The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag: isis

Leaving Afghanistan Shows Wisdom, Not Weakness

The suicide bombing that killed 13 U.S. service members and at least 169 Afghans was an atrocity that evoked horror in Americans of every political persuasion. But among those who want to continue the war, the loss was taken as proof that the U.S. should have persisted in a mission that had previously claimed the lives of more than 2,400 Americans.

Had we been willing to go on spilling American blood to stay in Afghanistan, we would not have had to spill blood leaving it. The logic is peculiar.

But the hawks always find a way to justify endless war. They can't very well pretend that we could win in Afghanistan, now or ever. So they find boundless reasons to criticize the manner of our withdrawal, which was bound to be a messy, dangerous process.

They also resort to hollow cliches. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused the administration of "weakness." Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), asserted that "China and Russia will look to capitalize on Biden's weakness." Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass said the outcome "will reinforce questions about U.S. reliability."

Some of our European allies joined the chorus. A Conservative parliamentary leader in Britain said the withdrawal is "the biggest foreign policy disaster since Suez" — as though the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were not gargantuan catastrophes.

Carping about alleged displays of weakness and loss of credibility is the familiar fallback of those trying to sustain a pointless military undertaking. They insist that ending it will have harmful effects on how others perceive us — a claim so vaporous it is impossible to disprove.

Their logic is that if we do something stupid, we have to keep doing it no matter what, because, you know, only weak people repent of their stupidity.

But if committing 20 years — as well as nearly 25,000 American casualties and more than $2 trillion — didn't persuade other governments of our resolve and staying power, it's hard to believe that Year 21 would be a game-changer. Foreigners might instead marvel at our willingness to lavish so much for so long on a mission that did little or nothing to enhance our security. They could deduce that when genuine U.S. interests are at stake, the sky is the limit on what we'd be willing to do.

Biden has shown a dedication to strengthening our alliances that his predecessor did not. President Donald Trump showed much fonder feelings for Russian President Vladimir Putin than for German Chancellor Angela Merkel or French President Emmanuel Macron.

Trump, in fact, bitterly resented our support of NATO. He even raised the possibility of refusing to honor our obligation, under Article 5 of the alliance treaty, to come to the defense of any member of the alliance who was attacked. Privately, he repeatedly expressed his desire to pull out of NATO.

Biden, by contrast, proudly wore a NATO lapel pin to a summit with European leaders in Brussels and declared: "Article 5 we take as a sacred obligation. I want NATO to know America is there." His principal difference with Merkel and Macron at that meeting lay in his desire to take a tougher line against China.

History offers additional evidence that ending a foolish, costly war will not degrade our international standing. Hawkish types said our 1973 withdrawal from Vietnam would speed the march of communism throughout the world. But it somehow failed to prevent the collapse of the Soviet Union, the liberation of Eastern Europe, or the capitalist transformation of China.

Our adversaries have good reason not to test the proposition that the Biden administration is weak. Our military spending, after all, amounts to more than that of the next 11 countries combined. Our Navy has a dominant worldwide reach that no other country can come remotely close to matching.

Our ground forces have decades of combat experience that Russian and Chinese troops lack. Our peerless air power is a deterrent to adversaries from Tehran to Pyongyang.

Ending our involvement in Afghanistan doesn't weaken our posture against our adversaries. It strengthens it, by letting us direct our resources and attention to matters that directly implicate our national security. Biden, for better or worse, is not presiding over a retreat from our role in the world — merely a sensible reshaping of it.

Thursday's bombing was a disaster. But staying in Afghanistan would only have guaranteed more like it.

Follow Steve Chapman on Twitter @SteveChapman13 or at https://www.facebook.com/stevechapman13. To find out more about Steve Chapman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com

For Republicans, Afghanistan Is Merely Another Way To Damage Biden

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

On Thursday, President Joe Biden addressed the nation after an explosion outside of Hamid Karzai International Airport took the lives of 13 American service members. In that speech, Biden sent condolences to the families of those lost, promised to track down the terrorists behind the attack, reaffirmed his commitment to carry on with the evacuation in Afghanistan, praised the sacrifice and dedication of the all-volunteer military, took full responsibility for his decisions, and doubled-down on bringing the 20-year conflict to a close.

