Win McNamee/Getty Images. (Optional Musical Accompaniment To This Post)
The deadly airplane crash has garnered some attention, but almost nobody has mentioned the earthquake, the one that shook the ground near the nuclear plant. It was a Tuesday night drawn from the worst parts of the Bible in the land in which all the worst parts of the Bible once took place. Meanwhile, Iran fired off some ballistic missiles and, thank god, did little more than blow up some sand and give El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago the opportunity to take another grotesquely mendacious victory lap on the TV. The president*’s appearance on Wednesday noon was equal parts sniffing, slander, and stump speech. The worst part of it is something we’re all going to have to get used to hearing over the next year:
Iran’s hostilities substantially increased after the foolish Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2013, and they were given $150 billion dollars, not to mention $1.8 billion in cash. Instead of saying thank you to the United States, they chanted “Death to America.” In fact, they chanted “Death to America” the day the agreement was signed. Then Iran went on a terror spree funded by the money from the deal, and created hell in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq. The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration.
This is garish, reeking slander. And the way you know it it is garish, reeking slander is that Tailgunner Ted Cruz has picked up this trope and is running with it. Outside of Senator Huckleberry from South Carolina, no elected official has grown quite as comfortable in the sewer of Trumpian politics than the Tailgunner has.
For approximately the 900th time, the money involved in the JPCOA deal with Iran belonged to Iran in the first place. Some of it was from Iranian assets frozen after the Shah was overthrown, and some of it was the result of settlements. It was held, interest-free, by the United States for more than 40 years. In addition, almost all of the Iranian “hell” he cited was created since he tore up the nuclear deal. All of this is fairly easily debunked, but expect to see it promoted by all the usual suspects over the next year, as the president* prepares to run against Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and whoever gets the Democratic nomination—in that order.
(Also, the president* went out of his way to make the following point: “For far too long, all the way back to 1979, to be exact, nations have tolerated Iran’s destructive and destabilizing behavior in the Middle East and beyond.” Under the bus, Ronnie. You, too, Poppy.)
And this, I am sorry, may be the funniest thing he’s ever said:
The very defective JCPOA expires shortly anyway, and gives Iran a clear and quick path to nuclear breakout. [Ed. Note: Because you pulled out of the deal.] Iran must abandon its nuclear ambitions and end its support for terrorism. The time has come for the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and China to recognize this reality.
No. Stop it. You’re killing me. Nobody is listening to you, and certainly not the countries that spent 11 years crafting a deal you shattered like a kid throwing a rock through a window. Really. You are lot funnier than I gave you credit for being.
The obvious fact is that he didn’t know anything about anything last week, and he doesn’t know anything about anything now that he’s pushed the Middle East toward a general conflagration. The position of the United States in the region is just as tenuous now that Qasem Soleimani is dead as it was when he was alive. There is no policy. There are no policymakers.
(Apparently, the briefings given to members of Congress on Wednesday regarding the details of the killing of Soleimani were not a hit. Democratic Congressman Jerry Connolly called them “sophomoric.” And Mike Lee, the famous konztitooshunal skolar from Utah, said it was the worst briefing he’d ever been given.)
We have for the moment taken half a step back from the brink, not because the president* knows where he took the country—or, for that matter, where he is in any given moment—but at least partly because the Iranians contented themselves for the moment with blowing up a bunch of sand. I remain skeptical that their retaliation will continue to be so benign. The world seems still to be slouching toward the Plains of Megiddo, where this president* likely would attempt to bribe someone in order to build a hotel.
Oh, and did I mention the locusts?
He chases ’round this desert, ‘cause he thinks that’s where I’ll be/That’s why I love mankind…