The president's speech on Afghanistan was the forced utterance of a hostage on his captor's video.
President Trump should really have held up a newspaper to establish the date of the transmission, like any obedient hostage does.
The speech was the second act of self-abnegation and humiliation the president has had to endure at the hands of his "deep state" captors. On July 17, the president — with his arm twisted behind his back — signed a certification to Congress — required every 90 days — that Iran was fully complying with the nuclear deal.
Trump admitted last night that he hadn't wanted to increase our Afghan involvement and news reports surrounding the Iran certification indicate that he didn't like doing that one either. In both cases, the "wiser" counsels of his "deep state" advisors — led by General H.R. McMaster — prevailed over the president's previously held views.
In the campaign, Trump called Afghanistan a waste of men and money. He described the Iran deal as "the worst deal ever."
But now Trump is under new management. Mike Flynn is gone. Steve Bannon is history. Reince Priebus is the answer to a trivia question. Sean Spicer is out. The good guys have fled and the "deep state" — and their army of rogue spooks — are back in charge.
(Rouge spooks is a reference to our new book, "Rogue Spooks: The Intelligence War on Donald Trump.")
Here was the deal Trump's captors offered: Change the subject from Charlottesville. Look presidential. Get network approval to go on primetime TV (usually withheld for anything but a war). Give a mushy statement saying you'll reveal later the number of new troops and your "plan" for using them. Look presidential. Get good press coverage.
Or continue to get pounded in the media over the Confederate statues and, on Afghanistan, read about how you are ignoring the military and sowing chaos in the Pentagon.
Trump caved in. Just as he did when the "deep state" got him to fire Steve Bannon.
Will he now proceed to cave in across the board?
Will he trade real Obamacare repeal for media praise by pushing a bipartisan solution that leaves it in place, possibly even stronger?
Will he bathe in media accolades for a moderate reform of NAFTA that accomplishes nothing?
Is a minor, tepid tax cut — passed by Democrats and RINOs in the offing?
Will he triangulate at the expense of substance to relieve the pounding he is taking in the media?