Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Tale of 3 Press Conferences

 

POTUS DIMEFILIf you watch and listen to three sets of statements and answers by our current administration, you will get an interesting picture of our actual current policy. The first is by President Trump, answering a reporter’s off-topic question when he signed two executive orders on transparency in federal guidance and enforcement (a serious push back on the growth of an unaccountable fourth branch of government in the administrative state). The second is a Pentagon briefing on the deployment of Patriot Air Defense/Anti Missile units and two Air Force fighter squadrons to Saudi Arabia, in which both this action and comments on Syria are interesting. The third is a White House press corps briefing by Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin.

President Trump has laid out three possible courses of action in the longstanding conflict between Turkey and those Kurds living in eastern Turkey and across the border in Syria. As has been explained repeatedly elsewhere, these are not the same Kurds abandoned by George H.W. Bush and now supported in northern Iraq by President Trump. These are different groups with different politics.

The Turks have never treated their Kurdish population well. In turn, those Kurds, in the context of the Cold War, understandably turned to Moscow, as any group that was going to get outside support was going to be compatible with Soviet communist doctrine. Given all that, we should not bite on the “dirty commie” line too hard, and should remember that J. Edgar Hoover was busy trying to run the same line on black and Jewish civil rights leaders, a number of whom did turn to seek support where they might find it. All of which is to say that there ain’t no good guys in the local cast of characters, and there is a long standing quarrel with blood on both sides.

So, then, caught between an actual NATO ally, citing our own designation of the PKK as a terrorist organization, and an effective partner force that is secular/ethno-nationalist rather than religiously motivated, President Trump ticked off these three options:

  • He could send in “a thousand troops” to confront the Turkish army and air force
  • He could “destroy Turkey’s economy” with sanctions (if they engaged in atrocities)
  • He could be the mediator between the two parties to seek a workable agreement that met both sides’ security concerns

President Trump dealt with the first possibility himself. Watch the President, listen to his words, and pay special attention to the two grown men behind him. They are fighting to keep their composure, to not cry on camera. Start at 55:12.

The relevant portion of the transcript, from the White House is included at the end of this post. The passage that hit adult men hard was:

The hardest thing I have to do is signing those letters. That’s the hardest thing I have to do. And each letter is different. We make each letter different. And last week, I signed of them for Afghanistan; one in Iraq; one in Syria, from two weeks ago. And sometimes I call the parents. Sometimes I see the parents. I go to Dover, when I can, but it’s — it’s so devastating for the parents that — you know. It’s so devastating when they bring that boy or young woman out of the back of those big, powerful planes in a coffin, and the parents are there.

You know, we have people that do that. That’s what they do. They — they work that. They accommodate everybody. That’s what they do. They an incredible job. And they said — I said, “The parents seemed to be okay.” I’ll get there early. “The parents seemed to be okay.” “Well, actually, sir, they aren’t.” “No, no. The way they’re talking. They’re really okay, aren’t they?” “Sir, you never know until the back of that massive cargo plane opens up.” And they walk down holding a coffin with four or five great soldiers on each side of it, representing our various forces. That you never know.

And then I see it. And I see people that were smiling, “Oh, Mr. President, thank you for being here. Thank you for being here.” And I think they’re doing great. And then, twenty minutes later, we’ll be outside when that big plane pulls up and that door comes down, and they are walking the coffin with their boy inside this coffin with an American flag over the top. And they’re walking that coffin down this ramp. And I’ve seen people that I thought were really incredible the way they were ta- — I didn’t even understood how they could take it so well — scream, like I’ve never seen anything before. Sometimes they’ll run to the coffin. They’ll break through military barriers. They’ll run to the coffin and jump on top of the coffin. Crying mothers and wives. Crying desperately.

Then there are those who did not die:

But I’ll tell you what: For me, it’s very hard when I see that. It’s very hard. It’s easy to talk tough. You know, tough guys. All of these tough guys. “Let’s keep fighting. Let’s keep fighting.” If they had to go to Walter Reed — where they do unbelievable work. I have to tell you, these doctors are unbelievable. You know, it’s easy to say, “Oh, they’re not the…” They’re the best in the world. I’ve never seen anything like it.

