President Trump’s top promise during his successful campaign for the White House was to construct a wall on our southern border. He is now standing strong amid a government-shutdown struggle with congressional Democrats on this issue. For many of the 60 million-plus Americans who voted for him, Trump’s repeatedly stated pledge to put an end to nonstop U.S. military intervention overseas was reason number two to cast their ballots his way.
“It definitely rattled people…”
It is beyond distressing then for these Trump backers to see a touted “America First” president allowing a rogue national security adviser to run amok in his administration. Yet that appears to be exactly what is happening as notorious neocon warmonger National Security Adviser John Bolton pursues a zealous saber-rattling agenda aimed at bringing about his undisguised long-cherished goal: war with Iran.
The Wall Street Journal reports Pentagon and State Department officials were “shocked” at Bolton’s request for the Defense Department to develop military options to attack Iran after militants fired three mortars on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad in September. The mortars “landed in an open lot” and caused no damage, The Journal reports.
“It definitely rattled people,” a former senior U.S. administration official told The Journal of Bolton’s request. “People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran.”
Given Bolton’s decades-long career as a wild-eyed neocon hardliner with an especially keen desire to create a costly military clash with Iran, the request isn’t surprising at all. What is perplexing is why Trump ever brought this man into his administration in the first place and why he is being allowed to stoke the fires of war when his boss in the Oval Office explicitly wants to end U.S. entanglement in foreign conflicts.
Bolton appears so reckless in his desire for American blood to be shed in battle against Iran that he even tried unilaterally to circumvent Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria. Bolton, apparently of his own accord, came up with a list of demands that had to be met before the troops would depart. Fortunately, Trump ignored the flagrantly disobedient attempt by his own national security adviser to thwart his stated policy, and the pullout began. “Nothing has changed,” a defense official refreshingly told The Journal. “We don’t take orders from Bolton.”
War First, America Last
Before this galling stunt, Bolton and fellow neocon Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attempted to re-position the U.S. military presence in Syria as an effort to eradicate Iranian influence from that country rather than the officially declared objective of fighting ISIS. Doug Bandow, writing in The American Conservative, highlighted just how dangerous and irresponsible such a twist could be.
“Bolton was effectively planning a permanent presence [in Syria], one that could bring American forces into contact with Russian, Syrian, and Turkish forces, as well as Iranians,” Bandow writes. “Damascus is backed by Russia and might be supported by Ankara, which would prefer to see the border controlled by Syrian [rather] than Kurdish forces. Moreover, the Kurds, under threat from Turkey, are not likely to divert forces to contain Iranians moving with the permission of the Damascus government.”
Bolton was risking military action against multiple nations to appease his burning desire to strike at Iran wherever and whenever he can. We’re talking endless war on steroids here.
These neocons within the White House walls continue to oppose their president’s clear desire to end the U.S. military presence in Syria. Trump tweeted on Jan. 13 that “it is now time to bring our troops home.”
….Likewise, do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey. Russia, Iran and Syria have been the biggest beneficiaries of the long term U.S. policy of destroying ISIS in Syria – natural enemies. We also benefit but it is now time to bring our troops back home. Stop the ENDLESS WARS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2019
But just one day earlier Pompeo declared during a visit to the United Arab Emirates that “[t]he fact that a couple thousand uniformed personnel in Syria will be withdrawing is a tactical change. It doesn’t materially alter our capacity to perform military actions we need to perform.” This statement is irreconcilable with what Trump says in his tweet. One can only hope he acts accordingly.
Mr. President, you cannot end America’s sorry recent track record of military adventurism and return us to a sensible direction that puts our national interests first and have rabid war-frenzied neocons manning key positions on your foreign policy team. Your border wall fight shows you are committed to keeping your promises to the people who elected you. Please continue to trod this honorable path by jettisoning John Bolton and Mike Pompeo from your administration before they ensnare the American people in yet more unwanted confrontations abroad.