Ever since Donald Trump winged into Colorado to speak to the 2019 class of the Air Force Academy, I’ve tried to put myself in the well-shone shoes of those cadets.
The man who spoke at their commissioning literally has their lives in his hands.
I wonder about those cadets because in the scant weeks since they became officers, “tensions” and murkily framed events have developed that could led us to war with Iran.
Any moment those pilots could be sent into battle based on the word of the least credible individual ever to hold his office.
Indeed, credibility is as alien to Trump as job-shadowing a Guatemalan refugee.
Lyndon Johnson had a “credibility gap.” Trump’s? A chasm? A canyon? Whatever the term, it’s so wide we’d need Carl Sagan to parse it. What is a light year in rhetorical terms?
Looking down at those Air Force cadets that May day was a face that has sailed a thousand lies – 10,796 as of June 7 according to Washington Post fact-checkers.
He’s not just a practiced prevaricator; he is the black hole of truth: a force of deceit so immense that the MAGA-netic pull swallows all light and sound.
He asserts that Iran is being provocative in a war-like way. It may be. But can we trust the narrative of events from the source on which so many Americans have come to understand is completely untrustworthy?
Back when Republicans tried to shoot holes in the testimony of former Trump fixer Michael Cohen – “a convicted liar” – a Quinnipiac Poll found that while 35 percent of respondents didn’t believe Cohen when he called his former boss a “racist,” “con man” and “cheat,” 50 percent said Cohen was more trustworthy than the guy he was fingering.
Yes, the guy with his finger on the button.
Like a host of conservatives – from John McCain and Mitt Romney to George Will and Michael Gerson – Jennifer Rubin, author of the “Right Turn” column for the Washington Post long ago turned on Trump.
Don’t expect Rubin to buy any claim Trump makes about the situation in the Middle East.
We have left behind, she writes, an era “in which the president and his administration generally tried to get things right, would not deliberately mislead and would voluntarily correct errors.”
Not from this president.
With the aid of Fox News, she writes, Republican leaders “continue to enable and echo lies for fear of being at odds with Trump and his cult followers.” That means you, Lindsey Graham.
Trump’s followers believed that an extenuated threat of tariffs caused Mexico to make 11th-hour concessions about how to handle the border. Reporting by the New York Times found that the arrangement had been in place for weeks while Trump milked the image of a strongman applying a vise to Mexico.
Now we have a situation in the Gulf of Oman made out to sound like Iran is aching for a battle. Remember, however, what happened in 1964 when what was actually U.S provocation in the Gulf of Tonkin resulted in a morass that took 58,220 American lives in Vietnam.
Speaking of a gulf: That was the width between what was real and what was advertised as pretext for invading Iraq under Bush-Cheney. How many times, and by how many players, will this nation be fooled into war?
A fool is in charge today. We find ourselves at a place where, should the situation truly merit a military response, he who would order it is less trustworthy than someone headed to prison for lying.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.