The debate over Donald Trump’s order to assassinate a top Iranian military commander is beginning to take on the familiar tones of the Bush administration’s dishonest and unlawful invasion of Iraq nearly twenty years ago. Following the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani there has arisen a cry from the Trump camp for an unquestioning embrace of the mission that still has not been justified or defined.
Bush’s rationale for invading Iraq was rooted in deliberate falsehoods about nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. His national security team would not provide any proof of the claim, but insisted that the American people get on board and support the President on blind trust. Bush famously admonished rational skeptics that “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”
This is precisely how the Trump administration is framing its assault on Soleimani and his subsequent threats against Iran. Those threats include outright declarations of Trump’s intention to commit war crimes by targeting “cultural sites” with “disproportionate” force. And Trump is getting plenty of help from his State TV Ministry of Propaganda, Fox News. The memo must have gone out over the weekend to portray all of Trump’s critics as unpatriotic and supporters of Iranian terrorism.
That, of course, could not be farther from the truth. It is not only possible, but necessary for free thinkers to raise questions about Trump’s actions. After all, he has refused to provide any evidence of his implausible contention that Iran was plotting attacks on the United States. And his resume of flagrant lying about all things great and small make him wholly unbelievable as a source for anything more significant than the weather (and he has blatantly lied about that as well).
That, however, isn’t what you’ll from Fox as their sycophantic shills campaign to canonize the Liar-in-Chief. It was evident early on with Trump’s favorite morning program, Fox and Friends, where co-host Ainsley Earhardt engaged in friendly banter with co-host Steve Doocy and squealed giddily that…
Earhardt: I find it so interesting that people are critical of the president’s decisions, of our intelligence community’s decisions, our general’s decisions.
Doocy: They want details.
Earhardt: Well, they can’t have it. They can’t have it. Everything can’t be made public.
That’s an astonishing commentary from the folks who have been lambasting the intelligence community as dishonest and corrupt and anti-Trump “Deep State” traitors, for the past three years. Nor have they been especially respectful of generals, three of whom Trump has fired from senior White House posts, while maligning them fools and insisting that he knows more than all of them.
Earhardt is also arguing that Trump should be permitted to withhold the intelligence that would justify his actions. That’s a bizarre position from someone supposedly in the “news” business whose job is to investigate and report on the government and the politicians who occupy it. Not that there have ever been any actual reporters on Fox News. They are there for one purpose only: to advance the propaganda of the Trump administration and, more broadly, the conservative agenda.
The notion that the media should accept and defend Trump’s secrecy was further articulated later in the day on Fox by commentator Katie Pavlich. During a debate with Democratic consultant Richard Fowler, who argued that the American people should be shown the intelligence that informed Trump’s decision, Pavlich shot back, “You’re not entitled to seeing it because people like you don’t believe in intelligence.”
Once again, this is coming from someone who has been a staunch critic of the intelligence community for years. And she’s directing this thinly veiled personal insult at “people like” Fowler, whose support for America’s intelligence agencies is well documented. What’s more, it’s absurd to suggest that disagreeing with Trump is also disagreeing with the intelligence community. There is absolutely zero evidence that intelligence was the basis for anything that Trump has done. If it was, there is surely some portion of it that he could make public.
The gist of the Fox News position is that anyone who doesn’t devotedly follow Trump and blindly believe whatever he says without question, is unpatriotic. They contend that requiring Trump to explain himself and his decisions is tantamount to sacrilege. They fail to comprehend that true patriotism requires politicians to continually justify themselves, particularly if they are known to be pathological liars.
Americans are not supposed to be regarded as, or treated like, sheep led by aspiring dictators who cannot be challenged or questioned. But according to the Fox Doctrine, Trump must be worshiped as a prophet sent by God to lead the nation into a dystopian future. That’s not how America works. Even if Trump’s lackeys appear on Fox and accuse his critics of “hero worship” of Soleimani, simply because they won’t submit to Trump’s holy version of reality. Which is what Kellyanne Conway did this morning:
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
On Fox & Friends, Kellyanne Conway accuses people who don't support Trump of "hero worship" of Soleimani, because they can't accept that Trump made "an important call." pic.twitter.com/EiMYLqVn9F
— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) January 6, 2020