In response, Republicans made it clear that they have a strategy of their own. That strategy won't get one more person out of Afghanistan. It won't save the lives of a single service member. It's not concerned with finding the ISIS-K terrorists behind the explosion. It isn't concerned with taking any responsibility. It most certainly doesn't want the war to end. Nope. The Republican plan for Afghanistan is blindingly simple: With the help of the media, use it to damage Joe Biden.

As CNN reports, the only thing bothering Republicans about Afghanistan is a divide over just how they can leverage the death of American service members as political fodder.

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan sent 800 U.S. Marines into Lebanon to help push leftist Palestinians out of the country and protect gains made by the Christian Phalange militia in a long-running civil war. Afterward, a Marine was killed by a bomb, snipers killed several more Marines, 63 people were killed when a suicide driver cruised an explosive-laden van into the U.S. embassy, and 241 service members were killed when another terrorist drove a sophisticated truck bomb into the central Marine barracks. It was the most significant single-day number of American Marines lost since the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Post-bombing reports showed that the Marines had not been allowed to maintain a secure perimeter for pollical reasons. Still, Reagan went in front of the nation and vowed that the Marines would stay until the mission was complete. Except they didn't. After four months of no progress, Reagan pulled the Marines out. The identities of the terrorists who drove a van into the U.S. embassy and the terrorists who drove a truck into the Marine barracks were never established. It was never clear where they came from or what group they supported.

Following this, Reagan was reelected by a record margin in November 1984. But that, of course, was a different time. Also, Reagan managed to squeeze a whole second war into the time between pulling out the Marines and Election Day. And in that second little war—which even Margaret Thatcher thought was ridiculous—only 20 Marines got killed. Reagan ran on these examples of his willingness to expend American lives.

Currently, there's a civil war in the Republican Party between those who want to impeach Joe Biden (or call on him to resign right now ) and those who are willing to wait until Republicans gain an expected House majority in the 2022 election.

Few things could illustrate the total lack of concern that Republicans hold for the actual situation in Afghanistan better than a press briefing McCarthy held on Friday morning. As NBC News reporter Jake Sherman reported, McCarthy didn't bother with checking to see if he had a coherent statement concerning what was actually happening. Instead, the Republican leader called for every troop to come out of Afghanistan while simultaneously insisting that Bagram Airbase be reoccupied. Then he said that America should keep some troops in Afghanistan, but we shouldn't be negotiating with the Taliban. And when it was pointed out that Trump negotiated with the Taliban, McCarthy just moved on to debate the best time to impeach Biden. McCarthy doesn't have a position on that, either, because McCarthy's position is never more than what the crowd is calling for at that exact second.

When it comes to developing an actual proposal on what to do in Afghanistan, Republicans have one clear position: Why?

Why should they? Why bother when, as Huff Post pointed out on Thursday, Republicans can simultaneously make calls for actions that would require Biden to reinvade the entire country, and at the same time, criticize him for not getting every single person out of the nation without a scratch. The media won't challenge the lack of reason or consistency. Why do anything more? As long as Republicans can see that networks will gladly put them on the air and echo their statements about "chaos" and "failure," having an actual strategy on Afghanistan would only be a liability.

That frees Republicans to concentrate on the one thing that genuinely concerns them: 2022. Untethered from either the necessity of governing or the need to have a coherent platform, Republicans can be all-attack all the time. That allows statements like this from Republican Rep. Mark Green, "I'd put more military in there, I'd get every single American out, and I'd start killing bad guys." Or Sen. Ben Sasse writing a note in which he declares that America needs to "reverse course" and occupy most of Afghanistan because ending the war shows "weakness."

None of it makes sense. It doesn't have to make sense. Because Republicans don't consider their enemy to be either the Taliban or ISIS-K, they don't consider their goal to be getting Americans out safely. They certainly aren't interested in ending the war.

They're only interested in evacuating Democrats from the House, Senate, and White House. And in that scheme, they seem to have plenty of allies.

Casualties Surged In Afghanistan Under Trump, But Nobody Urged Him To Resign

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Multiple Republican members of Congress have called on President Joe Biden to resign or be impeached after ISIS carried out a terror attack in Afghanistan on Thursday that killed 13 American troops and more than 150 Afghan citizens.

