Photo Credit: ABC News
Recently, a memory of my son as a tiny child came back to me. He was, in those days, shocked of clowns. Something about their strange, mask-like, embellished faces weakened him utterly, cold him to the bone. To the rest of us, they were comic, but to him — or so we came to suppose anyway — they were emanations from hell.
Those playground memories of prolonged ago seem applicable to me currently because, in Nov 2016, the American electorate, or a nearby infancy of them anyway, chose to send in the clowns. They voted willingly, knowingly, for the man with that bizarre orange thing on his head, the outcome — we now know, thanks to his daughter — of intentional “scalp rebate surgery.” They voted for the man with the eerily red face, an obsessive shade occasionally seen given the soundness of Technicolor. They voted for the overweight man who reputedly ate little but Big Macs (for fear of being poisoned), while overhanging one-handed from a domestic trapeze with fingers of a particularly contestable size. They voted for the man who never came opposite a biggest he couldn’t request to himself. Of his first presidential moment, he claimed “the largest assembly ever to declare an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe”; he announced himself “the greatest jobs president that God ever created”; he swore to reporters that he was “the least racist person you have ever interviewed”; he offering his chronicle of tact by insisting that, “with the difference of the late, good Abraham Lincoln, we can be some-more presidential than any boss that’s ever held this office”; and when his mental state was challenged, he responded that his “two biggest resources have been mental fortitude and being, like, really smart,” adding, “I consider that [I] would validate as not smart, but genius… and a very fast talent at that!”
Of course, zero of this is news to you, not if you have a screen in your life (or some-more likely your hand) — the very clarification of twenty-first-century modernity. In fact, by the time this piece comes out, you’ll positively have a new set of examples to cite. After all, these days that radically is the news: him and any vast thing he wants to contend and not much else, which means that he is indisputably the greatest, presumably in the story of the universe, when it comes to yanking just about anybody’s chain.
And you positively don’t need me to go on about that bizarre ability of his, given every time he says or tweets anything over the top or unusual over belief, the media’s all over it 24/7. No one, for instance, could doubt that never in the story has the word “shithole” (or, in some cases, “s–hole”) or even “shithouse” been used some-more frequently than in the arise of the president’s new wielding of it (or them or one or the other) for unnamed African countries and Haiti in a White House assembly on immigration. That assembly valid an ambush and a half, only spiraling serve out of control when, in its wake, the boss denied ever using the word “shithole” and was backed by Republican attendees evidently so unfortunate to curry preference that they simulated they hadn’t listened the word, which, by now, just about everybody on Earth has listened or seen in English or some translation thereof.
Since he rode down that Trump Tower escalator into the domestic lives in Jun 2015, this arrange of thing and some-more or reduction zero else has mostly been “the news.” It goes but observant — which won’t stop me from observant it — that not given Nebuchadnezzar’s difference were first scratched onto a cuneiform inscription has some-more concentration been put on the flitting words, gestures, and expressions of a singular human being. And that’s the truest news about the news of this era. It’s been consumed by a singular news hog. Which means that Donald Trump has already won, no matter what happens, given he continues to be treated as if he were the only three-ring playground in town, as if he were in himself that classical big-top Volkswagen filled to the brimwith clowns.
The Imperial Presidency Exposed
Who could repudiate that much of the courtesy he’s perceived has been formed on the absurdity, exaggeration, unsettling clownishness of it all, right down to the zany crew of auxiliary clowns who have helped keep him pumped up and wire newsed in the Oval Office?
In early Oct 2016, I suggested that a certain shred of electorate in the white heartland, feeling their backs against the mercantile wall and the republic in decrease — Donald Trump being the first true declinist candidate (hence that “again” in MAGA) — was prepared to send a “suicide bomber” into the White House. And we suggested as good that they were peaceful to do so even if the roof collapsed on them. (Had we suspicion of it at the time, we would have combined that much of the mainstream media also had its back to the wall with its standing and finances in decline, staffs shrinking, and fears rising that it competence be eaten alive by social media. As a result, some of its key players were likewise prone to chaperon that self-murder bomber Washington-wards, no matter what fell or whom it hit.)
