Tuesday, September 16, 2014

To anti-war left, the US is the bad guy


Sean Thomas quotes George Orwell's statement that he made in 1941:

England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution.

The United States has a similar problem with its left wing. Browse through the leftist Alternet and you learn about the many evils of our society---gun violence, violence against women, violence against blacks, violence against the environment, etc. You learn that the United States is a pretty terrible place---except when you compare it to most of the rest of the world.

Like every other society on the planet, the United States has serious problems, but this anti-Americanism goes back to the invasion of Iraq---or even back to the US attack on and invasion of Vietnam. We are always the Bad Guys!

On Obama's plan to destroy ISIS, the Alternet tells us that the turmoil in the Middle East is all the fault of the US, mostly because of the invasion of Iraq in 2003. And ISIS, al Qaeda and the other Islamic terrorist groups supposedly are not motivated by Islam, even if the terrorists themselves say that they are, with many citations to the Koran.

It's all about our politics and US foreign policy, which is some kind of reverse spin on nationalistic narcissism. And of course oil, even though Islamic fanatics were slaughtering each other centuries before oil was discovered in that part of the world. The Founding Fathers were dealing with Islamists even before they wrote the Constitution.

If we would only leave those poor people alone to abuse their women and children in peace, there would be no Middle East problem. Especially if we let them destroy Israel, which would solve a lot of problems.

The progressive Daily Kos makes an isolationist argument against President Obama:

We've spent billions arming our Middle East allies to the teeth. They are the ones directly threatened by Islamic State/ISIS/ISIL. Not us. So why is it us that have to do the fighting? It's their backyard, but they can watch comfortably as the United States bleeds trillions more to bail them out? Nice gig, if you can get it. Let those directly threatened by Islamic State put their skin in the game.

As if the United States has to be directly threatened by an enemy before it acts to defend itself and its interests.

The president is criticized by the right-wing for not getting involved in Syria, but Alternet sees the opposite, that the US is somehow responsible for Syria:

The chaos that Obama's doctrine of covert and proxy war has wreaked in Libya, Syria and Iraq should be a reminder of one of the obvious but unlearned lessons of September 11, that creating and arming groups of religious fanatics as proxies to fight secular enemies has huge potential for blowback and unintended consequences as they gain power and escape external control. Once these forces were unleashed in Syria, where they had limited local support but powerful external backers, the stage was set for a long and bloody conflict.

All the US did in Libya was use its air power to prevent the Gadaffi regime from slaughtering the rebels in Benghazi, which was a certainty, given the disparity in firepower between the regime and the rebels. And the US was joined by the UN and 19 other countries in that effort. The US has had very little to do with the Syrian civil war, and US troops have been out of Iraq for several years. But it's still all our fault!

See Jonathan Chait on the anti-Obama left in the US, which is disappointed that the president is not another Lincoln.

Ron Radosh on the right throws Obama's statements about Iraq and the Constitution before he was elected back at him.

But Obama has learned what Lincoln learned about being president: "I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me."

Jeffrey Goldberg has a more balanced estimate of Obama's foreign policy.

What about the city's left on the president's ISIS plan? Nothing but silence at the Bay Guardian and Fog City Journal. Maybe they understand that they really have nothing sensible to say about the issue. (Before he became editor, Steven Jones had a not-very-sensible response to my comment on his article opposing the surge in Afghanistan.)


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