From the cocoon of craziness, a Presidential butterfly has emerged. It took just one look at “those beautiful babies” for Donald Trump to extol his virtue of “flexibility,” and do what he condemned his predecessor for even contemplating, a direct strike in Syria without Congressional approval. It was the perfect confluence of opportunity, being able to engage in a low risk strike to deliver a long overdue message to Assad, throwing raw meat to the public thereby looking Presidential to prop up his approval ratings, while burying the Russian election tamping (and Trump’s possible connection) to the back pages of the Internet. A trifecta of fortuity!
Yes, there is nothing like a war. Even Brian Williams was waxing poetically on MSNBC “we see these beautiful pictures at night from the decks of these two U.S. Navy vessels in the eastern Mediterranean, “I am tempted to quote the great Leonard Cohen: ‘I am guided by the beauty of our weapons.’”
Oh, the thrill of launched Tomahawks, beautiful to behold! Stephen Sondheim’s priceless pasquinade “There’s Something about a War” (from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) says it all. The complete lyrics can be heard in this YouTube link but here is just a small excerpt to make the point.
There’s something about a war.
Something about a war
Something about a war
That makes this little old world all right.
A warrior’s work is never done.
He never can get a rest.
There always are lands to overrun
And people to be oppressed.
There’s always a town to pillage
A city to be laid waste.
There’s always a little village
Entirely to be erased.
And citadels to sack, of course,
And temples to attack, of course.
Children to annihilate,
Priestesses to violate…..
Or maybe some of the Village People’s Macho Man lyrics are appropriate in this instance:
You can best believe that he's a macho man
He's the special god son in anybody's land
hey, hey, hey, hey, hey
Macho, macho man
I gotta be a macho man
Macho macho man
Yes let’s all get into the spirit of it. Not that the Pentagon’s decision (with Trump’s approval) to send the message was the wrong one; something finally had to be done in response to the reported use of chemical weapons, but to get caught up in this one action without having an end game or more importantly a compassionate plan for Syrian refugees, is typical of this chaotic administration.
Obama tried to involve Congress in the decision to intervene in Syria but the very people now sagely approving the recent attack would not give Obama authority. Obama, in retrospect, should have just made a preemptive strike without bothering with the Constitution. He was damned either way. Trump was already tweeting back in 2013 “The President must get Congressional approval before attacking Syria-big mistake if he does not!” Or the one which is even more telling is from 2012: “Now that Obama’s poll numbers are in tailspin – watch for him to launch a strike in Libya or Iran. He is desperate.”
Who’s desperate now? But as we have been conditioned, no real push back on any of this. He’s flexible! It’s okay! There is nothing like a war!
Maybe if Trump is constantly exposed to pictures of Syrian children he will reverse his anti-refugee policy, so antithetical to what this nation stands for. As one Syrian refugee put it: Who gets to pick their country?
While hiding behind the shield of being a humanitarian, Trump has flexed his “strong man” muscle, even to the delight of some of his naysayers who have been calling him crazy. One can only hope that he continues to listen to the professionals in the National Security Council. Give him credit for removing Bannon from the NSC. One has to be grateful for morsels of sanity.