In retrospect, that has, we think, proven an accurate assessment, but like all authors we haven the right to change my imagery in midstream, which brings me back to my son’s childhood fear of clowns. At slightest for me, that now catches the many essential aspect of the age of Trump: its clownishness. And despite the fact that The Donald is mostly treated by his opponents as a shouting matter, an absurdity, a jokester (and a joke) in the Oval Office, we don’t mean those clowns, the ones that leave you rolling in the aisles. we meant my son’s clowns, the death’s-head ones whose absurd versions of the gestures of bland life leave you cold to the bone, honestly afraid.
Donald Trump fits that picture accurately given — nonetheless you wouldn’t know it from the common coverage of him — he isn’t at all singular (except in the details, solely in the deceit of it all). What creates him so clownish, in the clarity I’m describing, is that he offers a chillingly exaggerated, wildly fiery-and-furious version of the very majestic American presidency we’ve come to know over these last 7 decades: the one that has prolonged ridden flock on a nuclear apocalypse; that killed millions on its tour to nowhere in Southeast Asia in the prior century; that hasn’t been means to stop itself from overseeing some-more than a quarter-century of war-making — two wars, to be accurate — in Afghanistan of all places; that, in its office of its everlasting “war” on terror, has finished fight on so much else as well, branch poignant tools of the universe into zones of increasing chaos, failed states, fleeing populations, and unenlightened destruction; the one whose “precision” military — the battle against ISIS in Iraq and Syria has been termed the “most accurate campaign in history” – has helped renovate cities from Ramadi and Fallujah to Mosul and Raqqa into landscapes that, in their unenlightened wreckage, demeanour like Stalingrad after the battle in World War II (and that now is melancholy to rise a “precision” chronicle of nuclear fight as well); and that has, in this century, overseen the origination of “Saudi America” on a universe in which it was already easy adequate to grasp that hoary fuels were doing the kinds of repairs to the human sourroundings that zero brief of a hulk asteroid or nuclear war might differently do.
From his America First policies to his reported desire to see (and make use of) militant attacks on this country, the man who has announced meridian change a Chinese hoax, threatenedto lax “fire and ire like the universe has never seen,” described other countries in denunciation once deliberate unpresidential by presidents who nonetheless treated the very same countries like “shitholes,” and given “his” generals a remarkably free palm to “win” the fight on terror is but an eerily clownish chronicle of all that has left before. He has, in a sense, ripped divided the façade of grace from the majestic presidency and let us glimpse just what is truly majestic (and imperious) about it. He continues to show us in new ways utterly an old reality: how terrifying a force for destruction, presumably even on a heavenly level, U.S. energy can be.
And just in case you don’t consider that Volkswagen of Trump’s (or maybe we meant that private craft with the golden lavatory fixtures) is filled with other clowns whose acts should likewise chill you to the bone, let’s skip Scott Pruitt as he secretlydismantles the Environmental Protection Agency and so many protections for the health, the Energy Department’s Rick Perry as he embraces the CEOs of Big Energy, that future oil-spillking, the Interior Department’s Ryan Zinke, and the rest of the domestic wrecking crew, and spin instead to “his” generals — the ones from America’s losing wars — that President Trump has finished forefather in Washington.
And even then, let’s skip their titillate to create smaller, more “usable” nuclear weapons (a routine started in the Obama years), or hike the nuclear budget, or redefine ever some-more situations, including cyber attacks on the U.S., as intensity nuclear ones; and let’s skip as good their eagerness, from Nigerto Yemen, Libya to Somalia, to enhance and worsen the fight on terror in an farfetched chronicle of accurately what we’ve been vital by these past 16 years. Let’s combine instead on just one place, the ur-location for that war, the country about which those in the Pentagon are no longer speaking of fight at all but of “generational struggle”: Afghanistan.