One young man, last week, had his nose rebuilt. And they said it was in a thousand pieces. And, I said, “So where were you hurt?” He said, “My face, sir, was almost obliterated.” I said, “You have a better face than I do.” (Laughter.) And he said, “Sir, I had a doctor who was unbelievable, and they put it together.” They said — he said “a thousand fragments.” Now, I don’t if that’s even possible. But a thousand fragments. And they put it together.

And his father, who was crying, came up to me and said, “You’re not going to believe this, but my son didn’t have a great-looking nose and now his nose is better.” (Laughter.) Okay? It’s an amazing thing.

That is just one man with his face completely reconstructed and his father crying, but trying to man up with a bit of a joke. If you are not deeply moved by President Trump’s description of what he has witnessed, you are a sociopath. Thankfully, our current president is not a sociopath. At the same time, he is determined to actually use the full set of tools in the national tool belt, as demonstrated by the next two short videos.

Consider these key portions of Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin‘s remarks:

Press Briefing by Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin
Issued on: October 11, 2019
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

1:46 P.M. EDT

SECRETARY MNUCHIN: Hello everybody. So, I just met with President Trump, and he has authorized and will be signing a new executive order giving the Treasury Department, in consultation with himself and Secretary Pompeo, very significant new sanctions authorities that can be targeted at any person associated with the government of Turkey, any portion of the government. This will be both primary sanctions and secondary sanctions that will be applicable.

The President is concerned about the ongoing military offensive and potential targeting of civilians, civilian infrastructure, ethnic or religious minorities. And also the President wants to make very clear: It is imperative that Turkey not allow even a single ISIS fighter to escape.

Again, I want to emphasize: At this point, we are not activating the sanctions. But, as the President has said, he will provide very significant authorities based upon the continuing efforts.

So he will be signing this. They will be active. We will be working in consultation with the Department of Defense and Department of State to moderating this very quickly. We are putting financial institutions on notice that they should be careful, and that there could be sanctions.

Again, there are no sanctions at this time, but this will be the broadest executive authorities delegated to us.

[…]

Q So far, Turkey has not been dissuaded by anything this administration has done or the President has said. What makes you confident that the announcement that you just made is going to change Turkey’s (inaudible)?

SECRETARY MNUCHIN: Well, I don’t — I don’t agree with your premise. I’m not going to comment on specific confidential discussions that have been going on on different levels. So, I don’t think that’s a good premise.

But, again, these are very powerful sanctions. We hope we don’t have to use them. But we can shut down the Turkish economy if we need to.

So, we have heard from the president directly, and we have heard from the man every financial institution in the world must pay attention to, by virtue of our economic dominance. Now listen to the civilian and military leaders in the Department of Defense [Secretary Esper and General Milley transcript here]:

First, the Department of Defense, with the whole administration, condemns Turkey’s actions but will not allow American personnel to be caught in the middle of actual fighting between a 70 year ally and a partner ethnic group. They note the conflict is long-standing, but caution about both loss of control of ISIS detainees and any harm to any American military personnel. They specified that the Turkish military has precise grid locations (map coordinates) of every U.S. military member in the relevant area.

Q: Mr. Secretary, some of your own forces say that you have abandoned the Syrian Kurds. These were your partners against ISIS. They are also asking for air support and a no-fly zone over the border. Will you provide that?

SEC. ESPER: We have not abandoned the Kurds. Let me be clear about that. We have not abandoned them. Nobody green-lighted this operation by Turkey — just the opposite. We pushed back very hard at all levels for the Turks not to commence this operation. But Lord knows they have opposed this relationship between the United States and the YPG since its infancy in 2014. The Turks have opposed it all along the way, and so we should not be surprised that they’ve finally acted this way.

