On Tuesday, Iran called Donald Trump a mentally incapacitated liar.
I wish there was a different way to put that because it’s tone-deaf, not politically correct and highly insensitive. But, read the following direct quote from Hassan Rouhani and tell me how you would summarize it in one sentence:
You say let’s talk and then you sanction the foreign minister. This clearly shows that you’re lying. The White House is afflicted by mental retardation.
Rouhani also called Trump’s decision to sanction Khamenei “outrageously idiotic“, which is an accurate assessment. It’s like sanctioning the Easter Bunny or maybe Big Bird. It sounds like a big deal, but if you were pressed to explain what it actually accomplishes, you’d likely come up empty.
Well, Trump heard Rouhani and the president’s feelings are hurt. After sparing the lives of 150 Iranians last Thursday by calling off strikes on radar and missile batteries at the last minute, Trump doesn’t think he deserves to be derided as handicapped by a foreign government. (And if you’re already laughing, that’s because, like the president’s “mentally deranged dotard” back-and-forth with North Korea, this has indeed crossed the threshold into surreal geopolitical humor)
“Iran’s very ignorant and insulting statement, put out today, only shows that they do not understand reality”, said Trump, world-renowned expert on not understanding reality.
“Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force”, he went on to say, adding that “in some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration.” The “in some areas” caveat is, one supposes, another effort to let the Iranian people know that the US isn’t going to carpet bomb Tehran, no matter how much John Bolton begs.
Trump also bragged about the size of the US military (again) as though Iran is somehow unaware of the fact that America’s conventional fighting force is superior to anything the planet has ever seen.
“Iran leadership doesn’t understand the words ‘nice’ or ‘compassion’, they never have”, a jaded Trump lamented. “Sadly, the thing they do understand is Strength and Power, and the USA is by far the most powerful Military Force in the world, with 1.5 Trillion Dollars invested over the last two years alone.”
After that, the president bemoaned the plight of “the wonderful Iranian people” who he says are “suffering for no reason at all”. That is an accurate assessment. There was “no reason at all” for Trump to pull the US out of the nuclear accord and embark on a crusade to cripple the country’s economy, considering Iran was, in fact, in compliance with the letter of the agreement. As far as the IRGC’s regional ambitions are concerned, it’s at least worth noting that some of what the Quds and Hezbollah have been doing over the past five years is cleaning up the mess made by Sunni extremists, many of whom are directly or indirectly funded by America’s allies. That isn’t speculation and stating it as fact isn’t akin to perpetuating conspiracy theories about the US secretly arming ISIS. Everyone knows the Sunni powers funnel money and arms to the hodgepodge of Sunni militias operating in Syria.
Trump also said that “the US has not forgotten Iran’s use of IED’s & EFP’s (bombs), which killed 2000 Americans, and wounded many more”. That is yet another reference to Qasem Soleimani and his proxy armies in Iraq. Here are another couple of passages from a recent article by Michael Weiss:
Gen. Stanley McChrystal even inaugurated a special task force for “countering Iranian influence.” Thus began the era of Black Hawk raids on Shia militiamen and even a handful of their Iranian superiors, the most notable of whom was Gen. Mohsen Chizari, the Qods Force’s head of operations. (Soleimani himself very narrowly escaped being arrested in a JSOC dragnet in Iraqi Kurdistan.)
“Iranian influence” largely consisted of rockets launched at U.S. positions and personnel and highly lethal bombs, known as Explosively Formed Penetrators, which pierced the armor plating of Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles, killing or maiming the passengers inside. (EFPs were also known as “Persian bombs” because they were manufactured in a petroleum factory in the Iranian city of Mehran and smuggled across the border by the Badr Corps, one of Soleimani’s oldest and most trusted fifth columns in Iraq. Members of the Bush administration at one point gave serious consideration to blowing up the factory.)
That’s what Trump is talking about with the “EFP” reference. Those interested can read more in “The Shadow Commander“, a profile published in The New Yorker six years back.
In any case, Trump drove the point home not by criticizing Iran, but rather by maligning the previous US administration. “No more John Kerry & Obama!”, he shrieked.
John Bolton’s famous mustache is twitching.