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Syrian, Iran, and the Conditioned Responses

In my last post, I jumped off the anniversary of the shameful silence of the MSM about the Politico’s expose of Obama administration policy to look the other way on Hezbollah’s drug trafficking in order to secure the Iran deal, but that was mainly because of the timing.  There are better examples of the intertwining threads of toxic attitudes and behaviors that I am concerned will explode into great chaos in the United States unless confronted decisively.   Today’s post will focus on some of those examples, but I frankly confess that there is no sign that such a confrontation, and refutation, will occur anytime soon.  I’m pretty sure, in fact, that there is a large number of people who are eagerly trying to create that confrontation, and will continue to find many allies among those who would stop short of actual violence, but will be powerless to stop it once it arrives.  I will address this latter category, the “nice guys”, in a later post.  At any rate, I think after it all goes down, it will be helpful for people to understand the underlying dynamics.  Will it prevent it from occurring again?  A man can dream.

I’ve been pondering how best to write this essay for about six months, and I can’t think of a better way than to lay it out autobiographically, in somewhat chronological order.

The 90s were a turbulent time for me, intellectually speaking.  I had fallen away from the Christian faith, and returned.  At the beginning of the decade, I was a liberal.  I had very personal reasons for hating the Bush family, and the Republicans in general.   The fall of the Soviet Union, the First Gulf War, the Clinton-Lewinsky matter, the World Trade Center bombing (the first one!), and other events had me migrating away from my upbringing, almost in spite of myself.  9-11-01 was the point of no return, but even as late as 2004-2006, I still entertained ‘liberal’ notions.  December of 2006 abolished anything that remained.

However, I would not say I was paying close attention to things in the 90s.  Except for a couple of examples, such as the cavalier matter in which the Democrats and international community regarded Clinton’s sexual escapades in the Oval Office, I was oblivious to bias or distortion in the news media or the population at large.  In retrospect, perhaps I didn’t notice the bias because I shared the bias.  Fish do not know they are wet.

The Second Gulf War transpired in that awkward space between 9-11 and the opening months of 2007.  I remembered my confusion about how it was covered in the media.  I participated in a fair number of pretty heated debates about Hussein and his putative WMD.  I was continually shocked to hear people blame 9-11 on Bush, who had only been in office 8 months when the attack happened, with no regard whatsoever for the 8 years that Clinton had been in office.  When Sandy Berger ‘burglarized’ the national archives to remove documents that would have incriminated or embarrassed the Clinton administration, there were no blaring headlines.  If you weren’t paying attention, you’d have never learned about it at all.  But now I was paying attention.

The Iraq War was a three year long national nightmare, played out in daily outrages directed uniformly at Bush.  “Bush lied, people died!” And yet, not just the vast majority of the US Congress (including a large number of Democrats), but the world itself, believed Hussein at WMD.  More than that, it was not just the issue of WMD, but many others, such as Hussein’s abuse of his own civilian population, that was offered–and accepted–as the rationale for invasion.  Accepted initially, that is.  By 2006, it seemed no one remembered these other rationales except me.  No one else seemed to remember that Democrats had voted in large numbers for the war. I kept hearing about the 500,000 (alleged) Iraqi children that had died at the hands of Hussein… as if Bush had been president from 1992-2000… and bizarrely, this number was cited as a reason for not invading.  Sounded like a damn good reason to invade yesterday, if you asked me.  It was all very strange.

Now, since I had not been paying attention before this, in large part for the simple reason that I had been a child in the 80’s, I had no idea whether or not this was normal, appropriate behavior.  It sure looked abnormal, but perhaps this is how a nation ought to behave when invading another nation.  A national ‘vetting’ process, if you will.  Why one should blame Bush for events that unfolded 8 years before he became president was a curiosity.  And why GWB?  Why not GHB?  It was GHB who didn’t finish off Hussein in the first Gulf War (in part because the international community wouldn’t sanction it).   Very strange.  Oh, and let’s not forget:  I was informed frequently that Bush (GWB), was just like Hitler.

Eh?

But like I said, for all I knew this was normal behavior.  If you’re going to wreak a region and leave hundreds of thousands dead, millions of people displaced, and spawn all sorts of dangerous offshoot groups that would undermine stability in the region for years or even decades to come, maybe a good national thrashing is what you need.

