I have to be honest – this sounds like a load of old bollocks to me. Oh, I’m sure Trump’s night flight probably had something to do with his first go at playing Call of Duty with Real Life Army Men, but I think this ‘meeting a dead guy’s remains’ is a morbid gloss on the real reason for getting him in the air so quickly. It’s worth remembering the incumbent of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is surrounded at all times by people with guns; people who, as the leaks keep telling us, are operating at historically unplumbed depths of low morale, people who might snap, lose it, and start chasing the Donad around the White House with a 9mm after reading lines like this in the news:
Still, probably best to make the disinformation option as convincing as possible, so I have no doubt Trump did go and look at the poor dead sod’s body. After all, think of how well this will play in the media! Trump supports the troops!
Except…no. This move may go over well with the keyboard warriors among Trump’s fanbase, but the actual troops will be more concerned with other stuff, buried deeper in the report, which I’m going to quote at length because it’s very important:
‘US military officials told Reuters Mr Trump approved his first covert counter-terrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support, or adequate backup preparations.
As a result, three officials said, the attacking Seal team found itself dropping onto a reinforced al-Qaeda base defended by landmines, snipers, and a larger than expected contingent of heavily armed Islamist extremists.
They said the extremists’ base had been identified as a target before the Obama administration left office on 20 January, but then-President Barack Obama held off on approving a raid, in part because officials said they were not certain the available intelligence was sufficiently reliable.’
This tells us a number of things: first and foremost, it tells us Trump does not have control of the military. His Generals are leaking against him. Now, far be it from me to say I told you so but I told you so:
Fearful of women, these men instead surround themselves with other men. The supposedly strong and virile men they fear that they are not. It’s no surprise that he has filled his cabinet with Generals. Cowards fetishize the puissance of the military man. And he is not just a coward but a draft-dodger too. Never having served, he never had the chance to see first hand how little respect most grunts have for the top brass, never had good cause to doubt the vertu of the men he seats himself among. He’ll come to doubt it, of course, and do so publicly: whatever he might say, they aren’t really there to advise him. They’re his personal audience: employed to laugh and slap him on the back when he regales them with tales of his pussy-grabbing exploits. They’re the hard nuts he pays to crowd behind him as he tries to look tough at the podium. His gunsels need to know their place.
It’s going to be very interesting to watch how this shakes out. Trump clearly feels personally wounded by any act of defiance, but dictators need their military. And Trump is losing them, and ridiculous stunts like glad-handing a body-bag are not going to endear him to the grunts. Because they now know two things: first, they know that Trump’s obsession with proving he has more testicular fortitude than Obama is making him go off half-cocked, as it were; and secondly, they know that this obsession with proving what a Big Man he is will, sooner or later, get them killed.
Thoughts like that rather tend to concentrate a soldier’s mind. And it takes a lot more than morbid publicity stunts to win them back.
Do you know what I wonder? I wonder what he said. To the troops. To the boy’s family (did he even meet the family? Did he even really see the corpse? Trump’s quite the germophobe, they say.). To the guy standing beside Marine One, who he greeted with a salute so casual as to put one in mind of the limp-wristed heiling of Hitler.
I wonder if it went something like this?