“Get Over It”—NO!

By

Leonard Zwelling

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/17/opinion/trump-mcraven-syria-military.html

Admiral William H. McRaven (author of the above op-ed in the NY Times on October 18), is the former Chancellor of the University of Texas and the Navy Seal leader who planned and operationalized the successful raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. He has sacrificed much for his country. So has General James Mattis, the former Secretary of Defense under Donald Trump. Now, both men are basically saying that the current occupant of the Oval Office is a danger to the nation and to the American people. He’s a know-nothing and a push over who couldn’t negotiate his way out of a paper bag. He talks big and thinks small. In other words, he is an international bully that no one fears or even respects, certainly not our enemies in Damascus, Ankara, Tehran or Moscow.

Both of these distinguished military leaders have recently spoken up opposing Mr. Trump’s foreign policy and his recent removal of troops from Syria. Mr. Trump does not know more about national defense than his military leaders of whom these are two of the finest.

In the mean time, Mr. Trump’s Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney has basically admitted there was a quid pro quo involving the military aid to Ukraine in exchange for a public Ukrainian investigation of the Bidens. He did this at a news conference and told the press to “get over it.” Such a deal is illegal. Americans cannot take anything of value from foreigners in pursuit of their domestic political goals.

There is only one reasonable response to Mulvaney. No! We shall not get over this. Ever. History will deal with these men like Rick Perry and Mick Mulvaney who bend to the will of the American President no matter how wrong headed his decisions may be.

Mr. Trump and his toadies are counting on just that–us getting over it. The American people have an attention span of a tweet he believes and that gives the Trump men the ability to do what they want, even break the law, and get away with it. Fortunately there are still men in the country like Admiral McRaven and General Mattis who know better.

I am getting a fair amount of email telling me that this latest flap is nothing more than partisan jousting at Trump and that this is always the way business has been done. That is false. No American president has so blatantly put American foreign aid up for sale for assistance with his own domestic political agenda. As we all know by now, Trump is something new. He’s a reality TV star without public policy experience and without real success in business as his four bankruptcies attest to. He’s a fraud and it is time to get on with the necessary regardless of the outcome.

The House can stop the closed door hearings. First of all, the contents of the hearings leak out as the words tumble from the lips of the witnesses. Second, the American people deserve to hear what Congress is hearing and so do the rest of the members of the House. Third, we know enough because Mr. Mulvaney and Mr. Trump himself have confessed. They would, they did, take valuable aid from foreign powers in their pursuit of another term in the White House and held up aid if they did not get the cooperation of the blackmailed. That’s enough.

Impeach him. Force the House to vote and then the Senate to try him. The spectacle alone will shame even Trump. To quote himself, “he’s a loser.”

America rarely gets over its leaders completely, especially the bad ones. Every investigative journalist in the world is looking for the next Watergate (Nixon) and every downturn in the economy is measured against the Great Depression (Hoover). When bungles on the part of the man in the White House cost American blood and treasure in exchange for nothing (Vietnam/Johnson, Iraq/Bush 43), we don’t get over it.

America will never get over Donald Trump’s presidency. But I sure would like to start trying in 2021.

Leonard Zwelling