Now, unless you were born prior to 1985, you may not have a clue about what I mean by ‘thrashing.’  If were not paying attention until you were nearly thirty years old, like me, then you may have been innocently minding your own business in high school and college, finding a mate, a career, and having a kid or two, and not too concerned about what was unfolding in the national arena.   In other words, if you are a ‘millennial,’ you probably have no idea what it was like.

Let me tell you, it was hourly.  Day in, and day out.  Bush, Bush, Bush.  Bush =  Bad!  Bush = Hitler!  Bush = Evil! Hussein had been murdering tens of thousands of his own people for decades, even using chemical weapons to do so, and had been siphoning off money from the UN’s “Oil For Food” program and keeping it for himself, facilitating the deaths of the alleged 500,000 Iraqi children, and yet… Bush was worse!  Also, let’s not forget, Bush was dumb and stupid, to boot.

Bush got hammered by the media every waking moment, and anyone who even hinted support for the war received the same criticism.  Bizarrely, pointing out that Hussein was a very, very, very, bad man, counted as ‘support’ for the war.

In press conference after press conference, the media pressed him:  “Can you think of any mistakes you made?”  People are asked this question all the time… once or twice.  With Bush, it appeared increasingly that the purpose of the question was to humiliate him.  It was a tactic. It was meant to destroy.   And it worked.  In 2008, I had Republican friends who considered Bush to be an evil buffoon.

But like I said, maybe all this was normal.  This was, after all, the first president I had observed intently for almost his entire term in office.  I had some spattering of recollections of what Clinton went through with Lewinsky, Reagan with the Iran-Contra affair, and Nixon’s resignation.   Maybe destroying presidents is just the American way!

And then, there was Obama.

You know the guy, right?  The guy who won the Nobel peace prize in his first year of office.  Or, as some know him, the next incarnation of Jesus Christ.  To this day, Obama walks around touting his ‘scandal-free’ time in office, which the MSM never challenges.  Obama is the UnDestroyed President.   While I’m sure he has been asked here and there whether or not he made mistakes, the question does not come relentlessly like hail upon the head.  The question, if it comes, is sincere.  It isn’t a tactic.  The question and its answers are not subject to breathless reporting in the morning shows or the nightly news.

And why not?  It isn’t like Obama wrecked a region, leaving hundreds of thousands dead, with millions of people displaced, and all sorts of dangerous offshoot groups spawned that would undermine stability in the region for years or even decades to come.  No national thrashing needed!

Well, uh, yea, except he did.

So that we are clear, my feelings towards Bush are indifferent.  (I mentioned my personal dislike of the Bush family, recall.)  I freely admit, I think Obama actually is a bad man.   But this post is not about Bush and it is not about Obama.  They are, I think, good stand-ins for the toxic threads, though.  They personify the problem I wish to illustrate, which is actually a problem of the MSM and those ideologues we call ‘liberals’ or ‘progressives.’  These latter labels are unfortunate, but I haven’t got anything better to use.  In a future post or two I’ll elaborate on those terms and draw some sharper lines, but that will have to wait.

The ‘problem’ is not just the MSM or these ideologues, but aspects of our technocracy and its use of mass media to create mass movements.  Non-liberals are not immune to the machinations of mass movements.  But modern liberalism–and I’m thinking primarily of how it manifests in America–has ‘mass movements’ as central to its anatomy.  In other words, contemporary American liberals think it is good and appropriate to marshal the media and the mob against its foes or to achieve  its policy goals.  Elections?  Bah, any ol’ opinion poll conducted by the WAPO will do to justify whatever it is they want to do!

I will elaborate on all this in other posts (and have already touched on it in many others), because it is this ‘mob’ mentality that is so dangerous.  I will explain how Obama personifies this as we go on and in later posts.

Given the current state of things, it is easy (if you have an honest bone in your body) to see how Trump is treated far differently than Obama ever was.  But the best foil on this is not Trump, but Bush.  Trump may still wreck a region, but it hasn’t happened yet.   You can be absolutely sure that if he does–if he even looks askance at a region, in fact–the partisans will slip on their own slobber in their haste to report on it endlessly; that is to say, we’ll know about it for sure.  Not only will we know about it, but we’ll know everything about every part of it.  No stone will be left unturned, because every stone will be picked up and thrown at him.  And, if anyone dares to point out how nasty the regional leader is… you know, for perspective’s sake… you can expect some of those stones to be thrown at you, too.  Quite possibly, literally.