The Graveyard of Empires
Think of it: 28 years after the Soviet army limped out of that barbarous “graveyard of empires” at the finish of a decade-long onslaught in which the U.S. had corroborated the many extreme groups of Islamic fundamentalists (including a abounding immature Saudi by the name of Osama bin Laden), 16 years after the U.S. returned to invade and “liberate” Afghanistan, they’re still at it. In December, with Donald Trump lifting various constraints on U.S. military commanders there, the generals were, for instance, promulgation in the planes. That month there were some-more U.S. air strikes — 455 in a winter duration of minimal fighting — than not just the prior Dec (65) but Dec 2012 (about 200) when 100,000 U.S. troops were still in-country. The word of this moment among U.S. military officers in Afghanistan, according to Max Bearak of the Washington Post: “We’re at a branch point.” Another: “The gloves are off.” (Admittedly, no U.S. commander has as nonetheless reported seeing “the light at the finish of the tunnel,” but don’t order it out.)
In the meantime, drones of both the armed and unarmed notice accumulation are being reassigned to Afghanistan in rising numbers (as good as some-more helicopters, belligerent vehicles, and artillery). With the new proclamation that 1,000 some-more crew will shortly conduct for that country, U.S. couple strength continues to grow, bringing the numbers of American advisers, trainers, and Special Operations forces there up to maybe 15,000 or some-more (as against to the 11,000 or so when Donald Trump entered the Oval Office).
In addition, the military has plans to double the distance of Afghanistan’s own special ops forces and triple the distance of its air force, while the conduct of U.S. Central Command, General Joseph Votel, is calling for far some-more assertive actions by those American-advised Afghan confidence forces in the arriving open fighting season. (To put this in perspective, a 2008 U.S. military plan to spend billions of dollars ensuring that the Afghan air force was entirely staffed, supplied, trained, and “self-sufficient” by 2015 finished 7 years after with it in a “woeful state” of disrepair and nearby ruin.) Meanwhile, as partial of this ramp-up of operations, the Navy is formulation to hire drone-maker General Atomics to fly that company’s notice drones in Afghanistan in what’s being termed “a ‘surge’ of intelligence, reconnaissance, and notice capabilities.”
If all of this sounds faintly informed to you, I’m not surprised. In fact, if you’ve already stopped profitable courtesy — as many Americans on the nonexistent “home front” seem to have finished when it comes to many of America’s wars of this epoch — we just wish you to know that we totally understand. Sixteen repeated years later, with the Taliban again in control of something close to half of Afghanistan, your response couldn’t be some-more all-American. Surges, branch points, some-more assertive actions, you’ve listened it all before — and when it comes to Afghanistan, the contingency are that you’ll hear it all again.
And don’t for a moment consider that this doesn’t supplement up to another chronicle of promulgation in the clowns.
If you don’t trust that retired General James Mattis, Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, and retired General James Kelly, aka the secretary of defense, the inhabitant confidence adviser, and the White House arch of staff, respectively, are clowns, if you’re still assured that they’re the “adults” in the Trumpian playroom, check out Afghanistan and consider again. But don’t censure them either. What else can a jester do, once those hulk floppy boots are on their feet, their faces are painted, and the bulbous red nose is in place, but act the part? So many years later, they simply can’t suppose another way to consider about the universe of American war. They only know what they know. Give them a horn and they’ll honk it; give them Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” soliloquy and they’ll still honk that horn.
For the last decade and a half, by invasions and occupations, surges and counterinsurgency operations, bombing runs and drone strikes, commando raids and training missions, they and their colleagues in the U.S. high authority have helped widespread terror movements across significant tools of the planet, while personification a major role in formulating a series of unwell or unsuccessful states opposite the Greater Middle East and Africa. They’ve helped dig whole populations and renovate major cities into eyeglasses of ruin. Think of this as their twenty-first-century destiny. They’ve proven to be pivotal actors in what has turn an American empire of chaos or maybe simply an empire of graveyards.
They can’t help themselves. Forgive them, Father, for they are clowns led by the biggest clownster-in-chief in the story of this country. Yes, he creates even them worried given no one can lift the fate back from the reality of the majestic presidency in utterly the way he can. No one can showcase the grave American world, twitter by vast tweet, in utterly his fashion.
And yes, it can all demeanour ridiculous as hell, but don’t laugh. Don’t even consider about it. Not now, not when we’re all at the playground examination those emanations from hurt perform. Instead, be cold — cold to the bone. Absurd as every pratfall may be, it’s clearly a prophesy from hell, an all-American prophesy for the ages.