US – Syria Is Bringing Out The Worst In American Public Opinion – 4 September 2013

Syria is apparently making Americans cray-cray right now. And not in a good way. Maybe I need to watch some TV while some of you air your opinions about Syria…

As I’ve said, I oppose the US strikes. I think Obama’s initiative should be voted down by Congress – mostly because I think it is vital, if thugs like Assad are ever to be successfully resisted, that America show the world it is a democracy, and that the voters have the say, not the politicians. As long as these decisions are made by a shadowy group of untouchables, Assad and people like him will have Americans as willing accomplices.

But that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten the bravery of the Syrian protesters – which just about everyone else seems to have done. No one is going to make a case to me for “protest” where Syria is concerned who doesn’t first note that Assad murders protesters en masse.

Also, being opposed to the strikes puts me on the same side (in theory) as libertarian fundamentalists, firebaggers and teabaggers. But I speak only for myself, and I energetically reject the distortions of these other groups. Rand Paul, Glenn Greenwald and Glenn Beck have not suddenly become reasonable individuals because I happen to be on the same side of an issue as they are. They are all still the demagogic threats to the US they have been to this point.

It makes me sick at heart to see Syria become an excuse for making propaganda against the government of my native country or its people, and equally sick at heart to see demagogic individuals being held up as role models simply because they speak in opposition. 

I’ve already said how dirty I feel for not siding as assertively against Assad’s tyranny as I can, and right now – but the long war against tyrants like him can only be won when it is clear that America and its allies act for moral reasons and to promote democratic and human rights norms, not because the world is their game of Risk. As long as people can successfully play the Empire card, against Obama or the leaders of any future US government, America will lose and its enemies will win. It is time to make it clear there is no foam-We’re-Number-One-finger Empire, only the people of America and their democratic government. It’s time for Toto to pull the curtain away so we can all see for ourselves.

In the meantime, though, I’m at a loss.

I wish I could say that people I have seen posting today had the same sense to reject such distortions. Because someone agrees with you about something does not mean their motives are good, or that you should help them out by remaining silent about the rest of their agenda.

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