But Republican lawmakers never called on former President Donald Trump to resign or face impeachment for his record in Afghanistan, even with a dramatic increase in Afghan civilian deaths during his term and the deaths of 63 troops from 2017 to 2020, according to a count from the Defense Department.

The GOP lawmakers calling for Biden to face consequences for the attack are some of Trump's biggest supporters on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is circulating an article of impeachment against Biden, tweeting Friday morning: "Biden and all key decision makers are responsible for the deaths of 13 soldiers. The Taliban allowed the ISIS attacks. US officials gave them a kill list. And we have not retaliated? There should be harsh punishment against the Taliban and ISIS-K. And we must #ImpeachBiden!"

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) said he co-sponsored the article of impeachment against Biden that Greene is circulating, adding in a statement, "The President promised to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, but it is evident the President has failed to fulfill this charge."

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) also called for Biden's resignation, tweetingThursday afternoon, "To say that today's loss of American lives in Kabul is sickening does not begin to do justice to what has happened. It is enraging. And Joe Biden is responsible. It is now clear beyond all doubt that he has neither the capacity nor the will to lead. He must resign."

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) — who is running in a crowded GOP primary for Missouri's open Senate seat —called on Biden to resign over the attack as well.

"President Biden must resign," she tweeted Friday morning. "His standing in America, and the world, is forever diminished. It is time he realize this and acknowledge our recovery begins with his resignation as president. It is the right thing to do."

Hawley and Duncan had supported Trump's Afghanistan withdrawal plan and pushed Biden to follow through with it — only to now call on Biden to resign.

While Thursday was the deadliest single day of the war in Afghanistan since 2011, according to the New York Times, American troops have died in the conflict every year since it began nearly 20 years ago.

In 2020, for example, 11 American troops were killed in the war, while 23 died in 2019, according to Defense Department data.

Republicans never called on Trump to resign for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic either. By the time he left office, 400,000 people had died in the United States from COVID-19.

Biden expressed deep remorse for the deaths of the American troops who died trying to evacuate American citizens and Afghan allies who helped the United States during the 20-year conflict.

"These American service members who gave their lives — it's an overused word, but it's totally appropriate — they were heroes," Biden said in remarks from the White House Thursday evening. "Heroes who have been engaged in a dangerous, selfless mission to save the lives of others."

He vowed retribution against the terrorists whose attack killed the troops and Afghans who were trying to leave the country.

"To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay," Biden said. "I will defend our interests and our people with every measure at my command."

More than 110,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan since late July, according to a White House official. The vast majority — or 105,000 — have been evacuated since August 14.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Resolute Biden Vows To Avenge US Troops Killed In Kabul Airport Terror Attack

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

When President Joe Biden addressed the nation Thursday in the wake of a deadly terrorist attack in Kabul, he sought to soothe, center, and steel Americans for what had been, what is, and what is yet to be.

"Tough day," Biden said from the East Room of the White House before even beginning his prepared remarks. The president's first order of business was consoling the nation over the service members who died in the attack—whom Biden repeatedly called "heroes."

"They're a part of the bravest, most capable, and most selfless military on the face of the earth," Biden said. "The best the country has to offer," he added, noting that they had given their lives in the service of liberty and the service of others.

Thirteen U.S. troops died and 15 more were injured Thursday in an explosion outside the Kabul airport that also caused dozens of civilian casualties. ISIS, a sworn enemy of the Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack by a suicide bomber.

Biden promised to use "every measure" of his command to avenge the deaths of the service members, pledging that they would not be forgotten.

"We will hunt you down and make you pay," he promised the terrorists. But he also said that response would be carried out with "precision" at "the moment of our choosing" and "without large-scale military operations."

Biden also promised that the U.S. would remain steadfast in its ongoing operations to rescue Americans and extract as many Afghan allies and others seeking to leave as possible.

"America will not be intimidated," he said, adding that there's "complete unanimity" among the military commanders on the original objective of getting as many Americans out of Afghanistan as possible. "We will complete our mission," he pledged. Though he did not give a specific date for full withdrawal, Biden also committed to helping anyone who is unable to evacuate to get out even after U.S. troops leave.

