Army assessment dampens Trump view of ‘caravan’

I’m sure you remember that when he was campaigning for president in 2016, Donald Trump declared he knows “more about ISIS than the generals, believe me.”

It has turned out that he doesn’t. Nor does he know more about that so-called “caravan” of tough guys, criminals and “Middle Easterners” heading toward our southern border than the generals.

Trump has tried to inject fear and panic among Americans in advance of next Tuesday’s midterm election. He has called that “caravan” an invasion force intent on breaching our southern border. So he’s dispatched as many as 15,000 troops to the border to take charge of matters, to secure it against the invading hordes.

The U.S. Army, though, assesses it a bit differently. It said the refugees fleeing northward remain a good distance away and projects that only a small percentage of the “caravan” will reach our border. The Army assessment presumes that there will be about five U.S. troops for every refugee who manages to make it to the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Washington Post says it cannot verify the Army assessment independently, but reports that military officials the newspaper contacted are vouching for its veracity.

Trump peddles fear like few other modern-day politicians. I’ll concede that he’s pretty good at it. He has that base of supporters who continue to believe the lies that fly out of the president’s mouth. That’s all that matters to him. He talks to them only. The rest of us? Forget about it!

As the Post reports: Seizing on immigration as his main campaign theme ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections, Trump has depicted the caravans — at least four have formed, though they remain hundreds of miles away — as a grave danger to U.S. national security, claiming they are composed of “unknown Middle Easterners,” hardened criminals and “very tough fighters.” He also insists the number of migrants heading north is much larger than estimates put forward by U.S. and Mexican government officials.

The military assessment does not support any of those claims.

And we are to believe the opinion of a man — the president — who admits he doesn’t read briefing papers or doesn’t feel the need to absorb national security briefings?

I don’t think so.

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