When was the last time a President of the USA started a speech about war with a statement denouncing racism and bigotry? Yeah, I don’t remember one either. It did set the tone for an evening of flip-flopping.
Wag the Dog
In 1977, Producer/Director Barry Levinson had a box office hit with the movie “Wag the Dog.” In the movie, an unpopular President with little chance of being reelected hires a Hollywood producer to create a non-existent war.
We all criticize the political right for their conspiracy theories and yet call our own conspiracy theories the Gospel Truth. The Truth about “Wag the Dog” is it is great filmmaking and highly entertaining. As a useful tool in discerning the truth about the way Washington operates, it is only a half-truth.
I admire Mr. Levinson’s work. He brought us such good films as “Analyze That” and “The Perfect Storm”. He is a great entertainer but we must remember that it is entertainment and not investigative reporting in search of great truths.
Donald Rumsfeld helped the movie’s credibility a great deal with his fabrications about Sadaam Hussein’s having a role in 9/11, and his ownership of Nuclear Weapons. Neither case was true and it gave legitimacy to the Movie Myth.
During my time in Washington, I was part of the PR team that prepared the nation for Gulf War 1. We engaged in propaganda too. Propaganda is as much a part of war as bullets, bombs, and rockets.
Was what we saw last night Propaganda?
It was a mixture. The propaganda effort will begin in earnest today. We saw the early round of it last night.
The staging of the speech was pure Hollywood. It was at a Military Installation. Here is the irony of the location. It wasn’t just any Military Post, it was the Fort that is charged with running Arlington National Cemetery. I find the location cynical since this new policy will mean Arlington will be receiving more bodies.
The audience for the speech would be friendly toward the boss. The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) demands polite behavior for the Commander-In-Chief from officers. The irony is those who are not officers, those with stripes on their sleeves are not covered by Article 88 of the UCMJ. Here is a good essay on why an enlisted man or woman can dis the Secretary of Defense and get away with it and officers can’t.
The GOP is saying that the reality of being President sunk in on Donald Trump and he is now looking at the situation from the perspective of being the President. That is an example of Propaganda. There is nothing Presidential about Donald Trump.
I look for the smoke and mirrors to start soon. We may hear that the attacks in Europe by ISIS are the reasons for this new effort in Pakistan. That’s fine and good, except the attacks in Spain were launched from Morocco.
Afghanistan is not such a big flip-flop
His speech last night is a flip-flop but a modest one as flip-flops go. Candidate Trump during the primary election began to moderate. He told CNN in 2015 that the Afghan war was a mistake but troops must stay.
By 2016 he introduced the notion that we must stay in Afghanistan because of the fact Pakistan has nuclear weapons and that changes the game. This is the “reality” the GOP is trying to say has hit Donald Trump like a vision from God.
Looking back at the history of Trump on this issue, we can see this flip-flop is minor in the big picture. He moderated his views over the course of three years.
Here is the huge flip-flop
Remember when Donald Trump told us unequivocally he wanted to take the USA out of foreign entanglements. You know, save the fortunes we spend on the military and build America again? What happened to that? Here are a few highlights of his overall foreign policy flip-flop and this is the big flip-flop.
Recently, President Trump, no longer the candidate, made a threat of intervention in Venezuela.
The dropping of the MOAB on Syria under the not-so-dovish hook of the Syrians using Chemical Weapons.
His threats to North Korea including strange comments about sending an armada to North Korea are a huge departure from Candidate Trump.
How about the Military Budget? Trump’s military budget upped spending while slashing programs for the poor.
I’m sure my next statement will make Republicans cringe. Remember President Obama’s troop surge? Yes, Donald Trump is “evolving” on the issue just as President Obama did.
Predictably, Steve Bannon has his flame throwers out at Breitbart. It appears when that romance ended there wasn’t an agreement to remain friends.
So, what about Trump’s base?
Will Trump cancel his scheduled ego rally in Arizona? Is his base so focused on Trump’s hate for minorities, and Muslims that they will forgive him using them then tossing them aside? Is Trump trying to kiss up to the traditional GOP base and say, “I was just kidding?”
Stay tuned, I am sure the drama is a long way from over.
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