Let’s return to the Obama wreckage of a region.  My guess is that most readers still have no idea what I’m referring to when I discuss Obama wrecking a region.  There was no three year long national nightmare.  There were not riots in the streets.  There was protesting, occasionally, but you wouldn’t have known about it unless you went out of your way to see investigate it.  There were no nationally televised press conferences with members of the media standing up and pointing their finger angrily at Obama.  So, what possibly could I be referring to?

If that’s you, then you are one of the prime targets of this post.  Its time you get your head out of your hindy parts before you hurt someone.  If you are so easily manipulated that you don’t even know how much damage Obama did, then you will be easily manipulated to do your own damage.  Pay attention.  Let me educate you.

Now, the fact is, the Middle East was plunged into flames on Obama’s watch–and often at his instigation and direction.  Since the MSM is so in love with Obama, and so eager to preserve his reputation, and we have government agencies who have their own reputations to protect, we’re probably never going to learn the full extent of the Obama administration’s transgressions.  However, ironically, you can still learn quite a bit, even from the MSM.

Even from the MSM?  Yes, of course.  That’s actually a bit of my point.  You can hear all about how the United States helped turn Libya into the failed state it is at present, or how our manipulations brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt (and elsewhere), or how the Obama administration ARMED ISIS in pursuit of regime change in Syria.  You know ISIS, right?  The ones who were cutting off heads and taking over Iraq after Obama pulled our troops out?  Yea, those guys, among others.

I’m going to focus on Syria because it is the better analog to Iraq re: President Bush, but the one that really pisses me off, the one that really makes me livid, was Obama’s handling of the 2009 Iranian elections.

If you’re saying, “The 2009 Iranian elections?  What could that be about?” that’s my point.  But probably, 90% of those born after 1985 are utterly clueless about anything that may have transpired there and then, because, again, you’d have to be paying attention.  It was reported, but without hyperventilation.  To our MSM, it was No Big Deal.   It was the kind of thing that ‘think’ pieces were written about or produced, but not the kind of thing that transfixed our nation, and certainly not something that was made to lay at Obama’s feet.

But, in 2009, I was paying attention.  Take a minute to familiarize yourself with the events of that election.   Skip down to the section on the international response.  The term ‘muted’ is used.  Well, I should say so.  When Neda Soltan was gunned down, I learned of it immediately.  Her videotaped death broke my heart.   Yet, the sight of hundreds of thousands of Iranians braving the evil Iranian regime warmed my heart.   It was a golden opportunity to have peaceful ‘regime change’ in a country that had been a thorn in the world’s side for three decades.  Iran: the ones pursuing nuclear bombs; Iran: those who fielded one of the worst terrorist groups the world has known, Hezbollah; Iran: one of the greatest oppressors of its own citizens of the entire 20th century.  All to be swept aside and placed onto the firm ground of genuine representative rule which was not characterized first and foremost by Islamic rule.

I think its safe to say that anyone who was paying attention, liberal or conservative, assumed that if Obama was going to put his back into any cause, here was a case in point.  On June 4, 2009,  Obama went to the the Middle East and waxed eloquently about a new era of American engagement with the region, focusing on human rights, democracy, and of course the subject of Israel.  Only days later, the Iranian election took place.

I repeat:  only days later, the Iranian elections took place.  Were the people of Iran emboldened by Obama’s speech to dispute the election results?  I’ve never seen it reported on.  We can only expect so much curiosity from the MSM, you see.  Anyway, I don’t know the answer to that question, and I suspect that anyone who could answer it was murdered or suppressed by the Iranian region in due course.  But, the timing seems very suspect to me.

What was Obama’s response to the Iranian protests?

Silence.

The protests began almost immediately after the election (June 12, 2009).  A week later, June 22-23, Obama finally gave stern denouncements of the crackdown on the protestors.  It was, of course, too late.

