Why the Baghdadi Killing Isn’t Likely To Help Trump

First off, let me just say for the record that the news that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a raid in Syria is a good thing and should be celebrated by everyone, regardless of party affiliation. He was a mass murderer who, no doubt, would’ve spilled more innocent blood. The world is a better place now that he is out of it. May he burn in hell.

But once again, this president turned what should’ve been a glorious moment for America into a celebration about his prowess. The press conference in which he announced the killing was pure Trump. He actually compared Baghdadi’s killing to bin Laden’s, saying the former was more significant. It was like watching a 12 year old brag to his friend about his dad’s new car. “My dad’s car is better than your dad’s car.” Jesus, this guy’s obsession with Obama is pathological.

But if you thought Trump’s press conference was a case study in one-upmanship over his predecessor, his Q&A afterwards was one for the ages. I thought I’d heard it all from this president, but watching him go into graphic detail about the raid was truly an experience. At one point he actually described how soldiers carry out an assault. I bet you didn’t know, for instance, that they don’t bother to knock on the front door? How very rude of them. BTW, if you’re a first-year Psych student, I highly recommend you read the entire transcript. Just make sure you don’t have a full stomach, though. I’m guessing even Freud would’ve been baffled.

But let’s, for the moment, put aside this president’s juvenile proclivities and talk about what this killing actually means, both for the U.S. in general and Trump in particular. For starters, unlike  al-Qaeda, which had a very concentrated chain of command, ISIS is more like a consortium of loosely-affiliated groups with no central chain of command. In business terms, al-Qaeda resembles G.M. and ISIS resembles McDonald’s. While the killing of Baghdadi is an important feat, it is unlikely to affect the way in which they carry out their attacks. And if intelligence reports are accurate, there are now some one hundred unaccounted for ISIS fighters on the loose thanks to Trump’s decision to pull U.S. forces out of Syria. Way to go, Skippy!

Secondly, the graphic way in which Trump described how Baghdadi died will no doubt be used by ISIS as a recruitment tool to entice future believers into its caliphate. Nothing says death to America quite like the leader of the free world disrespecting one of your own. That’s why Obama didn’t spike the football after the bin Laden raid. He was smart enough to know that inflaming the passions of people who were sympathetic to the al-Qaeda leader was counter productive to what we were trying to accomplish in the region. Shit-for-brains must’ve thought he was at one of his dumb-ass rallies. Hell, he’s already turned his administration into a reality show, so why not go for the gusto?

And now on to the sixty-four thousand dollar question. Will the Baghdadi killing help Trump politically? I doubt it. For one thing, unlike bin Laden, who had the blood of almost 3,000 Americans on his hands, virtually nobody knew who Baghdadi was prior to his death. As bad guys go, while he represented a significant threat to U.S. interests here and abroad, he was nowhere near the top of the food chain the way bin Laden was. And as I mentioned above, the way in which ISIS is structured all but guarantees that the West can expect future attacks. Like a game of Whack-A-Mole, Trump’s actions may have led to three leaders popping up to replace the one who was taken out.

Then there’s Trump himself. To put it succinctly, the man can’t resist the urge to brag about the one lone accomplishment of his depraved presidency. He’s like the slow kid in class who finally got an A on an exam and won’t shut up about it. I give it two weeks before Motor Mouth ends up boring the shit out of everyone but his most loyal sycophants. Indeed, far from helping him, should there actually be a terrorist attack in this country, Trump will get the blame, and deservedly so. 

As to whether this will have any impact on the impeachment inquiry, the answer is no. Maybe Trump can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, but I can assure you Adam Schiff can. And once Democrats begin holding public hearings, the Baghdadi killing will become old news real quick. The only potential issue I see here is that some Senate Republicans might be assuaged by the killing to give Trump the benefit of the doubt he doesn’t deserve. But then these spineless buffoons have done nothing to check him since he was sworn in, so counting on them to suddenly grow a pair and hold him accountable for his clear abuse of power was always a long shot anyway.

The bottom line is that not only isn’t the United States safer with the death of Baghdadi, Trump will likely not benefit from it.

Author: Peter Fegan

Progressive but pragmatic. Lover of music, die-hard Giants' fan and reluctant Mets' fan. My favorite motto? I'd rather be ruled by a smart Turk than a dumb Christian.

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