THE RISK OF NOT READING

Donald’s Devilish Details

When White House advisors wanted to brief the President of the United States on what had happened in Syria, they decided that they should use few words and show more pictures to tell the story of the use of chemical weapons.

Everyone learns differently and it has been established that one of the key components of our fearless leader is that he doesn’t read.

The art of brevity is not a sole providence of this president. Ronald Reagan asked the bureaucrats to reduce all memorandum to one page. Even though we now know that President Reagan toward the end of his command was losing certain memory functions, the memo reduction requirement was a genuine way to get more done. In short, most people over-write.

By showing Trump pictures of the results of the bombing of innocents, including babies, he was moved to not only act, but change his Middle East strategy entirely. Much to the chagrin of the far right and hard line populists, he did what needed to be done. Perhaps this President will eventually move to a moderate position, if only there was a picture we could show him for that result.

The danger of course in not reading is that you don’t ever consume well-thought out research and important intelligence because of the “burden” of actually reading it. We would love to have Donald Trump read Richard Haass’ book A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order, but it is unlikely that our President could get through the 348 pages.

In one sense, it’s good that Trump is not influenced by so-called experts or those who have been in power before him, but that assumes they have nothing to contribute. The fear we should have is how an advisor could distort the truth to get their end result rather than a thoughtful answer to a complex question. We all know that photographs can be doctored and some people have even seen WMDs where there were none.

In the case of the invasion of Iraq, it was just as much Saddam Hussein’s stone-walling UN inspectors as the trumped-up charges of the intelligence community that led us to war. We need to keep in mind our country wasted $1 trillion dollars and ended up killing more than 134,000 civilians in the Iraq War. This mistake was based on some expert’s misinterpretation of facts or suspicious miscalculations or just plain not enough information.

There are certain qualifications we apply to most jobs, but for the leader of the free world we take what the electoral college gives us. In terms of Syria, the insiders just had to put the pictures of the dying children in Trump’s hands and he felt compelled to ask his generals, “What can we do about this?”

Did Donald not see the other dead baby washing up on the beach? That was the son of a mother and father, you know, refugees of Syria who were trying to escape a land where the leader drops bombs filled with chemicals on them. Did the President’s advisors not show him those pictures? TV covered this sad event, but that image never helped forge any campaign rhetoric.

Now that those around Donald Trump know that all they have to do is show him pictures to elicit some Pavlovian reaction, save us from the misdeeds of a few with influence. Judging by how he reads a teleprompter, we can assume that if we asked for more reading from Trump, we would bring the country to a stand-still.

What candidate Trump said he knew, even “more than the generals”, he obviously doesn’t know. Sorry to crush the feelings of those hardcore Trump fans, but this guy is just a narcissistic builder turned reality TV star who, in his new capacity, is learning on-the-job. Have patience and keep checking your paystub. Has he reduced your co-pays and deductibles yet? Has he made your roads better? Has he decreased your taxes? Has he made America great yet? What is taking this man so long to get going? Sad!