And here is a bit of irony.  While refreshing my memory on the timeline, I came across this CNN ‘fact check’ about whether or not Obama was ‘silent.’   CNN says the claim is ‘false,’ when on its own recounting, Obama absolutely was.  Obama made a glib remark which almost certainly buttressed the regime itself more than the protestors (“we respect Iranian sovereignty”) and didn’t come down solidly on the side of the protestors until (it says) the 23rd.  (I think it may have been slightly earlier, but since the smashing of the protestors was pretty well history by this point, I don’t know if a day’s difference matters.)

Let’s run that down more succinctly… June 4, Obama gives speech on promoting democracy and human rights in the Middle East; On June 12, Iran holds elections, which are immediately disputed by Iranians who put their lives on the line by the thousands in the streets in pursuit of democracy and freedom; TEN FRICKING DAYS LATER, Obama sticks his neck out an inch or so.  The protestors are crushed, and the Green movement is over.  On October 9th, 2009, Obama was given the Nobel Peace prize.

Come on, that’s funny, right?

In light of the Iran deal that Obama would eventually strike with Iran, and the measures he was willing to go to to make nice with the autocratic regime there (overlooking Hezbollah’s crimes, allowing Iran to ‘eventually’ become a nuclear power, dropping off a billion or so of hard, American, currency in boxes for Iran to do with as it pleased), we can almost understand his reluctance to back the protestors.  We’re talking about Obama’s legacy, here.  What looks better on paper?  Obama struck a deal with an autocratic regime that brought peace and stability to the region, or the Iranian people overthrew their oppressors with the help of strong international support, bringing peace and stability to the region?  After you come to understand the man as he really is, apart from MSM pandering, you can easily see the problem with the second proposition:  the name Obama is not explicit.

So, here we are today, a little more than exactly ten years later, and Iran is still a massive problem.  It is still pursuing nuclear arms.  It is still using Hezbollah as its proxy army.  It is still oppressing its own people.  And, as far as destabilizing the region, when it came to the issue of Syria, it is one more ally of Assad that Assad might not have had, had things gone another way.

Yea, I’m pretty pissed about Obama’s handling of the 2009 Iranian elections.  And you would be too, if you were knowledgeable and had integrity and true empathy.

But it is nothing compared to his handling of the ‘Arab Spring,’ and the Syrian civil war itself.  This post is now at 3,000 words and I’m only now getting to the main event!

I would like to remind the reader that elements of almost all of this can be found in mainstream reporting.  Sure, there are a lot of things we don’t know.  Some things the MSM just isn’t interested in, and other things (like the Hezbollah-USA-drug smuggling operation, to name one) are too embarrassing for all concerned, and so are simply ignored.   But we do know that the Obama administration was active in a number of areas, and we know some of what was done.   We know, for example, that the Obama administration did everything in its power to facilitate the civil war in Syria, including arming insurgents–that is, Islamicists.  (Presumably, Obama would have armed insurgent Christians as well, but the Islamicists had already killed them with our weapons, so there is that.)  This is a conflict in which 500,000 Syrians are believed to have died, with another 6 million displaced.  You can find casual mention of the Obama administration’s role in all this all over the place.

What you won’t recall is a three year long national nightmare of relentless media questioning of America’s role in bringing unbroken devastation to the Middle East.  Except for one or two countries, almost every place where there was an outbreak of the ‘Arab Spring,’ radical Islamicists have taken over and/or the region has been thrown into complete chaos, often with American ‘nudging.’   The scale of destruction more than rivals what befell Iraq in 2003-2005, but instead of breathlessly reported accusations of Obama’s misconduct you have nothing but ‘think’ pieces.  You know, a bunch of smarter-than-thou elites sitting around pensively pondering how they might have done things better.  No angst.  No anger.  No spittle.  No riots.  Gosh, until I mentioned it all in this post, I bet most readers hadn’t even given it a thought in four years.

Who knows what a little curiosity and spittle would have uncovered.  For example, the fact that the region has taken a decided hard turn towards Sharia law (when there is any law at all, that is) seems so consistent that by golly it almost seems like that was the goal of US policy all along.  If only there were a document that could shed light on our guiding principles in the Middle East during this time!

