That Prez! He’s practiced at the art of deception, alright.  This time he snagged a lot of ordinarily careful people. Like Rachel Maddow.  Last night, Rachel’s opening stemwinder was about making the Aircraft Carrier Carl Vinson disappear.  It started last Saturday when Reuters published an item, leaked from the White House no doubt, that the Carrier group was steaming for the Sea of Japan, to be ready just in case. “Freedonia’s going to war,” is what most pundits concluded.

On Sunday the administration had placed its gray eminences on the Sunday talk shows, ready to be questioned on the bold stroke of pointing this flotilla at North Korea.  McMaster, Mattis, and Spicer the following day said that it would be a prudent thing to do. The Prez himself went a little further (doesn’t he always?), saying that we were sending an Armada.  He didn’t say where.  In fact, the Carrier group was never ordered to the Sea of Japan. It was conducting exercises in the Southern Hemisphere with our buddies from Australia.

But wait! They all said – !

Said what?  “It would be prudent?”   Didn’t think these guys were subtle enough for the conditional?  You think that only OJ “If I Killed Her” Simpson has that kind of pizzazz.  A lot of the press was careless, failing to follow up vague answers with specific questions.  They were made to look foolish.  

For the often brilliant Maddow, it’s becoming a habit. She gushed over a 20-year-old Trump tax return that said nothing.  Last night, she joined the many who didn’t pay close enough attention to get the story right because they were rushing to get out a sensational news item.  Only it was bunk.  Fool me once…I guess Dubya was wrong – they got fooled again.  Rachel has not been on top of her game lately.

Aside from fooling the press, who did the Administration think was getting conned? Surely, anyone with a satellite can track the movement of a carrier group.  China must have known there was no forward fleet.  North Korea must have known too. Even if the Beloved Leader’s satellites dropped out of the sky, China would have passed along the message. Unless of course, North Korea hadn’t gotten the fake news in the first place. 

 The Prez is known to be a fan of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. He thinks Sun is terrific. He hoped to get him a seat in the cabinet or at least pitch him to do a speaking tour with Frederick Douglas, another rising star.  The Art of War teaches:

“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”

That might have worked in 500 B.C., but surveillance has improved since them. Trump may well hide his true intentions but he made fools of the press first and his administration second.  Won’t get fooled again?  Right.