We have tried, at least since I came into office two and a half months ago, week after week to set up the security mechanism in order to try to address Turkey’s legitimate security concerns with regard to the P — PKK, but clearly, they are very concerned about this, and have decided that they’ve reached a point where they could not accept it anymore, and decided to make this incursion, despite our — our efforts to stop them.

Q: Gen. Milley, will you continue to arm your Syrian Kurdish partners?

GEN. MILLEY: Right now, the policies of the United States is to continue with our counter-ISIS campaign, and we are continuing those operations, except in that one area of the incursion.

With respect to the SDZ that you mentioned, there is no SDZ, that I’m aware of, that allows us to conduct military operations in support of the Kurds against the Turks, a 70-year NATO ally.

STAFF: Barbara Starr?

Q: Gen. Milley, can I follow up on the point you were making about Turkish responsibility for a minute. Have you now given the Turks — either of you gentlemen — any kind of no-strike list, like, “Do not strike these targets. This is where our people are?” And to follow up, you had talked about repositioning some additional forces to ensure that U.S. forces are safe, but you didn’t indicate that they’ve gone into Syria. Can you tell us any more about what you are doing to try and protect U.S. forces in addition to the no-strike question?

GEN. MILLEY: So the no-strike — the — the Turkish military is fully aware, down to explicit grid coordinate detail, of the locations of U.S. forces, and — and we have been in coordination with them through the CAOC in CENTCOM, at various levels throughout CENTCOM and personally at my level. So all levels of the chain of command — me, McKenzie, everybody — is coordinating with the Turks to make sure that they know exactly where American forces are, and — and everyone has been told.

Q: Throughout — throughout Syria, not just (inaudible).

(CROSSTALK)

GEN. MILLEY: Throughout Syria and in the zones of incursion; and everyone is fully aware that we are the United States military. We retain the right of self-defense, and our soldier, sailors, airmen and Marines will defend themselves. That’s clear and it’s unambiguous with anybody.

Second, the Department of Defense has ordered the deployment of two fighter squadrons, associated support personnel, plus additional Patriot Air Defense and THAAD antimissile batteries. The Patriot batteries would be expected to deal with airplanes, presumably drones, and some low-performance missiles, while THAAD is a dedicated anti-ballistic-missile defense system.

Iran’s continued malign behavior is part of its larger campaign to destabilize the Middle East and disrupt the global economy. Iran’s attempts to use terror, intimidation and military force to advance its interests are inconsistent with international norms.

Today, I spoke with the Saudi minister of defense to discuss the status of Saudi Arabia’s defensive capabilities and our ongoing efforts to protect our partners from further Iranian aggression. Saudi Arabia is a long-standing security partner in the Middle East, and has asked for additional support to supplement their own defenses and defend the international rules-based order.

In response to continued threats in the region, I’ve ordered the deployment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of two additional fighter squadrons and supporting personnel, along with additional Patriot and THAAD [terminal high altitude area defense] air and missile defense batteries. Taken together with other deployments I’ve extended or authorized within the last month, this involves about 3,000 United States forces. In fact, in response to Iranian provocation since May, the U.S. has deployed in array of additional capabilities to the region, including airborne early warning aircraft squadrons, maritime patrol aircraft squadrons, Patriot air and missile defense batteries, B-52 bombers, a carrier strike group, amphibious transport dock, unmanned aircraft, and engineering and support personnel. This has involved the deployment of about 14,000 additional U.S. forces to the region. The U.S. military has on alert additional Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force units to quickly provide increased capability in the region, if necessary.

Far from bringing all the troops home from everywhere, the president has authorized unpredictable deployments where they can create a sudden effect in support of the National Security Strategy:

This deployment of troops is one example of how we will dynamically manage our force posture to align with the national priorities while meeting the challenges of today’s very complex security environment. We will soon employ naval forces, brigade combat teams, bombers and other military capabilities in a similarly unpredictable fashion to place the right force in the right location at the right time.

