For the first several weeks of his presidency, it looked as though mainstream media might hold Donald Trump at least partially accountable for his actions. Stories regularly aired that were critical of Trump’s brutal budget and discussed his pathological lying. All of it prompted Trump to label the media the “opposition party.” Then, late last week, Trump fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase. His fireworks show earned Trump bipartisan media and political praise.
Even before Trump launched the attack, Hillary Clinton called for it. Both the Democratic Senate and House Minority Leaders, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, praised the attack, as did prominent Republican critics of Trump like John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Liberal CNN commentator Fareed Zakaria declared Trump “became president of the United States” with the attack while NBC host Brian Williams described the bombing as “beautiful.” FAIR found that of 47 editorials published in major papers, only one was critical.
Trump learned perhaps the first serious lesson of his presidency: if you bomb it, they will come. And Trump has escalated US bombing campaigns throughout the Middle East. In addition to Syria, he has expanded the military’s footprint in Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan. For a man who is obsessed with being praised, loved and admired, this is deadly behavior to give positive reinforcement to.
Already Trump has taken the lesson to heart. On Thursday he dropped a weapon that had never been used in combat, called the “mother of all bombs,” on Afghanistan. The MOAB is said to be the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in the US arsenal. And while the Pentagon claims it “took every precaution to minimize civilian casualties,” Trump has been making those precautions less and less cautious. Given the MOAB’s blast radius of one mile, avoiding civilian deaths is probably impossible.
Becoming a war criminal is one of the few campaign promises Trump has kept. He promised he would “take out their families,” and now he’s doing it. A March strike on a mosque in Aleppo killed an estimated 46 people. A spate of March attacks in Mosul killed hundreds of civilians. His first major raid in Yemen left 30 civilians dead. And Trump’s bombing of the Syrian airbase reportedly killed nine civilians living nearby.
For the mainstream media, efforts by Trump to normalize relations with Russia are treasonous. But killing human beings on the other side of the world makes Trump presidential. Democrats in Congress are only angry that Trump didn’t ask them for permission first; if he had, they’d have readily given it.
The American political-media-military machine is a planet-sized tumor. It has hogged trillions of dollars from the put-out American taxpayer, slaughtered millions of people all over the world, triggered refugee crises and given birth to barbaric terror organizations. It’s what Trump ran against when he pretended to oppose Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy and it’s partly what endeared him to the nationalistic alt-right. Now even the alt-right is turning on Trump while the establishment is becoming his biggest cheerleader.
Much of Trump’s day is spent watching TV. He tweets in real-time about stories he sees on shows like Fox & Friends and The O’Reilly Factor. The one thing Trump wants more than anything is to turn on the TV and be told what a great job he’s doing. Now he’s learned that so long as he keeps the bombs falling, he can reliably find positive coverage. Fewer people will discuss his Russian collusion or robbery of the public trust.
As Trump is absorbed into the establishment echo chamber, the human species moves ever-closer to extreme peril. If he follows through on threats to strike nuclear-equipped North Korea – potentially as soon as this weekend – it could literally set doomsday into motion. All of civilization is in the hands of a man who is more likely to remember the cake at his country club than which country he bombed last.
Mainstream media never met a bombing it didn’t love. And Trump has never turned down an opportunity to get positive coverage for himself. As the world blows up around him, the one thing Trump will want to know is: “What are they saying about me on CNN?” The more of the globe Trump annihilates, the giddier the pundits will be. If Trump does bring the world to nuclear war, they just may declare him the greatest president of all-time.