Friday, January 27, 2017

Disgracing a place of honor



So here - here is the question that another CIA veteran put to me after watching Trump's speech this weekend. This is Steve Hall. He was CIA chief of Russia operations. And he asked, what happens when the CIA collects a stellar piece of intelligence that maybe puts Vladimir Putin in a bad light? Steve Hall said, what happens when the CIA briefs Trump, and he wants to know the source? And Hall's quote directly to me was, how can you say, no, we don't trust you with the sourcing of that information? That is a live question today at Langley.

Thus writes Mary Kelly of NPR concerning  President Trump's bizarre and "self-obsessed" (former Acting Director John McLaughlin's description) visit to CIA headquarters in Langley last week.

I don't know that we've ever had a president whose loyalty was under investigation by the intelligence community before because of his ties to a hostile foreign power. Nor have we had a president who was quite this much a loose cannon. Troops in Chicago? Adding insult to insult and trying to spin the decision of the President of Mexico to cancel a trip to Washington because of undiplomatic and downright stupid comments by Mr. Trump as "mutual?" Standing before the Wall of Honor at Langley, adorned with the CIA's motto, John 8:23- "(Then) you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free-" and lying like a rug, all the while making the event not as much about the patriots who sacrificed their lives in the clandestine service of their country and who are commemorated on the Wall, but about himself?

Have we ever had a president who lied so often and so readily even when he didn't have to? Have the American people ever been so angry as to vent by electing a man so obviously and patently not only unfit to be president, but so unstable and psychologically immature as to be a threat to the Republic? Donald John Trump's first week in office should have dispelled any thought that the presidency would change a shallow, narcissistic, arrogant and ignorant naif into someone fit to be the most powerful man on the planet.The man is dangerous. As dozens of psychiatrists and psychologists have pointed out, he is not a well man.  His entire life screams it. His behavior confirms it day by day. I certainly do not wish harm on him. But I do pray that he resigns or is impeached, or that the Cabinet at least certifies his unfitness to continue in office before he does irreparable harm.

The millions of good men and women who voted for him are already beginning to have their doubts. The Iowa farmers who helped him carry their state are already realizing the impact his implementation of the trade policies he clearly articulated during the campaign are going to have on their livelihoods. It will probably take longer for the working-class folks in the Rust Belt will have the same realization. Protectionism historically backfires. Protective tariffs and trade wars don't just insulate industries from foreign competition, but also close down overseas markets when other countries inevitably respond in kind. The Trump Administration is like watching a train wreck about to happen.

And the worst part of it is that it has all been so predictable ever since the man announced his candidacy.

All those decent folks will remain in denial for a while yet. But denial has never yet changed reality, and the reality of the coming weeks and months and years isn't any too pretty for America or Americans.

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