At Power Line, we sometimes refer to the Washington Post as an adjunct of the Democratic Party. To an even greater degree, the Post is an adjunct of official Washington — the cadre of career bureaucrats and former officials who consider it their God given right to set policy, regardless of what elected officials desire. (There is, of course, considerable overlap between official Washington and the Democratic Party).
Thus, it’s not surprising that a few minutes after I read Steve’s post called “Trump’s sin: Conducting foreign policy without permission,” I read this Washington Post story called “Trump is short on advisers, allies as he faces Iran crisis.” In this article, the Post argues, in essence, that Trump is committing the sin of conducting foreign policy without permission.
The Post’s article is silly. A president who lacks good foreign policy instincts can have all the advisers in the world. It won’t help. Similarly, a president with good instincts doesn’t need many advisers.
President Trump is getting his advice mainly from Secretary of State Pompeo, whom he trusts. If Trump and Pompeo know what they are doing — and I think they do — we will be just fine. If they don’t, all the additional advisers in the world won’t help.
This is not to say that Trump doesn’t need the help of government employees. For example, he needs intelligence from the CIA and other such agencies.
He is getting it. The administration relied on CIA intelligence when it decided to take out Gen. Soleimani.
The Post attacks Trump for having criticized the CIA. But much of Trump’s criticism has been of its leadership, not of the rank and file employees who collect and analyze intelligence.
To be sure, Trump continues to remind the public of the CIA’s erroneous assessments regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He’s right to do so. This was an enormous mistake.
But this doesn’t mean, as the Post suggests, that Trump was wrong or hypocritical to rely on the CIA’s intelligence indicating that Soleimani was planning attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq. Soleimani had been orchestrating such attacks for years. It’s who he was and what he did. The CIA’s intelligence was consistent with everything we know about the terrorist. (So even if the CIA was wrong in thinking that Soleimani was planning more attacks last week, we can think of the assault that took him out as a well-deserved lifetime achievement award.)
In any case, the Post’s article about Trump not having enough advisers is nothing more than an airing of grievances of official Washington — the Deep State, if you prefer. And that’s true of much of what one reads in the Post’s news and op-ed sections.
To an unhealthy degree, the paper is the Deep State’s message board.