Trump lies so much we don’t know what his agenda is on Iran

Baltimore Sun - - COMMENTARY - Leonard Pitts Jr.

So what in the world just hap­pened here?

That’s the ques­tion of the mo­ment as we strug­gle to get our heads around the lat­est head­snap­ping episode in the bizarre pres­i­dency of Pres­i­dent Donald Trump. In the last few days, we’ve seen: 1) a U.S. drone strike in Iraq, killing Qassem Soleimani, com­man­der of Iran’s elite Quds

Force; 2) Mr. Trump’s jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of the killing on grounds that Soleimani, ar­chi­tect of hun­dreds of Amer­i­can mil­i­tary ca­su­al­ties, was plan­ning im­mi­nent vi­o­lence; 3) bel­li­cose threats from Mr. Trump to bomb Ira­nian cul­tural sites (which would be a war crime); 4) vows of re­venge from Tehran, and, 5) Ira­nian mis­sile at­tacks upon the Iraqi Green Zone, where the Amer­i­can em­bassy is lo­cated and upon Iraqi bases that house U.S. troops. The at­tacks caused no ca­su­al­ties and thus may — may — have al­lowed Iran a face-sav­ing way to avoid es­ca­lat­ing hos­til­i­ties.

And Iran has now ad­mit­ted to ac­ci­den­tally shoot­ing a Ukrainian pas­sen­ger plane that crashed near Tehran killing 176 peo­ple.

Some­where in the midst of that chaos, Marco Ru­bio, Florida sen­a­tor and Trump sock pup­pet, tweeted a call for unity. “#Iran is now openly call­ing for Amer­i­can’s (sic) to turn on each other. The time will come to de­bate U.S. pol­icy. Tonight Amer­i­can & al­lied troops have come un­der di­rect at­tack by a na­tion-state & Amer­i­cans must come to­gether to sup­port & pro­tect them & re­spond ap­pro­pri­ately.”

In other words, sup­port the troops and don’t ask any ques­tions.

It’s an ap­peal to the same sense of pa­tri­otic duty that welded Amer­i­cans to­gether af­ter Sept. 11 and Dec. 7. And you might even al­low your­self to be per­suaded, if this pres­i­dent were not such an in­fer­nal liar.

Yes, pres­i­den­tial ly­ing is hardly unique to Mr. Trump. But no pres­i­dent has ever lied as pro­fusely, pro­lif­i­cally or prodi­giously as this guy — 15,413 false­hoods since In­au­gu­ra­tion Day, ac­cord­ing to a De­cem­ber tally in The Wash­ing­ton Post. Truth finds it­self not sim­ply as­saulted, but also de­posed by Trump fol­low­ers con­vinced that re­al­ity is what­ever their great and pow­er­ful Oz says it is from one mo­ment to the next. They blithely par­rot lies as if they were truths and it’s hard to de­cide if they don’t know the dif­fer­ence or just don’t care.

But here’s the thing: A pres­i­dent can make no more con­se­quen­tial a de­ci­sion than to use mil­i­tary force. When that hap­pens we­need and should de­mand a full un­der­stand­ing of what makes it nec­es­sary.

If we are to risk the blood, flesh and trea­sure of our peo­ple, we should at least know why.

And we don’t. Oh, we know what Mr. Trump has said. Un­for­tu­nately, 15,000 lies later, no pres­i­dent has ever had less cred­i­bil­ity as he de­ployed U.S. mil­i­tary as­sets. That in­cludes Bill Clin­ton who, in the midst of a scan­dal over his re­la­tion­ship with a White House in­tern, au­tho­rized strikes against ter­ror­ist tar­gets.

No one comes close to Mr. Trump. This ly­ing liar ly­ingly lies — non­stop.

So you’d like to be­lieve there was good rea­son for what we just did. And that an at­tack was, in­deed, im­mi­nent. And that killing Mr. Soleimani was the best op­tion — not just a di­ver­sion from Mr. Trump’s impeachmen­t. And that we have a plan for the af­ter­math. You’d like to, but you can’t. That’s the sad state of our Union. That’s the grave­yard we whis­tle past.

And Mr. Ru­bio says we must sup­port the troops and ask no ques­tions? No. Let us sup­port them by ask­ing ques­tions, ques­tions as bold and shame­less as the lies we are told. Be­gin with th­ese:

What in the world just hap­pened here? And what in the world will hap­pen next?

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