To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle.
--- George Orwell

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Laura Ingraham: Unquiet American

I’ll be posting more about the massive popular resistance to President Obama’s proposal to launch an American military airstrike to punish Bashar al-Assad’s for his use of chemical weapons. That popular opposition was heard quite forcefully in Congress, and certainly played a big role in handing AIPAC and other organizations in what has been called the “Israel Lobby” a major defeat, although the opposition reflects factors more complex that any single issue. The lack of popular support was widely attributed to the country’s “war weariness," which became the focus of disappointment and disparagement by a wide array of necon war hawks, who, once again demonstrated a longstanding political and cultural distance from the broad mainstream of American society as well as an alarmist sense of history in comparing the decision on Syria to Munich 1938 and the isolationist mood in America prior to World War II. Whether it’s legitimate to believe or not, many Americans feel we were manipulated into war in Iraq, or that the stated grounds for going to war, such as WMD, were at some level erroneous. They are, accordingly, leery of being rushed into another Middle Eastern conflict for reasons other than the vital national security interests of the US and have a weather eye out for groups that are seen as doing so. Among other things, I think this says a lot about increasing popular impatience with a dysfunctional American elite, broad frustration tied to the waning of the middle class American Dream and a realization that the "national interest," as well as a wider sense of national "community," has been undermined by well-endowed special interests.  

In the meantime on Friday September 6th, we had Laura Ingraham laying it out loud and clear as a substitute host on the O’Reilly Factor in the show’s introductory Talking Points segment, which was titled on air as "The People vs. The Establishment." She also made similar points on a visit to  Fox and Friends earlier that week week.

One of charges made in the usual case against populism, particularly the kind that prevails on Fox News, is its lack of nuance and its bluntness. In speaking such such high-proof “truth to power” as Ingraham does here, however, she shows that eloquence and directness aren't mutually exclusive. Coming from someone with extremely good contacts in the American military, Ingraham’s assessment speaks volumes about the distemper in the national mood and the limitations it imposes on military adventurism. Those without such contacts might pay attention.

The People vs. The Establishment: 
Today at the G20 meeting in Russia, President Obama acknowledged the steep hill he has to climb for military action in Syria, and his planned address to the nation on Tuesday may not do him any good. When the President tried to explain why he went to Congress, he conceded that Assad does not pose an 'imminent and direct threat to the United States.' Bingo! That is one of the main reasons the American people are vehemently against blowing one dime in Syria or jeopardizing the lives of our military personnel there.There are major questions the administration can not adequately answer - questions about the identity and motivation of the rebels, about how we would pay for all of this, about what our real objectives are and whether they are achievable. 

With the exception of a coterie of Washington elites, left, right, and center are united against military action. So will our representatives be guided by the bipartisan demands of the people, including most veterans and active duty military? Or will they continue to follow a path of endless spending on wars to enforce 'international norms,' even though the rest of the world strongly opposes such wars. The time has come for the American people to draw their own red line. The establishment has failed us on many fronts - a jobless recovery, skyrocketing debt, porous borders, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that accomplished very little. They should stop trying to sell us more wars against nonexistent threats and start doing their jobs on the home front. A stronger, more prosperous America, not more establishment wars of choice, will lead to a more stable, peaceful world.

At this point, regardless of whether you like Obama or not, this has nothing to do with whether we like Obama or not, this question is a question of whether this is good for the United States of America. The idea that the Republicans, and John McCain and Lindsey Graham march out of the White House yesterday and say, well the president really screwed all this all up, and we should have done a lot more, we should have armed these rebels, but we really have to move forward because our credibility is at stake. No, no, no. Our credibility is not at stake. The president's credibility is at stake. 

What's good for our country and what's good for President Obama politically are two separate things. And I think he has made things very difficult for himself and for our country, but it doesn't mean that we make things worse by getting involved in a conflict where apparently we're going to be arming people who are screaming 'Allahu Akbar' as they shoot down a jet or whatever it is they're doing over there.

For the neoconservatives to say, our credibility is at stake, I would submit to them that our credibility might be at stake because of very confused foreign policy over the last 12 years, let alone over the last 12 months.

In the last 10 years, we’ve gotten involved in two major military actions. Our country is poorer, we have more unemployment, we have Barack Obama as president. We wouldn’t have Obama as president, sadly, if we didn’t go into Iraq.

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