Trump says the truth about our wars. Do Not Listen!

Summary: Yesterday was a big day for those that value the truth in America. Like a first sprig of green in Spring, let’s cherish it and hope it grows. That’s the path to political reform in America. Perhaps the only one.

“In a time of universal deceit — telling the truth Is a revolutionary act.”
— A powerful truth. Origin unknown. Attributed to George Orwell. (Details here.)

Truth Will Make You Free

 

Journalists work hard and skillfully to cloud our vision, substituting their preferred narratives for truth. My favorite example is President Kennedy, portrayed as an athlete and family man. He was, of course, the opposite. A decade later, we were told that President Ford was clumsy. In fact, Ford was a natural athlete, active and in good condition for his age (61 as President). Skipping ahead two decades, Dan Quayle’s 1992 “Murphy Brown” speech – warning about the rising numbers of unwed mothers – was condemned by the great and wise, with few journalists disturbing us with the facts (details here and here). Twenty years later even the egg-heads at Brookings admitted he was right.

The Trump years have shown their mastery of information control, despite the “information superhighway.” Trump is a rogue President, elected despite the opposition of the leaders of both major parties. He occasionally blurts out unmentionable truths, like the court jesters of medieval Europe. This makes him an immense danger to our rulers and a potentially revolutionary force. So they tell us that everything he says is wrong.

Today he proved them wrong, again – when talking about our involvement in the Syrian civil war and efforts to begin a second cold war.

Logical contradiction

In 2015 Trump said simple truths about America, Syria, and Russia

“Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
— Orwell in “Politics and the English Language” (1946). Available at Amazon.

See this interview of Trump by Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press”, 4 October 2015. Note Todd’s child-like understanding of diplomacy and realpolitik. He pretends not to know that neither requires that a nation’s leaders “trust” those they negotiate with.

Trump: We are going to get bogged down in Syria … I was taking to a general two days ago, and he said, we have no idea who these people are. We are training people we don’t who they are, we are giving them billions of dollars to fight Assad. And you know what, it’s very possible  And I am not saying Assad is a good guy, he is probably a bad guy, but I watched him interviewed many times, and you can make a case …If you look at Libya, look what we did there – it’s a mess, if you look at Saddam Hussein with Iraq, look what we did there – it’s a mess! It’s going to be the same thing! …

Todd: So you welcome Putin’s involvement?

Trump: I like that Putin is bombing the hell out of ISIS. And it’s going to be ISIS. And I tell you why, Putin HAS to get rid of ISIS, because Putin doesn’t want ISIS coming into his country!

Todd: Why do you trust him, when nobody else does?

Trump: I don’t trust him at all, other that we both got good ratings the other night on 60 minutes, it was me and Putin, can you believe it? So did I get the ratings or did he? But the truth is, it’s not even a question of trust… We’ve spent now 2 trillion in Iraq, probably a trillion in Afghanistan. We are destroying our country! We owe 19 trillion dollars. We are bogged down. Russia was bogged down in Afghanistan, meaning the Soviet Union, and it broke up the Soviet Union! …

Todd: You would pull out of what we are doing in Syria now?

Trump: …Here is the problem: we are fighting Assad, and we are fighting for people and helping people that we don’t even know who they are, and they may be worse than Assad, they may be worse, ok? They may be worse!

—————————————

Press conference at the White House on 3 April 2018

Flash forward 2.5 years. Despite his skeptical words during the election, Trump continued to pour money into Syria – with no visible effect, as described in Monday’s post. Meanwhile, Syria has crushed the insurgents – including ISIS – with Russia’s support. And the second cold war continues to intensify. Now he again expresses skepticism about these fronts in our Long Mad Wars. Soon will see if these words mean more than what he said in 2015.

Trump is also asked about Russia. His reply is common sense. It is important to our rulers that you do not see this.

(1) About Syria.

Steve Holland of Reuters: “Mr. President, some of your military advisors are urging you to keep a contingent of US troops in Syria to ensure the defeat of ISIS. What is your current thinking on the subject? Do you still want them out? Secondly, could you clarify what you meant about having US military guard the US border along with Mexico?”

Trump: “First of all, the border. The Mexican border is very unprotected by our laws. We have horrible and very unsafe laws in the United States. We’re going to be able to do something about that hopefully soon. Hopefully Congress will get their act together and get in and create some very powerful laws, like Mexico has, like Canada has, and like almost all countries have. If we don’t have laws, we have to catch and release – and people {should} come back years later for a court case. Except they virtually never come back. We are preparing for the military to secure our border between Mexico and the United States.

