Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Havana And Brussels

The right wing media and their drones predictably freaked out over this picture:

That apartment building has to be, what, 300 yards behind him.  I mean it's not like it was right behind him:

Apparently, when Obama stands several football fields away from a picture of Che, he's endorsing Guevara's revolutionary tendencies, because - as any good right wing drone can recite from Breitbart and Drudge - Obama secretly hates America and is a traitor as evidenced by... somethingsomethingBenghazi.

The obsession with style over substance has reached its apogee (I hope) in Trump.  Trump is entirely style over substance.  He is all about image and perception rather than actual policies or substance.  He is a perfect creation of the fear-soaked nightmares of Fox News.  "If only Obama was strong, X wouldn't have happened."

Meanwhile, in the real world, Belgium failed to pursue policies that have hardened America, Britain and now France against terror attacks.  Belgium routinely pursued an ostrich strategy to terrorism and today, they paid a horrible price for that.  And just like the US, Britain, Spain and France, Belgium will now go about (I hope) a policy of hardening itself against the nihilists in their midst.

Obama's war on terrorist organizations is markedly different from George Bush's.  It consists of intelligence gathering and special forces and drone strikes.  It is designed to be unpredictable and leave a small footprint.  Since 2013, the United States has killed somewhere in the neighborhood of 25,000 ISIS members.  It has done so without invading or occupying portions of Iraq and Syria.  While it has lead to civilian casualties, it has no created the widespread slaughter of a ground war.

While drones are problematic in a lot of ways, they do work.  Combined with intelligence gathering and hardening American targets, the United States has been visited by two home-grown Islamist terror attacks since 2001.  One of those was a pissed off soldier, the other a DIY cell of a pair of angry Californians.  That's a substantive success, despite the loss of life at Ft. Hood and San Bernadino.

But the right wing obsession with style over substance will inevitably call for more carpet bombing of Syria, or invading Iraq again, or maybe shutting down the opening to Cuba.  It will scuttle the Iran nuclear deal if given a chance.

In the end, the right has transformed FDR's words: They only thing they have to fear love is fear itself.

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