Republicans, This Has Gone on Way Too Long

So Mr. Military Stable Genius declared this nearly a month ago:

President Donald Trump has ordered staff to execute the “full” and “rapid” withdrawal of US military from Syria, declaring that the US has defeated ISIS.

“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. Planning for the pullout is already underway, a US defense official and an  administration official told CNN.

This was reported five days ago: U.S. Equipment, but Not Troops, Begins Exiting Syria in Chaotic Withdrawal.

This was reported today:

ISIS has claimed responsibility for a deadly explosion that killed US service members in the Syrian city of Manbij on Wednesday.

US service members were killed in the attack, according to a tweet from the spokesperson for the US-led coalition Operation Inherent Resolve.

“U.S. service members were killed during an explosion while conducting a routine patrol in Syria today. We are still gathering information and will share additional details at a later time,” the tweet said.

The original decision to send troops was questionable, IMO, but once troops are deployed they shouldn’t be un-deployed on a whim without a carefully thought-out plan that minimizes risk to troops and allies.

 

The number one topic on the evening MSNBC bobblehead shows was Trump’s desire to withdraw the U.S. from NATO.

Senior administration officials told The New York Times that several times over the course of 2018, Mr. Trump privately said he wanted to withdraw from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Current and former officials who support the alliance said they feared Mr. Trump could return to his threat as allied military spending continued to lag behind the goals the president had set.

In the days around a tumultuous NATO summit meeting last summer, they said, Mr. Trump told his top national security officials that he did not see the point of the military alliance, which he presented as a drain on the United States.

Trump is too stupid to grasp that what other nations spend doesn’t impact what the United States spends. He seems to think that because they are spending less, we are spending more. He also doesn’t grasp that NATO leaders, who head representative democracies, cannot by themselves change spending levels. Budgets are the work of legislatures. Of course, he doesn’t really grasp how the U.S. government works, either. But one does wonder if his obsession with NATO isn’t coming from Vladimir Putin.

One would like to think that if Trump does get up one morning and tweet a withdrawal from NATO, Congress would block him. However, Congress has been helpless to stop him from wrecking everything else.

Greg Sargent writes,

The New York Times has an alarming new article documenting the economic damage that the shutdown is beginning to inflict. White House economic advisers are now acknowledging that it’s putting a greater damper on growth than previously anticipated. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers are furloughed or working without pay, and thousands of government contractors are sidelined.

With the economy already taking a hit from Trump’s impulsive and unpredictable trade war (anyone else noticing a pattern here?), economists warn that a damper on economic confidence could soon follow, possibly pushing the U.S. economy into contraction.

Considering that the economy was the one thing Trump had to brag about, you would think that he would be having second thoughts about continuing this farce. But he is now entirely surrounded by butt-kissers who encourage his worst impulses and tell him what he wants to hear. The crew at Fox News is telling him his shutdown plan is working to bring the Democrats to their knees. Indeed, yesterday he tweeted the result of a Quinnipiac poll that said 54 percent of Americans agree there’s a “crisis” on the southern border. Perhaps nobody told him about this part:

Quinnipiac finds that even larger majorities don’t believe the wall Trump wants will be effective in addressing that crisis. Voters say by 59-to-40 percent that a wall is not necessary to protect the border; they say by 56-to-43 percent that a wall won’t be effective in protecting the border; and they say by 55-43 percent that a wall will not make the United States safer.

See also It’s Week 4 Of The Shutdown. Americans Still Think Trump Is To Blame.

The one person who could put us all out of the shutdown misery is Mitch McConnell, who continues to refuse to allow the Senate to vote on bills that would end the shutdown. McConnell is up for re-election in 2020; maybe he’s afraid of the base. But the Louisville Courier-Journal is calling McConnell a gutless wonder for not standing up to Trump. The Lexington Herald-Leader is reporting that the shutdown is hurting people in Kentucky, especially rural people.  Trump’s trade wars have hurt Kentucky also. And Kentucky now has fewer coal jobs than it did when Trump took office.

Every Democrat in America needs to be talking to rural folks in Kentucky about why Trump and McConnell are doing them no good. And next time a Democrat runs against McConnell, let it be someone who isn’t conflicted about what he or she stands for, okay?

Update: See also The Gravedigger of American Democracy.

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