Wednesday, August 28, 2013


A lot of people are seeing the impending U.S. military action against Syria as the second coming of George W. Bush's Iraq War, especially now that there's an open letter from a Bill Kristol-led group of neocons endorsing the military option (yes, there's a significant overlap between the signers of this letter and those who signed the 2001 PNAC letter urging an attack on Iraq).

But back then, the entire Republican Party was on board, with the exception of a handful of paleoconservatives and libertarians (Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul). The right-wing base was absolutely on board -- rabid, in fact. Establishment Democrats largely came on board, although activist lefties in the general population were obviously opposed.

This time, the most politically engaged rank-and-file members of both the left and the right are deeply skeptical. I'm not saying that's going to matter much, but it's a change from 2002-03.

Rank-and-file righties hate both sides in Syria, and believe Obama is siding with Al Qaeda. Sample opinions from a Free Republic thread, in response to an article about support for military action from the likes of McCain, Graham, Rove, and Corker:
... I despise these people! This is truly unforgivable! We have no business going into Syria! Not at this late date when the only outcome will be AQ/Islamist control! Insanity!


These guys are on the same team as the Saudis. I would look for a connection in that direction. Probably not hard to find.


All the big-government globalists end up on the same side, don't they?


I don't know why it's surprising. I don't know about Corker, but the rest are RINOs and follow King Zero around they're his puppies.


I can't name a single rat in the senate actively pushing for war... just RINOS.
Yup -- to the base, you're now a RINO if you support military action, at least in this case. What a change from a decade ago. Maybe you're not surprised, but I thought the idea of killing Muslims was so satisfying to the rank-and-file right that they'd reluctantly back war even from the hated Obama. But Paulism has started to insinuate itself into the angry-right worldview -- these folks still hate Muslims, and would still like to express that hatred violently, but they don't automatically assume that war is the answer anymore.

I know, I know -- they'll all rally uncritically around any war President Christie sells them. But for now, they actually see the kind of muddle they couldn't see in the Bush years. And activist lefties are just as skeptical as they were in the Bush years -- we don't seem to be rallying around the president on this, the way some of us have rallied around him on the NSA -- so there's a higher overall level of skepticism in the general public.

Not that it will make much difference. Morning Joe greenroom types will be on board, and that's all that will matter.


Victor said...

Maybe all of those veterans returning alive from Afghanistan and Iraq, especially the wounded - physically AND mentally - have left an impression on even the stupidest of the rubes.

Boy, I bet this doesn't make Bill Kristol and the rest of the members of "The League of Perpetually Wrong," happy.

But, like you said, Steve - if this is President Cruz-ader, or Christie, or Paul, then all systems are go, and the rubes will jump aboard!!!

I suspect that's what's causing the rubes to hesitate, or push-back, is more that the rubes don't trust Obama, than that they've learned any lesson(s).

BH said...

I'm waiting for the evidence to come in before forming too much of an opinion on this... but: if the evidence produced is pretty objectively conclusive as to Assad's regime having used chemical weapons, what should the response be, if any? The problem seems to me to be that with Assad, just about all the non-military responses would be futile, but then there's plenty I don't know.