Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Literary Corner: Hot Pockets

Via me.me.

You're Going to Have Pockets
by Donald J. Trump

You're going to always have pockets
of something. What—you're going
to have people, like the one-armed man
who blew up a restaurant.
You're going to have pockets.
But you're not going to keep armies
there because you have a few people.
Or you even have fairly reasonable
numbers of people. We've been there
for many, many years.
This jaunty New York School surrealism—I'm thinking Kenneth Koch—would be truly charming if it hadn't been intended to have a meaning, but as so often happens with Trump's best-sounding work, it's kind of wrecked by its intention, which was to trivialize the situation in Syria as described in the Senate testimony of DNI director Dan Coats last seek:
It is, of course, accurate that ISIS has suffered significant leadership losses and near total loss of territorial control. But of course they’re still dangerous, which is your point, and they’re the largest Sunni terrorist group, and they still command thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria. So I think the stance in the administration and supported by the IC is that we’re going to work very hard to finish that mission and that we–that’s another example of where we must maintain a very robust monitoring regime and retain the ability to project into Syria should we need to.... Remaining pockets of ISIS and opposition fighters will continue, we agree–we assess, to stoke–to stoke violence as we have seen in incidents happening in the Idlib province of Syria.
I'm not saying there's no reason to reduce the US troop strength at least down to the levels of the end of the Obama administration (they've quadrupled under Trump from 500-something to over 2200), but the 2018 violence in Idlib began with another quarter of a million new internal refugees from indiscriminate bombing, possibly including chlorine weapons, and deliberate starvation of the population, and ended with new eruptions of violence (and executions and hand amputations in some areas) in spite of the September deal made by Russia and Turkey, and welcomed by the US and Iran, to reduce it. It's not "fairly reasonable numbers of people".

Question to Radio Yerevan: Is it true that the president's concern, or lack of concern, is exemplified by the story of a one-armed man who blew up a restaurant in Syria?

Answer: In principle yes, but first of all, the attack, during Ramadan, at the end of June 2016, was on an airport, not a restaurant, and second of all, it was the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, where there are no US troops, not in Syria, and third of all, it was three suicide bombers from Russia, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan who did the bombing, not the one-armed Chechen, Akhmet Chatayev, who directed them from a remote location, killing 44 and injuring more than 230.

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