gen. William H. Seely III, commander of America's Iraq Task Force, to his counterpart in the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. In an apparent reference to Sunday's parliamentary vote to ask America to withdraw its military, it read, "Sir, in due deference to the sovereignty of the Republic of Iraq, and as requested by the Iraqi Parliament and the Prime Minister, CJTF-OIR will be repositioning forces over the course of the coming days and weeks to prepare for onward movement."
By 2:40, Agence France Presse reported that the US was pulling out of Iraq, and by 3 p.m., every major news outlet in the world had the story.
Donald Trump reacts with very presidential tantrum.
Iraq's Parliament voted yesterday to expel US troops from the country following last week's assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike near the Baghdad airport. The vote is nonbinding unless the Iraqi government takes further action, but that could happen, too. Donald Trump threatened Iraq with sanctions if it tells the US to GTFO, because he is a big angry toddler with a lot of executive power.
The New York Times reports,
The troops will be limited to "training and advising" Iraqi forces, but will not be allowed to move off their bases or to fly in Iraqi airspace while plans are being made for their departure, said Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf, the military spokesman for Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.
Purely by coincidence, the US military in Iraq also announced it's suspending its operations in Iraq to focus on the troops' own security, which means it won't be fighting ISIS or training the Iraqi military for the time being, which are kind of the only official reasons US forces are still in Iraq anyway (Also OIL). Since Iraq is the base of operations for US attacks on ISIS inside Syria, that makes two countries where The Troops won't be fighting ISIS.
Oh, yeah, and Iran said it was entirely scrapping the 2015 international nuclear deal that Trump walked out on last year, so there's that, too. In other words, just another day that ends in heavy drinking.
Good Christ, we go on one measly vacation to get away from the shitshow for a minute and President Impeachy-Pants starts a war to distract everybody from the steaming load of impeach in his pants. So that's on brand.
Of course, the story we're supposed to swallow on this -- and that literally nobody besides the world's most Trump-aligned idiots is swallowing -- is that Donald Trump simply had to do this to save us and our allies from an "imminent attack" committed by the Iranians. Yeah, you betcha. There is already reporting out there saying said intelligence was "thin" and "LAH-DEE-DAH SAME OLD SAME OLD" (not a real quote from a US military official), because if you really believe Donald Trump pulled the trigger on this for real American national security reasons, we have a bridge to sell you.
The New York Times reports that the Pentagon gave Trump a whole laundry list of options for how to respond to Iran's bad behavior in Iraq of late, one of which was killing Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, which was sort of intended to be the OMG CRAZY option, in order to help Trump decide on one of the more normal options. Of course, this is the world's stupidest president, and so he took the world's stupidest option. If they had put "have sex with Jacob Wohl in the middle of Fifth Avenue" as an example of a crazy and stupid way to respond to Iran, Trump would have picked that, because of how stupid it would be.
The Times says the Pentagon "didn't think he'd take it" and that top brass at the Pentagon were "stunned" and "flabbergasted." The Times adds, "In the wars waged since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Pentagon officials have often offered improbable options to presidents to make other possibilities appear more palatable." The Pentagon must be new at this.
So, if we're going to make the sensible assumption -- that all the lies coming from the White House and especially Mike Pompeo's State Department are big damn lies, that there is no good possible reason Trump did this, and that he did it only for self-serving reasons -- then what is it?
What made Donald Trump pick the world's stupidest possible option, threatening to set off an unwinnable war we could be mired in for years?
What About ... OBAMA NETFLIX?
Mike Pompeo offers to throw in the undercoating AND a set of steak knives?
Memo to the Trump Administration: This ain't 2002, and you guys don't even have a guy like Colin Powell whose cred you can borrow to sell another forever war. American got conned into one Middle Eastern quagmire based on shit intel from a CIA source nicknamed "Curveball" -- yes, literally -- and we won't get fooled again. Particularly when the 2020 Curveballers are a bunch of lying hacks and toadies who dutifully go on television to swear that war crimes are normal, congressional oversight is illegal, and Donald Trump's inauguration was bigger than Obama's, PERIOD.
