Bashing on national defense and “Trumpcare”

Apr 27th, 2017 | By | Category: 2016-2017, Opinions

By Jessica Weiss
Staff Writer

According to the U.S. Air Force, the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (more commonly referred to as the “mother of all bombs”) dropped in Afghanistan this month did not actually cost the whopping $314 million initially reported. We were told it cost $170,000.

Sure, the initial outrage over the cost of a bomb that killed a mere 36 Islamic State fighters (even though the military previously estimated about 600 to 800 active fighters in the region) may have been overblown. But how many ambiguous military strikes with no real end objectives must we have before we can sit down and have a conversation about what the hell happens now that “Trumpcare” or “Ryancare,” or whatever you call it, failed? When do we talk about all these issues related to wasted federal funds that the GOP wants to talk about?

With a heavily domestic and populist agenda, President Trump has really shot off course into realms that are definitely not one-time engagement types of issues. Sure, with a “get it done” type of attitude that has led to the cutting of funds toward regulatory agencies, a botched travel ban and a botched healthcare plan, you can argue that the President has been pushing a lot of things through domestically — albeit, pushing things through does not necessarily mean successfully.

But recently, with the dropped bomb purported to be the largest non-nuclear bomb in our arsenal and the use of Tomahawk missiles to “send a message” to the Assad regime in Syria after reported use of chemical weapons, Trump has taken his action-driven attitude into realms where action has large and possibly immediate national security ramifications.

Use of military force to fight the Islamic State or the Assad regime is not a new idea and has been debated thoroughly throughout the Obama administration. The very problem of nothing getting done is what some argue to be the Obama administration’s greatest flaw in the realm of national security. But Trump enters troubled waters quickly with these recent actions, and the fallout can be seen as the right wing gets ripped apart over whether what Trump did was good or not.

Far right writers and bloggers attacked and accused the president of turning against his voters and entering a conflict that he himself claimed was a terrible idea after the strike in Syria. The fact that he did it without congressional approval did not help.

His followers brought up Trump’s tweet in 2013: “The President must get Congressional approval before attacking Syria — big mistake if he does not!” White nationalists like Paul Joseph Watson from the conspiracy site Infowars criticized Trump for being a neoconservative puppet, while the infamous Richard Spencer condemned the strike.

The “establishment” right, however, seemed to like his decision, praising Trump for rallying around the flag of “saving the children from the awful Assad regime.” In fact, the strikes seemed to pull together the opinions of individuals who at one time were the center of Trump’s verbal attacks: Senator and former presidential candidate Marco Rubio, Senator and also a former presidential candidate John McCain and former Presidential candidate, Secretary of State and former Senator Hillary Clinton.

The most hilarious part of Trump’s trigger-happy attitude is that the far-right’s criticisms mirror similar sentiments on the left, particularly with pacifists and those upset with the “establishment.” Accusations of Trump carrying out the work of the “deep state” (or what is to believed to be a hidden network of military officials and contractors working to drag the United States into military conflict) have led to claims that the chemical weapon attack in Syria was merely a hoax manufactured to prompt the U.S. to enter the conflict more directly.

Trump’s entrance into the world of politics has been one of a lot of decision-making; one cannot deny that. But the seemingly flip-flopped stance on military involvement so early in the administration marks a potentially harmful precedent that will shape how the world sees the U.S. as a global power and a country being led by a populist leader.

Running away from campaign promises surprisingly early, Trump walks a fine line in a world where the types of decisions he is making can have drastic and immediate consequences. From the responses we see after these recent actions, the president sees no exemption from both domestic and international forces.

 

jweiss@willamette.edu

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