Biden named several different groups of people who remain in the country and have "expressly indicated" they hope to get out, including American citizens, green card holders, special immigrant visa (SIV) holders, Afghans who helped the U.S.,and members of women's groups and nongovernmental organizations.

"To the extent that we can do that—knowing the threat—the military has concluded that's what we should do," he said, "I think they're correct." But he also said he believed there would "numerous opportunities" to extract more people down the road.

Biden once again indicated that there was no perfect way to end the war and that he does not regret making the decision to do so. He said he knew of no conflict in history where a war ended and "every person who wanted to get out could get out."

He also said he accepted responsibility for everything that has happened on his watch, while noting that he was hemmed in to an agreement negotiated by his predecessor.

"I bear responsibility for, fundamentally, all that's happened of late," Biden said. But, he added, "you know as well as I do, that the former president made a deal with the Taliban."

Trumpist Platform GETTR Delivers Terrorism, Furry Porn, And A Massive Security Breach

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

If there's anything that right-wing chat platforms promising uncensored "free speech" like Gab and Parler have proven, it's that such predicates ensure the platforms will quickly be inundated with the worst people in the world—bigots spewing death threats, hatemongers, disinformation artists, conspiracy theorists, vile misogynists, and terrorists of all stripes. The kind of clients that will doom such networks to permanent deplatforming.

The same fate has predictably befallen GETTR, Donald Trump acolyte Jason Miller's social-media app launched last month to right-wing hurrahs. After stumbling through multiple hacks indicating the site's cybersecurity was paltry, it is now besieged by Islamic State terrorists posting propaganda—including memes urging Trump's execution and graphic beheading videos, Politico reports.

Islamic State "has been very quick to exploit GETTR," Moustafa Ayad, executive director for Africa, the Middle East, and Asia at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, told Politico's Mark Scott and Tina Nyugen. "On Facebook, there was on one of these accounts that I follow that is known to be Islamic State, which said 'Oh, Trump announced his new platform. Inshallah, all the mujahideen will exploit that platform,'" he added. "The next day, there were at least 15 accounts on GETTR that were Islamic State."

Islamic State celebrated their successful infiltration of the pro-Trump platform: "We will come at you with slaying and explosions you worshippers of the cross," wrote one pro-ISIS account. "How great is freedom of expression."

Miller dismissed the flood of ISIS sympathizers as "keyboard warriors hiding in caves and eating dirt cookies." He also claimed that GETTR's content moderation was effective.

"ISIS is trying to attack the MAGA movement because President Trump wiped them off the face of the earth, destroying the Caliphate in less than 18 months, and the only ISIS members still alive are keyboard warriors hiding in caves and eating dirt cookies," Miller said in a statement. "Buried beneath a misleading and inflammatory headline, however, even Politico acknowledges GETTR has a robust and proactive moderation system that removes prohibited content, maximizing both cutting-edge A.I. technology and human moderation."

In fact, Politico reported that four days after it had submitted its queries to GETTR about the Islamic State posts, "many of these accounts and videos are still up."

When Miller launched GETTR early in July, it was advertised as "a non-bias social network for people all over the world" and boasted that it was "the marketplace of ideas." (It also shortly emerged that Miller had obtained seed money for the venture from rogue Chinese investor Guo Wengui.) Trump himself declined to sign up.

However, a number of prominent Republicans—nearly all of them from the pro-Trump camp—did. These included House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, Conference Chair Elise Stefanik of New York, as well as Congressmen Jim Jordan of Ohio, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Lee Zeldin of New York, James Lankford of Oklahoma, ex-Trump adviser Steve Bannon, and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Many of these figures shortly had reason to regret doing so: Over the weekend of its initial launch, a hacker successfully compromised a number of official GETTR accounts—including those belonging to Taylor Greene, Pompeo, Bannon, and Miller. The hacker told reporters it had taken him only about 20 minutes to successfully break in.

Hackers leveraged GETTR's API to scrape the email addresses of more than 85,000 users, including usernames, names and birthdays.