It took less than a day for the media to dismantle Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's bullshit about needing to assassinate Iranian general Qassem Suleimani to save American lives from "imminent threats," because the secretary of State and the rest of the warmongers in Trumpland never had any credibility to squander. Not that he didn't try to kite that check! This weekend the secretary of State did a full McCain on the Sunday talk shows, telling CNN's Jake Tapper that AKSHULLY it was Barack Obama's fault the US killed an Iranian government official on sovereign Iraqi territory without informing our hosts:
We're trying to restore deterrence that frankly is a need that results directly from the fact that the previous administration left us in a terrible place with respect to the Islamic Republic of Iran ... we have developed a strategy to convince the Iranian regime to behave like a normal nation. That's what our strategy is about. We've been executing it.
No one on earth denies that Suleimani spent 20 years trying to attack Americans, but when pressed to define exactly what he meant by an "imminent attack," Pompeo huffed, "If you're an American in the region, days and weeks, this is not something that's relevant. We have to prepare, we have to be ready, and we took a bad guy off the battlefield."
It's the Sunday show rundown!
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on every one of the Sunday shows this week doing his best "Colin Powell WMD" sales pitch to the American people (except for the whole not having decades of goodwill or reputation to squander) after the targeted killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force. The killing was roughly equivalent to assassinating VP Mike Pence and Defense Secretary Esper with a soupçon of added CIA Director, so Pompeo is now trying to reassure us that we have nothing to worry about.
On CNN's "State of The Union," Pompeo began by having to answer why Trump, in one of his McDonald's constipation-induced Tweetstorms, is threatening to commit war crimes:
A Very Familiar Report: The Trump Administration Had Only 'Razor Thin' Evidence To Justify Soleimani Strike
And not a thing about weapons of mass destruction.
Picture it: The United States, 2002. When we invaded Iraq, after some people from places that were not Iraq attacked the World Trade Center, based on the claim that they had "Weapons of Mass Destruction" that, it turned out, did not actually exist. Thousands of Americans killed or injured, tens of thousands of Iraqis — both military and civilian — killed, because the President had daddy issues and was suuuuuper excited to go to war, and no one wanted to tell him "no" because he just had his little heart set on it.
Once again, we have another spoiled rotten President with daddy issues and an unrelenting thirst for power possibly embarking on his own stupid war in the Middle East. And oh what luck! He's using the official Authorization for Use of Military Force from the previous stupid war to justify the drone assassination strike on Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani. And his Vice President is even trying to claim that this had something to do with the World Trade Center attack, hoping that screaming "9/11" will still have the magic power it once did to get people to let the executive branch do whatever the hell it wants.
Once again, it appears that we have attacked a country in the Middle East on almost no evidence.
In a thread, New York Times correspondent Rukmini Callimachi tweeted that several sources she had spoken to about the attack say that the evidence that there was going to be an imminent attack on Americans that could only be prevented by this assassination was "razor thin."
Oh wow, I'm so shocked. And we usually have such solid evidence when we start attacking other countries. Weapons of Mass Destruction, the Gulf of Tonkin...
But anyway, not only were they not sure that an attack was going to happen, they weren't even totally sure the guy was where they thought he was when they attacked.
Now, normally, a president would need Congressional approval to go to war or do a military strike of this kind, but this is Donald Trump we're talking about. You think he gives a shit about that? Please. Republican lawmakers sure as hell aren't going to care, his people don't care, and yes, that includes Tucker "I don't like war but only because I'm super racist" Carlson, and they in fact root for him when he does this kind of thing. He'll use the Authorization from the last war (thanks, 58% of Democratic senators at the time!) and kill a bunch of people, and it'll really jazz up his base and make them feel all warm and patriotic inside.
Anyway, this is now your open thread!
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