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Army Vet Turned Pundit: US Should ‘Normalize’ Kim Jong Un, ‘A Guy Who Has To Murder His People All Day Long’
Let’s all just agree to one thing right now: Whatever our vision of the United States of America is, however we feel about its future and its role in the world, it should not look anything like Pete Hegseth.
Let’s not be like the former Bear Stearns banker, Army veteran of Iraq, Fox News personality, and one-time rumored candidate for VA secretary, who on Wednesday appeared on Fox & Friends to pitch for President Donald Trump’s planned North Korea summit, and in a short sound bite went against every principle that makes the United States special — and against his own purported conservative values.
“Why do you think he agreed to this meeting, Kim Jong-Un?” a co-host asked Hegseth this morning. Hegseth replied thusly — emphasis added:
I think he — he wants a picture with the American president… the sanctions are having massive effect there, there’s no doubt. The Chinese have put the screws to ’em on that — the Chinese are still playing a double-game, absolutely — and then I think there’s probably a point at which the guy who wants to meet with Dennis Rodman and loves NBA basketball and loves western pop culture probably doesn't love being the guy that has to murder his people all day long. Probably wants normalization. And let’s give it to him, if it makes the world safer.
Watch the clip for yourself:
I’m at a weird place in writing this, because Hegseth’s statement is so self-evidently twisted and bizarre to me that I’m suspicious of anyone who says they don’t see it. To be clear: There is a substantial danger to the president of the United States meeting face-to-face with a North Korean dictator who ordered his uncle executed by anti-aircraft guns and flamethrowers. It could very easily legitimize the North Korean dictator’s status — his standing and ability to “murder his people all day long” — with only the slightest tangible hope of forging a broader peace.
It’s possible — remotely possible — that a U.S. administration could, with serious effort and discipline, navigate a cautious summit path that avoids an overt endorsement of the totalitarian regime Kim controls by birthright, where 130,000 people are routinely tortured in prison camps “as terrible, or even worse, than those I saw and experienced in my youth in these Nazi camps and in my long professional career in the human rights field," as one human rights investigator put it last fall.
But what you can’t do — what’s absolutely unconscionable, to the people of the Korean peninsula and the 37,000 Americans who gave their lives in war there — is make a public case like Hegseth’s that Kim has “to murder his people all day long,” but he deserves membership in the community of world leaders anyway, for “peace” and “NBA basketball” and whatever. What you don’t do is make a natural fixture out of a monster.
Does that sound Pollyannaish? Well, then, I beg you not to read anything about dictators that Pete Hegseth wrote before Donald Trump was president. Whatever you do, don’t read Pete Hegseth’s gushing words of solidarity with the long-suffering Iraqi people against Saddam Hussein. “[E]liminating Saddam and liberating Iraq could be the 'Normandy Invasion' or 'fall of the Berlin Wall' of our generation,” he wrote at Princeton when he was still an ROTC cadet. “The Iraqi people are eager to be rid of Saddam, and there is equally encouraging evidence that republican principles could thrive there.”
For sure, you shouldn’t read his lofty dispatches for the National Review when he was in uniform in Iraq, or his reflections when the war turned 10. “Saddam Hussein was an undeniably dangerous dictator, with a history of belligerent behavior and a record of supporting jihadists in the region,” he wrote. “While critics of the war have long preferred to gloss over Saddam’s record as if pre-invasion Iraq had been tranquil and misunderstood, surely no one wishes Saddam were still in power.”
You should definitely avoid Hegseth’s broadside against the previous presidential administration for kowtowing to dictators like Bashar Al-Assad. “[T]he Obama administration’s equivocation and vacillation go far beyond Syria,” he wrote. “In Libya, Egypt, Iran, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, the president’s naïve and schizophrenic worldview — based on an apparent belief that the United States ought to withdraw from the world and negotiate unconditional, unilateral, and mythical peace — has sent signals of weakness.”
Don’t read Hegseth’s Benghazi-inspired rant against “this [Obama] administration’s ‘Stand Down’ foreign policy” — under which “Rather than aggressively confront enemies (with the notable exception of bin Laden), we appease them.”
