Recent reports that Trump ignored an official intelligence finding warning that a covert Russian GRU military unit had placed bounties on the heads of American and British soldiers in Afghanistangive the lie to that particularly cynical piece of bluster.
Trump does not deny such an intelligence finding was presented in February, or possibly even earlier. When asked why he had not acted on it to save lives, the White House first claimed the intelligence was weak and inconclusive. When that was rebutted, Trump claimed he was not told about it. So which is it?
Many suspect Trump was intent on appeasing Vladimir Putin, his sinister chum in the Kremlin, who the former British MI6 spy Christopher Steele alleges has some kind of personal or financial hold on the president . Maybe it’s simpler: he just wasn’t paying attention when his NSC intelligence officers briefed him.
Either way, Trump failed in his duty as commander-in-chief to protect military personnel serving their country in Afghanistan, and who were placed in harm’s way in a conflict that, despite his promises, he has failed to end.
It’s well known that Trump never personally served in the military at all, having dodged the Vietnam era draft with some special pleading about bone spurs in his feet. It’s also the case that the Afghan scandal is by no means the first time he has let America’s soldiers down.
When Trump decided on a whim last year to pull American ground forces out of north-eastern Syria, where they were leading the anti-Isis counter-terrorism campaign, he gave no thought to the safety of troops suddenly left exposed and out in the open. He gave no thought to the consequences for America’s loyal Kurdish allies or, for example, British special forces deployed alongside in the desert.