Friday, June 21, 2019

If you think you're getting away with this, Buster, you're making a big—

—error such as we all make from time to time, don't we, I mean after all who among us doesn't have to deal with a loose and stupid general? Or national security adviser with a mustache that looks like a goddamned exotic vacuum cleaner attachment, amirite?

Or, Donald Trump Became President Today, sometime between TV time at 7:15 in the morning

and noon or so, when he was on his way to lunch with Prime Minister Trudeau for the hour-and-a-half of his work day that wasn't devoted to executive time:
“I’m not just talking the country made a mistake, I think somebody under the command of that country made a mistake. I think that it could have been somebody who was loose and stupid that did it,” the commander-in-chief continued.
“I would imagine it was a general or somebody that made a mistake in shooting that drone down.”
The most fun part of yesterday was when Trump explained to the world that, luckily for Iran, this particular drone didn't have a pilot—
“There was no man in it. It was just — it was over international waters, clearly over international waters, but we didn’t have a man or woman in the drone. We had nobody in the drone. It would have made a big difference, let me tell you. It would have made a big, big difference,” Trump said.
—and you got the feeling he was a little disturbed that DOD is doing this drone thing on the cheap ("What, nobody flies any of them? Is that safe?").

But the happy part is that he was indeed able to bring himself to do a presidential-type thing for once—an executive action more complex than signing a paper or emitting a tweet, involving thinking about something during the morning, or taking some advice from national security officials and congressional leaders, and not knowing for a while what he was going to do, and by sometime in the evening (The Times says 7 PM) making the decision and countermanding an order he'd signed under pressure from Bolton, Pompeo, and apparently Haspel of the CIA, and called off a pre-dawn retaliatory strike against Iranian military installations. Looks like it took him around 11 hours to nerve himself up to it, but he did, and I'm glad.

I don't know what it means in terms of the up-and-down of White House power centers and who's in and who's out, but this one thing seems like an unambiguously good thing and may, together with Trump's (and Trudeau's) evident anxiety to get the NAFTA revision exercise ratified and out of the way, indicate an interest in some kind of stability as we move into campaign mode. A sense conveyed to the president that dog-wagging isn't the best political stance for him right now, and looking for calm will work better, which makes the world a little better for all of us for the moment.

Drawing by ©Phil Maish.

Update: He says he didn't want to kill 150 people. I'm good with that, I absolutely am.

"Cocked and loaded" is pretty funny, and I think he meant "sites" rather than "sights". The story takes the form of what Daniel Dale calls one of his "Sir stories", so it's probably not true; my reconstruction above of the 11-hour dither is more likely to be accurate, but that's OK too.

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