President Trump declared victory over ISIS in Syria on Dec. 19 and ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the war-torn region, as well as a substantial reduction in forces deployed in Afghanistan – winding down our 17-year entanglement in the “graveyard of empires.”
The next day, Defense Secretary James Mattis tendered his resignation, citing President Trump’s “right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours.” Mattis prefaced that acknowledgment of the president’s prerogative, highlighting a philosophical commonality that Mattis apparently no longer felt comfortable acting upon: “Like you, I have said from the beginning that the armed forces of the United States should not be the policeman of the world. Instead, we must use all tools of American power to provide for the common defense, including providing effective leadership to our alliances.”
There’s an interesting contradiction in the policy views articulated in the Mattis resignation. What changed? President Trump has been consistent in his desire to implement a sweeping “America First” strategy across all sectors of his administration. He is on-record as Citizen Trump, as early as 2012, calling for our withdrawal from Afghanistan, an end to wasteful military spending and endangering of U.S. forces, and the investment of taxpayer dollars back into rebuilding America. No surprise, then; this decision reflects consistency of messaging and action. Promises made, promises kept.
The news media’s headlines articulated the latest flare-up of their near-chronic psychoses — the political version of what rocker Mick Jagger meant when he sang, “Here it comes, here it comes … Here comes your 19th nervous breakdown.”
Consider some of those headlines:
- “Mattis Exit Stirs World of Worries From Brussels to Beijing,” (Bloomberg);
- “ ‘A morning of alarm’: Mattis departure sends shock waves abroad,” (Washington Post);
- “Jim Mattis, Defense Secretary, Resigns in Rebuke of Trump’s Worldview,” (New York Times);
- “The Last Grown-up is Gone,” (Slate);
- “Lawmakers Sound Bipartisan Alarm After Resignation By Defense Secretary Jim Mattis,” (NPR);
- “James Mattis resignation over Trump foreign policies sparks panic: ‘I’m legitimately frightened’,” (The Independent);
“Jim Mattis’ Resignation Has Conservatives Admitting It’s ‘Time To Panic’ About Trump,” (Huffington Post).
There are more, but you get the point.
How many times can the news media falsely and hysterically sound the apocalypse alarm?
Besides being 100 percent wrong on the election of Donald Trump in 2016, their fear-mongering predictions of doom and condemnation have been wrong on any number of other Trump policies, initiatives and personnel moves. Those include last year’s tax cuts, eliminating the ObamaCare individual mandate, North Korea, moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the falsely named “Muslim travel ban,” employment and manufacturing increases, Department of Veterans Affairs reform, NATO’s financial accountability, two Supreme Court justices, and repudiation of the Iran nuclear “deal.”
Likewise, White House and cabinet personnel moves were supposed to bring about the end of the republic: Priebus, Tillerson, McMaster, Cohn, McGahn, Sessions, Kelly, Haley – and, now, Mattis.
Well, the country is doing just fine, thank you. We’ve survived and prospered. No one is truly “irreplaceable.” That notion might bruise D.C. egos and constrain professional biographers, but it’s true.
The larger question for members of the news media is, where do they go to get back their credibility? Three straight years of humiliation and the loss of even the thinnest veneers of impartiality have left their reputations and code of ethics in tatters. Perhaps it is time to get back into therapy and onto some prescribed meds?
Despising the success of someone you loathe is as poisonous to the mind and soul as the schadenfreude of reveling in their defeat. Those afflicted can be consumed with it. It’s the stuff nervous breakdowns are made of … or, as that Rolling Stones song says, “Here it comes, here it comes … ”