Thursday, March 15, 2012

Syria, Afghanistan and 2004

45 women, children killed in Homs massacre, Syrian opposition says -

Just the facts! Which is just fine with me ... neither CNN nor I have a lot of inside information on the potential for "targeted air strikes", "special forces ops", etc that may or may not help save civilian lives in Syria. Just reporting the facts and not telling us what to think about is likely the correct way to deal with the problem.

HOWEVER. If one gives about 10 seconds of thought to "What Would They Say For W" or essentially ANY "Republican President" (RP)  the media message in the US would look a lot different right now.

For an RP, the past couple months would have been a DISASTER.

Let's turn on our "way back" machine and think back to '04 and apply the template of the press treatment of W on conditions today -- if Obama was an RP:

  • Should the Sec of State resign? How could our foreign policy be so incompetent that we could not see something like Syria on the horizon and deal with it. Did the administration "take their eye off the ball" and focus too much on domestic issues? Afghanistan? Trying to get out of Iraq too fast for political purposes? Playing politics and trying to get elected? or is it just gross incompetence -- clearly one of the above choices, pick any or all. 
  • How could the RP have lost so much stature in the world that China and Russia directly rebuff our attempts to get UN intervention? Is this due to Gitmo still being open? Is it due to our weakened status because of our need to borrow for massive deficits from the Chinese? Perhaps the obvious cronyism and incompetence of shady deals like Solyndra and Gun Walker have so weakened the RP that he is no longer effective? Again, is he corrupt?; incompetent?; not involved?; focused only on politics and his own re-election?; ... certainly it must be one or a combination of those. 
  • The drumbeat in the press would be "Administration still uncertain of Syria response". "Still no action on Syria". "When will we act?" Each day of "inaction" would be presented as costing the lives of innocent women and children ... with nice bloody pictures to remind us of their deaths. 
  • JOURNALISTS have been killed!! No doubt their grieving wives and children would be heavily covered with appropriate tearful interviews of "how could RP let this happen". 
  • Any old pictures of anyone in the RP administration ever talking with Bashar would be drug out to indicate "Maybe the RP administration is too cozy with the killers" ... but at the same time, there would be questions on "Who are we meeting with in the Syrian administration", "Why are we not meeting more?", "Are there secret meetings going on with these killers?" 
At the same time, on Afghanistan, we would be hearing:

  • "The fish rots from the head". Certainly the whole Quran burning, the response, the massacre of women and children, the response to that, etc are all clear evidence that the RPs "surge" in Afghanistan has failed miserably. The standard list of "helpful reasons" would be called out: "Should the Secretary of Defense resign immediately?", "Has this administration created a lax attitude on respect for the Quran and the very lives of non-combatants that could be considered "war crimes?" How far up the command chain does this incompetence, malfeasance, racial / religious insensitivity, etc go??
  • Would the President agree to have members of his Administration and military personnel prosecuted in an International Court? If not, why not? What is he hiding? Does he think the US is beyond international law?
  • Why was a "surge" decided on? It has clearly failed. Whose decision was it? The President's? If so, should he apologize? If not, why not? -- is he being manipulated and misled by those closest to him? Is he just blindly following the momentum of his failed policies at this point and causing the loss of lives of brave US soldiers? Can we get some interviews with the mothers of recently killed soliders to see how they feel about it? 
  • Can we afford to keep troops in Afghanistan with the horrible state of the US economy. Are we investing enough in our children at home? 

No question this is a "biased view". However, if you HONESTLY put your own biases behind you and think back to '04 with Abu Ghraib, Iraq / Afghanistan, etc. can you not hear echoes? Certainly, if you are a liberal, what you will mostly feel is "well, all those statements were VALID for W, but they are NOT valid for Obama".

That MIGHT be true -- but it is also directly in line with your biases, so it is CERTAINLY going to FEEL true ... but feeling true isn't the same as being true, and things are especially rocky when your position is in line with "the dominant social / media culture". When 90% of the news reporters, teachers, college professors, etc agree with your world view, it can be very comfortable.

Comfort is also not truth.

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