A military term defines the White House – SNAFU

People who have served in the military have a unique language to define poor management of situations. Borrowing from their vernacular, they might define the modus operandi of the current White House as a SNAFU. The first three letters reference “Situation Normal All,” with the last two letters referencing a more colorful way of defining “screwed up.”

Last year, conservative columnist David Brooks defined the White House as “equal parts chaos and confusion.” It has gotten increasingly worse over time with rampant turnover and turmoil, but now it is in full meltdown mode. The last grown up has announced his resignation – General James Mattis.

To be frank, I have viewed the biggest threat to national security to be Donald J. Trump. Now, my concerns have heightened. The last of the defense filters will be leaving and we will be left with an even more unfettered, mercurial and uninformed man calling the shots.

I would encourage people to read “Fear” by two-time Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Bob Woodward. It is based on over 750 hours of taped interviews with White House personnel. It defines Trump as an unhinged man who does not have the patience or willingness to listen to others or know the details of any issue. Narcissists like to he told they are right, so sycophants who know this, get the President’s ear and he closes others out.

The first key takeaways from the book is Trump’s lack of good faith dealing with others regardless of rank. His word means nothing and he will demean anyone who openly disagrees with him. In business, this is a ominous management style. If you don’t want to know the truth, then any decision will prove problematic. Time and again, people went to great pains to brief him, only to have him ridicule them and the process.

The second is the recognition by everyone that the President is untruthful. There are several colorful ways that people defined this, but the cleanest version came from former National Economic Advisor Gary Cohn who simply said Trump is a “professional liar.”

As the various investigations heat up further and get closer to Trump, he will become further unhinged. And, he will make more impulsive decisions to either appease his base or distract the media. Plus, many of his decisions are based on bumper-sticker assessments of problems and simplistic solutions. When this transactional view is combined with his lack of respect for allied relationships, we end up in a worse place.

The rashness of decisions will be less tempered without Mattis. The President does not understand or appreciate what it takes to execute decisions. The Syria withdrawal caught everyone by surprise and went against the advice of others. But, one thing is for certain, the echo effect has not been fully vetted. Just this morning, I heard the Kurds will have to release 3,000 ISIS prisoners as they have nowhere to keep them. Yet, this is just one example of not studying a problem and getting input from others (think travel ban fiasco that was pulled after two days).

As I shared with Senators by email, this will get worse as the noose tightens. The SNAFU descriptions may undersell the amount of chaos, confusion and imcompetence. This frightens me.

10 thoughts on “A military term defines the White House – SNAFU

  1. As an outsider, I have been thinking for quite a while that the biggest terrorist threat to your country is currently occupying a position of power. Seems the stakes just got higher. Praying for you all that there is a return to sanity soon.

    • Rob, many thanks and Merry Christmas and happy New Year in return. I think the chaos is a preferred modus operandi, but is a horrible management style as it leaves everyone else in a state of flux. Yet is lack of respect for everyone, large ego and lying makes for a very untrustworthy person.

      Conservative pundit Michael Gerson said tonight on PBS Newhour that two GOP Senators not known for histrionics said we are in a panic over Mattis’ resignation. Senator Rubio added what he wrote in his letter was most troubling. Two former state officials noted that we can not be trusted anymore. And, so on. I am just tired of the daily histrionics. Can we have a large dose of boring competence? Keith

      • I know what you mean Keith. I want my government dull and effective. I’m glad these Republicans are concerned, but really, they are the majority and they had good reason to remove Trump from office in 2017. I will never understand why the GOP did this to us.

      • Rob, rationalization of major concerns is a powerful salve. First, they said he won’t do all those half-baked ideas he is saying he will. Second, they said he will hire good people to make up for his inexperience. Third, they said his sexual misconduct was overblown and Bill Clinton did it too. Fourth, ….

        The list goes on and on. Keith

  2. Note to Readers: One more day, one more resignation – this time the US Envoy to defeat ISIS. Interestingly, he said last month it would be foolish to leave Syria before the work is done. My guess is more will come.

  3. Dear Keith,

    I’ve come to the point that I side with Rob. President Trump’s latest move of withdrawing US troops from Syria may look like an impulsive move but I’m convinced he was looking for a way to accommodate Russia’s demands for US to withdraw its troops, and so he came up with the pretext by setting up the call that he initiated with Turkey’s leader Erdogan. He had to ignore all the talking points from his foreign policy experts on a note pad.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Gronda, I feel he often makes impulsive decisions to change the narrative in the media. With bad news directed his way, he rashly changes the subject. Like this one, it backfired. That is why he let Mattis go early and why he traveled to visit the troops.

      I saw a well written letter to the editor this morning which said after the Russia meddling report, we need to use the other “I” word, illegitimate President. Keith

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