Beau Willimon on Trump & Bannon's Path to War

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The following is from a Twitter thread by @BeauWillimon, the creator of the show House of Cards. I thought it was worth sharing,

"Fifteen years after 9/11, the election of Donald Trump is precisely the sort of White House that Bin Laden would have hoped for. I was living in New York when 9/11 occurred. I vividly remember a city that came together in the wake of a horrific tragedy. And all of us in New York were grateful for and inspired by the overwhelming support we received from the rest of the country. We were a nation in grief, united in our resolve to heal and remain strong despite the senseless death of thousands. The rest of the world joined our grief. Including the vast majority those in Muslim nations. They too prayed for healing and recovery. But it didn't take long before fear-mongerers seized the opportunity to advocate war for the sake of extreme ideology & profiteering.

In 2003 the Iraq War began, justified by manufactured intelligence. No WMDS were found. Hundreds of thousands of lives were lost. Meanwhile Halliburton and other similar companies made millions. And warhawks in Washington used the war to advance their agendas. Public opinion turned on the war. By 2004 most of the Dem candidates wanted it to end. Even some in the GOP were expressing doubts. Bush won re-election, but by the end of his second terms a majority of the nation wanted the war to end. Obama promised it would. Obama's withdrawal didn't happen as fast as many would have liked. And blowback from the Iraq War has caused major instability. The Middle East was swirling with chaos in response to a power void. New groups like ISIS began to emerge. The Arab Spring offered some hope for progress, but it also opened up the door for further instability.

Despite all this, the Obama administration did aim for a sustainable, more stable future in the Middle East. We can debate the effectiveness of Obama's policy. It certainly deserves criticism. But its aim was a balance between peace & security. Trump and Bannon, however - have no such aim. Their goal has been to build upon fear in order to justify their extreme agenda. They will say "peace" and "security", but they are deliberately stoking increased animosity between the U.S. and the Muslim world. Bannon has publicly said that he foresees a great holy war between Christians and Muslims.

Sound familiar? That is exactly what Bin Laden hoped to accomplish with terrorist tactics. A Holy War. Bannon's rhetoric is not any different. Increased defense spending & militarization is proof that he doesn't intend to stop at rhetoric. Discrediting the press and Intelligence Community is in preparation to propagandize the justification of armed conflict. War is Trump & Bannon's pathway for Bannon's desire to "dismantle the administrative state." And all of this plays directly on Putin's hands, who wants nothing more than to see massive destabilization of the West. Putin's alliance with the Assad regime and aggression in Syria is an attempt to foment this destabilization. nd Russian interference with elections in the U.S. and Europe is intended to exacerbate it.

Trump and Bannon welcome this interference. They have no interest in peace and security, only unfettered power. By any means necessary. They have little regard for democracy, human rights or freedoms which comprise the core values of our country. Their policies will not make us safer. They will create a more dangerous world. They will lead to war. And war is the fuel of dictators.

This dismantling of our government, erosion of values, dissolution of democracy - these were Bin Laden's aims. Which Putin will exploit. But we can this future. We don't have to let Bin Laden and Putin claim victory through Trump and Bannon. We can be the nation that came together after 9/11. Who welcomed the support of our friends abroad and valued their humanity. We can lead by example again rather than following the script of terrorists & dictators. But only if WE the people lead. "


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