“We have a meeting on it in a little while with General Mattis and everybody. I think that it’s something we have to do now. The caravan, which is over a thousand people coming in from Honduras, thought they were going to just walk right through Mexico and right through the border. …

“I told Mexico yesterday that because their laws are so strong they can do things about it that are hard to believe the United States can’t. I said I hope you’re going to tell that Caravan not to get up to the border. I think they’re doing that because as of 12 minutes ago it was all being broken up. …We have to have strong borders. We need the wall. We’ve started building the wall. As you know, we have $1.6 billion toward building the wall and fixing existing wall that’s falling down or was never appropriate in the first place. …

“As far as our primary mission in terms of ISIS, we’ve almost completed that task. We’ll be making a decision very quickly in coordination with others in the area as to what we’ll do. …I want to bring our troops back home. I want to start rebuilding our nation. We will have, as of three months ago, $7 trillion dollars {spent} in the Middle East over the last 17 years. We got nothing – nothing – out of it. …Think of it: seven trillion dollars over a 17 year period. We have nothing except death and destruction. …Sometimes it’s time to come back home. We’re thinking about that very seriously.”

Updates about US policy in Syria.

Update from the NYT: Despite Trump’s claim to have “told Mexico yesterday”, “A White House official said later that Mr. Trump had not, in fact, spoken with President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico on Monday.”

Update from Reuters:  Yet again, Trump’s bold words mean little as he defers to his generals. On April 4 a senior administration official said “We’re not going to immediately withdraw but neither is the president willing to back a long-term commitment.” In other words, policy is unchanged.

 

(2) About Russia.

This question concerns a subject of great important to the US and the world. Trump directly challenges a core goal of the Deep State – starting a new cold war with Russia. His answer is simple common sense, and so poisonous to them. Does Trump realize he has made implacable and powerful enemies in the Deep State?

Estonian Public Broadcasting: “First a question to President Trump. …you also said that a good relationship with Russia is not bad but how are you going to deal with President Vladimir Putin. Is he as your enemy or someone you can have dialogue with? …”

Trump: “Nobody’s been tougher on Russia than I have. …We just passed a 700 billion dollar military budget – next year 716 billion dollars – the largest ever. We are going to have a military stronger than we’ve ever had before by far. That’s not exactly a great thing for Russia. …with that being said I think I could have a very good relationship with President Putin. I think it’s possible. …This getting along with Russia is a good thing. Getting along with China is a good thing. Getting along with other countries, including your three countries, is a good thing.

“I think I could have a very good relationship with Russia and with President Putin. If I did that would be a great thing and there’s also a great possibility that that won’t happen. Who knows?”

The power of the truth

We are increasingly fragmented into tribes. As our politics becomes more confused, the dividing lines become less ideological (unrelated to policy preferences) – more a matter of identity (what mask we prefer to wear the costume ball of faux activism). A recent study provides evidence of this, although it is evident in the daily news. In this situation, the simple truth becomes destabilizing. We live in an era of lies when a child’s statement that the Emperor wears no clothes might unleash chaos.

We can reform America. The first step is for each of us to prefer truth to tribal lies. It is out there, if you look for it.

Tomorrow’s post: Trump astonishes Washington by saying that the military should defend our borders.

For more information

Trump’s speech prompts others to urge our withdrawal from Syria.

  • Time to Get Out of Syria” by Gordon Adams at Defense One. He is Fellow at the Stimson Center, prof emeritus at American U, and Senior White House budget official for national security programs from 1993-1997.
  • Why we stay: “For Trump and his generals, ‘victory’ has different meanings” in the WaPo. “In the absence of a clear outcome, winning for much of the U.S. military’s top brass has come to be synonymous with staying put. These days, senior officers talk about ‘infinite war.’”

Ideas! For shopping ideas, see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about ways to reform America, about Trump and the new populism, about the Trump years in America, and especially these…
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  5. We live in an age of ignorance, but can decide to fix this – today.
  6. Swear allegiance to the truth as a step to reforming America.
  7. How to deal with those guilty in fake news epidemic.
  8. Our minds are addled, the result of skillful and expensive propaganda.
  9. Important: A picture of America, showing a path to political reform.
  10. Remembering is the first step to learning. Living in the now is ignorance.

