On Joy Reid's show, Ben Rhodes destroyed Donald Trump’s flimsy explanation for having deliberately escalated tensions with Iran by assassinating its General Qasem Soleimani.
January 4, 2020

Ben Rhodes’ comments, made on AM Joy this morning, were prefaced by a 2015 clip of Trump displaying Palin-esque ignorance of Soleimani, Iran and the Middle East. It would have been hilarious if it weren’t such a dangerous situation.

Host Joy Reid followed up by questioning Trump’s claim that he ordered the strike based on intelligence when he has made it clear he doesn’t trust his own intelligence community.

Rhodes demolished what was left of Trump’s fig leaf:

RHODES: The specificity of the intelligence I think is an enormous question. Frankly, if they had that type of specific intelligence of an imminent threat, I would think that they would have presented it to Congress by now. What is the reason for this delay?

And I think there are a couple of other things that are relevant here, Joy. First of all, they claim that they took the strike to prevent an attack on our personnel, but every analyst knows that taking the strike just raised the threat of attacks on our personnel, so the logic of their entire case falls apart.

Secondly, his own intelligence community had told him that the Iran nuclear deal was working and he lied and said that Iran wasn't complying and used that to justify pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal which started this whole escalatory cycle that we've been on for the last two years, Joy.

So there's a fundamental incoherence in what Donald Trump's strategy is here, what he thinks he's trying to achieve and frankly whether we can trust whatever he says about the information he puts forward. Frankly, the rest of the world doesn't put any trust in anything Donald Trump says so the United States is also completely isolated as we find ourselves now on the brink of a much, much more serious conflict with Iran.

But wait, there’s more. Rhodes noted that Trump was using the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force, used to go to war with Iraq under false pretenses, “to justify killing the official of a different government, almost 20 years later.”

“This is an insane way to conduct American foreign policy,” Rhodes added, “and to potentially get us into a war with a country that is three times the size of Iraq and far more sophisticated.”

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