President Donald “Blowback” Trump: From Iraq to America

2544451047_fb6b720baaNation Fellow Tom Engelhardt traces the rise of Donald J. Trump from the blowback caused by the illegal 2003 American invasion of Iraq. See “If You Want to Know Where Donald Trump Came From, Look to Iraq” (The Nation, 16 March 2017). While this might not be entire answer, it does help explain the fear factor that Trump so effectively exploits.

[In response to the 9/11 attacks]… the United States would set off a series of wars, conflicts, insurgencies, and burgeoning terror movements that would transform significant parts of the Greater Middle East into failed or failing states, and their cities and towns, startling numbers of them, into so much rubble.

Needless to say, that was not the dream! What George W. Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld had in mind was the “friendly” occupation of Iraq (and its oil), leading inexorably to the downfall next of Assad’s Syria and then of theocratic Iran.

Instead, a victory-less “permanent war” across the Greater Middle East came home to America, with the militarization of its police forces, the rise of the national security state, and the emergence of a terrorist adversary that even the world’s greatest military could not crush. All of this set the stage for con man extraordinaire Donald J. Trump and his winning electoral message of “America First,” which Engelhardt suggests actually means “a country walled off and walled in”.

Think of the road traveled from 2003 to 2017 as being from sole global superpower to potential super-pariah.

But it also means the “blowback wars” are only going to get worse, with a proposed $54-billion-dollar Pentagon budget increase and the “revving up [of] American military power in Yemen, Syria, and potentially Afghanistan” by the Trump administration.

For the full article, click on: “If You Want to Know Where Donald Trump Came From, Look to Iraq” (Tom Engelhardt, The Nation, 16 March 2017).


Photo credit: Flickr

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 Responses to “President Donald “Blowback” Trump: From Iraq to America”

  1. Ann CoffeyMarch 20, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

    “What George W. Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld had in mind was the “friendly” occupation of Iraq (and its oil), leading inexorably to the downfall next of Assad’s Syria and then of theocratic Iran.”

    A country with “friendly” intentions for Iraq and its neighbouring countries does not do this:

    Baghdad: The embassy compound is by far the largest the world has ever seen, at one and a half square miles, big enough for 94 football fields. It cost three-quarters of a billion dollars to build (some $150 million over budget). Inside its high walls, guard towers and machine-gun emplacements. lie not just the embassy itself, but also more than 20 other buildings, including residential quarters, a gym and swimming pool, commercial facilities, a power station and a water-treatment plant.

    Yet the embassy is turning out to be too small for the swelling retinue of gunmen, gardeners and other workers the State Department considers necessary to provide security and “life support” for the sizable group of diplomats, military advisers and other executive branch officials who will be taking shelter there once the troops withdraw from the country.

    The number of personnel under the authority of the U.S. ambassador to Iraq will increase from 8,000 to about 16,000 as the troop presence is drawn down, a State Department official told The Huffington Post that about 10% would be core programmatic staff, 10% management and aviation, 30% life support contractors, and 50% security.

    As part of that increase, the State Department will double its complement of security contractors — fielding a private army of over 5,000 to guard the embassy and other diplomatic outposts and protect personnel as they travel beyond the fortifications, the official said. Another 3,000 armed guards will protect Office of Security Cooperation personnel, who are responsible for sales and training related to an estimated $13 billion in pending U.S. arms sales, including tanks, squadrons of attack helicopters and 36 F-16s.”

    Imagine the annual operating costs. Does Trump really think that this is putting “America First”?

    In response to worldwide protests against its illegal attack on Iraq, the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld combo committed to “rebuilding” Iraq after they had finished vandalizing it, and all they did was appropriate Iraq’s oil and build a massive “embassy”.

    Who needs enemies when you have “friends” like the USA?

  2. Peggy MasonMarch 20, 2017 at 10:14 am #

    Please note that this is not posted as the definitive answer to the rise of Donald J. Trump! Tom Englehardt offers one perspective, one piece of the puzzle to consider.

