Despite the weeks of hysterical caterwauling in the US media, we are, for the moment, not going to war in Syria in time for the Labor Day weekend. The fact that the general public was almost universally opposed was really no impediment; after all, bipartisan consensus has long held that public opinion can always be brought along to support a war, any war, once the bombs start falling. But oddly yet happily, that seems not to be happening this time around, and for the right reasons, too, at least in the UK.
The British Parliament’s “unexpected” vote against military intervention leaves President Obama and his overeager War Cabinet without so much as the trumped-up “Coalition of the Willing” Bush was able to cobble together; those Brits, especially in Tony Blair’s Labour party, are evidently tired of being called, correctly, somebody’s poodle. That, and getting into a costly war when the country has been crippled for years with punishing austerity just sells poorly, especially in an election season.
And on this side of the pond, Obama Derangement Syndrome, once again, is paying off in a satisfying way. As much as Republicans love wars, they despise Democrats generally, and Obama in particular, enough that many are likely to join Barbara Lee, Alan Grayson, and 50-odd other mostly liberal Democrats calling for at least a constitutionally-required consultation with Congress.
The laughably misnamed White House spokesman, Josh Earnest, was flailing even prior to the British opt-out, uttering nonsense about how this would just be a teensy-weensy little war, knee high to a grasshopper, but would nonetheless show that dastardly Assad that the proper way to kill those you don’t like is to vaporize ‘em with a drone, rather than simply spray them with Raid for humans. A more muddled message is pretty hard to imagine.
But not for the first time, the teabaggers are lining up to save the rest of us from another ruinous bout of Presidential bipartisanship. Just as they scuttled a Grand Bargain on Social Security and Medicare, they’re hauling out the peace bong now, and for that we should all be grateful to Aqua Buddha and the gang.
The rote and listless arguments for “doing something,” when doing nothing would be wiser and cheaper are telling. “Regime change” is “off the table,” as an unlovely blend of two of the most odious catch phrases of the post-9/11 era join together to render the whole adventure pointless from the get-go. Thus, if Assad is expected to remain in power after so grievously violating “international norms,” what message would we be sending by lobbing a few Cruise Missiles? Next time, don’t get caught?
Worse for so-called “reluctant warrior” Obama is the roster of charlatans, fools, and Likudniks loudly cheerleading for another war, all of whom are known most for being unapologetically wrong about, well, everything, for the last couple of decades. When even Donald f*cking Rumsfeld won’t endorse your war, it’s time to either STFU or, more cleverly, endorse the opposite of the policy you prefer.
It’s possible, if not entirely probable, that the combination of international resistance, war fatigue, recalcitrant teabaggers, and thin, wholly inadequate arguments for war may combine to do what millions in the streets all over the world couldn’t do ten years ago: stop a pointless, ill-conceived military intervention before it starts. This, despite near unanimity from the MIC and Village media for something, anything, that goes boom, and it’s about damned time.
If the bombs don’t fall, it won’t be because a President who built his career by opposing “stupid wars” didn’t go ahead and start (another) one, nor will it be because a rightly chastened media showed long-overdue skepticism about it. It will be because some crazy teabaggers and sadder but wiser Brits were willing, for mostly selfish reasons, to point out the Emperor’s nakedness.
Better than nothing.
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