Tomorrow's newspaper column:
It’s a good week to talk hypocrisy.
First, the obvious: anyone who voted to put “their” sex predator in the White House isn’t allowed to criticize any Democrat who accepted money from “theirs.” The difference between the despicable Harvey Weinstein and the deplorable Donald Trump is that one got fired and the other got elected.
Polls indicate the vast majority of Democrats and Republicans believe the accusations against Weinstein; only eight percent of Republicans believe those against Trump. There, in full view, is “Foxification” and how it ruins our country. It’s of a piece with Trump supporters who received hurricane aid saying American citizens in Puerto Rico don’t deserve it.
If that sort of hypocrisy is normal in today’s political climate (the one that’s not changing), another is far worse: Niger. As to the more minor issue: maybe Trump’s bone-headed call to Myeshia Johnson was the result of a doomed effort by John Kelley to teach a sociopath how to fake empathy. Kelley gave him words; Trump, unable to understand any suffering but delusions of his own, had no idea how to use them. Lacking the moral tools or simple decency to allow a war widow her grief, he’s been making it worse ever since.
At one time, despite his enthusiasm for deporting non-offenders while at DHS, General Kelley appeared possibly honorable. His attacks on Representative Wilson eliminated that misconception faster than EPA quashed its scientists’ speaking engagements. For his false accusations, there are two possible explanations: either he was provided inaccurate (or misremembered) information about her speech at the FBI building, or he knowingly lied. If the former, a correction and apology would be forthcoming from a man of honor; if the latter, then of course there’d be none. To date, there’s been none.
Then, with Trumpic name-calling, Kelly went far beyond mere lies. Trump’s amorality is a virus. The White House is an immunosuppression zone.
Steve Bannon said criticism of Trump dishonors the military. And when Sarah “Going to hell in a Huckabee” Sanders says it’s “highly inappropriate” to question a four-star general, where we’re headed with this administration became even clearer. True conservatives (do any remain?) should be appalled. It hardly needs stating that Trump has criticized four-stars repeatedly (just did so regarding Niger). Or that the Pentagon scramble to come up with names for belated condolence proves he lied when he said he’d called “virtually all” Gold Star families.
But let’s get to the hypocriticrux of it. Dots aplenty surround the action in Niger that got four Green Berets killed, and we have a right to know if they’re connected: why was Chad, a reliable partner in the fight against ISIS, placed on Trump’s banned immigration list? Was its subsequent withdrawal from Niger related? Did that endanger whatever mission those men were on? Was there adequate support for that mission? Was it, as a “Congressional source” said, the result of a “massive intelligence failure?” Why did Trump use “private contractors” to retrieve the bodies? How many are in Niger and what are they doing? Why was Trump silent on the episode for so long? Was it because it belied his claim of vanquishing ISIS? What IS the mission in Niger, and why didn’t Congress know Trump had sent a thousand troops there? Does it dishonor America to want more than Joint Chiefs Chairman Dunford’s account?
These questions are at least as important as those surrounding Benghazi (asked and answered, over and over, for eight years). Yet we’ve heard of no plans by our Koch-owned, Republican-run Congress to convene hearings, Benghazi-style (kangaroid, multiple, parallel, repetitive, witness-limited, televised) or otherwise. Not Russian hacking, either. Oh, but they’re opening yet another dead-horse email investigation, and reanimating their uranium distortions.
Will we be told, from the other side of Congressional mouths, inquiry into Niger would “politicize” a matter of national security? As opposed to Benghazi, et al.? How about considering it “supporting our troops,” which, General Kelly made clear, is becoming the prime measure not only of patriotism, but of dispensation to raise questions. From such an undrained swamp do juntas arise.
Looking away is the biggest hypocrisy of them all. And there remain too many examples for limited space: deficits, executive orders, deficits, fair elections, deficits… And opposition research. Let’s not forget that.