Dan Rather: Don't Be So Quick to Praise Trump's Military Action, Journalists Should 'Fight Against' Patriotic Sentiment

Cortney O'Brien
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Posted: Apr 18, 2017 7:45 AM
Dan Rather: Don't Be So Quick to Praise Trump's Military Action, Journalists Should 'Fight Against' Patriotic Sentiment

Most Americans approve of President Trump's aggressive response to the Syrian chemical attack last month. The Bash al-Assad regime is expected of authoring the attack, killing nearly 100 Syrians. The U.S., avoiding the empty threats of the Obama administration, responded aggressively, sending 59 tomahawk missiles to the Syrian airbase believed to have launched the attack. Even congressional Democrats commended the Trump administration's swift response. Trump is also receiving support for authorizing the military to drop the "mother of all bombs" on Afghanistan, killing 94 ISIS fighters.

Dan Rather, however, is not so convinced the president is deserving of praise - at least not yet.

“Dropping bombs, having missile strikes, doesn’t make one presidential,” the ex-CBS anchor told CNN's Brian Stelter Sunday.

“Just because a president exerts himself as commander in chief, there’s a natural inclination, and an unhealthy one, to immediately say, ‘boy, that makes him presidential that makes him strong.’”

Rather went on to argue that “it’s easy” to drop bombs and launch missiles, “but dealing with what comes in the wake of that, is much more difficult.”

Until Trump proves his military actions can "keep the peace" in the Middle East, Rather will not be using the adjective “presidential” to describe him.  

Stelter also asked Rather whether journalists have a tendency to “rally around the flag” in the wake of U.S. military action. Rather concernedly, he wondered whether that was “detrimental” to the profession and the country at large. 

Rather admitted he and his fellow journalists “do have that tendency and should fight it more often.” Instead of being so overly supportive of the president, journalists should be "skeptical," he noted. 

I wonder if Rather had so many probing questions about President Obama's foreign policy. In a conversation with CNN’s Piers Morgan in 2012, (apparently a sufficient enough amount of time) to reflect on President Obama’s international efforts, Rather gave the 44th president an "A." 

It’s a “difficult job,” Rather said at the time, giving Obama plenty of “credit.”

If the journalist would've waited a couple of more years he would've seen that Obama did more harm than good in Syria, emboldening the Assad regime with his empty "red line" threats. As Matt noted, Syria is a mess that Obama left for Trump. 

Yet, don't expect Rather to change his tune on Obama, nor to judge Trump's foreign policy agenda through an unbiased lens.