A lot of people (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
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
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.
Maybe it really is
the end of the world.