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Wag the Dog

Krystal Ball

President Trump says he ordered the U.S. drone attack that killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani because the terrorism mastermind was planning "imminent and sinister attacks" on Americans

Maybe Trump is telling the truth. But I can think of 15,413 (and counting) reasons why a lot of Americans wonder if he's not.

Fifteen-K-plus is how many documented false or misleading statements Trump's made since he became president through last Dec. 10, according to The Washington Post.

Under the War Powers Act, presidents have 48 hours to tell Congress why they took unilateral military action. On Saturday, Trump sent Congress the requisite notification, the Post reported. The document is classified, but Trump is free to provide a non-classified version for publication.

Trump's notification "raises more questions than it answers," the paper quoted a statement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). “The highly unusual decision to classify this document in its entirety compounds our many concerns, and suggests that the Congress and the American people are being left in the dark about our national security.”

Time—and reporters who know how and where to uncover the truth—will tell us if the notification is factual or another Trump fabrication or obfuscation worthy of inclusion on the Post list.

Trump has nobody to blame but himself for the widespread suspicion over the timing of the strike. Some people are comparing it to the movie "Wag the Dog," a dark comedy in which a president is caught making advances to an underage girl.

Meanwhile, Trump has nobody to blame but himself for the widespread suspicion over the timing of the strike. Some people are comparing it to the movie "Wag the Dog," a dark comedy in which a president is caught making advances to an underage girl.

It's shortly before the election. A spin doctor arrives and concocts a phony war against Albania to divert media and public attention from the sex scandal.

"Coming as Mr. Trump awaits Senate trial on his impeachment by the House of Representatives, the president’s ordering of the assassination raised discomfiting questions about his motive," The New York Timeseditorialized.

There's ample historical precedent for a nation of Doubting Thomases. "Similar questions were raised in 1998 (a year after "Wag the Dog" debuted in theaters) when President Bill Clinton ordered a major bombing campaign of Iraq, known as Operation Desert Fox, while Congress was holding impeachment hearings. In Washington’s acutely partisan climate, most Republicans rallied in support of Mr. Trump while Democrats demanded to know what imminent threat the attack was meant to avert."

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Make no mistake. Soleimani was cold-blooded murderer who orchestrated terrorist attacks that killed and maimed thousands of people, including hundreds of U.S. troops.

But was the killer really scheming to kill more? The Times editorialist warned that Trump's explanation for blowing up Soleimani "had better be good: Mr. Trump’s record of lies, lies and more lies; his impeachment on charges of misusing the power of his office; and his record of improvising foreign policyaccording to his immediate political calculations have undermined his credibility, at home and abroad. Congress and the American public need the facts.

"Another fair question: Why didn’t the White House alert senior Democrats in Congress, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as is customary before a major military action?" While he shut out the Democrats, Trump briefedLindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell's chief rival as top Senate toady, before the strike.

Trump said he ordered Soleimani's death to save American lives. But if the slaying results in a wider Middle Eastern war, it's almost certain that many American lives will be lost. Iran is a far more potent foe than Saddam Hussein's Iraq, which we invaded in 2003 and where we still have troops. (As a result of the strike, some members of the Iraqi parliament approved a nonbinding resolution ordering U.S. troops to leave.)

Before the vote, Trump, who has repeatedly denounced our “endless wars” in the Middle East and promised us he would bring our troops home, dispatched another 3,500 soldiers to Iraq.

Right on cue, Republican politicians and right-wing pundits are heaping high praise on the president. Like Trump, more than a few of his acolytes are middle-aged men or senior citizens who actively avoided fighting in wars of their youth. Trump, 73, claimed bone spurs prevented him from being drafted or serving in Vietnam.

"I'm fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in," said the late Sen. George McGovern (D-S.D.), the presidential candidate I voted for in 1972. He ran in opposition to the war Trump assiduously opted out of.

McGovern knew war. He flew 35 combat missions in a B-24 bomber over Nazi-occupied Europe in World War II and earned a Distinguished Flying Cross for successfully landing his crippled, flak-riddled plane and saving his crew.

On Instagram the other day, DC TV journalist Krystal Ball, a fellow Kentuckian for a while, cut loose on other Fourth Estaters who are whooping it up for Trump: "Media rolling out the same 'he’s a bad guy' 'go America' takes that got us into war with Iraq. If you’re cheerleading this act of war and aren’t willing to send your own kids first then stfu."

Tiffany Trump is 26. Age-wise, she's eligible to join any branch of service. Don Jr., 42, Ivanka, 38, and Eric, 35, were of military age during the Iraq invasion. Little brother Baron is 13. Based on how the Iraq invasion turned out and how a war with Iran might go, he's got plenty of time to grow up and join up.


But I suspect hogs will fly before Trump agrees to "stfu" or to send any of his kids into harm's way.

Berry Craig