Everything you need to know about our media is contained in the fact that this bit from Trump last night is a footnote to the coverage this morning of him talking about the size of his wang.
We can jaw about this at length but there isn’t much to add to what Andy Levy, an Army veteran, had to say:
thinking the military will do what u tell them even if it’s unlawful is about as close to fascism as it gets
— andy levy (@andylevy) March 4, 2016
Trump’s been accused of fascist ambitions in other contexts, sometimes unfairly, but in this case if the boot fits, wear it. GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Air Force vet, attacked Trump for advocating war crimes yesterday before the debate on a radio show in Chicago. Lord knows what he thinks this morning:
“If you’re a private in the field and your major or your colonel orders you to do something that is a war crime, you actually bear responsibility, you can’t say that the colonel made me do it,” said Kinzinger, who is supporting Marco Rubio. “What Donald Trump, as wanting to be president of the United States is advocating, is a war crime that would force every soldier that did, i.e. killed the relatives of terrorists, tortured regardless of whether it not it works, the things that he’s advocating would force all of these people in jail.”…
“Now, you have to do one of two things,” he said. “You either believe that Donald trump is all bluster which most people do but for some reason they like that, or you take him at his word in which case he is advocating, like what Benito Mussolini did, war crimes.”…
“For the leading Republican presidential candidate to advocate war crimes, which he does openly, just advocates war crimes, doesn’t matter, makes me sick really,” he said. “Especially as somebody that’s defended the country. It’s just terrible.”
Terrible and contemptuous of the troops Trump claims to admire, as it assumes they’d agree to ignore their legal duties to serve the president in whatever he asks. Michael Hayden, the head of the CIA under Bush, told Bill Maher a few days ago that the military would refuse to act if Trump issued the kinds of orders he talks about here. I think that’s broadly true, but I’d like to see a poll of the general electorate asking whether the military should obey an illegal order targeting terrorists with torture or their families with death. How do you think we’d do on a question like that at this late stage of American decline? 60 percent, maybe?
Interestingly, Trump doesn’t even try to finesse the premise of Baier’s question, as so many of his fans are doing today on social media. He doesn’t attack international law as somehow unbinding on the commander-in-chief — which is good since it is binding, assuming it’s been ratified by the federal government in the past. Nor does he cite Bush-era practices to argue that waterboarding is legal — which is also good since (a) Trump’s calling for torture practices that go beyond waterboarding and (b) if waterboarding wasn’t illegal before, it probably is now. The head of the FBI, for instance, thinks so.
Anyway. I really need to start a daily “What if Obama said it?” feature before the primary’s over.
Update: You believe him, right?
Breaking: Donald Trump shifts stance on torture, says he wouldn't order military to break international torture laws https://t.co/29OMsu3Nt1
— Natalie Andrews (@nataliewsj) March 4, 2016