This used to be called gunboat diplomacy or “showing the flag,” meaning you floated warships off a coast flying our national flag, while diplomats talked with the local government. The threatened deployments would take away an adversary’s ability to effectively lash out militarily as they are being badly hurt economically. Consider that China just abandoned Iran in a $5 billion oil deal. Iran losing such visible support from China matters, and may be part of the background consideration that Iran is considering rolling the dice. This likely was part of the analysis behind the announced deployments.

Taken together, President Trump takes his campaign promises seriously, has a real core of basic moral decency, will not have America trifled with, and prefers economic and diplomatic efforts in the lead, backed by the strongest military in the world. So, if the Turkish leader directs his military to pillage, there will be direct economic consequences for the current leadership in Turkey. If the Iranian theocracy opts for more military action, they will be foiled and face the threat of significant, effective counter-strikes. Don’t mess with John Wick’s dog and don’t hurt little children or U.S. military personnel. If that last point is not clear, I suggest you scroll to the start of the president’s remarks above, and watch his reaction to a small child making little kid noises with his mom and dad in the White House, think back to his words after a poison gas attack killed little children, then skip forward to him talking about coffins and Purple Hearts.


Remarks by President Trump at Signing of Executive Orders on Transparency in Federal Guidance and Enforcement
[Here are the highlights of the actual purpose of the event.]

Today, we take bold, new action to protect Americans from out-of-control bureaucracy and stop regulators from imposing secret rules and hidden penalties on the American people.

[…]

For many decades, federal agencies have been issuing thousands of pages of so-called “guidance” documents — a pernicious kind of regulation imposed by unaccountable bureaucrats in the form of commentary on how rules should be interpreted.

All too often, guidance documents are a backdoor for regulators to effectively change the laws and vastly expand their scope and reach. Guidance has frequently been used to subject U.S. citizens and businesses to arbitrary and sometimes abusive enforcement actions. Ha! It sounds like they’re talking about me. (Laughter.) I think they’re talking about me. I might have a conflict in signing this deal.

Because of these materials and the fact that these materials are too often hidden and hard to find, many Americans learn of the rules only when federal agents come knocking on the door.

This regulatory overreach gravely undermines our constitutional system of government. Unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats must not be able to operate outside of the democratic system of government — wow — imposing their own private agenda on our citizens. A permanent federal bureaucracy cannot become a fourth branch of government, unanswerable to American voters. In America, the people must always reign.

[Here is the relevant portion of President Trump’s remarks regarding Syria and the Middle East]

Q Are you going to take any action regarding the Turkish attacks in Northern Syria? And have the Kurds, as Senator Graham said, been shamelessly abandoned?

THE PRESIDENT: So, we have no soldiers in the area. We’ve been talking to Turkey for three years. They’ve been wanting to do this for many years, as you know. They’ve been fighting each other for centuries. They’ve been fighting each other for — hundreds of years, this has been going on.

We were put into this battle — interjected. It was supposed to be a 30 — a 30-day period. And we’ve been there for many, many years. And it’s time to get out. We’re speaking to both sides. We’ve told President Erdoğan how we feel. But we are speaking to both sides, and we’re seeing what can be made out of a situation.

But we have no soldiers in the area, you know. We’re getting out of the endless wars. We have to do it. And eventually somebody was going to have to make the decision. And, frankly, we’re getting a lot of praise from that decision. We — people are saying, “Got to sometime bring our people back home.”

We’re really serving and we were serving as a police force. We had defeated ISIS. We defeated the caliphate, 100 percent. Erdoğan and the existing groups of people, including Kurds — but you have the PKK, which is a natural enemy with Turkey, and likewise and opposite, they’ve been fighting, again, for many, many years. They have — they’re bitter enemies; have been always. Probably, possibly always will be.

[…]

Q In a statement this morning, you cautioned Erdoğan. Since then, it appears as though there have been casualties on the Kurdish side. Are you concerned about escalation? And are you concerned that Erdoğan will try to wipe out the Kurds?

THE PRESIDENT: I will wipe out his economy if that happens. I’ve already done it once, with Pastor Brunson. I’m sure that he — I hope that he will act rationally. You do have to understand: They’ve been fighting each other for many, many decades. Actually, for centuries, they’ve been fighting each other. And it was time for the Americans — we did a great job.

