Here’s the core issue with McCabe’s firing: If in fact he did something wrong, he should be prosecuted. But cutting off his retirement is criminal. Protecting people’s retirement is rule number 1 in governance. For the life of me, I don’t understand why senior leadership in successive U.S. administrations keep screwing up like this. Do they really have such short memories?
Remember, George W. Bush Administration’s decision to disband the Iraqi army shortly after the 2003 invasion—without the knowledge or consent of either the Pentagon or President. Literally 500, 000 plus, civil servants in Iraq lost their jobs and their pensions! They had kids, relatives, parents … did Dick Cheney not understand the impact of this decision? Anthony Zinni, a retired Marine general and chief of U.S. Central Command from 1997 to 2000, said “Many of the Sunnis who were chased out ended up on the other side and are probably ISIS fighters and leaders now.” One expert estimates that more than 25 of ISIS’s top 40 leaders once served in the Iraqi military.
If McCabe’s firing was supposed to be a signal to others at the FBI or CIA, I can tell you it was idiotic. This will have the exact opposite effect. When you cut someone’s retirement, rank-and-file civil servants will turn against you – not fear you! They know how to play the system better than short-term Trump administration appointees. The tide will turn; and the GOP will have legions of civil servants undermining every single GOP move in the future.
My own, personal experience with this involves my father’s ‘early retirement from Iran’s foreign service. After 20 plus years as a career diplomat, the new installed Khomeini regime (brought in the West; people forget that he flew in on a French Government Chartered Air France 747); decided to retire everyone above a certain ‘rank’ in Iran’s civil service. While for sure, my father was relieved of the post-revolutionary stresses Iran’s government faced, he also soon found out that his retirement benefits were gone. Retired without a pension. After 20 years of paying into it, he had nothing when he retired.
People cheering McCabe’s firing, don’t understand that retirement benefits are like Social Security and Medicaid, people pay INTO them … either in hard cash or service. To cut off someone’s retirement in effect becomes theft. Its criminal. If this is something Trump doesn’t understand; surely, he can not be suited to the office of President.
The rumor on the street is that Sessions was basically told that if he didn’t do this, he too would be fired. If true, this not only makes a statement about Trump but also more importantly about Sessions himself. To have done this is an unprincipled move, by someone who has always pretended to be principled. You are better off resigning than doing something like this. This is the hallmark of a sinking regime. You can’t succeed this way with scummy recriminations. There are times when you must take the high road, be the greater person – and in the long-run it speaks volumes.
Now, Trump has created an enemy of not only McCabe but the whole civil service regardless of political affiliation. This is so fundamental, so basic, that to not ‘get it’ is beyond idiocy. Let me pass on a quote from former CIA director Brennan (if you have not already read it): “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history,” Brennan, an Obama administration CIA director, tweeted in response to Trump’s tweet. “You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America…America will triumph over you.”
And then add a quote from Senator Jeff Flake’s speech yesterday – who by the way scored a perfect 100 with the fiscally conservative group the Club for Growth and has a 94% lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union: “We must turn away from this brand of poisonous politics, the kind of poison that has the president slinging insults like a bad comic at a cheap roast,” Flake said Friday. “Yes, the pendulum swings, thank goodness, and the people themselves will show us the way out of here. If this sounds like a call to new politics, it is. But it is just as much a call to the old politics, the best traditions of America, of true leadership and vision, of Lincoln’s malice toward none and charity for all,” he said. “Let’s take the high ground again.”
This literally is the end of the Trump administration. Its only a matter of time. It’s a sinking ship. It could also be the end of the GOP! Trump is an idiot. And Sessions has no principles.