Diplomacy as Murder Theater

Jeff -

Before anyone asks the (completely reasonable) question "Why would I take political/social advice from a comedy podcast?", let me just say that we spend a lot of time on the show tackling serious issues, and we always try to find a positive way to talk about them. Also, I was an anti-war activist and free speech advocate for years before giving it up to make dick jokes on the radio. So, with that context, let's tackle this whole World War III thing.

The attack by Trump on Syria's air defenses is a joke. It will likely have serious consequences when it comes to human life, it definitely betrays a serious lack of concern for the Constitution and international law, but it's not what you think it is. Essentially, this is something I call Murder Theater.

When Assad ordered the chemical poisoning of dozens of innocent people, he knew full well what the reaction would look like. In addition to being a horrible dictator, he is Putin's puppet in the Middle East. And, in case you haven't read a newspaper in the last six months, Donald Trump is clearly Putin's puppet in the United States.

Before we go any further, let's define a few concepts that tend to be confused. First, let's talk about Conspiracy.

Conspiracy, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is defined as "A secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful.". The other definition, perhaps more relevant to this current attack, is "The action of plotting or conspiring."

A "group" is loosely defined. But if you accept that a "group" could be as small as two people, this attack is most definitely a conspiracy. Put away your finger-wagging about the Kennedy assassination and 9/11 (also conspiracies by this definition), and let's go over what we know.

First, Trump decided unilaterally to strike military targets in Syria suspected of being involved in the deadly chemical attack. Second, the British defense minister claims to have been informed before the attack and he agreed with its necessity. Third, Vladimir Putin is suspected of giving prior approval despite Syria being a Russian ally.

So here you have Trump, with all his well documented shady associations with Putin, deciding over the course of two days to attack a site that may or may not have delivered the chemical bomb. Putin likely was informed ahead of time (probably to give him time to withdraw any Russian forces in the area), so do you really think Putin wouldn't have told Assad? Seriously. This is the very definition of Murder Theater.

"Murder Theater", as I define it, is a situation in which one conspirator (Trump, in this case) launches an attack against another as a response to an Inciting Event, with the intention of proving to the conspirator's supporters and outside observers that they are taking action. By informing the supposed target of the attack ahead of time, the target is able to remove troops and high-value war materiel before the attack begins.

The reason I call it Murder Theater is because people die. Yes, some buildings and maybe a runway were damaged, but shrapnel and debris from the missile strike most definitely killed and maimed innocent civilians (who were conveniently not informed of the strike beforehand). It's like a murder mystery dinner in which the sous chef gets shot in the head at the end of the night.

So now we have Donald receiving accolades from toady journalists and frightened politicians, while responsible journalists and world leaders look on in disbelief. What could have been a defiant condemnation of a despicable and horrible act (the cold-blooded murder of 72+ Syrian citizens with an internationally outlawed WMD) has become a tool of a small group of deviant men to prop up their power and intimidate their political opponents.

Donald Trump has now set a precedent of engaging in unilateral military action without the consent of any governing body. This is even worse than George W attacking Iraq for 9/11 (a ridiculous failure of Congress to take any meaningful steps to constrain his power), an act which was given tacit approval by a spineless Congress. This is Donald Trump's first strike in a war against the very foundations of American democracy.

It's become essentially an agreed upon truth that Donald Trump is a puppet of Vladimir Putin. His financial and political allegiance to someone whose values are completely at odds with anything approaching democracy suggests that we are all in danger of becoming Russia's pawn in the game of international control. This is a life and death struggle for the soul of American democracy, and Donald Trump has fired the first shot on behalf of a despicable dictator not named Bashar Al Assad.

It's up to us to call this what it is: a naked assault on everything we as Americans claim to stand for. Do we really want to let this corrupt executive branch redefine the limits of deadly force? Is this what George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for? Is this an America we can be proud to hand off to our children and grandchildren?

I don't think it is. Murder Theater can not and must not be allowed to become commonplace. We must contact our legislators and express our discontent at this transgression of national and international law. If we want our democracy to survive the next four years, we are required to stand up and be counted.

Now let's get back to those dick jokes.