Trump Steps Into War

Ken AshfordIran, Iraq, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

That held up well.

So did this….

It is hard to say what is more troubling about Trump’s decision to approve the killing of Iran’s top military commander, Maj. Gen. Qasem Suleimani: the seeming non-consideration of long term consequences, the possible violations of War Powers Acts, the fact that Mar-a-Lago guests had more of an inkling about the strike before key members of Congress, the ratcheting up of rhetoric since then. how Iran might unify behind their now-martyred general, the whole wag-the-dog thing, how Iran announced it is suspending all commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal, that Iraq wants us out of its country too …

On Jan. 2, the president began his day at his golf club. But mindful of not appearing weak in the face the rocket attack and concerned that an assault on the American Embassy in Baghdad that United States officials said was orchestrated by Iran could have ended in devastation, Trump had already settled on a course of action.

In the middle of a meeting with campaign advisers, he left the table to give the final authorization to kill General Suleimani. The president then returned, and, compartmentalizing what had just happened, resumed talking about the campaign.

It was an act of enormous consequence, but the White House made no public statement for hours, though the president cryptically tweeted about what had taken place. Whatever the administration’s objectives were, and whatever intelligence they had used to justify the strike, it was not being shared in any conventional fashion.

And the question now is… what happens next. There is no shortage of theories. We’re in uncharted territory. But one thing is certain. Americans are not safer, particularly our soldiers.

Here’s the latest. New reporting has revealed deep internal skepticism over the intelligence underpinning the assassination’s stated rationale. Iran just announced it will no longer abide by restrictions in the Iran nuclear agreement, revealing the profound folly of Trump’s withdrawal from the deal, given that Iran had previously been complying with it. Meanwhile, Trump is firing off deranged, Dr. Strangelovian tweets threatening to strike Iranian cultural targets — a war crime — while blithely asserting zero obligation to inform Congress of any future attacks.

And just now… we learn that Eric Chewning, chief of staff to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, is stepping down at the end of the month, the latest in a series of high-profile civilians to leave the Pentagon.

People don’t usually resign in the midst of an international crisis unless they know that something shady is going on or, more likely, they simply cannot work with a mad man.

Maybe he is getting some heat for keeping the Pentagon out of the loop….

Here’s the level of madness we’re at:


UPDATE: This news report is floating around, and pictures of a letter, but its veracity is being questioned:

Here, a WaPo reporter confirms it:

UPDATE: More clarification, I think?

UPDATE #3: Oh, for fuck’s sake.,…. even the GOVERNMENT can’t confirm this! DoD Secretary Dan Esper can’t confirm whether the letter to Iraqi DM from Gen Seely is real: “We are re-positioning forces throughout the region number one. Beyond that with regard to the letter which I’ve read once. I can’t tell you the veracity of that letter and I can tell you what I’ve read. That letter is inconsistent of where we are right now.”

UPDATE #4: Hard to believe we were able to kill a raccoon