[…]

Now you have different factions in there. Again, you have PKK — that’s a different faction. And they worked with us. It’s a rough group, but they worked with us. But we’ve spent a tremendous — and they’re fighting for their lands. So when you say, “They’re fighting with us” — yes, but they’re fighting for their land.

Now, if we go on the theory that some of the folks in Washington go by — who all do very well with the military-industrial complex. I mean, you know, the military-industrial complex. Take a look at Dwight Eisenhower; he had it figured right many years ago. It’s got tremendous power. They like fighting. They make a lot of money when they fight.

But it was time to bring our soldiers back home. So I see — and I will tell you: The hardest thing I have to do, by far, much harder than the witch hunt, is signing letters to parents of soldiers that have been killed. And it’s not only that — in areas where there’s not a lot of upside, if there’s any upside at all, and in many cases, it’s only downside.

And especially when that soldier was killed in a Blue-on-Green attack. You know what that is, right? That’s where a solider being trained or whatever turns his gun on an American solider. “Here, son. Take your gun. You know how to use it.”
And he takes the gun and he turns it. And he shoots one — we have many of them in Afghanistan — in particular, in Afghanistan.

The hardest thing I have to do is signing those letters. That’s the hardest thing I have to do. And each letter is different. We make each letter different. And last week, I signed of them for Afghanistan; one in Iraq; one in Syria, from two weeks ago. And sometimes I call the parents. Sometimes I see the parents. I go to Dover, when I can, but it’s — it’s so devastating for the parents that — you know. It’s so devastating when they bring that boy or young woman out of the back of those big, powerful planes in a coffin, and the parents are there.

You know, we have people that do that. That’s what they do. They — they work that. They accommodate everybody. That’s what they do. They an incredible job. And they said — I said, “The parents seemed to be okay.” I’ll get there early. “The parents seemed to be okay.” “Well, actually, sir, they aren’t.” “No, no. The way they’re talking. They’re really okay, aren’t they?” “Sir, you never know until the back of that massive cargo plane opens up.” And they walk down holding a coffin with four or five great soldiers on each side of it, representing our various forces. That you never know.

And then I see it. And I see people that were smiling, “Oh, Mr. President, thank you for being here. Thank you for being here.” And I think they’re doing great. And then, twenty minutes later, we’ll be outside when that big plane pulls up and that door comes down, and they are walking the coffin with their boy inside this coffin with an American flag over the top. And they’re walking that coffin down this ramp. And I’ve seen people that I thought were really incredible the way they were ta- — I didn’t even understood how they could take it so well — scream, like I’ve never seen anything before. Sometimes they’ll run to the coffin. They’ll break through military barriers. They’ll run to the coffin and jump on top of the coffin. Crying mothers and wives. Crying desperately.

And this is on these endless wars that just never stop. And there’s a time and there’s a place, but it’s time to stop.

And just to finish, last Friday, I went to Walter Reed. And I gave out five Purple Hearts to incredible young men — in this case, all men. And they took a beating. Beautiful people. They took a beating. One couldn’t be there because the beating was so great that he was at a totally different part of the world. He lost a leg. He lost an arm. Ryan. He had tremendous damage, beyond even what these young folks went through.

But I’ll tell you what: For me, it’s very hard when I see that. It’s very hard. It’s easy to talk tough. You know, tough guys. All of these tough guys. “Let’s keep fighting. Let’s keep fighting.” If they had to go to Walter Reed — where they do unbelievable work. I have to tell you, these doctors are unbelievable. You know, it’s easy to say, “Oh, they’re not the…” They’re the best in the world. I’ve never seen anything like it.

One young man, last week, had his nose rebuilt. And they said it was in a thousand pieces. And, I said, “So where were you hurt?” He said, “My face, sir, was almost obliterated.” I said, “You have a better face than I do.” (Laughter.) And he said, “Sir, I had a doctor who was unbelievable, and they put it together.” They said — he said “a thousand fragments.” Now, I don’t if that’s even possible. But a thousand fragments. And they put it together.

