As the missiles flew from the USS Ross and the USS Port, AEGIS electronic command ships that are the world’s most advanced stealth destroyers, they deflected and covered-up Trump’s glaring flaws: a tsunami of inconsistency (repeatedly demanding in 2012/13, Obama take no action; Trump’s recent words and actions—silence/blame/disengagement, then a reversal, a base bombed by ships that can carry out a hundred air/sea/and land missiles simultaneously (both offensively and defensively)–all while China’s President was on American soil).
The bombing, the White House narrative goes, triggered by compassion for photographs–a compassion not evoked by earlier images of children’s bodies wrapped in shrouds—or of the dead children (one American girl, 8) his SEAL team-ordered raid left in a Yemeni village only weeks ago.
But Trump is President and has AEGIS-guided instincts for a photo opp affirming his weakness for false credit by exploiting circumstances. The two Arleigh Burke-class Guided Missile Destroyers are members of a class that make up one fifth of the US Navy. The precision of the Tomahawk missiles guided by lasers and infrared cameras proved the Navy doesn’t need billions in updates.
Like all things Trump, his outside decisions attract public glare. Bombs bursting on foreign soil by direct order are huge. But inside his decision is faulty logic, the lure of weak impulse and more typical flailing and failing: Trump builds events, not programs. After the flash, no one is available to plan, review or approve manpower, mission goals, or material support; teams are missing because the Defense Department has only a single filled seat.
Any business person knows the way to bungle a project is to fly solo (the Navy launched not one missile, but fifty-nine!). Trump insists in this singular way of failure as he basks temporarily in the bright lights. What he leaves behind in the shadows reflects his immoral void.
Imagine another country ordering a military attack on foreign soil during a Trump state visit! Imagine Trump being in a country for talks when his host suddenly launched a missile attack! Would any leader feel secure as an attack was carried out by their national host as the two nations met to discuss high level issues? Especially an attack that responded not to a direct threat but to a domestic civil war that had already resulted in 100,000’s killed?
Do countries launch attacks against foreign nations while hosting the heads of states of other nations? If you were Chinese officials, would you sleep soundly in Mar-a-Largo guest bedrooms, as your host conducted missile attacks on foreign soil? (This a breach of protocol that has been unmentioned and ignored. Its insensitivity is insanity. Under Trump, it is a part of America’s silent, rapid decline.)
Again, in the same shameless narcissism of anger and opportunity, Trump is using the deaths of innocents (as he has used those killed by community violence and undocumented residents), politicizing their grief for a shining moment. His nexus of vanity and violence supreme, his narcissism blinds him to the Americans who will die from lack of healthcare as he attacks a military base of a country whose refugees he insists on keeping out for at least two years, and he has said harbor the next bin Ladens.
A sense of national ugliness and cynicism, a faith in our worst impulses, a style as destructive to democratic institutions and values as his policy is the citizens and prosperity (prosperity replaced by greed, excess, and waste) is visible in the missile attack on Syrian’s base Trump ordered. Only the greater horror of Assad hides the thinly veiled core of Trump’s false and equally cruel beliefs.