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There's a problem with this Trump tweet on the Kurds in Syria, and it ain't 'Mark Esperanto'
Mark Esper is the third person after James Mattis and Patrick Shanahan to helm the Pentagon since Donald Trump became president, and he's apparently not making much of an impression on the commander-and-chief.
On Sunday, Trump sent a very real tweet on "Secretary Esperanto," which is either a reference to a constructed international language developed more than 130 years ago and only spoken on the PA system in Gattaca or an egregious instance of autocorrect.
But the whole 'Esperanto' thing isn't the biggest issue with this Sunday morning dose of awful. Indeed, Trump's tweet came as Esper made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan amid U.S. efforts to restart potential peace talks with the Taliban, and according to reporters accompanying him there, this isn't even close to what Esper said.
Here's Reuters correspondent Idrees Ali:
Esper's quote to us: " I think overall the ceasefire generally seems to be holding, we see a stabilization of the lines, if you will, on the ground, and we do get reports of intermittent fires, this and that, that doesn't surprise me necessarily."
— Idrees Ali (@idreesali114) October 20, 2019
Same thing from Wall Street Journal correspondent Nancy Youssef, who reported on Saturday night that all of the 1,000 U.S. service members ordered to leave northeastern Syria "will move to western Iraq and will conduct U.S. operations" against ISIS there and are not "coming home."
I am on the same trip and did not hear Esper mention resettled Kurds or oil. Or a name change. https://t.co/3rgvHrmDLf
— Nancy Youssef, نانسي يوسف (@nancyayoussef) October 20, 2019
This is the second time in three days that Trump has mentioned oil when nobody else has. On Friday, the president had declared that the U.S. has "secured the Oil" in the Middle East amid the ongoing political fallout from his withdrawal order and subsequent Turkish invasion of northern Syria, which critics argue are a betrayal of the Pentagon's Kurdish partners in the fight against ISIS there.
Uh, everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here, now, thank you. How are you?
It didn't take long for a central theme to emerge at the funeral of U.S. Marine Pfc. Joseph Livermore, an event attended by hundreds of area residents Friday at Union Cemetery in Bakersfield.
It's a theme that stems from a widespread local belief that the men and women who have served in the nation's armed forces are held in particularly high esteem here in the southern valley.
"In Bakersfield and Kern County, we celebrate our veterans like no place else on Earth," Bakersfield Chief of Police Lyle Martin told the gathering of mourners.
ROCKFORD — Delta Force sniper Sgt. First Class James P. McMahon's face was so badly battered and cut, "he looked like he was wearing a fright mask" as he stood atop a downed Black Hawk helicopter and pulled free the body of a fellow soldier from the wreckage.
That's the first description of McMahon in the book by journalist Mark Bowden called "Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War." It is a detailed account of the horrific Battle of the Black Sea fought in the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia, in October 1993. It claimed the lives of 18 elite American soldiers.
Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher will retire as a chief petty officer now that President Donald Trump has restored his rank.
"Before the prosecution of Special Warfare Operator First Class Edward Gallagher, he had been selected for promotion to Senior Chief, awarded a Bronze Star with a "V" for valor, and assigned to an important position in the Navy as an instructor," a White House statement said.
"Though ultimately acquitted on all of the most serious charges, he was stripped of these honors as he awaited his trial and its outcome. Given his service to our Nation, a promotion back to the rank and pay grade of Chief Petty Officer is justified."
The announcement that Gallagher is once again an E-7 effectively nullifies the Navy's entire effort to prosecute Gallagher for allegedly committing war crimes. It is also the culmination of Trump's support for the SEAL throughout the legal process.
On July 2, military jurors found Gallagher not guilty of premeditated murder and attempted murder for allegedly stabbing a wounded ISIS fighter to death and opening fire at an old man and a young girl on separate occasions during his 2017 deployment to Iraq.