And his father, who was crying, came up to me and said, “You’re not going to believe this, but my son didn’t have a great-looking nose and now his nose is better.” (Laughter.) Okay? It’s an amazing thing.

But when you see these — and the Purple Hearts — you see this kind of thing — and I see a lot of it at Walter Reed. And, again, the job those doctors and the people do at Walter Reed, it’s something to be commended.

Thank you all very much. Thank you. (Applause.)

END

Published in Foreign Policy
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 20 comments.

  1. RightAngles Member

    A great presentation, and I agree.

    • #1
    • October 11, 2019, at 4:54 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  2. EODmom Coolidge

    Thank you for putting this together. Especially the first part. The President’s description of how families respond to their first view of the return of their beloved child/husband/daughter is so accurate it makes me weep. No matter how much you want what your child wants, that moment is not what you signed up for, but it’s what you will live with the rest of your life. It had damned well be for something vital.

    • #2
    • October 11, 2019, at 6:03 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  3. Gossamer Cat Coolidge

    EODmom (View Comment):
    Thank you for putting this together. Especially the first part. The President’s description of how families respond to their first view of the return of their beloved child/husband/daughter is so accurate it makes me weep.

    I don’t think I’ve heard another President speak so bluntly about this part of the job. I know that Lincoln felt it very deeply and had wounded soldiers all around him outside his Washington DC home. 

    • #3
    • October 11, 2019, at 6:33 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  4. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    EODmom (View Comment):
    Thank you for putting this together. Especially the first part. The President’s description of how families respond to their first view of the return of their beloved child/husband/daughter is so accurate it makes me weep.

    I don’t think I’ve heard another President speak so bluntly about this part of the job. I know that Lincoln felt it very deeply and had wounded soldiers all around him outside his Washington DC home.

    I thought of Lincoln and his letters to parents and widows.

    • #4
    • October 11, 2019, at 6:46 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  5. RightAngles Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    EODmom (View Comment):
    Thank you for putting this together. Especially the first part. The President’s description of how families respond to their first view of the return of their beloved child/husband/daughter is so accurate it makes me weep.

    I don’t think I’ve heard another President speak so bluntly about this part of the job. I know that Lincoln felt it very deeply and had wounded soldiers all around him outside his Washington DC home.

    I thought of Lincoln and his letters to parents and widows.

    I was so impressed when Trump said he writes each letter individually so that if the moms are all together at some point, they won’t all have the same cookie-cutter form letter.

    • #5
    • October 11, 2019, at 6:54 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  6. Boss Mongo Member

    Good (great) press conference. Full disclosure: from about 55:00 on, I was just straight up weeping.

    • #6
    • October 11, 2019, at 6:57 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  7. Franco Member

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Good (great) press conference. Full disclosure: from about 55:00 on, I was just straight up weeping.

    Yeah, it was moving.

    Us civilians have to do more than just say, “ thank you for your service” which I suppose is nice to hear but it’s gotta get old. We have to use our military judiciously for a reason. That’s where us civilians can help, as voters and supporters of, in this case, Trump who seems to believe the same. Bringing this issue home is how pathetic, hypocritical and traitorous politicians have been on defending our border. They told us the war in Afghanistan has something to do with keeping Americans safe from terror. 19 years later they’re still agonizing over the prospect of leaving. But terrorists can walk across our southern border -and probably have. They don’t seem to mind when our citizens get raped and killed by foreign criminals who shouldn’t be here either. And they are worried about what will happen to the freakin Kurds?!!

    I pay taxes, get fined, ID’d, insulted, and get preached to constantly that I’m supposed to welcome people who don’t care one bit about this country, don’t know our values and can’t even read, or wouldn’t bother to read, our Constitution. 

    That, and this whole Bill Kristol JohnMcCain wing who casually want to send forces around the world anytime there’s a conflict. And as much as these types praise our soldiers, they obviously have contempt for their parents. Most soldiers come from humble backgrounds. It’s not like upper middle class families are providing large numbers of volunteers. They are the group that has benefited from our glorious new global economy, while the class from which our soldiers mainly come from are called wacko birds and whose voices are ignored and derided.

