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Tuesday, October 08, 2013

It's the end of the world!

A lot of people (here and here) are making fun of Michele Bachmann's latest bizarre pronouncement. She says that Obama's support for the Syrian rebels means that the end of the world is nigh.

Actually, Obama said that he would help non-terrorist-related Syrian rebels receive aid in resisting chemical attacks. I think this means we're handing out gas masks. Nevertheless, we know from many previous articles that the Nusrah front and even worse groups have received money, military training and help.

Bachmann has simply translated a genuine concern into the kind of language that fundamentalist nutjobs like to hear. I've been making the same argument myself: There are many Al Qaeda elements among the Syrian rebels -- so many that I have joined with those who say that a victory by the anti-Assad forces would probably result in a regime even worse than the one now in place.

That's a common view -- today.

The situation looked very different just last year, when David Sanger produced his book on Obama's foreign policy, Confront and Conceal. The book reminds us of the way the political landscape looked...oh, gosh, it seems like just minutes ago.

Things were very different. There was widespread pressure on Obama -- from both the right and the left -- to oust Assad. Everyone was saying: "How could Obama aid the Libyan revolution and not aid the one in Syria?"

This issue remains a difficult one for old-school liberals such as myself.

Let's face it: Assad is a beast. We'd all love for him to go. But we don't want him to be replaced by something worse. We don't want to help give birth to a government run by religious maniacs -- by the Islamic equivalents of the theocratic Dominionist Jesusmaniac freakazoids who dig Michele Bachmann.

In the old days -- the Reagan/Bush days -- things were more predictable. The situation may have been infuriating, but at least everyone knew where to stand.

Here's how things would have played out back then. If a civil war broke out in a third world nation run by a strongman, the strongman would say that the rebels were a bunch of commies, and the American government would fully support him. We supported any dictator, as long as he denounced communism. We're talking massive military aid, soldiers trained at the School of the Americas, lots of CIA shennanigans, and teevee screens filled with an endless series of outrageously skewed "objective reports" from America's pseudojournalists.

Meanwhile, the groovy Pacifica-listening left-wing people would fulminate in outrage because we were propping up a baby-killing tyrant. I was one of those fulminators. I learned to fulminate at a very young age.

And then along would come a Christian nutball writer -- Hal Lindsey, Jerry Falwell, someone like that -- who would write a piece telling the faithful how important it is to prop up baby-killing (but reliably anticommunist) tyrants, because the swarthy can't govern themselves. This argument would get nods of quiet assent from the kind of people who now dig Michele Bachmann.

(Okay, the scenario I have outlined above was the general rule. In Syria specifically, things were more complex. Reagan and Bush I had problems with Hafez al-Assad, but they warmed up to him. Few Americans paid attention because there was no rebellion at the time.) 

In public, we lefties would say: "America should stay out of civil wars in other nations." We would sound this note because it reminded people of the Vietnam mess. The National Review crowd would respond (if they deigned to notice us at all) with knee-jerk charges of isolationism: Something something Neville Chamberlain something something "Peace in our time" something something Hitler. Believe it or not, that argument was then considered logical: If you denounced Reagan for tossing money at the baby-killing anticommunist tyrants who used their brutal secret police to keep the swarthy peasants in line, you were just as bad as the people who tried to appease Hitler.

(The Neville Chamberlain card still gets played from time to time -- most recently, by Ted Cruz.)

Secretly -- sometimes openly -- we lefties would ask: "Why can't the United States simply support the rebels? We used to be a revolutionary country ourselves, at the beginning."

And now here we are. Here we are.

Barack Obama, a right-leaning Democrat (imagined by the right to be a socialist Marxist Muslim flag-burner) is supporting the rebels in Syria.

And we lefties -- the guys who used to ask "Why can't we ever support the rebels?" -- don't like what we're seeing. We're pissed off.

We're also astounded and disturbed to see that the previous Egyptian revolution, which we all applauded, has devolved into this shit. What the hell...?

But, but, but: The Syrian issue is not really a left/right thing.

