Trump Times Entry 150 – Transactional Retaliation

Transactional Retaliation

April 7, 2017

The guns and the bombs, the rockets and the warships, are all symbols of human failure.
Lyndon B. Johnson

Frankly, I hate LBJ. Still hold him responsible for wholesale death too personal to objectify – of people I knew, lots of us. He led the country into a military quagmire through a series of escalations – all justified as retaliation to enemy atrocities, some real, some (like today) fake. Each act of retaliation, of course, drew a counter-move from the enemy. Then we countered. They countered…

That’s how it works – until someone stops. Not wins, not loses – stops. In modern warfare distinction between winner and loser trends political, while loss is handed out to all. That’s how it works. Shitty game.

That’s why the Donald lobbing Tomahawk missiles into Syria last night is more than troubling. Yeah, it was a retaliation for illegal gassing of a rebel held town by the Syrian government. I understand the desire to do something in response to the atrocity – the impulse to hit back. But, this isn’t a bar fight and we’re not fighting with fists. We’re launching rockets and acting on impulse is what got us here.

If Syria retaliates, even ineffectively, will Trump let it go? (Oh, please!)

Will they respond? They already have. A couple hours after we (yes, we) leveled the airfield, they bombed the town that was gassed on Tuesday.

Russia condemned the American action and is now reinforcing the Syrian air defense. They also cancelled an air access agreement with us. And just to keep it interesting, Trump warned the Russians before the rocket attack, but not our Security Council. This shit sure gets complicated fast .

If I were a cynical man, I’d think this looks kind of like the Donald and Putin setting up the board to play proxy war in Syria. The Russian economy could sure use a boost and the Donald can’t walk away from a fight – even a fake one. Kind of like LBJ.

Except, of course, LBJ was doing what he thought best for the American people. While I passionately disagreed with what Johnson did, I never doubted he believed he was acting in the county’s best interest.

I can’t say the same thing about Trump and suspect the question of what’s best for the country never enters the Donald’s head. Trump acts in his own self-interest only and always, we’re just along for the ride.

I suppose we should be grateful that in the one-hundred-fifty days since elected, this is the first time Trump shot at anyone. But, the republic suspects retaliation will be recursive – repeating indefinitely.

In Peace and Justice
osv

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