Oh, right, there was.  Not that we’ll ever get to read it!  Its called “Presidential Study Directive 11.”   To my knowledge, it has never been declassified.  The drafting appears to have begun in late 2009 or early 2010, prior to the ‘Arab Spring.’  Until we read PSD-11 (which I doubt we ever will), we’ll never know how little or much the results matched the intentions.

The removal of Qaddafi, at least, appears to have been thoroughly consistent with Obama’s policies, if not actively brought about by them.  Why else would Hillary gleefully say, when hearing of Qaddafi’s fall (perhaps she watched him get sodomized on a Youtube video), “We came, we saw, he died!” Note the use of the word ‘we.’

I guess we could add, “we left!” because Libya is now a nightmare.  Here is a nice ‘think’ piece for you to consider.  But please, don’t think you should be outraged!  Yes, we apparently destroyed a country and then abandoned it, but this post is probably the first you’ve even heard Libya mentioned in five years.  Nothing to get upset about.  No reason to blame Obama, Hillary, or anyone else!  Why, they were all just doing their best!  They meant well.  Now let’s ponder, pensively, scratching our beards thoughtfully, how ‘we’ can do it better next time!

As far as Syria goes, even though the 500,000 people died on the watch of Barack “Don’t cross my red line” Obama, I fully expect that in a couple of years, these deaths will be credited to Trump, rather than to Obama, just like the deaths of all those Iraqis was attributed to Bush, rather than Clinton.  Which, I think begins to bring me to the point where I can start wrapping this up.

Now, either it is the case that laying waste to a country or region and facilitating carnage on innocent populations, even if was not the intention, is worthy of a three year long national thrashing, or it is not.  Either it is the sort of thing that regrettably happens in the course of making hard decisions, and so warrants some benefit of the doubt for the president in charge, or not.  Either its worthy of a national ‘vetting’, or it isn’t.  Or, to put it more bluntly, either Bush got what he had coming to him but Obama did not, or Bush was unfairly skewered and Obama’s treatment fair.

What makes the difference?  How is this to decided?

Having now been paying attention for almost a solid 20 years, I think I know the difference.  It is simply this:

Republicans =  Bad.  Democrats = Good.  Conservatives = Evil.  Liberals = Angels.  White Christian Males = Ignorant Fascists.  White Christian males who are liberals, and everyone else = noble geniuses.

I think this was as true in 1995 as it was in 2005 as it was in 2015.  It is not just Trump who is routinely compared to Hitler.  I saw Bush compared to Hitler.  McCain was compared to Hitler.  Romney was compared to Hitler.  Don’t tell me it didn’t happen.  I saw it.  The actual pattern is that all Republicans are called Hitler, and then by the time you get to the next one, everyone forgets that they called the last one Hitler.  For all I know, Republicans have been getting called Hitler since Eisenhower, but I wasn’t alive at the time to see it first hand, and only have the retelling of historical revisionists to rely on, who forgot about the accusations the day after they were made.  I wouldn’t be surprised.

Of course, the fact that they were all called ‘Hitler’ is just one symptom of the whole thing.  Basically, the whole package comes down to presumed intentions.

Why was Bush’s invasion (with bi-partisan votes to invade) considered worthy of a national nightmare?

Because Bush wanted oil.

Why wasn’t Obama’s instigation and perpetuation of the Syrian civil war worthy of a national nightmare?

Because Obama meant well.  He’s such nice lad, that Obama.  If I had a son, he’d look like Obama.

Its inconceivable that a Republican could act out of anything except selfish, greedy, racist, bigoted motives, so whatever they do is subjected to scrutiny that probes for signs of anything that looks anything that looks like it, and by golly, when that is your starting assumption about Republicans, then obviously everything looks like it.  Democrats, however, care about the Little Guy.  The Oppressed.  They are not selfish or greedy, and certainly not racists or bigots!  How do you know?  Because if they were, they’d be Republicans!

Obama gets the great giant pass that he gets on everything that happened on his watch because liberals look at him and see themselves.  Just as they forgive themselves for every devastating thing that happens due to their policies, for the simple reason that they didn’t intend for those devastating things to happen, they are willing, nay, eager, to forgive Obama for any of the devastating things that happened thanks to his policies.