    These global elites will have to fight their own wars from now on as far as I’m concerned.

    • #7
    • October 11, 2019, at 7:40 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  8. Tedley Member

    Thanks, this is excellent! Loved the comments about the letters. He’s more human than nearly everyone on the left gives him credit for.

    I’m also glad to see that he hasn’t forgotten about getting the bureaucracy under control. The first part of his agenda after reelection should be to start downsizing the bureaucracy and narrowing their activities down to whatever the states cannot do, with subsequently unneeded buildings being sold off. This would include greatly decreased funding for contract support and elimination of their enforcement units. Am I dreaming?

    • #8
    • October 12, 2019, at 5:27 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  9. JoelB Member

    Posts like this -the other side of the story as Paul Harvey used to say – are what I originally came to Ricochet for.

    • #9
    • October 12, 2019, at 8:19 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  10. cdor Member

    Thank you @cliffordbrown for this most excellent presentation/explanation of the administration’s current actions in Syria, and beyond. By presenting the actual video, and then the transcripts of the video, along with your personal analysis, our friends here at Ricochet have real factual material with which to make up our own minds. 

    None of us are perfect. This attitude by so many, cultivated by the media and power-hungry, insidious, and, quite frankly, infantile, politicians that President Donald Trump is some dictator, tyrant, Hitler type of personality is disgusting. Nobody that believes he or she could make a good POTUS and should be elected by the people of this great country, could ever be void of egotism. PDJT is a case in point. But he has always worked harder than anyone else. He has never behaved as if the trust and power were just owed to him by “we the people”. He has earned our support. 

    • #10
    • October 12, 2019, at 8:52 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  11. Unsk Member

    Yeoman’s work Cliff. Great Presentation. 

    • #11
    • October 12, 2019, at 9:15 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  12. EODmom Coolidge

    The President’s remarks here are another example of why so many Americans relate to him: he speaks forthrightly and directly about things that matter to them – their children and their family – in words that are clear and unambiguous. His expressions of emotion are relevant, explicit and sincere and people understand them. He’s not filling the air with word salad. 

    • #12
    • October 12, 2019, at 11:00 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  13. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Tedley (View Comment):

    Thanks, this is excellent! Loved the comments about the letters. He’s more human than nearly everyone on the left gives him credit for.

    I’m also glad to see that he hasn’t forgotten about getting the bureaucracy under control. The first part of his agenda after reelection should be to start downsizing the bureaucracy and narrowing their activities down to whatever the states cannot do, with subsequently unneeded buildings being sold off. This would include greatly decreased funding for contract support and elimination of their enforcement units. Am I dreaming?

    Dream the impossible dream! Or as Linda Hamilton carved in the picnic table: “No Fate.”

    • #13
    • October 12, 2019, at 4:37 PM PST
    • 1 like
  14. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Posts like this -the other side of the story as Paul Harvey used to say – are what I originally came to Ricochet for.

    Likewise. Thanks.

    • #14
    • October 12, 2019, at 4:40 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  15. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    cdor (View Comment):
    Nobody that believes he or she could make a good POTUS and should be elected by the people of this great country, could ever be void of egotism. PDJT is a case in point. But he has always worked harder than anyone else. He has never behaved as if the trust and power were just owed to him by “we the people”. He has earned our support. 

    An African-American man, VFW member from the past 18 years of fighting, commented to me, on seeing a bit of the Minneapolis rally on TV, “I respect him, he is totally gangster. I probably disagree with 98 percent of his ideas, but I respect him for not backing down.” He then brought up the same idea of a massive, unshakable ego as central to everyone who seeks and gains the presidency.

    • #15
    • October 12, 2019, at 4:45 PM PST
    • 1 like
  16. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    EODmom (View Comment):
    His expressions of emotion are relevant, explicit and sincere and people understand them. He’s not filling the air with word salad. 

