Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Pitch That Defiles

President Donald Trump's Chief of Staff spoke at length about the process in returning a US soldier home and the nature of how Gold Star families are informed of their loss. General Kelly has an intimate and experienced knowledge of that process, and I don't care to take away from that--except to call out that this was a very moving wrap, a sort of turgid tortilla, for a bullshit burrito. Because while he spoke movingly about the process, he also slammed into his address some actual indefensible nonsense. 

Well, let me tell you what I told him. Let me tell you what my best friend, Joe Dunford, told me — because he was my casualty officer. He said, Kel, he was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into by joining that 1 percent. He knew what the possibilities were because we’re at war. And when he died, in the four cases we’re talking about, Niger, and my son’s case in Afghanistan — when he died, he was surrounded by the best men on this Earth: his friends.

That’s what the President tried to say to four families the other day. I was stunned when I came to work yesterday morning, and brokenhearted at what I saw a member of Congress doing. A member of Congress who listened in on a phone call from the President of the United States to a young wife, and in his way tried to express that opinion — that he’s a brave man, a fallen hero, he knew what he was getting himself into because he enlisted. There’s no reason to enlist; he enlisted. And he was where he wanted to be, exactly where he wanted to be, with exactly the people he wanted to be with when his life was taken.

For one thing, this only corroborates the statement that was made by Congresswoman Wilson that Trump stated that her husband knew what he was getting into when he signed up for service. This particular bit only reinforces the statements of the people who heard the call. Also, talking about Rep. Wilson "listening in" was inaccurate, because it sounds like she was eavesdropping, and wasn't invited to share in that call by the widow because she, also, was a close friend of the deceased.

It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation. Absolutely stuns me. And I thought at least that was sacred. You know, when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor. That’s obviously not the case anymore as we see from recent cases. Life — the dignity of life — is sacred. That’s gone. Religion, that seems to be gone as well. 
Gold Star families, I think that left in the convention over the summer. But I just thought — the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die on the battlefield, I just thought that that might be sacred.

The member of Congress, once again, listened in by invitation of the family of the deceased. That choice has its own sanctity. The dignity of life? Don't make me laugh! We're talking about the dignity of death, and whether the dead also serve the CIC. For whatever use he has for them, for a kind of order they have no ability to refuse. Whether the currently serving POTUS gets to use General Kelly's son as a human shield.

And what about "Women were sacred, looked on with great honor" and "Religion, that seems to be gone as well"?

Are women uppity tarts now that we get to serve in congress and are without honor or sacredness? Are people just entirely falling down on the routine offering of "Merry Christmases"? Do either of those things have any fucking thing whatsoever to do with whether Trump tried to use the fallen soldiers to shield himself from criticism regarding the Niger mission, whatever that was, as if their blood expiated him from the basic sin of incompetence? Was the Gold Star  Khan family really to blame for the debasing of their conversation?  Why not Trump, who started it by demeaning immigrants, many of whom serve this country, and then lashed out at the Khans when he didn't like what they had to say?

It was a kind of dutiful clean-up where Kelly tried to mop up Trump's mess regarding what he had to say about fallen servicemembers, that became Kelly's mess about how he served a lying, stupid, unacceptably unprepared man.

That is still who Trump is, by the way. Nothing Kelly said changed that, either. It only made him a little more responsible for it.

1 comment:

Formerly Amherst said...

Felicitations, Vivacious! I see you have an attractive new background for your blog. Very nifty. I think it's a good one.

As you know, I stay away from the querulous nature of tit-for-tat. It reminds me of a line from E.M. Forester's novel A Room With a View,
“The ladies' voices grew animated, and – if the sad true be known – a little peevish. They were tired, and under the guise of unselfishness they wrangled.”

I will agree with General Kelly up to a point. However, most of what he said would be more applicable to people who have reenlisted. The reenlistee has definitely decided that this is a direction he wishes to go in, and he does understand the potential consequences.

The people who go down to join still do not realize what awaits them, and they join for many reasons. Here's something your father will remember:
“Don't be sad. Don't be blue. Our recruiter screwed us too!”

My experience suggests that a lot of enlistees are not as noble as General Kelly would propose, but neither are they as bad as their critics try to assert.

When I first got back from Vietnam, the left was screaming that we were “baby killers”. They would attempt to spit on our uniforms. (Occasionally one would get too close... ahem!)

I could go on at length about this, but I wanted to touch on a different subject.

Today we have a unique opportunity. We are witnessing the death of an old narrative and the beginning of a new one. The old narrative started in the 1960s, though of course the underlying motives for that narrative grew strength in the invisible for some time before it popped up in the visible behavior of different 60s movements. This cycle is drawing to a conclusion. It won't be entirely visible overnight, but in a decade or so it will have changed our culture and our sensibilities. What the new zeitgeist will become is not entirely predictable. Richard Fernandez calls it a paradigm shift. The only thing we can have some confidence about is that it will be neither left nor right in the terms we have come to understand those designations. The old concept of left and right are going down with the dying narrative.

Returning for a moment to General Kelly's speech, he did touch on what is referred to as desacralization. This of course belongs to a much longer cycle. It is typical of the counter-initiation when counterfeits replace the sacred in a race to the bottom of materialism. (For example, when one gets one's self-worth from the kind of car they drive, the neighborhood they live in, the clothes they wear, the ideological perspectives they affect, etc., rather than a real initiation that leads to a deeper and more profound experience and understanding of the spiritual. We have come quite some distance in the Kali Yuga. Whoever advances chaos or hatred under whatever pretext is advancing the Kali Yuga.

Anyway, n the shorter term cycle we are in a unique position to watch a new narrative being born. The Trump presidency, Brexit, sex & politics presented by Hollywood after Harvey Weinstein, leftist protests by the NFL, etc., etc. This will eventually result in a new narrative, and so we are in a situation much like an astronomer watching a new star system. Only time will tell what dimensions the new narrative will take.