Excuse the skepticism when it comes to the timing and justification of President Trump's assassination of the second-most powerful man in Iran. But first, the obligatory disclaimer for those bone spur patriots who equate questioning the president with hating America.
Yes, I understand Qasem Solemani was a bad man who'd killed many American soldiers. Why did he do that? Because they were there. There as part of our history of staged coups, propped-up dictatorships, stolen oil, economic sanctions and invented excuses to invade sovereign nations.
That's the hand that was dealt Trump, but just as Bush 43 was spoiling for a fight with Iraq, Trump wants the same with Iran, seemingly because of a psychological need to undo anything that Obama accomplished. In typical contradictory fashion, Trump attempted to forge a nuclear treaty with North Korea while simultaneously dismantling one with Iran.
Most Americans, even our allies, don't trust him because the man lies about almost everything. About the Trump Tower meeting, about embracing and coercing foreign interference in American elections for political gain, about his taxes, about Stormy Daniels, about his relationships with known criminals from Jeffrey Epstein to Ukrainian henchmen. And we haven't even touched on the ways his family's leveraged the office for economic gains. He's so brazenly corrupt he managed to get impeached after barely 1,000 days.
So excuse me if Solemani's assassination seems as convenient as Epstein's suicide. There was an imminent threat, alright -- impeachment. Somehow, throughout his tour of the Sunday morning news programs, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was unable to articulate what that imminent threat was. Then Vice President Mike Pence claimed that Solemani was involved in 9/11. That lie was followed by confusion about whether troops will be withdrawn from Iraq. First yes, then no. And they had to walk back Trump's threats to destroy Iranian cultural sites, which would be a war crime. But we're supposed to trust this outfit.
This is an administration that doesn't know what it's doing because we have a president who doesn't know what he's doing. And yet the blind lemmings who worship President Wag the Dog look at the voluminous evidence of his dishonesty and incompetence and only see Deep State Fake News. That's not a bubble. That's a padded cell.
I voted for Hillary Clinton in spite of her baggage for one reason. Competency. Even so, history is rife with competent leaders who miscalculated politically and militarily. Meanwhile, Trump's gutted State and Defense departments. They're now run by ideological amateurs while the president's advised by End Times cheerleaders hell-bent on the Rapture. Yeah, but that 72 virgins stuff sure is crazy.
Would I feel better had Clinton pulled the trigger? Absolutely. I'd trust that it was done strategically with forethought about potential escalation. I wouldn't suspect that it was an impulsive act by a desperate president, in over his head, trying to save his hide while putting ours on the line.
There's still an opportunity to step back from war. Can these dangerous bumblers figure it out? After a three-year parade of lies and coverups, it would be foolish to think so. Trust must be earned.
“All is well,” Trump tweeted after Iranian missile strikes. No, it's not, and it won't be until he's out of office.
Tony Bender writes an exclusive weekly column for Forum News Service.