Here we are in the first week of the Donald Trump presidency, and he’s got “special” forces of the U.S. military in two-thirds of the world’s nations. He’s engaged in serious occupation and/or bombing campaigns in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. He just sent malicious robot airplanes armed with missiles to blow to pieces a bunch of vaguely-identified but never indicted “criminals” in Yemen. Their body parts were widely scattered and their loved ones devastated. The injured writhed in agony.
We made it through a presidential campaign in which a debate moderator asked if a candidate would be willing to kill thousands of innocent children, and in which Donald Trump promised to “kill their families” and “steal their oil.” And here we are on Trump’s very first Terror Tuesday, and he’s already in possession of the most expensive and extensive military machine ever seen on earth. His speed is remarkable. Already he has troops in 175 nations (and announcers are thanking them for watching sporting events as if it were all just normal).
A “Terror Tuesday,” for those who haven’t yet heard, is a day on which a president goes through a list of men, women, and children and picks which ones to have murdered. Don’t ask me where this tradition came from. The point is that it now belongs to President Trump, should he choose to make use of it. President Trump, need I remind you, is a Republican.
But various subordinates of the president have been authorized, or perhaps authorized themselves, to order drone murders. Those that occurred yesterday in Yemen were quite likely carried out without any involvement from Donald Trump, other than his responsibility under the Constitution for what his subordinates do.
Trump, in fact, was engaged in bombing the hell out of Mosul, Iraq, and parts of Libya as well, on the very day he was inaugurated, and even before he was inaugurated. He’s got 8,000 troops plus mercenaries, contractors, and allied troops adding up to over 40,000 people occupying Afghanistan — a war that his predecessor had ended. And he had this force in place even before inauguration. He’s got a major war underway in Iraq, another war famously ended by the guy who came before him. And this war, too, he started even before showing up in Washington.
Trump even went in person to the CIA on Day 1 and announced that the United States should have somehow stolen all of Iraq’s oil and might still do so. This created massive confusion among the journalists and approximately 8 members of the public who heard about it, because of course the U.S. military is in Iraq on the side of the Iraqi people (just don’t ask them) and so it would be nonsensical for the U.S. to attack Iraq.
Trump and those around him have also threatened war with China over the South China Sea, although when a journalist tried to get Trump’s press secretary to commit to it on Day 4, he declined.
Oddly, much of this new war horror show has passed without notice, as though it were somehow just a continuation of acceptable norms. What has horrified the press corps, however, is the danger that peace might break out in Syria, and further hostilities risking World War III with Russia might be delayed. Liberals are also quite upset that Trump might question claims coming out of the CIA.
So it’s not as though the public is completely failing to react to the new horrors of war. One might even go so far as to say that wide swaths of the U.S. public are behaving on the model of a Nobel Peace laureate.