It’s not like you need a reminder that Trump is a dangerous moron, but it’s good to remember exactly who the party of national security nominated.
I do hate talking about Trump when talking about Mosul, because in the long run, he won’t matter. The battle will still be raging on once he’s lost, and the tumult that has been born will still be being settled decades after he’s dead. So, yes, it seems sort of tacky to bring him up about a crisis that is impacting the lives of over a million people. That’s why we try to also provide actual analysis.
But. Come on.
But Trump doubled down on his criticism of the week-old Mosul offensive, questioning why the U.S. and its allies were so public about their plans. “Why did we have to tell them we’re going in? Why didn’t we go in and then tell the public a week later: ‘Congratulations, we just got the leadership. We didn’t lose many people,’” Trump asked during a rally in Florida. “I’m telling you, folks, our leadership — I went to an Ivy League school, but there’s some words that you can’t describe any better: Our leadership is stupid. These are stupid people.”
Ignoring the fact that, as always, he sounds like an idiot when he speaks (“there’s some words that you can’t describe any better”), and is self-aggrandizing about going to an Ivy League school, unlike, I guess, Obama, is that he is still pushing the narrative that it should have been a surprise attack, and we’d just swoop in and get the leadership. Politico, which seems to have found some solid moral footing in the face of Trump, does a pretty good job explaining why that is nuts, as does the resurgent WaPo in talking about why Trump’s claim this battle is meant to help Clinton is insane.
So here’s the thing. Politics is a stupid ugly game, and people say stupid and ugly things. You’re always looking for an edge. As everyone tends to argue, what Trump is saying is pretty outrageous, because it makes no sense politically and is untethered from reality. So it’s a bad argument, and dumb politics. But more importantly, to me, is this: he actually believes what he’s saying.
Trump is the kind of guy who honestly thinks a battle that took years to plan, involved Obama pressuring Maliki to step down, brings in an enormous amount of inside and outside forces that have the be balanced, and that could be an incredible humanitarian disaster, is done just to screw him over.
He’s also someone who honestly believes that just pretending to be tough is the same as being it, hence his “swoop in and take out the leadership” claims. He doesn’t understand the first thing about the reality of war, the nature of ISIS, the layout of Mosul, and I guarantee you, couldn’t tell you a single thing about the leadership he says we can easily get. Maybe that they are bad hombres.
If pressed, he’d say he could get it done because of his own style of leadership, and because he’s smart. An he honestly thinks that’s the case, or at least thinks that saying it is the case is all you have to do, because all of life is just about getting people to believe lies so you can get what you want. That’s who he is. Someone who never thinks of the world, save for its revolution around him, and who believes you should say whatever you want if it makes the world revolve more fawningly.
So maybe he doesn’t “believe” he could just win Mosul like snapping fingers, but he also doesn’t care. It’s convenient to say, and that makes it true. It’s already hit the outer limit of his curiosity. So for all intents and purposes, he does believe that, and that’s the sort of critical thinking he’ll bring to the table.
Remember this whenever Republicans try to talk about national security. They nominated, and still largely support, Donald Trump. For President. And don’t think he’s an outlier. While there are serious men, the rank and file of elected officials (not just “the base”) are cut from the same cloth. They all think that you should just be able to shoot ISIS right now, one shot, if we just have the Will.
Trump’s recklessly vulgar personality makes him an emotional outlier. But policy-wise, he’s a typical Republican.