    If he fills the days and air with more of this between now and the 2020 election, he greatly increases his odds of winning, bigly.

    • #16
    • October 12, 2019, at 4:47 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  17. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Since these press conferences, there has been a near miss of U.S. Special Forces soldiers. The hostile take is from Newsweek. The Department of Defense statement, on the record, gives us the facts we know from the U.S. side.

    Of course, the facts of this situation, even taken from the Newsweek post, contradict the “abandoned” narrative. That is, U.S. forces were in an observation post within visual distance of the Turkish border, and close to some Kurdish positions, from which there may have been mortar, light artillery fire, across the border into Turkey. 

    It is a long border, with lots of points of contact, compared to the small, shallow border section the past days’ actions and chatter concerned.

    It is true both that being within a few hundred meters of an exploding artillery shell is not risk free and that the carefully worded DoD report, suggests either just one shell or one volley of shells, since it was “explosion,” not “explosions.” Missing from the description is whether the U.S. and Turkish forces were in direct radio contact locally. I would guess not, from the circumstances. 

    The danger of starting to shoot, especially of lobbing shells and bombs, is that accidents can also happen, sometimes friendly forces get caught. Turkish commanders really need to think through what they are doing to control their fires.

    • #17
    • October 12, 2019, at 6:07 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  18. EODmom Coolidge

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    EODmom (View Comment):
    His expressions of emotion are relevant, explicit and sincere and people understand them. He’s not filling the air with word salad.

    If he fills the days and air with more of this between now and the 2020 election, he greatly increases his odds of winning, bigly.

    Can you even imagine Obama 1. Campaigning for a dem candidate for governor in a not-cool state and 2. Inviting a team of 12 year olds onto his private plane to fly with him and 3. Behave – in a genuine way – as if he was enjoying it? This President does it comfortably and unselfconsciously. He’s proud that he gets to ride in that plane and do something for those Little League winning kids. 

    • #18
    • October 12, 2019, at 7:36 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  19. WillowSpring Member

    Thank you @cliffordbrown for these periodic updates. Finding one when I open up Ricochet is like finding an unexpected present when I wake up in the morning.

    Trump’s describing the letters and going to Dover and Walter Reed did make me think of Lincoln’s anguish over killed and wounded soldiers. It also brought to mind Obama and Hillary ‘welcoming’ home the Benghazi victims and then lying directly to the parents about the true cause of their son’s death.

    Such a contrast.

    • #19
    • October 13, 2019, at 8:05 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  20. James Gawron Thatcher

    Cliff,

    First, good post. Second, I’ve found another interesting article on Turkey’s internal politics that may well be motivating Erdogan’s nasty behavior.

    Domestic politics, Idlib sway timing of Turkey’s Syrian operation

    For Erdogan, Operation Peace Spring offers also an opportunity to stop or contain the unraveling within his party. Ali Babacan, the AKP’s former economy czar who has already quit the party, is expected to create a new party and join the opposition ranks by the end of the year. Ahmet Davutoglu — the former premier and foreign minister who, together with Erdogan, designed and implemented the failed policies that spawned the grave “Syria crisis” that Turkey is experiencing today, both domestically and in its foreign policy — is gearing up to get ahead of Babacan and announce his own party in November. These political dynamics have already triggered a spate of resignations from the AKP, and the formal establishment of the new parties could further accelerate the unraveling. Hence, the government will seek to capitalize on Operation Peace Spring to curb the centrifugal forces pressuring the AKP since its defeats in the local polls. The intensive employment of a nationalist narrative, in which the operation is depicted as a struggle of “national survival” against terrorism and quitting the AKP is equated to treason, would not be a surprise.

    The article confirms Erdogan’s weakness in domestic economics and his political coalition is cracking. He would be crazy to turn his “safe zone” incursion (30km deep into Syria) into a blood bath making the Kurds who are already retreating take severe casualties.

    We shall see just how crazy he is.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #20
    • October 13, 2019, at 11:16 AM PST
    • 3 likes