In a recent report, Pew Research states 193,442 active duty military personnel are deployed overseas. If true, that would be the smallest number since 1957, again according to Pew. I say if true because a report by Business Insider puts the number at more than 450,000.
What's the real number? It's likely nobody knows for certain how many soldiers, sailors, special forces, and spies – not to mention soldiers of fortune – are operating overseas, but you can be sure it's a very big number.
The tragic death of four soldiers in Niger have at least brought this matter to public attention, though sad to say, that aspect of the matter isn't receiving nearly the attention it deserves. No, most of the attention has been drawn to a sidebar fomented by Donald Trump. That's standard operating procedure for Trump, whose every move is the very definition of foment, that is “to instigate or stir up an undesirable or violent sentiment or course of action”.
Given his trashing of John McCain's war service and his attack on the Gold Star Kahn family, it's reasonable to question Trump's motives, as well as his sincerity and sympathy, during his consolation call to Myesha Johnson, the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson. And his dispute with the grieving widow, the family and Congresswoman Frederica Wilson calls into question his sanity as well.
Hard to explain why General John Kelly allowed himself to get dragged into the dispute; and though the first of half of his press conference was informative and moving, the second half, in which he attacked Congresswoman Wilson unfairly and inaccurately, calls into question his perspicacity, sincerity and veracity.
To be kind, one might say Kelly was also a victim in this matter; certainly his once sterling reputation has now been sullied. And so it goes with any and all who come into Trump's circle. Given his sordid past, that's no surprise. Dad used to say “lie down with dogs, get up with fleas”. With Trump, it's more a case of “roll around with a pig and get up muddied”. Trump has spoken often about draining the swamp; well, turning the swamp into a pigpen is no improvement.
©2017 Tom Cordle