12 thoughts on “Trump says the truth about our wars. Do Not Listen!

  1. It is a little frightening and definitely disturbing to hear someone tell it like it is.
    He is an extraordinary species of animal in the political circus.
    I have become so used to the PC tripe that pollies sprout that when you hear facts like the 7 trillion dollars figure and then actually ask so what did we get for the money we spent? Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan pouring water into the desert.
    I hope that he has the power and stick-ability to see it through.

    1. 7zander,

      Trump would be seriously dangerous to the existing order if he was well informed. As it is, his stream of nonsense has the occasional nugget of truth amidst the misinformation and outright lies.

    2. Of course you are far better informed than someone who has the daily briefing from the nations most informed experts, who daily speaks to the leaders in the military, commerce and congress.
      Your input must surely be missed by his team of security advisers.

    3. 7zander,

      That’s the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time. And the saddest.

      (1) Just because Trump is briefed by geniuses does not mean that he understands or believes what he is told. Did you really need me to exlpain that to you?

      (2) Nothing shows our peril better than your inability to see — after two years of evidence — that Trump often says things that are factually wrong or outright lies. That’s America today — tribal truths over reality. Can a people that can’t see the world, and prefers lies to truth, govern itself? Time will tell.

  2. Dear Mr Kummer,

    LK: Journalists work hard and skillfully to cloud our vision, substituting their preferred narratives for truth.

    As a general principle, this is a very, very important point for folks to understand, and it’s true regardless of the tribe one has sorted themselves into. People seldom get very far past the headlines and almost never root around for other views (especially outside their echo chamber) or original sources. This is often (though not always e.g., your site) exacerbated by meta-news and analysis sites, who cherry-pick and outright lie. It’s astonishing how bald faced it all is, but very few people have the time to see this is so. They have to get kids to school and food on the table, etc.

    LK: Does Trump realize he has made implacable and powerful enemies in the Deep State?

    He’s shown some uncanny instincts, but I am not convinced I’ve seen a whit of understanding. Your excellent quote selections illustrate why. His actions often don’t match his words, but sometimes they do. His words often don’t match the truth, but sometimes they do. There are some things he simply can’t do, like get Congress to do anything responsible. There are some things he could do right now, like pull out of Syria and de-escalate the monkey business with Russia.

    LK: We are increasingly fragmented into tribes. As our politics becomes more confused, the dividing lines become less ideological (unrelated to policy preferences) – more a matter of identity

    Yup. Even relatively smart, educated folks are so blinded by their tribal identity, it’s often impossible to have a conversation on issues like abortion (if you’re not a woman, your opinion is not allowed), gun control/2A, diversity/AA, and bizarrely free speech/1A. Strange times.

    With best regards,

    Bill

  3. Abraham Lincoln – “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

    Pluto – “Reality has a well-known bias towards truth and nasty outcomes for foolish people. Allowing yourself to be fooled all of the time means you’re going to be really surprised when reality does something awful to you.

    Failing to learn from the first encounter means further harsh treatment from reality until you wise up or die stupid.”

    1. Pluto,

      A similar formulation: there are two sins that nature’s god always punishes. Slow. And Stupid.

    2. What appears to be case though is that its like humans are subject to different nature algorithms from other animals.

      For example slugs get to be slow without detriment for selection for greater speed. Yet humans and other large animals are exceptions to that.

  4. Trump has moments of uncanny brilliance! I agree with many of his ideas. Deport MS 13,control borders and immigration, cut regulations, and taxes, avoid unnecessary costly military conflicts, cut taxes, and so on.
    On the other hand if you cut taxes, cut spending. Understand what’s there before you change it.
    Make the shoe to fit the horse, not the horse to fit the shoe. You might not like the horse, but that’s what you have to work with.
    There are two worlds, the real world, and the ideal world. The real you have, the ideal, you strive for, but never obtain.
    Trump is his own worst enemy. He plays to his own tribe, missing no opportunity to DIVIDE the nation. His people choices, with some exceptions, suck. As for his business dealings, I get the impression the law does not apply to him. His morality is whatever it takes to win.
    Trump could be a great President, I want him to be a great President, but I fear his flaws, and those of his tribe, will doom that opportunity.

    I did not vote for Trump. I did not vote for Clinton. I felt both were bad choices, and I’ve seen nothing that would change my mind.

    1. James,

      “I felt both were bad choices.”

      So you decided to let other people choose the president. Well, ok then.

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