You've Seen His Trade War. Imagine Donald Trump Running an Actual War.

Charles P. Pierce
Photo credit: Mark Wilson - Getty Images

From Esquire

Is there any doubt that, while El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago undoubtedly is dumb enough to blunder into a war with Iran on his own, he certainly is dumb (and pliant) enough to be led into one by a combination of Mohammed bin Salman, Bibi Netanyahu, Vladimir Putin, and John Bolton, the mustachioed maniac who is his National Security Adviser? The New York Times channelled some voices of sanity from inside the administration* who would like us all to know how crazy things really are getting around the Situation Room.

At a meeting of President Trump’s top national security aides last Thursday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented an updated military plan that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, administration officials said.

The revisions were ordered by hard-liners led by John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser. They do not call for a land invasion of Iran, which would require vastly more troops, officials said. The development reflects the influence of Mr. Bolton, one of the administration’s most virulent Iran hawks, whose push for confrontation with Tehran was ignored more than a decade ago by President George W. Bush.

Imagine this president* actually running a war. If he runs a shooting war like he runs a trade war, he's liable to order an air strike on Kansas. Obviously, a wagging-the-dog scenario is equally plausible as an excuse for this plan leaking out, but I think they're serious. Bolton certainly is. His fervent chickenhawk heart has been pounding with desire for this bloodshed throughout what we can laughingly call his public service.

Some senior American officials said the plans, even at a very preliminary stage, show how dangerous the threat from Iran has become. Others, who are urging a diplomatic resolution to the current tensions, said it amounts to a scare tactic to warn Iran against new aggressions. European allies who met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday said that they worry that tensions between Washington and Tehran could boil over, possibly inadvertently.

And if that chapter of the ol' playbook doesn't work, there are more recent strategies on which to call.

The high-level review of the Pentagon’s plans was presented during a meeting about broader Iran policy. It was held days after what the Trump administration described, without evidence, as new intelligence indicating that Iran was mobilizing proxy groups in Iraq and Syria to attack American forces.

Photo credit: WIN MCNAMEE - Getty Images

Let's sit down on this pile of aluminum tubes for a second and catch our breath. The people on the ground, according to CNN, are not convinced.

UK Major Gen. Chris Ghika told Pentagon reporters that the Iran-backed groups are one of many threats faced by the coalition, but said there has been no increase in the dangers they pose. Unnamed US officials have said there has been an increased threat from Iran and Iranian-backed forces against US forces in the Middle East, including Iraq and Syria. "There are a range of threats to American and coalition forces in Iraq and Syria," Ghika said. "We monitor them all. Iranian backed forces is clearly one of them and I am not going to go into the detail of it, but there are a substantial number of militia groups in Iraq and Syria and we don't see an increased threat from many of them at this stage."

Oh, wait. CNN reports that the president* has something to say to make things worse.

Trump denied the report on Tuesday, dismissing it as "fake news."

"Now would I do that? Absolutely. But we have not planned for that," he told reporters at the White House. "Hopefully, we're not going to have to plan for that, and if we did that, we'd send a hell of a lot more troops than that."

Imagine this guy running a war.

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