Breaking Down Trump’s Afghanistan Speech

Breaking Down Trump’s Afghanistan Speech August 23, 2017

Let’s take a closer look at the primetime address Donald Trump gave to announce his “new” policy in Afghanistan, which is new only in the sense that it contradicts everything else he’s ever said on the subject. Some of the things he said are worth noting. He started by slobbering all over the military:


I am here tonight to lay out our path forward in Afghanistan and South Asia. But before I provide the details of our new strategy, I want to say a few words to the servicemembers here with us tonight, to those watching from their posts, and to all Americans listening at home.

Since the founding of our republic, our country has produced a special class of heroes whose selflessness, courage, and resolve is unmatched in human history.

Oi vey. Why do we feel the need to wildly exaggerate the virtues of our military? Unmatched in human history? Are our soldiers more courageous than the ancient Spartans or Romans? Or the French under Napoleon? Or any other country, for that matter? This is more of that American exceptionalism nonsense, which really means that we are exceptional in our desperate and crying need to declare ourselves the greatest everything in the history of anything. Combine that with Trump’s constant use of hyperbolic superlatives and my annoyance level goes to a million.

They transcend every line of race, ethnicity, creed, and color to serve together — and sacrifice together — in absolutely perfect cohesion. That is because all servicemembers are brothers and sisters. They’re all part of the same family; it’s called the American family. They take the same oath, fight for the same flag, and live according to the same law. They are bound together by common purpose, mutual trust, and selfless devotion to our nation and to each other.

Unless they’re trans, of course. Then they’re horrible and evil and must be thrown out of the military regardless of their commitment to the country or their mission. And is there anything more ridiculous than someone as divisive as Trump calling for unity?

The young men and women we send to fight our wars abroad deserve to return to a country that is not at war with itself at home. We cannot remain a force for peace in the world if we are not at peace with each other.

As we send our bravest to defeat our enemies overseas — and we will always win — let us find the courage to heal our divisions within. Let us make a simple promise to the men and women we ask to fight in our name that, when they return home from battle, they will find a country that has renewed the sacred bonds of love and loyalty that unite us together as one.

Sacred bonds of love and loyalty? I’m supposed to love and be loyal to 350 million people I’ve never met just because our parents had sex on the same massive piece of land? I’m supposed to be loyal and love white supremacists and Christian Reconstructionists? These calls for national unity are always just empty pablum, no matter who they come from, but they are particularly hollow coming from a man whose only loyalty is to himself. We are not united, nor will we ever be, nor should we be with some of the vile people this country — any country — contains. I have always hated this kind of inane rhetoric, but it’s even more galling coming from this ethics-free manchild.

And, as we know, in 2011, America hastily and mistakenly withdrew from Iraq. As a result, our hard-won gains slipped back into the hands of terrorist enemies. Our soldiers watched as cities they had fought for, and bled to liberate, and won, were occupied by a terrorist group called ISIS. The vacuum we created by leaving too soon gave safe haven for ISIS to spread, to grow, recruit, and launch attacks. We cannot repeat in Afghanistan the mistake our leaders made in Iraq…

We must address the reality of the world as it exists right now — the threats we face, and the confronting of all of the problems of today, and extremely predictable consequences of a hasty withdrawal.

A “hasty and mistaken withdrawal” that Trump himself repeatedly demanded and said should have happened sooner. If those outcomes were “extremely predictable,” why did he not only fail to predict them but advocated for the very thing he is now criticizing? As usual, he’s been on every side of this issue because he has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about. He has not the slightest conception of military or foreign policy and lacks both the interest and the capability of ever gaining such a conception because, by all accounts, he’s too busy watching Fox and Friends and screaming at the TV. That’s why he demands that his daily security briefings practically get delivered by emoji, because he simply doesn’t have the discipline, interest or capability of getting into the details on public policy of any kind. He knows his role, which is salesman, not thinker.

In this struggle, the heaviest burden will continue to be borne by the good people of Afghanistan and their courageous armed forces. As the prime minister of Afghanistan has promised, we are going to participate in economic development to help defray the cost of this war to us.

That last line is quite disturbing. Economic development to help defray the cost of the war to us? What could that mean? The only thing it could mean, I think, is that he plans to use the military to steal the resources of Afghanistan to help offset the cost of our actions there. Indeed, the New York Times reported on July 27th that Trump was intent on doing exactly that, getting access to trillions in minerals in Afghanistan as a justification for remaining there.

Remember, Trump repeatedly said that we should have taken Iraq’s oil after we invaded and made noise during the campaign about doing that even today in that country. In Trumpworld, to the victors go the spoils. But what that really means is to the invaders go the spoils. This is old-fashioned colonial theft, plain and simple, and he’s so shameless about it that he won’t even pretend that isn’t what he’s advocating. If that doesn’t infuriate you, I don’t know what would.

I think I’ll let Donald Trump have the last word:

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