And whatever you do, don’t check out his feelings about American presidents meeting with brutal dictators on Twitter:
But that was another president. Things are different now, right?
For decades now, we have heard conservatives blast liberals for coddling some of the world’s worst miscreant leaders and violent threats, for not standing up to evil when it violates human liberty. It harkens to a noble if much-abused ideal, that some things are worth fighting for. It was enough to get me to put on a uniform once. And you still hear conservatives banging that drum today, over Iran, at least.
But now, because we have a president who impulsively and without consulting his advisors accepted North Korea’s open entreaty to have a seat at the table of nations, and that president happens to identify (for now) as a Republican, the Pete Hegseths of the world clamor to normalize a petty dictator’s murderous impulses. Kim has to do it, you see, but he’d prefer not to. He’d rather watch the NBA semis. And anyway, if he’ll give us his nukes, he’s free to kill at home all he wants.
As Hegseth once wrote, about another war and another dictator: “Talk is cheap, but a legacy of resolve is forever.”
A Corpsman went to a military hospital for a routine shoulder surgery. 4 days later he was dead, and his parents say the Navy is to blame
Jordan Way was living a waking nightmare.
The 23-year-old sailor laid in bed trembling. At times, his body would shake violently as he sobbed. He had recently undergone a routine shoulder surgery on Dec. 12, 2017, and was hoping to recover.
Instead, Jordan couldn't do much of anything other than think about the pain. Simple tasks like showering, dressing himself, or going to the bathroom alone were out of the question, and the excruciating sensation in his shoulder made lying down to sleep feel like torture.
"Imagine being asleep," he called to tell his mother Suzi at one point, "but you can still feel the pain."
To help, military doctors gave Jordan oxycodone, a powerful semi-synthetic opiate they prescribed to dull the sensation in his shoulder. Navy medical records show that he went on to take more than 80 doses of the drug in the days following the surgery, dutifully following doctor's orders to the letter.
Instinctively, Jordan, a Navy corpsman who by day worked at the Twentynine Palms naval hospital where he was now a patient, knew something was wrong. The drugs seemed to have little effect. His parents advised him to seek outside medical advice, but base doctors insisted the drugs just needed more time to work.
"They've got my back," Jordan had told his parents before the surgery, which happened on a Tuesday. By Saturday, he was dead.
The Navy has paused proceedings that could strip Eddie Gallagher and three other SEALs of their tridents while the service awaits a written order to formally stand down, a senior Navy official told Task & Purpose on Thursday.
Rear Adm. Collin Green, the head of Naval Special Warfare Command, was expected to decide on the matter after the SEALs appeared before a review board next month. But Trump tweeted on Thursday that Gallagher was in no danger of losing his trident, a sacred symbol of being part of the SEAL community.
"The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher's Trident Pin," the president tweeted. "This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!"
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. (Reuters) - President Donald Trump traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Thursday to receive the remains of two American soldiers killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan this week.
Trump, who met with families of the soldiers, was accompanied at the base by first lady Melania Trump, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley and national security adviser Robert O'Brien.
Two airmen from Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma, were killed on Thursday when two T-38 Talon training aircraft crashed during training mission, according to a message posted on the base's Facebook age.
The two airmen's names are being withheld pending next of kin notification.
A total of four airmen were onboard the aircraft at the time of the incident, base officials had previously announced.
The medical conditions for the other two people involved in the crash was not immediately known.
An investigation will be launched to determine the cause of the crash.
Emergency responders from Vance Air Force Base are at the crash scene to treat casualties and help with recovery efforts.
Read the entire message below:
VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – Two Vance Air Force Base Airmen were killed in an aircraft mishap at approximately 9:10 a.m. today.
At the time of the accident, the aircraft were performing a training mission.
Vance emergency response personnel are on scene to treat casualties and assist in recovery efforts.
Names of the deceased will be withheld pending next of kin notification.
A safety investigation team will investigate the incident.
Additional details will be provided as information becomes available. #VanceUpdates.
This is a breaking news story. It will be updated as more information is released.
The Army has identified the two soldiers killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan on Wednesday as 33-year-old Chief Warrant Officer 2 David C. Knadle, and 25-year-old Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk T. Fuchigami Jr.