"When threat actors are able to extract sensitive information due to neglectful API implementations, the consequence is equivalent to a data breach and should be handled accordingly by the firm [and] examined by regulators," Alon Gal, the co-founder of cybersecurity firm Hudson Rock who reported the dataset, told TechCrunch.

Miller scoffed. "You know you're shaking things up when they come after you," he told Insider. "The problem was detected and sealed in a matter of minutes, and all the intruder was able to accomplish was to change a few user names. The situation has been rectified and we've already had more than half a million users sign up for our exciting new platform!"

The problems continued to mount, however. GETTR was also flooded with porn featuring Sonic the Hedgehog and hundreds of other accounts featuring hentai, furry porn, and stock photos of pudgy men in their underwear.

Casey Newton at The Verge notes that these right-wing "free speech" apps almost appear to be set up with the intention to make them fail. "Apps like Parler and GETTR offered their conservative users an attractive mirage: a free-speech paradise where they could say the things they couldn't say elsewhere," he writes. "It never seemed to occur to anyone that such a move would only select for the worst social media customers on earth, quickly turning the founders' dreams to ash."

Miller's claims notwithstanding, GETTR's content moderation is clearly unable to handle the kind of content it is guaranteed to attract. As Newton observes: "Most people will only spend so long in a virtual space in which they are surrounded by the worst of humanity."

Moreover, these social-media apps appear to be a kind of con job not intended necessarily to enrich its founders but to promote a right-wing narrative that is itself part of a larger grift.

As Ryan Broderick at Garbage Day put it:

I'm also beginning to wonder if all these apps are their own grift in a way. Loudly launch a site no one will ever use, claim it's a free speech sanctuary for Republicans, do the rounds on all the right-wing news outlets, and wait for it to fill up with the worst people on Earth, refuse to moderate it, wait for Apple to ban it from the App Store, and then go back to the right-wing news outlets and screech about liberal cancel culture impacting your ability to share hentai with white nationalist flat earthers or whatever.

Pro-Trump GETTR Becoming 'Safe Haven' For Terrorist Propaganda

Just weeks after former President Trump's team quietly launched the alternative to "social media monopolies," GETTR is being used to promote terrorist propaganda from supporters of the Islamic State, a Politico analysis found.

The publication reports that the jihadi-related material circulating on the social platform includes "graphic videos of beheadings, viral memes that promote violence against the West and even memes of a militant executing Trump in an orange jumpsuit similar to those used in Guantanamo Bay."

Politico found at least 250 such regular users since early July, most of which follow each other and use hashtags to promote the jihadi material.

The Islamic State "has been very quick to exploit GETTR," Moustafa Ayad, executive director at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, told Politico, adding, "On Facebook, there was on one of these accounts that I follow that is known to be Islamic State, which said 'Oh, Trump announced his new platform. Inshallah, all the mujahideen will exploit that platform.'"

Politico describes the accumulation of terrorist propaganda as "rapid" and called GETTR a "safe haven" for jihadi extremists online, putting the new MAGA alternative to prominent social media apps, like Twitter and Facebook, in an "awkward" position.

Jason Miller, former Trump spokesperson and the CEO of GETTR, dismissed the spike in extremist content, saying, "ISIS is trying to attack the MAGA movement because President Trump wiped them off the face of the earth, destroying the Caliphate in less than 18 months, and the only ISIS members still alive are keyboard warriors hiding in caves and eating dirt cookies."

Miller also flooded his Twitter feed with links to stories that investigate Twitter's problems with ISIS:

According to Politico, however, Twitter works with the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, so that the extremist-related material can be taken down as quickly as possible. GETTR has not yet signed up -- but Politico does note that some jihadi posts were eventually taken down on.

"Buried beneath a misleading and inflammatory headline…even Politico acknowledges GETTR has a robust & proactive moderation system that removes prohibited content, maximizing…A.I. technology and human moderation," said Miller.

Since being kicked off of Twitter and Facebook for inciting a deadly insurrection, Trump has been trying to find new ways to interact with his supporters-- none of which have been particularly successful.

Back in May, he launched a blog called "From the Desk of Donald J. Trump" that he tried to pass off as a social "platform." The site ultimately failed weeks later due to ridicule and poor readership.