  3. John TeeMarch 19, 2017 at 12:38 pm #

    For far more detail than I care to get into I suggest, a Montreal based site with thousands of articles by various experts, academics, daring journalists who never appear on CBC or mainstream American media. I anticipate that Donald will be replaced by more of the same old same old Establishment Elite, and the Empire will march on with Canada, a loyal vassal state, firmly in tow.

  4. Howard A. DoughtyMarch 19, 2017 at 9:34 am #

    For the sake of clarity, my post (immediately below) was intended as a “reply” to John Tee (further below). To make sense of it, John Tee’s should be read first.

  5. Howard A. DoughtyMarch 19, 2017 at 9:04 am #

    You mean Donald J. Trump is the “victim” here? Am I to believe that he was something other than what he appears to be now before the “shadow government” managed to “castrate” him?

    I respectfully demur. The current president may properly be regarded as a man of lethal arrogance, limitless ignorance and both profound ethical and intellectual failings (to say nothing of possible mental disorders of the sort found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual or the American Psychiatric Association).

    Moreover, his policies (such as they are) are plainly incoherent, illogical, ill-considered and inclined to drive the entire planet into irredeemable economic disrepair and ecological degradation.

    And, no doubt, he may be the worst judge of character and mental acuity in modern American history – hence his cabinet and other senior administrative choices.

    I would, however, like to know precisely (or even generally) what the alleged “shadow government” is and how it “forced [Mr. Trump] to accept advisors ensuring the cold war will only heat up.” I have witnessed nothing in his brief occupation of the Oval Office (except in week-ends) that leads me to believe that anything he has done is inconsistent with the positions he held and the promises he made during the campaign for the GOP nomination or for the presidency itself (i.e., he has been consistently incoherent).

    You are right to say that Ms. Clinton and the (admittedly) “establishment” Democratic Party were all aflutter over Russia, its activities in the Crimea and its alleged threat to eastern Ukraine and the Baltic republics and you are also correct to say that Mr. Trump had an affinity for Mr. Putin (and other “strongmen”) that might have betokened a future alliance of convenience between the USA and Russia. However, has Mr. Trump now turned upon his putative Russian allies? Is there a renewal of “wars and rumours of wars” in Tallinn, Riga and Kyiv that indicate that Mr. Trump has changed his mind about anything in the region? Does his attitude toward Ms. Merkel and the rest of the EU, for example, suggest a “new cold war” with Russia?

    As for the “shadow government,” if (as I must assume until instructed otherwise) it has something to do with the dozen or two much empowered American “security” and “intelligence” agencies – not least the CIA, FBI and NSA – then am I to assume the ongoing public hostility between them and the president is just a smoke screen to obscure the strings by which they are manipulating Puppet-Trump?

    Or, does the “shadow government” also include “Wall Street” and/or the far-famed military-industrial (to which I would add financial-commercial-ideological) complex? And, if so, please explain how anything Mr. Trump has advocated or implemented before and after his “victory” have been other than measures that ensure their ongoing influence on the American/global economy?

    You are correct to say that Ms. Clinton was (and remains) a stalwart of the “establishment.” You are also correct to say that Mr. Trump has been friendlier to Mr. Putin than Ms. Clinton had been or might have been had she won the Electoral College.

    I am confident, however, that Mr. Trump’s belligerence, bombast and bellicosity with regard to North Korea, China, Iran and so on are sufficient to keep the profit-seeking “warhawks” happy. Or, do you think that the proposed increase in military spending and the proportional decline in education, health and social investment has somehow been imposed on the “castrated” Mr. Trump and been not a range of spending and policy commitments that he’d been advocating all along?

  6. John TeeMarch 18, 2017 at 6:21 pm #

    The American people wanted change. Hillary, disregarding her crotch, was more of the same old same, old establishment elite, a confirmed warmonger totally loyal to Pentagon war hawks and Wall Street. Donald proposed detente with Russia, but has already been castrated by the shadow government and forced to accept advisors ensuring the cold war will only heat up.