SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- According to acting Co-President Steve Bannon, the future glory of the United States will emerge from the putrid fog of war - in fact, many wars. The Guardian quotes Bannon as predicting armed conflicts over the disputed South China Seas territory within 10 years, while another inevitable battle will erupt in the Middle East during the same time. On Wednesday, the administration’s bloodlust flared again when the president warned Mexico of possible troop deployments to eliminate “bad hombres.” This was accompanied by Trump’s frightening display of saber-rattling against Iran over a missile test. Millions of American refugees, now terrified by the prospect of global war, rushed to the border this week to seek asylum in Mexico. But to prevent known foreign extremists, rapists and job-stealers from entering the country, the Mexican government has imposed crossing fees and extreme vetting processes for U.S. immigrants.
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution ResurrectionIn an alarming upheaval of foreign policy, the Trump administration fired a symbolic warning shot over Iran’s bow after the country launched a ballistic missile test on Wednesday. Michael Flynn, the national security chief, announced that the United States was putting Iran “on notice.” He followed by threatening the Iranian government with unspecified reprisals.
The tense incident escalated on Thursday in heated Twitter exchanges between President Trump and Ali Akbar Velayati, the top adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Trump’s hostile statements, and Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s use of alternative facts to justify retaliation, have contributed to the administration’s increasingly bellicose tone.
Iran’s launch of a non-nuclear ballistic missile does not violate the terms of the treaty executed by President Obama. But the problem intensified on Thursday, when Press Secretary Sean Spicer erroneously accused Iran of firing on an American warship, conflating the missile test with an attack on a Saudi vessel.
At the press briefing, apparently responding to Flynn’s comments about putting Iran on notice, Spicer said, “I think General Flynn was really clear yesterday that Iran has violated the Joint Resolution, that Iran’s additional hostile actions that it took against our Navy vessel are ones that we are very clear are not going to sit by and take. I think that we will have further updates for you on those additional actions.”
Speaking to the The Intercept, Pentagon spokesman Christopher Sherwood confirmed that the attack involved a Saudi warship, and that the Pentagon suspects Houthi rebels. “It was a Saudi ship -- it was actually a frigate” said Sherwood. “It was [conducted by] suspected Houthi rebels off the coast of Yemen.”
Spicer’s dubious mistake and Trump’s aggressive posturing stoked fears that the administration, under Bannon’s influence, is intentionally attempting to provoke a war against Iran and other U.S. opponents. The situation immediately invited comparisons to the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.
On August 2, shortly after a clandestine raid on the North Vietnamese coast by South Vietnamese gunboats, the U.S. destroyer Maddox (conducting electronic espionage nearby) was fired on by North Vietnamese torpedo boats. Two days later, in the same area, the Maddox and another destroyer reported that they were again under attack. Although these reports now appear to have been mistaken, Johnson proceeded quickly to authorize retaliatory air strikes against North Vietnam.
Not only did the Johnson administration lie about the Maddox being deliberately torpedoed during a routine patrol, it double-downed and reported a second attack by North Vietnamese PT boats. However, Navy pilots flying overhead detected no such activity. Squadron Commander James Stockdale said, “Our destroyers were just shooting at phantom targets — there were no PT boats there…. There was nothing there but black water and American fire power.”
Spicer, rather than denying the similarities, embraced the comparison. Reporters noted that his statements were riddled with a dizzying array of alternative facts.
Vietnam was a great war, a glorious war. We won a decisive battle against a nation plotting our overthrow, and our preemptive strike prevented millions of villagers from invading our shores in rickety fishing boats, where they likely would have carried out mass suicide bombings to rival the death toll of 9/11. We defeated them handily and ended communism worldwide. In fact, we suffered no American casualties. Our troops came home to fanfare, amazing employment opportunities and the best medical care.
And who’s to say what that pilot saw over the Gulf of Tonkin? U.S. ships were firing. Could have been sharks with lasers on their heads. Could have been anthropomorphic fish insurgents, like evil Mr. Limpets from Asia. And can we take the word of Stockdale, a guy who ended up being Ross Perot’s running mate? Perot. The lunatic who claimed he was attacked by ninjas.
Mexico: We Don’t Need No Stinking GringosIn response to the burgeoning American refugee crisis, Mexico has constructed a new three-story facility for pedestrians attempting to cross the border at San Ysidro. As NPR explained, quoting Carlos de la Fuente, general director of the agency in charge of building federal facilities, “The way that people enter Mexico has been growing very disorganized, and now we are making it organized, that’s the big difference.” For the first time, foreigners will be processed in separate lines from Mexican nationals.
“Ever since Trump took power, we’ve got more Americans coming into our country seeking a better health care, good jobs, opportunities to enhance their quality of life and a safe environment, free from war,” a key Mexican immigration official noted. “But Americans are also a violent people. We’ve seen countless extremists burning churches, shooting schools, committing all manner of hate crimes and so forth. America is the murder capital of the world, in terms of firearms. They rape women and children, yet serve no jail time. They are deadly religious fanatics who are bent on wiping out non-believers, in some inexplicable white jihad. And they keep sending their factories over here, stealing jobs from hard-working Mexican citizens.”
Beginning Wednesday, Americans entering Mexico from San Diego to Tijuana must show a passport, fill out government paperwork and, if staying more than a week, pay 322 pesos, or roughly $20, for a six-month permit. Anticipating a surge of defecting Americans looking for sanctuary, the Mexican government admits that it must keep better track of people entering the country.
For immigrants intent on establishing permanent residence, an extreme vetting process will take place. The details are vague, but it could involve skin samples, complex questionnaires, surviving one-on-one combat in an arena with dangerous livestock and an encounter referred to as “donkey show volunteer.” Additional screenings may also involve candidates being forced to drink Mexican tap water while deprived of all food except Oaxaca City tacos (limited to beef snout, chopped tongue, pig skin and eyeballs) and something called “corn smut.”
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