In short, the fact that we had no national nightmare over Syria is not a window into Obama at all, nor is the national nightmare over Iraq a window into Bush.  No, it is a window into Americans themselves, and liberal Americans in particular.  (Remember my caveat about the label.  A future post will treat it further).

Since I’ve been paying attention, this is the pattern.  This explains why Bush was blamed for the humanitarian crisis of the 90s, before he was even president, and indeed 9-11 itself, even though he’d only been president 8 months, while Clinton had been president for 8 years.  This explains why the MSM and liberals in general completely forgot the fact that people across the political spectrum had been warning about Hussein’s WMD capabilities all the way up until the day the invasion began, and then this context was immediately forgotten, almost literally the day after it began.  This explains why so many Democrats could vote to give Bush war authorization and make numerous speeches about the existential threat that Hussein was to his own people and the region, and then only Bush was left holding the bag.  The Democrats meant well, but Bush was a greedy bastard.  By definition.

It didn’t make sense then, and I hadn’t been paying attention long enough to understand it.   I needed to see 8 years of kid glove treatment of a Democrat president first hand before I understood just how wildly different it was from how Republican presidents are treated.  Trump won, but if any of the other GOP candidates had won, even one of the RINOS like Jeb or Kasich, the same dogs of hell would have been unleashed on them.  No doubt about it. If Hillary had won, she would have been given a pass on everything.  We don’t even need to guess about that one, as she has been getting a pass on everything already, from Benghazi to Uranium One.

As I write, Romney is positioning himself to be the Republican answer to Trump.  The man just doesn’t learn.  He will undoubtedly challenge Trump for the nomination and I think there is an even chance, today, that he might actually be able to pull it off.  Supposing that Romney is indeed the 2020 Republican nominee… you can bet your bottom dollar that he will be regarded as the next Hitler.  He doesn’t understand that there is literally nothing he can do, short of becoming a Democrat, that will spare him the unending frothing of the Conditioned Left.  Ring a bell, let the salivating begin.

And… this part is a riot… I don’t even like Republicans!  lol

No doubt, just as I was accused of supporting Bush merely because I had the gall to remember what kind of a bad man Hussein was, I will be accused of supporting Republicans because I have the gall to challenge the preening self-righteousness of the American left.  (This blog is littered with jabs against the GOP, not that anyone will bear that in mind.  Remember, I’m not a liberal, therefore it follows I’m EVIL, and any such jabs cannot possibly mean what they plainly say.  But, I freely admit that between the two parties, I am convinced that the one most likely to spill blood in the streets of America are the Democrats.  Still.)

Ok, so we have a very large percentage of the population that is just plain nuts.  What does it mean?

Well, when you add the self-righteous chest-thumping of these people to their belief that their opponents are greedy racists, by definition, to the belief that mass (even violent) action based on tweets and  mere allegations are fully justified, its only a matter of time before they take us off the deep end.  In other words, this isn’t about a difference in political opinions.  This isn’t a matter of something as banal as, say, how best to fund the construction of a bridge, upon which good men can disagree about, but are willing to submit their arguments to the results of the electoral process.  This is a matter where one group of people–an uncomfortably large proportion of those who call themselves liberal progressives–believe that the battleground is not one of policy, but of people.  Good men can disagree on how best to fund Social Security.   But, in their mind, this is not a matter of good men disagreeing.  To them, this is good men fighting bad men.

So be it.

It just so happens that I tend to think that if you can look the other way as the Middle East is set on fire, and not even get a little angry about it, but instead tilt your nose back and enjoy a nice panel conversation on the ‘lessons to be learned’ from well-intentioned but ‘unfortunate’ policy implementations, whilst having blood come out of your ears and your eyes pop out of your skulls in outrage and horror over even the tiniest of perceived transgressions of your rival political party, my feeling is that it may indeed boil down to good men fighting bad men.  Only, I think we’ve badly misunderstood just who the bad men are.  Just sayin’.

In a later post, I’ll discuss the difference between the ‘nice guys’ and the ‘bad men.’  For the purposes of this post, it is enough to say that the history of the last twenty years suggests it won’t make a hill of beans worth of difference.  I think we are already on the downhill.  Still, I think we need to understand this mindset, so I’ll talk about it, even just for the slim chance that some people will come to their senses in time to curtail the worst.

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