Saturday, April 08, 2017

This is what normalization looks like


President Cheeto blows something up -- and the media and conventional Washington has a wet dream.

Oh, not quite every one of them. There are realists who point out that nothing whatever is accomplished:

... these attacks are a purely symbolic act devoid of real strategic significance.

A few Congresscritters point out that it's a stretch to claim Cheeto has legal authority for his bombs-away moment -- but hey, Congress has decades of ducking its responsibility for war making.

And then there's the media: the narrative of Trump failure and byzantine White House quarrels was getting tired -- yeah, here's a new story to sell! Margaret Sullivan, now the Washington Post media writer, puts to good use her previous years at the New York Times, pointing out media salivating over customary delights of destruction:

The cruise missiles struck, and many in the mainstream media fawned.

“I think Donald Trump became president of the United States last night,” declared Fareed Zakaria on CNN, after firing of 59 missiles at a Syrian military airfield late Thursday night. (His words sounded familiar, since CNN’s Van Jones made a nearly identical pronouncement after Trump’s first address to Congress.)

“On Syria attack, Trump’s heart came first,” read a New York Times headline.
“President Trump has done the right thing and I salute him for it,” wrote the Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens — a frequent Trump critic and Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative columnist. He added: “Now destroy the Assad regime for good.”

Brian Williams, on MSNBC, seemed mesmerized by the images of the strikes provided by the Pentagon. He used the word “beautiful” three times and alluded to a Leonard Cohen lyric — “I am guided by the beauty of our weapons” — without apparent irony. ...

A former Washington Post guy, Thomas Ricks, a real military reporter who never forgets that people -- usually the wrong ones --die in our purposeless exploits, knows what media and Washington are glossing over in their delight with a few loud bangs:

... we, the American people, right now are governed by a child. He may look like an aging, overweight, hair-dyed man, but mentally and intellectually, he seems to me to be somewhere around 12 years old. As a reminder, here is a scorecard of the various brinks at which our nation now stands after his eleventh week in office:

Syria — The president says it crossed a red line.

North Korea — The president says stuff has to stop, one way or another.

Iran — Put on notice by General Flynn. (remember him?)

ISIS — The president says he’s going to wipe it out.

Germany — The president declined to shake its leader’s hand.

Be very afraid and cry out, once more and ever, against the dogs of war. Resist and protect much.

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