Trump's involvement in GETTR is unknown and he has yet to officially sign up for the platform, but the "true marketplace of ideas" has many links to the former president. In addition to Miller's involvement, Miles Guo, the business partner of former Trump advisor Steve Bannon, is also partially funding GETTR.

Politico's findings further outline the grave dangers that social sites with little to no regulation pose.

"We will come at you with slaying and explosions you worshippers of the cross," wrote an account whose name referenced ISIS. "How great is freedom of expression."

The Political Perils Of A Wartime Presidency

The new coronavirus has been one of the worst moments of Donald Trump’s presidency. A crisis erupted, and he spent weeks downplaying and dismissing before finally conceding the urgent need for action. If things go badly, he will get a lot of the blame for his tardy, ineffectual response.

But in some ways, the pandemic puts him in the position he always imagined the office would be. He gets to stand in front of the cameras every day, issuing directives, invoking emergency powers and commanding a platoon of subordinates who praise his inspiring leadership. It’s a Hollywood image of a president in action.

Trump had an air of satisfaction in declaring himself a “wartime president.” But this is the same guy who in 2015 insisted, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me.” Once in office, he mused, “I think I would have been a good general.”

In fact, Trump has been a wartime president since he arrived, but he had reservations about the military conflicts he inherited, which lacked strong popular support. With COVID-19, he obviously hopes the citizenry will rally behind him in the sort of national unity seen during previous wars.

He is not the first president to see the upside of such challenges. President Bill Clinton, noted Todd Purdum last year in The Atlantic, “sometimes lamented that he was serving in times of broad peace and prosperity, because true presidential greatness was granted only to those leaders who governed in war or crisis.” Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, Clinton knew, owe their heroic reputations largely to the critical wars they fought — and won.

George H.W. Bush saw his approval rating soar to 89 percent after the coalition victory in the 1991 Gulf War. George W. Bush attained a 90 percent approval rating after standing in the rubble of the World Trade Center and vowing to strike back at “the people who knocked these buildings down.”

It’s not hard to believe that Trump sees this as his chance for the public to see him as the hero he admires in the mirror. On Wednesday, he channeled FDR: “To this day, nobody has ever seen like it, what they were able to do during World War II. Now it’s our time. We must sacrifice together, because we are all in this together, and we will come through together.”

Those words lacked any stirring quality, though, because they are so at odds with his habit of smearing his critics and inflaming his supporters with venomous rhetoric. Even now, he can’t put aside his petty, bitter resentments.

Trump’s appeal for common sacrifice came on the same day he tweeted: “95 percent Approval Rating in the Republican Party, 53 percent overall. Not bad considering I get nothing but Fake & Corrupt News, day and night. ‘Russia, Russia, Russia’, then ‘the Ukraine Scam (where’s the Whistleblower?)’, the ‘Impeachment Hoax’, and more, more, more….”

You can’t ask people to come together when your chief concern is how popular you are with the 30 percent of Americans who identify with your party. You can’t expect solidarity when your favorite political strategy is stoking division. If you want citizens to rise above their selfish concerns, you need to do likewise. Trump is incapable.

A president who expects to get credit for taking steps that help in a crisis has to be accountable for mistakes as well. But Trump has said, “I don’t take responsibility at all” for the administration’s failures in preparing for this outbreak. As for the charge that he closed the White House office that dealt with pandemics, he suggested that others were to blame, claiming, “I don’t know anything about it.”

When I asked presidential historian Richard Norton Smith (who is currently writing a biography of Gerald Ford), about Trump’s posture, he had a tart response: “He wants to take credit for D-Day without accepting responsibility for Pearl Harbor.”

Trump, with his notorious ignorance of history, also fails to see the perils of being in charge during a crisis. He has made no effort to learn from Lyndon Johnson, whose fortunes fell so low that he abandoned his 1968 reelection campaign during a losing war. As Smith says, Johnson failed “in large part because of the gross discrepancy between what he was claiming and what people were seeing every night in their living rooms.”

Trump thinks the coronavirus pandemic will be his World War II. It may be his Vietnam.

Steve Chapman blogs at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chapman. Follow him on Twitter @SteveChapman13 or at https://www.facebook.com/stevechapman13. To find out more about Steve Chapman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.