It’s got to be bad

Friends, I know I cannot speak for you most times but I have a feeling that this time I can when I say this in response to this New York Time’s headline:

“President Vladimir Putin of Russia praised President Trump’s plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, calling it ‘the right decision’.”

I have a feeling that I can, indeed, speak for you when I presume that your response will be the same as mine:

Uh oh.

Now friends, I am not a warmonger. I was against the war in Vietnam. I don’t like us playing, in the words of Phil Ochs, “cops of the world,” but I also acknowledge that sometimes somebody has to, and that somebody is invariably us. Who else will go into Somalia – Sweden?

And I do not know if what we are doing in Syria is good, bad, stupid, awful, meshuganah, or whatever, but I do know this:

If Vlad says good, I figure it’s got to be bad.

Vlad’s the kind of friend you have when you are so desperate for friends that the local drug dealer is on your Christmas card list.

Vlad is the Eddie Haskell of friends and if you don’t know Eddie, you need to catch some “Leave it to Beaver” reruns on one of those weird TV channels that I get because I have an antenna (for which I don’t pay a monthly fees as you do for cable or dish or, God help you, both) and you’ll see the relationship to Vlad.

When Vlad says, “It’s good you are getting out of Syria, my good friend Donald. It is best for all. It is smart. It makes you a smart guy, you smart guy.”

Vlad didn’t say all that, but I figure Donald Trump probably thinks he was and if Trump thinks it, it’s gotta be true, just like he’s gotta be a terrific golfer because he knows he isn’t, but says he is and hopes you think he is, you big silly.

I think what Vlad is thinking, though, is the Russian equivalent of:

“Ahhhhhh, ha, ha, ha, ha, you idiot!”

And I think Vlad also has his generals on speaker phone saying something like this (but in Russian, of course):

“I hear Syria is nice this time of year. Start packing.”

Last week on the PBS Newshour, a reporter took us on a vido tour of Mosul, which once was a city in Syria but which is now a pile of rubble. And people are trying to survive in this pile of rubble.

I can’t be entirely sure what our mission was in Syria with those 2,000 troops our five-deferment-never-served-in-the-military commander in chief says he’s going to pull out, but if I were living in a pile of rubble in Mosul, I’d feel a lot better if there were some American troops in the neighborhood.

Perhaps I say that because I live in the United States and have a certain level of trust in American troops, certainly a much greater level of trust than I would have in Russian troops, what with Vlad giving the orders. Although, knowing who is giving orders to the American troops …

No, here’s the difference: Vlad’s generals aren’t going to say:

“Tovarich president, we believe sending more Russians to Syria would be a mistake.”

No. For a Russian general, the mistake would be saying something like that unless he had a sincere desire to spend quality time in the basement of Lubyanka prison with guys who enjoy pulling out fingernails.

I believe our generals might say something like this, though:

“Mr. President … um, could you look up from the keyboard for a minute? That’s right. Eyes up. Up, sir. Toward the sky. It’s that big blue thing outside the window. Good. Sir, we believe that if we pull all of our troops out of Syria, the Russians will move in and have an even greater foothold in … Sir? Sir? Remember looking up? Sky? Blue? … a greater foothold in the region.”

“Well, general, if you look at my newest Tweet, you will see that I’ve ‘liked’ a comment that Vlad made and it will make everything clear to you.”

“But sir, isn’t it possible that if President Putin approves of something that we’re doing, it’s probably bad for us?”

“You mistrust Vlad? I hear there’s a nice missle base in North Dakota that needs a new commanding officer.”

I mistrust Vlad, though, so it’s probably best that I’m not a general because North Dakota is pretty cold and outside of Fargo, what is there? Easy access to Canada, which, when Vlad’s plan comes to fruition, might be a comfort. (Read Alan Drury’s “Come Nineveh, Come Tyre.”)

Well, now we can start being paranoid about 2019 which I started to be last month when the stock market began tanking. I ratcheted that up when I read Vlad’s comment on our Syria bug out.

It still might be a great year, though. Unless you live in Mosul.