Trump among the warmongers

By Mark Luedtke

Since President Trump took office, deep state warmongers—military generals and spies—have steadily strengthened their stranglehold on his administration. In the last couple of weeks, they might have achieved a death grip.

Secretary of State Tillerson might have been the most reasonable member of Trump’s security team until Trump unceremoniously fired him and nominated CIA chief, Mike Pompeo, to replace him. On the one hand Pompeo is considered a trusted ally of Trump, but on the other hand his appointment as Secretary of State, although he’s yet to be confirmed, increases CIA control over the State Department.

Pompeo has a mixed record. He awarded the CIA’s ‘George Tenet’ Medal to then-Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Muhammad bin Nayef although an award named after Tenet sounds more like a condemnation than an honor. He also prevented Gina Haspel from having to testify about her role in torturing prisoners.

Pompeo took control of the CIA’s Counterintelligence Mission Center which had participated in building the phantom case about Trump colluding with Russia. Apparently, that work pleased Trump.

While Pompeo was a leading warmonger in Congress, he’s a political appointee. His allegiance is to Trump so he’s unlikely to go against his benefactor because he doesn’t want to get fired like his predecessor.

A scarier appointment was Trump’s nomination of Haspel to head the CIA.

In 2013 the Washington Post reported why Haspel, at the time the interim director of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, failed to get the job permanently. “[S]he faced opposition because of her extensive role in an interrogation program that critics have said relied on torture to get information from al-Qaeda captives after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. She had run a secret prison in Thailand where two detainees were subjected to waterboarding and other harsh techniques. She later helped order the destruction of videotapes of those interrogation sessions,” wrote Greg Miller.

Haspel was unnamed in the article because she was covert at the time. Her crimes were too great for then-CIA Director John Brennan, no saint himself, but neither the crime nor the cover-up matters in Trump’s CIA.

But that isn’t all she did. Glenn Greenwald notes, “The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture also detailed the central role she played in the particularly gruesome torture of detainee Abu Zubaydah.”

According to the report, “[Zubaydah] spent a total of 266 hours (11 days, 2 hours) in the large (coffin size) confinement box and 29 hours in a small confinement box, which had a width of 21 inches, a depth of 2.5 feet, and a height of 2.5 feet.”

While imprisoned, Zubaydah lost his left eye. Haspel’s supporters dispute she played a role in Zubaydah’s torture but not that she ran a torture site and covered it up. Her allegiance is to her fellow torturers.

The Senate report concluded no useful intelligence was obtained by torture. American hero-in-exile Edward Snowden observed, “Listen, you can defend torture, or you can defend the Constitution. Not both. The 8th Amendment explicitly forbids torture with all forms of cruel and unusual punishment. To defend torture is to attack the Constitution.”

Ron Paul makes a bigger point. “It matters less who fills the position of Secretary of State or CIA director when the real issue is that both federal agencies are routinely engaged in activities that are both unconstitutional and anti-American,” He wrote. “It is the current Executive Branch overreach that threatens our republic more than the individuals who fill positions in that Executive Branch.”

Our government is lawless. Its top agents are criminals. The US government which steals, imprisons, and kills Americans, is more dangerous to Americans than Russians, Chinese, or terrorists.

Possibly Trump’s most chilling appointment yet is cable TV’s favorite warmonger John Bolton as national security advisor. He thinks invading Iraq was a good idea. He advocates starting wars with North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela, pulling Ukraine into NATO, and engaging in cyber-warfare with Russia. You can’t make this stuff up.

But Michael Roseff sees the situation differently. “Trump does not want war with Iran, North Korea, Russia, or China,” he writes. “He wants deals. Trump is not your usual war/peace politician or president. He thinks in terms of deals that bring advantage
to his side.”

Some claim Trump’s bluster prompted North Korea into an historic meeting with South Korea which led to a proposed US-North Korea summit, frustrating warmongers.

Let’s hope Trump disappoints his surrounding warmongers because he is using them to leverage better deals.

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Mark Luedtke
Reach DCP freelance writer Mark Luedtke at MarkLuedtke@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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