There are liberals who despise Obama's Syrian stance, and there are liberals who support Obama no matter what. There are very conservative voices out there -- the neocons, the Michael Ledeen types -- who have pushed for Syrian intervention. Actually, Ledeen has softened, which is pretty damned surprising, when you consider where he was not so long ago. But the neocons are as the neocons always are. (If you click on that last link, you'll get a chuckle at the mindless appeal to the cult of expertise.)

Meanwhile, here I am, agreeing with Michele freakin' Bachmann in her address to the apocalypse-lusting whackadoodles. Apparently, I also stand with (yow!) Laura Ingraham.

And Jerome Corsi, the "swift boat" creep, has written a book about the JFK assassination that is actually pretty good. (Nothing new is in it. But it was written by freakin' Corsi, and it is packaged for Corsi's audience. So that's new.)

God help me, but I long for the days of Ronald Reagan. For eight long years, I woke up every day really pissed off -- but at least my bedfellows weren't so strange. Politics had the virtue of predictability.

No longer.

Maybe it really is the end of the world.
Joe, Bachmann is a loon. Have you noticed how fundamentalists speak of the End Times with unbridled joy? That's because they think they're about to get the final revenge--they're 'saved;' we're not. Cruz is another snake oil salesman. You want to get a sense of where this comes from? Google his father. From the tree ye shall know the fruit.

Are we at the end of the road? We're at the end of something. The disintegration of DC politics, the Neo-confederate rage and the iron fist of oligarchy all seem to be coming to a head. We reap what we sow.

The Syrian question is, of course, distressing. Because we've actually peeked behind the screen and now know there are no good guys beyond the average Syrian citizen who gets crushed either way. As you stated, we [as a country] have spent decades supporting thugs. This, too, seems to be coming to a head and the myth of our greatness as a Nation is curling around the edges, the center turning to ash.

I would never wish for a Ronnie rerun. He too was a myth, a fictionalized persona, who stood at the helm as the New Deal was quietly sabotaged, the footings weakened and made ready for future demolition.

The chickens are, indeed, coming home to roost.

I have no idea where this mess will land. But for better or worse, we are the Witnesses. And Michelle Bachmann is still a loon.


PS: Presumably there's a truckers' strike scheduled for Friday. Their demands? To arrest and try preselected Congress critters for treason. They plan to circle DC and basically stop all traffic on the Beltway. If police do not comply, they'll take matters into their own hands. Vigilantism is US.
Things are as they ever were. consider the scales to have fallen from your eyes.

And keep your grubby mitts off other people's countries.

Dominionists are post-millenial, Bachman is a pre-millenial dispensationalist.
Since these believe Israel is God's Chosen Nation, they should realize Obama was doing Israel's bidding in helping the Syrian rebels, Israel wanting to kill off Hezbollah and Iran first.Lindsay Corrupt AIPAC stooge Graham evidently understood this better than AIPAC stooge Bachmann.

Baathism is (attempted) Arabian socialist nationalism. It treated takfiris as dangeous enemies. It provided equal rights to Christians (and others) provided they recognized Islam was the prototype Arabic religion of the Age and did not rock the boat.
Ditto, Saddam, whose most objectionable crime was attacking Iran, not invading Kuwait, Iraq's former province.
Somewhat interesting article.
'Everyone Is Scared of ISIS.'
"it has become a fixed conviction in Antakya that ISIS functions as a secret arm of the regime. This sounds like an all-too-understandable conspiracy theory, yet even Western diplomats I've spoken to consider it plausible, if scarcely proved. In the summer of 2012, Assad released from prison a number of jihadists who had fought with al Qaeda in Iraq and who are thought to have helped formed ISIS. Reporters, activists, and fighters also note that while regime artillery has flattened the FSA's headquarters in Aleppo, the ISIS camp next door was left untouched until the jihadi group left; the same is true in the fiercely contested eastern city of Raqqa. ISIS, for its part, has done very little to liberate regime-held areas, but has seized control of both Raqqa and the border town of Azaz from FSA forces.
Maybe it is just a conspiracy theory. Aaron Zelin, a Syria analyst who closely follows the dynamic among rebel groups, dismisses the idea as 'partly wish-fulfillment and partly delusion.' But there's no mistaking the hydraulic effect of ISIS's brand of uncompromising Islam."
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