Trump’s ‘Afghan Wig-out’ – flailing for a win as his misadministration circles the drain
Slick real estate promoter and former university owner Donald Trump made isolationism and nationalism a cornerstone of his campaign, giving his easily-scammed deplorables goosebumps with all of his not-so-fancy “America first! Make! America! Grate! Again!” rhetoric. Last night, Trump announced a 180º turn on isolationist policy in a speech on plans to end the war in Afghanistan. There wasn’t the least trace of “win and win big” rhetoric as Trump stuck to the TelePrompTer script his handlers had cobbled out for him.
Defense Secretary Mattis and national security adviser H.R. McMaster, both generals with extensive battlefield experience in Afghanistan, warned Trump about the consequences of withdrawal and cautioned that any move in Afghanistan would have ripple effects throughout the region.
One of the ways McMaster tried to persuade Trump to recommit to the effort was by convincing him that Afghanistan was not a hopeless place. He presented Trump with a black-and-white snapshot from 1972 of Afghan women in miniskirts walking through Kabul, to show him that Western norms had existed there before and could return.
DSN’s April Hamlin adds:
[H]ow did McMaster do it? Why, with pictures of girls in miniskirts of course. …
I suppose you have to give McMaster credit for knowing his audience, but it is more than a little disturbing that our “commander in chief” is making military decisions based on the chances of seeing a little leg.
That was not said merely in jest.
Trump: Afghanistan is a dump. A lost cause.
McMaster: Some of the ladies there are hot.
Trump: Why did nobody tell me this before?
— (((OhNoSheTwitnt))) (@OhNoSheTwitnt) August 22, 2017
Trump’s base should be cheesed off at the instant endorsements Trump’s announcement received:
Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who’ve blasted Trump in the past over his nationalistic foreign-policy views, hailed the president’s decision Monday to increase the U.S. footprint in the 16-year war against the Taliban.
“I commend President Trump for taking a big step in the right direction with the new strategy for Afghanistan,” said McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I believe the president is now moving us well beyond the prior administration’s failed strategy of merely postponing defeat.”
McCain touted the fact that Trump’s strategy “gives no timeline for withdrawal” — one of the senator’s major issues with the war plan pursued by former President Barack Obama.
On FOX News, Graham said he was “proud” of Trump.
“President Trump has the smarts and the moral courage to listen to his generals and take their advice rather than go the political way,” he said.
You can practically hear the nationalist heads exploding in the background – especially given the similarity to two other presidents’ Afghanistan strategy:
Trump now inherits the same challenges as George W. Bush and Barack Obama, including a stubborn Taliban insurgency and a weak, divided government in Kabul. He is laying the groundwork for greater U.S. involvement without a clear end in sight or providing specific benchmarks for success.
Bottom line: this is going to hit Trump right where it hurts the most – in his favorability score, including the “‘Murrica first!!!1!” faction of his cult-like followers.
All in all, Trump’s announcement did not go over well on Twitter with his base or his critics:
Trump’s “strategy” for Afghanistan is literally exactly the same as Obama’s.
Trump’s Syria strategy is essentially “surrender it to Assad”
— Pé Resists (@4everNeverTrump) August 22, 2017
#Afghanistan no strategy
No exit date or strategy
Refusing to say it’s 4000 troops
plenty of blame for everyone else.
— L.E. Kinzie (@lekinzie) August 22, 2017
— (((Sam Greenspan))) (@swagspan) August 22, 2017
Number of new details Trump offered about his Afghanistan strategy: pic.twitter.com/gcXRiY06UJ
— igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) August 22, 2017
America must be defended first!
— occupycorruptDC (@occupycorruptDC) August 22, 2017
I hope you all can translate this mess tomorrow. I’m not sure what he was trying to say, other than we’re staying in #Afghanistan.
— Pessimistic Princess (@CuriousBug) August 22, 2017
— BJW Nashe (@BJWNashe) August 22, 2017
— Rob O (@rosullivan831) August 22, 2017
— JackiSchechner (@JackiSchechner) August 22, 2017
Afghanistan – Is saber rattling by @realDonaldTrump to divert from race issues. No reason for this now and it’s too long.
— Teresa Moore (@tamoore24) August 22, 2017
Trump wants us to believe he won’t share details on Afghanistan but shares counterterrorism state secrets with Russia in the Oval Office.
— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) August 22, 2017
Trump is a fixer. His plan will fix Afghanistan the same way he is fixing our GDP.
— Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii) August 22, 2017
Trump: My strategy in Afghanistan is to send 4000 troops so you’ll stop talking about American Nazis.
— David M. Perry (@Lollardfish) August 22, 2017
— YouHaveToVote (@UHave2Vote) August 22, 2017