The Phaserl


Who’s in Trump’s Head?

by Darius Shahtahmasebi, The Anti Media:

At the end of last week, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said arresting Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is now a “priority.” Not long after, CNN reported that authorities have prepared charges against Assange, who is currently seeking refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Donald Trump’s response to these recent developments was “It’s OK with me.” Trump is not included in the decision-making process as to whether Assange should be charged. Bear in mind, however, that Trump once told his fanbase, “I love Wikileaks,” and the fact that he is merely “OK” with the decision seems, if anything, to indicate he is claiming little to no say at all on what is going on in his administration regarding this issue.

Most of the world watched with horror — or awe, depending on your level of humanitarian indifference — as the U.S. military dropped the so-called Mother of all bombs (MOAB) on an ISIS position in Afghanistan. Conservative estimates show that for every ISIS fighter killed, the financial cost of the bomb was $450,000.

Yet, according to Fox News, Trump was told of the decision to drop the MOAB after it had already been detonated. Fox reported:

“The new approach was on display this week in Afghanistan, where Gen. John Nicholson, head of the U.S.-led coalition there, decided to use one of the military’s biggest nonnuclear bombs—a Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, or MOAB—to hit a remote Islamic State underground network of tunnels and caves.”

Fox adds:“A senior administration official said Mr. Trump didn’t know about the weapon’s use until it had been dropped.”

This recent development is part of a broader strategy that has seen the Trump administration give enormous power and responsibility to generals on the battlefield with very little oversight. The loosening of these restrictions was already done in Somalia and parts of Yemen but has now been deployed in the Iraq arena. Supposedly, the process put in place under the Obama administration frustrated many within the military, even as they were still able to drop over 26,000 bombs last year, alone. Now, the military establishment has almost free reign to do as it wishes.

We have already seen the effects of this, as an air strike was recently ordered in on a civilian area in Mosul, killing over 200 civilians in a single bombardment. In March alone, the U.S.-led coalition killed 1,782 civilians in Iraq and Syria.

In the words of the New Republic, “the Generals have won their war with Trump.”

Donald Trump’s original pick for national security advisor was Michael Flynn, who was well on his way to restoring ties with Russia before leaked intelligence forced his resignation. Flynn was replaced by General H.R. McMaster, a staunch cold warrior. It speaks volumes that not long after McMaster booted Steven Bannon off the National Security Council, the U.S. military struck the Syrian government directly. As noted by the New Yorker, Bannon, a genuine nationalist, would not have been in favor of such a move to strike Russia’s close ally:

“In the dystopian ‘Clash of Civilizations’ scenario that Bannon and his supporters subscribe to, Syria represents an important staging ground in the U.S.-led crusade against radical Islam, and an example of what future U.S.-Russian coöperation could look like.”

Asked about the decision to strike the Syrian government, Trump’s recollection of the cake he was eating at the time was far clearer than which country he actually bombed:

“I was sitting at the table. We had finished dinner. We are now having dessert. And we had the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you have ever seen. And President Xi was enjoying it,” Trump said, as reported by the Guardian.

“And I said: ‘Mr. President, let me explain something to you … we’ve just launched 59 missiles, heading to Iraq,’” he said before the interviewer interjected to clarify. He then corrected himself.

Without getting too entangled in these contradictory actions, it is also worth pointing out that Trump was dining with the Chinese president, a complete policy switch from his furious attempts to berate China in the early days of his political career.

Further, the following statement seems to cast doubt on how involved Trump really is in the formulation of these incredibly important decisions:

“And I was given the message from the generals that the ships are locked and loaded. What do you do? And we made a determination to do it. So the missiles were on the way.”

What do you do? You say no. You say what you said at least 18 times previously before you became president, namely that the U.S. should “stay the hell out of Syria.”

On a side note, it was McMaster who presented the Syrian military strike proposal to Trump in the first place. Shortly after the MOAB was dropped in Afghanistan, McMaster took an unannounced visit to the war-ravaged nation. According to the Military Times, McMaster’s visit was a surprise move not just to the Afghans, but also to Pentagon officials. As a result, the White House was forced to dispute the notion that McMaster is operating independently from the Department of Defense.

In the most recent development, which has resulted in the accumulation of Trump’s power giveaway, Vice President Mike Pence was busy last week threatening North Korea directly with war while the Donald played golf. As noted by Paul Craig Roberts, not even king of neoconservatives Dick Cheney took the spotlight away from Bush Junior to declare war on his behalf.

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